NQM Summer Holiday Toy Soldier Campaign
The Author's African Militia bravely attack an abandoned helicopter!
The Inspiration for this campaign came from two sources:
In my youth, I met Martyn Simson, (Simmo to his friends), who ran a campaign in the Summer Holidays. The idea was simple - if you bought and painted a model (it had to be painted), you could use it in your Army. Sales of Airfix Tiger Tanks and JSIIIs soared in Scunthorpe in the 1970s!
More recently, I came across "The Army Men" homepage (see the links page). Again the idea is simple. If you own it, think up a rule and use it! There are only two armies, a green friendly one, and a tan enemy one (or blue or grey or whatever).
1. There must be some rules of course:
Each Faction owns a Country. Draw or trace a Map, or cover an existing map with sticky clear plastic. You can then draw on the map with re-usable markers. At the start of the war, each Formation must be in a home town or city. I define a formation as the number of troops, vehicles, aircraft or ships that will fit into one of my standard boxes. There is no reason for the boxes to be a standard size (or indeed to even have boxes Ben!), but you must write the name of the town on the box, and you must mark on your map where the town is. Real belligerent nations can join in as allies, but they support one of the two warring factions
2. Each country must have the following facilities in towns :
a. Oil and petrol production resources. There may be more than one location. The total number of production resources must equal the number of boxes that a country owns.
b. Repair facilities for Tracks, wheels, Aircraft, artillery and ships.
Roy Harrison's African Scenery showing an International Airport!1
c. Ports, Railway yards Hospitals and Airfields.
d. A Capital City with Radio Station, Palace, Ministry of War (or Defence!), Cultural buildings.
- If the town is captured, then anyone who cannot find a space in another friendly box is captured by the enemy. Captured vehicles may be used; captured men cannot.
- The battle starts using the oldest period equipment that you have (for me that is the1920's). When that is exhausted, you may start using the next oldest equipment and so-on. This ensures a smooth transition from your oldest equipment through to your newest, and avoids you having to fight Challenger Tanks with Panzer I's. Alternately, rate all your tanks and guns the same - not as daft as it sounds, AK47 rules do this.
- When troops or vehicles are destroyed, put them in the hospital or repair depot box. If there is no space, they are marked with a "dead sticker" of some sort. (I use the pages of little circular sticky dots that you can buy at stationers) At the end of every battle, half of the casualties may be recovered, half are not (you can alter these proportions to suit yourself of course).
- The winner is the one with the most territory at the end of the summer holidays when school starts again!
Using this system, older period troops can co-exist on quieter fronts as militia against newer troops. You suddenly find that you need troops that you previously had no use for: Engineers, Transport troops, Airfield troops, AA troops, military policemen are all examples that spring to mind. You find that you need infantry to garrison railway junctions and Headquarters. Your President or King needs a Palace Guard, and you need to build oil storage facilities, Radio stations, and much more.
For me, the attraction of these mythical campaigns is that I have an excuse to build things that every real army has, but which never seem to make it onto the wargames table. There is no reason why you should not fight whichever period you want with this method - Ancient, Medieval, ECW, Napoleonic, ACW, WWI, WWII, Modern, Sci-fi, Fantasy or whatever.
Have fun! If you do run your own campaign, you will be following an honourable tradition that includes Eric Knowles' "Madasahatta" campaign2 and the ill-fated "Tin-Tin" campaign in the "El Mundo Mythico" world, to mention but two. Currently, the "Lesser Kingdom of Munch" is collecting all sorts of strange military oddments for it's army in case it should ever be invaded by one of the major powers. With the rise of the Web, Googling Imagi-Nations will uncover a rich vein of imaginary countries and campaigns.
1[© Derek Hooper (2005)]
2[© Eric Knowles (1974)]