Campaign Games, part one.
I have felt the need lately to get involved in some form of long term, developing storyline. In other words, I want to play some kind of campaign game. I mentioned before, work has made easy interaction with the local gaming community difficult, as my schedule changes daily. The other players will have to be few, and flexible as to game times. I have decided to recruit my son, and my friend James. Both work a regular schedule during the week, so the X-factor will be my schedule.
You might have guessed by now that I intend for it to be a Mechaton campaign. The topic of campaign games was mentioned in the 2006 version of the rules. So Vincent has been at least thinking about, if not working steadily on this topic for five years. If you read about his current rules over on Anyway, then you know they involve a high level of stress, and as I get enough of that at work I felt the need to come up with a different format.
I read all the comments on Anyway, and the Forge, that dealt with this topic. I then tried to list any player complaints and desires that I could find on the subject.
“The current point system may, put too much stress on performing well in every battle.”
“I want to care about the objectives.”
“I want more fluff, more story.”
“I want a system where not every player has to be in every battle.”
“I want Hero’s, or characters that somehow advance.”
After doing this, I thought about campaign games I had played in during the 80s and 90s, most of these where to give some form of back story to one Games Workshop game or another. They always involved a huge hex map to keep track of the ebb and flow of the war. What I remember about those campaigns was that even if the number of games played was in the hundreds, we still never finished them, and the corners of the maps never got used. Certain key areas got fought over again and again, while the corners tended to be at the back side of an empires territory and always went uncontested. I love how a hex map makes the distances between locations fixed and measurable. For me a campaign game must involve the movement of my forces for the purpose of attacking or defending key areas. After pondering the problems with large hex maps, I decided the hex map for my campaign would be smaller and round. The longer I thought about it, the smaller it became. Most Mechaton campaign reports that I have read, involved fewer than seven battles, realizing that I came up with this.
You might look at that and think “How could you fight an entire campaign game on that tiny map?” Well if each of three players was to place six armies on the map by writing down the locations, unless two of the players chose the same hex to leave empty, you end up with all seven hexes being contested. If you play a one turn game, with no troop movement, and no time frame, just who controls the most hexes after the smoke clears, then you have seven battles to play out. Is the map looking a little bigger yet?
“But what could that map possibly be a map of?” Well let’s see.
A system of caves.
A military complex.
A hollowed out asteroid.
A space ship.
A dormant volcanic crater.
A space habitat.
An asteroid cluster.
A jovian planetary system.
A solar system.
A cluster of seven solar systems.
A cluster of seven galaxies.
If you allow movement from the eastern most hex (5), to the western most hex (3), then your map can represent spherical objects like a moon or planet.
End of part one.