Saturday, 25 February 2012

Berthier Campaign Manager

I noticed on the TMP forum that a new version of Tony De Lyall's Berthier Campaign Manager has been released, version 7.3.4 no less.  The manager was originally written for the DOS system but is now Windows based.  It is extremely simple to install and use and the attraction for me was and is its use in solo campaigns and games.

It works for solo games because of the order system where units on the map are given orders basically consisting of "move from A to B", which can be through a third waypoint, if you want a particular route taken, rather than just the line of least resistance.  Berthier then works out the most efficient route for that unit to take, based on the unit's movement rates across the various different types of terrain it can pass though (or not, as the case may be).

This creates a certain 'fog of war', because the units will keep going for each campaign move until they reach their destination (which can take quite a few moves if the map is big and/or the movement rates are slow), and so enemy units may not be exactly where you think they are, as their actual position at any one time is worked out by Berthier, not by you.
WW2 Operation Crusader
The above shows a screenshot from a campaign we did a while ago for Operation Crusader in the western desert.  Most of the map is sand but main roads (pink), tracks (khaki) towns (green), ports (purple) and the impassible escarpments (reddish-brown) are shown.  Each terrain type has a different movement value and for towns and ports a resupply value also.
WW1 South China Sea
This map depicts the South China Sea, Indonesia and down to Australia and the idea for this was do some sort of Emden style commerce raider naval campaign (TBC).

There is one thing though, and I've not been cheeky enough to suggest this to Tony De Lyall, and that is it would be very useful to be able to set more than one waypoint for units.  I was thinking this particularly for something like a commerce raiding campaign (or submarine hunting, etc.) where merchant ships or whatever it is you are looking for (or trying to avoid) effectively travel between two or more points (e.g. trading routes) that may take in a number of waypoints so that you really won't know where they are likely to be at any time.

A very good example of a waypoint setting system can be found in the (infinitely more complicated) Operation Flashpoint and ARMA series of computer games which come with an extremely powerful mission editor.
One of the great things you can do with that is set as many waypoints for units as you want (which can be effectively randomly placed if you set it up right) which means that units can appear and go just about anywhere without your intervention.  You can also set a cycle function so that when the last waypoint is reached the unit just goes back to the next (or nearest) one and starts all over again, which is very useful for setting up continuous patrols and other activities that will just keep going until you 'interrupt' them.  Now that really would create fog of war!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Prickly Pears

Hello campers.  I'm not at all sure where the time as gone since I last posted here (in 2011).  It can't all have been expended at work, Christmas, Hogmanay, playing the guitar, Burns Night, beer making, Scottish politics, shame-facedly reviewing last year's un-resolved resolutions and the mistake of purchasing Minecraft?....hmmmm.

Still, I have been making lists, which is always my starting point (even though my subconscious tells me that once the list is made my work here is done), most recently specific lists on what to blog about.

The perennial issue, as all wargamers will know, is uncompleted projects, which some might argue is part of the joy of the hobby; and usually that's what you see here - some sort of progress report on a scheme hit upon many moons ago that has reached a stage of presentability or (more likely) rediscovery.  This is one of them. Cacti for wargaming.
As you can see, I've got cacti.  I've quite a lot of arid terrain which started off as something to put under my 500pt DBM Lydians but which may one day be used for, oh I don't know, Maximilian expedition, The Rules with No Name shootouts, the 1846-48 Mexican War, the western desert, etc.

Being an older project I've no construction photos but then it's pretty simple so I'll just tell you.  The branched Saguaro-type cacti above were made from sections of pipe cleaner bent to shape and them coated in Woodflex filler or similar. I tried making some by dipping the shaped pipe cleaner into thick PVA (wood) glue but that didn't work as well.  The short stumpy one in the foreground (no, not the Colonel) was made from a stubby screw coated in filler and then scored to make it look like a deflated barrel cactus.
A bit more variety here.  The prickly pear were made from little bits of card cut out with a standard hole punch (two at a time!) and then stuck together randomly (Geoff's idea originally).  Each Agave, or whatever they are, was made from a narrow rectangle of paper which I 'pinked' along one side and then rolled up, splaying the pointy ends outwards.

My most recent activity, which is my excuse for posting (see above), was to put some flock on them.