Once you start playing a campaign, it can be a bit tricky to keep track of everything. Especially for a campaign like this, where there are multiple players, platoons, support weaponry and such involved. Writing things down on a piece of paper could be enough, but pads of paper has a habit of disappearing, and can you even be sure that everyone keep their platoons updated? Were those German troops really in that spot on the campaign map?
It's likely that you will find yourself needing some tools to help you keep everything in order. Here is how we're going to use a simple homebuilt system to track multiple platoons played by multiple players in the Stalino campaign.
First of all, we want a campaign map that we can leave in a club area that are used by several other people. So we don't want just chits on a map, as a simple bumb can send the troops flying. We also want it to be easily accessible by several people, while still leaving a "fog of war", where players can move platoons around without the opponent knowing exactly where they are. So we're going to build a boxed map, some thick chips, and some reference cards. There are probably much better ways to do these, but I used the materials that I had readily available.
I started out with a cardboard box that is roughly A4 sized. I made the campaign map in Adobe Indesign, with a circle for each "position" on the campaign map. Once printed out, I cut the paper sheet to fit snugly in the box. If you don't glue it in place you can easily replace it if you want to re-use it for future campaigns.
I then took some normal corrugated cardboard for the inner walls of the box, and took some measurements: you want the inner dividing walls to be slightly lower than the box is deep. I started out with measuring the long walls, and cut them out. In this case, you only need two of them.
I cut out the long walls, and cut it until the fit into the box. Measure where you want to have the shorter walls, You don't need to be exact, just put down the wall and make some marks with a pen. The important thing is that you then use the marks on your first wall to make the cuts in the second wall match the first wall..
After this it's time to make the short walls. Measure the length of the short side inside the box, and cut out the walls. Then make two cuts to divide them to make three sections that are exactly the same length.
Once you have made all the walls, all that's left is to lay down the long sides, and then attach the short walls. There's no need to glue them in place, and if some piece doesn't fit, you can usually just cut it down in size with a pair of scissors. Voilá! A box with clearly divided slots, that you can close and put away inbetwen games, safe from most accidents.
Next up, I'll make the chits to put on the map. Each chit will represent a platoon or a support option, as we will be able to move these around inbetween campaign rounds. So each chit will have a number which will show which platoon, weapon team etc. that it represents, and casualties and other important notes will be kept on a reference card.
I was out of colour for the printer, so I will temporary use black and white face pictures until I can replace them. It would probably be enough to just glue them on a piece of cardboard, but since I wanted the chits to have some heft, I decided to glue the paper to plasticard first, and then glue on the cardboard. The coloured cardboard is mostly there to make sure that we don't mix up chits from the two sides: you could just as well simply paint the backsides of the chits if you decide to use plasticard.
I cut out the unit symbols, and cut out squares of plasticard in the same size (2cm x 2cm). I then glued on a similar sized cardboard square on the back. As you can see, we can put the chits face down to hide the units. Even if your opponent would get a peek, they would only see a number, which doesn't really tell them that much unless they have access to the platoon reference cards.
Next time we'll make the reference cards, and we're all set to keep track of the forces involved in the campaign.
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.