Friday, 21 August 2020

Operation Democracy - a BKC PBEM Campaign

After a brief pause to do other things post our last PBEM campaign, my mind turned to the idea of doing something similar but set in WWII. I was particularly inspired by Jon Bleasdale's Operation Nostalgia and the Dodecanese Campaign, as both are nice and self contained. So with the setting sorted it was then the 'simple task' of getting everything sorted for the chaps to play. Or so I thought...

The background info, fluff and OOB etc were quite easy to do, using the Battle of Leros as a guide. The island of Sodor was simply a matter of going through the Warplan maps and coming up with a look I liked and one that had a good mix of terrain and objectives for both sides.

The island of Sodor.

So far so good. I had come up with broad guides to movement rates for infantry, AFV's as well as objectives for both sides. Sorting out naval and air support was more difficult, but again I had a broad outline of how it would work. With things in place I passed on the info to Dave and Keith who, once again, were happy to take part in my campaign. 
Then things hit the rails so to speak. An 18th or 19thC campaign is relatively speaking easy for the umpire and the players to sort out. Moving things into the 'modern' era transpired to be much more of a difficult undertaking. Truth be told I was having doubts even before Dave and Keith highlighted their busy schedules meant that they would have to delay the start of things. Looking at it after a few days away I realised that I would need to revisit my original ideas as in their current form they didn't really work.

Fortunately I have some campaign books in my library and also Warning Order has plenty of campaign info, so both will be consulted to try and resolve the issues that need to be 'fixed'. Maybe even using a board game would resolve things nicely? Broadly speaking and in no particular order they are:
  • Air Support. How to plan and deal with bombing raids on the map before they reach the table top.
  • Naval Support. As above.
  • Air Reconnaisance. How to factor this into map moves and intel to both sides.
  • Map Movement. This looks like it will involve a lot more detail for both sides, compared with simply moving a Battalion or Brigade as before. For example is the Company the smallest manouevre unit? Probably so but even at this level the command orders would have to be pretty detailed, maybe to the point that the fun has gone from the thing.
  • Off Table Artillery. Easy to do on the wargames table but how far should they be able to shoot when on the map? 
  • Defensive Positions. How long might it take to create trenches or strong points in campaign turns?
So as you can see plenty of things for me to mull over and hopefully sort out. I'm not going to rush it and will do some research before seeing whether it is viable in its current planned form. In the mean time it has inspired me to get back to the painting table to try and finish off the odd unit here and there that I have been meaning to do for several years now, so it's not all bad. Until next time...


  1. Some interesting issues here. Most of my WW2 campaigning has been on a much smaller scale. Thinking back, most of the ones I have seen or played have been quite formalized 'ladder' type campaigns.

    1. The campaigns I've played have been relatively simple narrative or ladder campaigns and these have worked well. Scaling them up to a PBEM level has raised quite a few issues as you've seen. Not sure the answer yet but an interesting challenge.

  2. You’re very brave but I’m interested to see how this plays out.