Mapless Campaign


These are just my notes & collected thoughts on how I want to approach this. I have only run one "sucessfull" campaign & that took shit-loads of work on my behalf with very little to show for it in the end (except for very fond memories from the participants) Maybe because I am older & less likely to want to waste my (&anyone else's) time, I wanted a short cut. 

I think I've found it....

Mapless Campaigns  http://www.balagan.org.uk/war/campaigns/mapless.htm

This is based on the campaign system in the Warmaster Ancient Armies book by Rick Priestley.
The premise is that complicated campaigns involving maps with detailed map movement, & where losing a couple of battles seriously impairs a player's chance of success, are doomed to peter out. There are no maps in this campaign but players get to collect territories, & collecting territories makes the player more powerful.

Playing the Campaign

Set Up

Players can be organised into teams. Each player selects a 24AP army from the relevant army list.                                               The armies can in fact change between games; the only important thing is that each game is balanced. Each player will need figures for their 24AP army, plus for bonus troops they'll acquire during the campaign.
Each player draws three territories from the pack. A player can have at most one rich territory, of any type - City, Port or Mines - at the beginning of the campaign. If you get more than one, then discard the excess & draw again.

Campaign Battles

Any player can fight any other player (if using teams, any player can fight any player from an opposing team) any number of times.   If you win a battle you get more territories. Cards with the territory info on them are played  at the beginning of each game.

Pre-battle phase

Territories are used in battle to simulate pre-battle manoeuvres &/or advantage derived from greater resources. Each player secretly selects three of his territories. These are revealed simultaneously.
Territories provide reinforcement AP (usually low value) or enhancements to other reinforcement cards to make it high value. Optionally, some deployment advantage in the form of a Flank March.

Fighting Battles

Each player gets their basic army at full strength, plus any reinforcements.

Post-battle phase

If the battle is a draw then neither player benefits, however, if one player wins the battle:
  1. A new territory is added to the campaign. The winner draws the new territory from the deck.
  2. The winner can then either take the new territory or any one of the territories the loser used during the game.
  3. If the winner takes one of the loser's territories the loser gets the new territory to replace it.

Winning the Campaign

Before the campaign starts you should set out the victory conditions. Options include:
  • The player who has the highest total territory value at the end of a fixed time period (e.g. for a one day campaign).
  • The player that reaches a target territory value fastest.
  • The player that acquires a certain number of territories fastest.
Thought: Count up the Territory Points (remembering to overlay any Rich Territory) & find the average.                                                               The Target Territory will be this x3,4 or 5 depending on how long you want each campaign to last. Round up all fractions.

Territories
Territories are the campaign goal & provide reinforcements in battle.
The table below has example territories for an ancient or medieval campaign. The number is the number of that type of territory you might include in a typical campaign. Points are given for HotT AP

Number
Territory
Reinforcement

HotT



Other Benefit
10
Mountains
Gods, Dragons, Airboats, Flyers, Aerial Heroes or Horde, Lurker, Sneaker Beasts  *

1




10
Forests
Shooters or Horde, Lurker, Sneaker Beast  *

1




10
Wastes
Horde, Blades, Spears, Warband, Artillery, Cleric, Magician or Camels   *

2




5 (or 8)
Plains
Riders or Beasts  **

1




8
Mountain Pass
Any Infantry or Aerial   **

1



Flank march
9
River Crossing
Any Infantry or Cavalry *

1



Flank march
8 (or 9)
Farmlands
Horde, Blades, Spears, Warband, Artillery, Cleric, Magician   *

2




8
Town
Cheapest available from Horde, Blades, Spears, Warband, Artillery, Cleric, Magician  *

2




8 (or 10)
Pasture
Riders, Knights, Paladin, Behemoth, Mounted Heroes **

2




5
City ***
Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can't be combined with any territory providing the "cheapest" type.

4




4
Port ***
Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can't be combined with any territory providing the "cheapest" type.

4



Flank march
5
Mines ***
Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can't be combined with any territory providing the "cheapest" type.

