Too many things have been tripping up the serious business of wargaming, over the last couple of months (having said it was all settling down, it didn’t). Hence, both progress on the Styrenia campaign and construction work for the Italo campaign have been much, much slower than I would have liked. I suspect, and hope, that the Christmas holiday will present me with plenty of free time to work on things more.
Anyway, there has been some movement in Styrenia, at least. Any actual movement has been considerably slowed down by the winter snows, particularly in the hill country, and armies have barely begun to muster, although King Vajnayar and, to the north, the satrap Artamenes are making their preparations for war.
In the meantime, entering the Month of the Fox, there has at least been a flurry of diplomatic activity. Negotiations have taken place between Vajnayar and the King of the Natori hill tribes, Micipsa, with the latter being induced to join an alliance with the Uttaran invasion forces. This has been somewhat delayed owing to the demise of the Uttaran envoy on his way to meet with the Natori, ambushed and murdered by bandits – a fate as yet unknown to either Vajnayar or Micipsa.
Vajnayar has also despatched three agents northwards on a long journey to Pramanda, hoping to co-ordinate the Pramandan invasion plans with his own. One of these agents has fallen ill and is currently in hiding, not far from Dariush, and is obviously at increased risk of being captured by Styrenian militia patrols.
What all this has entailed, in gaming terms, has been some tinkering and experimentation with rules for diplomacy and espionage. In all honesty, I remain dissatisfied with what I have so far – largely a combination of using playing cards to generate chance events, dice rolls, and a certain amount of Kriegspiel-style narrative “rulemaking” as situations arise. I suppose the issue is that on the level of politics and diplomacy, it is never going to be practical to narrow all the possible circumstances and outcomes to a relatively small, defined pool that can be governed by either dice or cards. It’s a bit of a puzzle, really, but I’ll keep working on it. I suspect that the Kriegspiel-flavoured approach is always going to be optimal, though of course that’s difficult to play well (to say the least) in the context of a solitaire game.
Anyway, it looks like a bad winter in Styrenia, so it’ll be mostly more diplomacy throughout the month of the Fox, until temperatures begin to rise again…