Battle for Britain Part 7 - Players enter stage left

von Tettau, Marlborough and Tollemache left, Sarsfield, Hamilton and Berwick on the right
Three weeks before the event each player was sent a '1692 State of the Kingdoms' summary, a brief regarding their own situation and an order of battle giving details of the forces with which they would enter the campaign.

The master view campaign positional map - players saw a limited view of this

Over the following weeks right up to the eve of battle summaries dated roughly one campaign month apart were sent to each of them. These contained a campaign history for their forces, attrition information, details of plots and schemes, items they had looted or found, decisions they needed to make and general background on the chaos that was Britain. The first summary was dated roughly June 18th and the last August 18th 1692.

Universal 1692 briefing to all players

Soon, the replies started. Can I talk to so and so?, can you send this message to such and such? Where are all my allies? etc

The next stage was the direct communication. After a general email circulation list was shared it all kicked off. At this point the campaign of disinformation began with bluffs of side-swapping, alliances which never were and deception plans - some of which actually worked well!

Sample orbat dated 18th August 1692 showing the campaign entry force of the Duke of Berwick

The whole thing had (as intended) started to take on a life of its own and this was all to the good when it finally came to seeing each other and across the table.

Charges are occasionally levelled at me of having a somewhat 'Tuckeresque' mind (that's Malcolm, not Sophie just to be clear) -  In fact I believe that Bonnie Dundee defamed me in public as a ' lying wee bugger' - that said, there was no need for me to demonstrate my encyclopaedic knowledge of the works of Niccolo Machiavelli  - the players took to it like ducks to water.

Private briefing for the 'venal' Kirke - sorry Julian

Bill ' Butter wouldn't melt' Robertson proved to be one of the best at it. Peter managed to adopt a sort of Fu Manchu aspect in his role as Marlborough - inscrutable and equivocal. Bonnie Dundee I think had attend a few SNP rallies before the weekender and was frothing with Scottish Pride. The Marquis de St Ruhe's Gallic contempt for the Island Monkeys was so palpable that he created his own exclusion zone and nobody wanted to deal with 'The Bloody French', not even their allies!

Mild mannered Mark was positively brimming over with a young man's righteous indignation as Berwick whilst poor Julian having set his benchmark particularly low as the 'venal' (what? Barry did you just call me venal? come on!) Kirke - managed to go even lower during the weekend - in the end he even hated himself!

Actual detail of Berwick dispatch for July - seen only by him. All players received three such before the weekender

The gentlemen commanders were most definitely the measured and sensible Richard Hamilton - clearly a political fixer, the courteous and well bred von Tettau - receiving the 'Sporting Gentleman's award' of the weekend for capturing a crack shot sniper and then NOT using him against his enemy - bad form don't you know! Lord George 'Where are my Enniskilleners?' Hamilton and Dominic 'Tam' Sheldon - the aristocratic Turf Guide for all sporting minded nobles.

Ah!.. before it all went wrong. An original orbat which of course changed from 180692 till 180892

Paul ' Tollemache' Allen couldn't quite work out who the hell was to be trusted whilst young 'Wauchope' thought he'd been stitched up - which he probably had.

Our one true Irishman - Paul 'Sarsfield' was very intent on taking the fight to England and hooking up with his old army buddies and the man who is to field officer's what asteroids are to dinosaurs - Colin 'Colonel Killer' de Ruvigny managed to get through a major battle involving about 18,000 troops with only 2 model casualties thus disproving the laws of wargaming.

Berwick on the battlefield at Badon Hill

Mission accomplished. The chemistry was right for a good old wargaming bash.

In the next post I'll summarize 1692 so far and then we'll have a look at the first four battles....