3




4
Fortress
Either: Aerial or Horde, Lurker, Sneaker  or Knights, Riders, Beasts **                                       or On-table fort/strongpoint

2




* If you don't have such a type then take the cheapest/worst infantry unit in your list instead.
** If you don't have such a type then take the cheapest/worst unit in your list instead.
*** City, Port and Mines are rich territories. A player can have at most one rich territory, of any type, at the beginning of the campaign. If you get more than one, then discard the excess and generate some more territories. When using a rich territory the higher point value of the rich territory replaces the point value of the other territory; for example, you'd get one element for a River Crossing but if combined with a Port you would get two elements (not three).
Assumes 24AP per army. The points in the table are the max AP to be spent on that type of troops, unless directed otherwise by *s
Limit armies to Human.
Maybe allow some fantastic elements? Just no non-humans except animals & things which can be summoned by magic.

Each army has its 24AP listed but there are no compulsory/optional troop types, any of the Alternatives can be used to replace AP as long as the army does not exceed 24AP & the number of 3+AP elements does not exceed 12AP (reinforcement elements do not count towards this total)

If a reinforcement troop type is not available to you, see *s above for alternative.

Western Medieval               Stronghold: Castle

1 x Hero                  +1                           
1 x Knight General*            
5 x Knights                            +3           
2 x Spears                              +3
2 x Shooters                         +3           

Alt:        
1 x Magician (court wizard)+1 (groups of subordinate wizards)
1 x Cleric (bishop)                +1
1 x Sneakers (disguised as musicians or gypsies)  +1
1 x Lurkers (robbers, dressed in green)            +3
1 x Paladin          

Military Order Medieval           Stronghold Castle with moat

1 x Hero General (Hochmeister)**
3 x Knights (Brethren in Gothic plate)              +3
2 x Spears (Foot Sergeants)                                +2
2 x Shooters (Crossbowmen)                             +2
1 x Artillery                                                            +1
3 x Hordes (Opressed native foot)                    +3

Alt:
1 x Hero (Landmeister)*                                     
1 x Magician (Doktor Faustus)
1 x Cleric (bishop)
1 x Riders (Turcopolen)                                       +1
1 x Blades (Dismounted Knights)?                  +1
1 x Flyers (Brethren on flying mounts)             +1

Eastern Medieval Stronghold: Oriental City Gates

1 x Cleric (imam or mullah)  +1                           
1 x Sneakers (assassins)                     +1           
1 x Flyers (magic carpets, flying horse or winged serpent) +3
1 x Blade General (the Caliph & his giant negro bodyguards)
4 x Riders (mailed Saracen horsemen)                               +3
2 x Shooters (Arab, Saracen or Nubian archers)             +3
2 x Hordes (Arabs with spear & shield)                           +3

Alt:        
1 x Magician General (the wicked Vizier)*
1 x Behemoths (djinni or afrit)                            +1
1 x Paladin

an afrit is an enormous winged creature of fire
djinni  are made of smokeless flame or "scorching fire"


Barbarian             Stronghold: Hill fort or palisaded hall

1 x Hero General (King)*
1 x Magician (shaman)        +1
1 x Riders                               +3
6 x Warband                          +3
1 x Shooters                          +1

Alt:
1 x Cleric (druid)                   +1
1 x Knights (charioteers)     +3
1 x Lurkers (ambush party)+3
1 x Beh (Wooly Mammoth)                +1


Nomad                    Stronghold: Wagon laager or yurts & herds

1 x Hero General (Khan)*
1 x Magician (shaman)        +1
8 x Riders                               +3

Alt:
1 x Knights (Nobles)            +3
1 x Lurkers (ambush party)+3


Sky Raiders         Stronghold: Stockade or grounded ship

1 x Blade General (Captain)*
2 x Shooters                          +3
6 x Warband                          +3
2 x Artillery                            +1

Alt:
1 x Hero General(dashing Captain)**
2 x Airboat (flying ship)2    +1
1 x Hordes                             +3

Sea Raiders          Stronghold: Stockade or anchored ship

1 x Blade General (Captain)*
2 x Shooters                          +3
6 x Warband                          +3
2 x Artillery                            +1

Alt:
1 x Hero General(dashing Captain)**
1 x Hordes                                                             +3
(Water) Lurkers (crocodiles or sharks)             +3

Dark Powers        Stronghold: Black tower or gateway of
ruined city

1 x Magician General (evil sorcerer)**
1 x God (neglected evil god favouring mass human sacrifice) +1
1 x Sneakers (wraiths etc)                                                   +1
1 x Riders (mercenary or fanatic light cavalry)                +3
1 x Hordes (enslaved or deluded inhabitants of conquered
territories) x11       +6?

