Welcome to our first article on Building A Weekend Campaign. In this series we will dive into how we at Wargaming Holidays prepare the events you'll be able to participate in.
It starts with a theme, do we go historical? If so how far in time? Do we go sci-fi? What universe? Or how about fantasy? Which style?
For example, when planning our Tilly-Sur-Seulles campaign, we knew that we wanted to do a historical game and that it was going to be a WW2 battle. Whilst historical games do a lot of the hard work for us, what about fantasy? Are we going to go with the sly and diabolical vampiric counts against the honourable human mob, or perhaps the righteous elves against their darker kin? Whilst quite simple questions, they help focus us on the theme of our narrative.
Wikipedia can be a great asset when it comes to figuring out theme. Images like the above can really inspire the sorts of miniatures and aesthetic you're wanting to go for. For example, a quick google of Transylvania (Vampiric inspiration) produces a massive number of Dracula inspired media which can be a great brainstorming tool.
With our Tilly-Sur-Seulles campaign, we decided that we fancied a British versus German battle – We had played so many American versus German games that a fresh start was needed. It also gave us a chance to explore battles we'd never looked into and perhaps tell a story not quite as well documented as the American campaigns.
So we opened google and typed: 'British battles in Normandy WW2' and this threw a mass of results at us. What you're looking for at this point are keywords. Operation names, division numbers and town names. Operation Perch drew our attention as this was the first major offensive after landing on Normandy beaches. The objective? Caen and the surrounding area.
The page for Operation Perch is pretty inspiring and incredibly useful. I've highlighted some key points that really helped us. Note the keywords, such as XXX Corps, Panzer-Lehr, 7th Armoured and Tilly-Sur-Seulles, a few times.
Not being the history buff I ought to be, we dived into this unknown part of the war. What we found both inspired and humbled us. The story of Operation Perch is one of bravery, determination but also one of terrible loss. Operation Perch reminded us of the cost that men, women and children on both sides of the war had to bear.
It was a story we knew we had to tell.
The next few days were spent pouring over troop movements, battle reports and trying to figure out which town would be best to recreate. This process is fairly similar to the first, look for town names and google them with WW2 suffixed – For example, Tilly-Sur-Seulles WW2 came up with some fascinating reads.
Images such as the above really help us captivate the sort of atmosphere we're looking for.
Considering the sheer weight of men thrown at Tilly-Sur-Seulles by both the German and British forces, this seemed like the battle to recreate. Some more googling and reading of Wikipedia articles lead us to believe that this was one of a few pinnacle battles of Operation Perch and would allow us to show exactly what the British were up against and why they struggled so hard to capture the town of Caen and surrounding areas.
In the next article, we will discuss how we turn this broad idea into the beginning of a gaming campaign, utilising research, game specific tools and game design to perfect the process.