Programmed Leaders in Campaigns
How often have you aspired to running a miniatures campaign but found the mechanics of the campaign take over from the battles you want to fight? Typically the campaign involves so much paper work that the original aim, that of linking your battles and providing a reason for the battle, is lost. 

From this perspective the very simple campaign rules included with the De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) rules were ground breaking. The campaign "system" was designed to link the tabletop battles together and be resolved in a short time period. The other aspects of a campaign were either reduced to a minimum or ignored.

Because of this I have used the DBA Campaign system several times over the years to produce both interesting campaigns and simple balanced games.

However, you are all set to run your campaign only to find a player can not make the event or the number of players are limited. How can you now run your campaign? Provided here are some basic rules to automate the running of those countries that do not have a player associated with them. The rules were designed to be used in association with the DBA campaign rules. 

The original concept of Programmed Leaders was not mine. I first came across them in an article published in Wargames Illustrated several years ago which I can no longer reference. However, what is defined here is a significant modification of the original concept. 

Hopefully, should you use the rules described here, your resulting campaign will be both interesting and provide a series of challenging tabletop games. However, be careful of Ambitious Tyrants on your borders! 

Tyrants, Kings and Generals:

For those states without a player a method is used to determine the characteristics of foreign policy. Historical some states may have clearly defined rulers which may, at least initially, determine the characteristics of the king or state. For example Macedonia, under Alexander the Great, may be modelled as being commanded by a "Ambitious Tyrant". On the loss of the king or commander, or in other situations, a single D6 can be used to determine the characteristics of the leader.

  • 1 = A "Feeble Coward"
  • 2 or 3 = An "Incompetent"
  • 4 or 5 = A "Veteran Campaigner"
  • 6 = An Ambitious "Tyrant".

All programmed armies start the campaign in their capital and return to the capital after every campaign year. Feeble and Incompetent leaders only move one map route per seasonal turn. Feeble Cowards only move within their own borders.

Movement Direction:

Feeble Cowards will only move within their own borders. Unless into battle (forced upon him by popular opinion) it must be away from the nearest foreign army. An Incompetent will move to invade the nearest weakest opponent and will cross sea or mountain routes regardless of season. Veterans will move to invade the nearest opponents but will only cross sea or mountain routes in the summer season. An Ambitious Tyrant will move to invade the nearest enemy regardless of strength and will cross sea and mountain routes in any season.

In cases where bordering nations are of equal size or the direction is in dispute:

  • 1-3 clockwise movement around the map or player order
  • 4-6 anti clockwise.

Declaration of War:

Roll after all other players have declared war. Any non player countries that had war declared on them do not roll. The country they declare war on is determined from above, If the score denotes "Tributary" this means the country offers to become a tributary of the largest invader if any present, otherwise ignored.

Die Roll Coward Incompetent Veteran Tyrant
1 Tributary Tributary - -
2 Tributary - - Declare War
3 - - Declare War Declare War
4 - Declare War Declare War Declare War
5 - Declare War Declare War Declare War
6 Declare War Declare War Declare War Declare War

Subtract one from die score for each element less than 12 elements.

Once a "Declaration of War" has been decided roll a die each season to determine if an attack will commence. Use the table above but take no notice of "Tributary" results. A second "Declare War" result means the invasion starts.

Invasion of a Programmed Nation:

When a Programmed Nation is invaded roll a dice to determine the reaction:

Feeble Coward: 1 to 4 stands siege and removes his army if inside the city away from the invader. 5 or 6 roll another die, and consult above table. A declare war result means give battle. A tributary result means the leader is assassinated and replaced by a Veteran Campaigner (1 or 2), or by a Tyrant (3,4,5 or 6).

An Incompetent: 1 or 2 stands siege, removing the army away if inside. 3, 4 or 5 stands siege leaving the army inside. 6 gives battle regardless of odds.

Veteran Campaigner: 1 to 3 stands siege, removing his field army from the city if inside. 4 to 6 gives battle with his army unless outnumbered by 4 or more elements, in which case he stands siege removing his field army.

An Ambitious Tyrant: 1 to 2 stands siege, leaving his field army in the city if already there, otherwise does nothing. 3 to 6 Gives battle with his field army, regardless of odds.

Giving Battle:

When programmed leaders take the field their armies must be controlled by human players. This can be decided by a simple dice throw. Ideally however it should be by the player who has least to gain by the programmed leader's defeat. 

In addition the following effects the battle if using DBA to resolve the battles the following should be used:

  • A Feeble Coward: -1 on the movement die and a -1 for the general's element in combat or if shot at.
  • An Incompetent: -1 on the movement die, no +1 for general's element in combat.
  • A Veteran campaigner: Normal movement and combat factors.
  • An Ambitious Tyrant: +1 on movement, -1 on combat.
In some situations in historical settings no die roll need be made. For example when modelling Macedonia under Alexander the Great, the general should be considered a Veteran Campaigner.

Allied Contingents:

Human players may ally themselves to programmed nations at any time. Programmed leaders must dice to solicit allies from other programmed nations. Human players must also dice to gain allies from programmed nations.

  • A Feeble Coward provides a contingent if a 6 is rolled.
  • An Incompetent provides a contingent if a 5 or 6 is rolled.
  • A Veteran Campaigner 4, 5 or 6
  • A Tyrant 3,4,5 or 6.

Tributary Rules:

At the end of any campaign year, any programmed leader who has lost one or more cities may be bullied into becoming a tributary. Any programmed or human player may dice to try and subjugate a programmed leader's nation, but may only make one attempt at any one programmed nation at the end of the campaign year. If he fails he will have to wait until the end of the next year before trying again. Players may dice in the order of movement for the yearly turn just completed. Players may only dice for one nation per campaign year. If any nation is successful he becomes the nation's overlord. Score required to subjugate a programmed leader's nation are:

  • Feeble Coward: 4 to 6
  • Incompetent: 5 to 6
  • Veteran Campaigner: 6
  • Tyrant: not possible!

Additional Rules:

An additional modification to the DBA Campaign rules were as follows:

  • All campaign movement before any combat is completed. This allows all the varoius battles to be fought at the same time speeding up the campaign and reducing the likelyhood of players not having games.
  • Allied contingents do not receive there own movement dice, rather one additional PIP is always available for their use. Additional PIPs must come from the main armies PIP dice.

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