Hyde’s Reach: A New Campaign

Henry Hyde's Wargaming Campaigns CoverThere’s a new wargame campaign in the House of Wargaming, and it’s in a genre that I’m not too familiar with.  Luckily, you don’t have to be to get started.  You can learn on the fly, which is a lot easier when you’ve got a guide like Henry Hyde holding your hand.  This campaign is an attempt to apply as many principles presented in Wargaming Campaigns as possible, though we’ll need to make a few discursions into other campaign books from time to time.

[Editor’s note: We’re still at the placeholder name stage of things.  I’ll try and update some better names

Originally colonized 200 years ago, Hyde’s Reach is an earth type world somewhere out beyond Formalhaut. Twenty decades is more than enough time for the sons of explorers, outcasts, and adventurers to build their own, new ways of life out among the stars. People being who they are, they bring their humanity with them, and that inevitably leads to conflict.  The original colony fractured along the usual lines – the children of the Old Nobility squeezed the outlying districts too hard, and the New Nobility of the outlying districts responded by declaring their independence. An uneasy peace lasted for a generation or two, but the wheel turns ever onward and young men as always serve as grist for the war mill.

The two nations at hand, Septemtria and Austeregnum, were born out of the same tradition. As such they share many holidays, beliefs, and heroes, and operate under similar styles of governance. Both are run by Boards of Incorporation and headed by CEOs who bear the honorific “Chief”. In both countries, the Chief balances the demands of the members of the Board of Directors, which is checked only by the limited powers of an independent Auditor.  The Auditor cannot make policy, but he can investigate and oversee the implementation of policies, and veto those that go against the Rules of Incorporation and has the sole authority to trigger a recall vote of the CEO by the Board.

And it’s just such an event that triggers the current conflict.

The Septemtrian Chief Schnieder had been working with the Austeregnum Chief TBD, behind the scenes, to negotiate a merger. By working outside proper diplomatic channels, he had hoped to present his Board with a fait accompli, an offer too good to resist. Unfortunately for him, the Auditor caught wind of his negotiations. Even worse, the Auditing Director proved cagy enough to hold off on announcing his findings until Chief Schnieder was at his weakest.

July 4th marks the planet-wide celebration of Landing Day, when Captain Cook first set his ship down on the surface of Hyde’s Reach. In a break with tradition and billed as a mission of friendship, Chief Schnieder did not celebrate the long July 4th weekend with speeches at The Monument. Instead, he opted to spend the long holiday on the road. He hoped to travel south to build bridges between the two great nations. On the morning of July 5th, the Septemtrian Auditor made his announcement of Chief Schnieder ’s technically illegal but ordinarily acceptable negotiations and used them as a pretext to call for a new election among the Board of Directors.  Chief Schnieder had been careful to keep the Septemtrian Board was evenly split along political lines, which normally made his tie-breaking vote all the more powerful but now left him vulnerable. Forced by the Auditor to recuse himself from the vote, the tie-breaking vote fell into the hands of Acting Director Mirg, who wasted no time in declaring ‘no confidence’, holding a new election that very morning, and casting the tie-breaking vote that saw himself take the Big Leather Chair. The clear conflict of interest in his vote went unremarked by the Auditor, but not by the propaganda mills, who sprang into action on both sides of the matter. Captain Hook’s infonet soon rang with cried of “TREASON!” and “COUP!”, both with a healthy side order of scorn for the bumpkin rival nation to the south.

Down in Austeregum, the news caught both Chief Schnieder and Chief TBD by surprise. Quicker on the draw and earlier to rise – probably because he was using the talk of accords as a cover for planned military strikes – Austeregnum’s leader took to the infonet and announced that he had taken Chief Schnieder ‘under protection’ and would not rest until justice had been done and Chief Schnieder returned to his rightful place. Chief Schnieder went to drunken sleep believing himself to be on the cusp of a historic victory only to awaken to loud knocks and large men who immediately placed him under virtual house arrest, “for his own safety”. Now a pawn in Chief TBDgame against Septemtria, Schneider can only bide his time and await the opportunity to avoid being forced into power as puppet rather than string puller.

Already prepared to back the negotiations with a show of force, Chief TBD announced that Austeregnum’s brave soldiers stood ready to assist Chief Schnieder, and that forces had already crossed the frontier on his behalf. He inwardly cursed the Septemtrian Auditor’s timing, which forced him to move his forces earlier than intended.  Still, his infotechnicians assured him that his forces, while not able to achieve complete surprise, maintained a five-day lead over their rivals.

The population of Shevlinton responded to the war cry with a deafening show of indifference. The most common objection being a variation on, “Go to war for some snooty Sept?” The most common supporters responded with a unified theme of, “I guess it’s okay, if we can use this as a pretext to poke those snobs and carve off a slice of real estate.”  Not a resounding fervor, but for a strong-arm blackmailer like Chief TBD, a cowed public who wouldn’t riot at the thought of their sons dying for his schemes was all the rubber stamp he needed. He immediately ordered the nation’s Director of Defense to secure the most important rail junction in southern Septemtria and hold position there while the rest of the military completed its mobilization.

Not a particularly zealous warrior, the Regnan Defense Director John Scarr delayed for a day before acting, and his troops rolled out across the bridges of the JB River mid-Saturday morning. The slow-moving half-tracks hauling his troops down narrow country roads swept aside the limited defenders with a few warning shots of the accompanying medium tanks. They took two full days to secure the unprotected junction, and by Tuesday morning the Gendarme Company had arrived in and secured the nearby silver mining town. This matter took a few days as the fractious miners were not as easily intimidated and prompted the Company Commander to warn Director Scarr of the risk of partisans from this quarter.

Meanwhile, in the Septemtrian capitol, Acting Director Mirg struggles to secure his power.  After some delay, he finally manages to convince the nation’s Defense Directorate that he really is in charge, and that they really should get some warm bodies between the DJ River and the silver mines so critical to the nation’s success – and their own slush funds.  Defense Director Tobor, though a capable enough commander, is also a cautious one.  He dispatches what he can to try and meet the enemy in the field, but he focusses his attention on bringing more forces to bear.  If he moves deliberately, Septemtria should be able to bring superior numbers to the field, including a few little surprises for the Austeregnans.