The idea of a campaign has floated around my head for years. In the past, attempts have been disappointing, to say the least. But I can't think of a better way to really capture the spirit of a period and generate realistic table top battles. The key to success, in my mind, is to keep the scale small enough that battles come quickly and to keep the mechanics simple.
The first thing I have done is generate a map. Five nations will be involved. The three largest will be Austria, Prussia, and Russia. Each will control a quarter of the map and will have a capital, five major cities and ten villages connected by a series of roads that will be used to move armies. Hanover and France will also take part, dividing the fourth quarter between them. They will each have a capital, three cities and five villages.
I have made counters to represent all of the brigades I have available for each country. The Prussians have the largest force with 14 brigades, the Austrians and Russians have 12, the French and Hanoverians have eight. The major powers have two supply trains each while the minor states have one. Each county has a diplomat who can travel to neighboring capitals to negotiate treaties. And then to add some "fog of war," each nation will have a number of dummy counters that will only be discovered when contacted by an opposing "real" counter.
I have also added a random events table for the end of each strategic turn. Events include such things as allowing one unit in an opposing country to "force march" one extra square, Flooding" where no rivers can be crossed the next turn, "looting" where any unit in an opposing city or village can't move the next turn.
Battles will be eight turns. As the game master, I will determine a winner. Winners will get back 50% of its losses, losers only 33%. Units can be brought back to full strength by returning to their capital and spending two turns there. It looks like will have about eight players. I'll keep the game map in my room at school and we will use our weekly meetings to plot out strategic moves and then fight battles after school as frequently as possible.
The plan is to start this Wednesday and see what happens. I am guardedly optimistic. Battles should occur quickly, but the forces involved will be small enough to make them move along quickly. Because it is a campaign, the sides will seldom be even, and the "to the last man" mentality will prove to be foolhardy.
Stay tuned for reports and updates.