Alt:
1 x Aerial Hero (powerful winged demon)                        +1
1 x Hero General*
1 x Magicians (groups of subordinate wizards)              +1
1 x Flyers (flock of winged demons)                                 +3
1 x Knights (mercenary heavy cavalry)                            +3
1 x Spears.                                                                             +3
(Water)Lurkers                                                                    +3

neglected troop types?

Paladin                   Medievals
Dragon                   Dark Powers
Beasts                    Dark Powers giant wolves or Barbarian Wardogs

Also:
Behemoths (Hydra, Chimera etc) for Dark Powers?
Behemoths (wooly mammoths) for Barbarians?
Behemoths (Elephants) & Camel Riders for (South) Eastern Medieval?
Artillery for Medievals?
Hordes (the old, young & womenfolk) for Nomads?
Naval transport for Raiders? (probably not)
Hero for Saracens?


What about gaining foreign technology/troop types by conquest?

eg when new territories are taken
if your army has a Cleric it could summon a God? No, clerics are the representatives of monotheistic deities…..
if a Magician a Dragon/Aerial Hero (Demon) /Flyer etc? maybe even a God


Local people as Hordes/Lurkers?

This needs more thought.

NPAs

Non-Player Armies: Maybe have Raiders (Nomad/Barbarian/Sky/Sea Raiders) as random happenings.
If one of these armies is being used as a Player Army, it cannot be a NPA

Either dice each time their “turn” comes around or, better, have Raid Cards in the pack.
If a Raid Card is drawn, all players dice to see who gets it. There can only be one winner.
The victor of the previous battle must then re-draw for his new territory.

The owner of the Raid Card then dices for/chooses which Raiding Army to use & which Army it is to Raid.
Obviously, as the instigating player cannot gain (or lose) any territories by this, the object would be to weaken an enemy.

It is possible for a Player to attack a NPA in his normal turn.


A good campaign should have:

Few players           Fewer players is good. 2 is really good. 6 is ok.

Short      Short is good. People quickly lose motivation. One day campaigns/games are great. If you're planning a longer more free form campaign then a couple of months is probably doable. But you'll need a mechanism for people to join/drop out.

Clear victory         People like winning so you need clear victory conditions.

Clear finish           A clear finish is essential to maintain momentum. My experience is that open ended campaigns peter out when people lose interest. A clear finish could be provided by:

  • Specific victory conditions like "First player to capture the ancient capital wins"
  • Number of turns, e.g. campaign ends after 12 campaign turns.
  • Elapsed real time, e.g. end of the day or end of 2 months.

Little paper work  Less paper work means less mistakes and more gaming. Some people enjoy the logistical element of campaigns but most don’t. No paper work is best. Minimal is ok. Loads is no fun.

  • HotT campaigns have no paperwork. Dead troops are transferred to a reserve and these are the only troops you can recruit. Dead simple.
  • But if you run a HotT campaign over time, i.e. more than one day, then suddenly you have to record what is in each field army and in each reserve. Not a lot but it takes effort.
  • Written orders, flexible orders of battle, secret orders all add paperwork. I tend to avoid them.

No umpire             An umpire is useful but it means somebody doesn't get to play and most people like playing.

Low Maintenance Campaign Rule     This is based on Peers, C. (2002, Sept). The East is Ablaze: 1919-1926: Some ideas and army lists for a Central Asian Campaign The Army Lists Part 2. Wargames Illustrated, 180, 42-47.

In this article Chris Peers outlines a simple but effective method for running a campaign without a map, and ignoring all those pesky things that can bog a campaign down (politics, diplomacy, economics and logistics).
Here are a couple of variations on his system.

Free-For-All Campaign Chris's article describes a free for all campaign where all players compete to reach a goal (in his case a significant city). You win if you reach the goal first. All players start 12 stages from the goal. You can advance a stage in one of two ways:

1.        By winning a battle against another player.
2.        By making a "forced march" along dangerous short cuts, assumed to be across deserts or mountain passes where water, food, and/or shelter is in short supply.
Turns represent about a month (not that it really matters).
Each turn starts with the Umpire assigning the initiative to one player. The obvious way is randomly amongst the players who turn up.
In their turn a player can choose do one of three things:
1.        Attack any other player. You can pick anybody as the area of activity is assumed to be sufficiently small that it doesn't matter who is where. The winner advances one stage nearer the goal and the loser retreats one stage further away. Anybody who is driven more than 15 stages from the goal is out of the game.
2.        Forced march. Throw 1d6: on 1-3 you get lost and turn up back where you started; on 4-6 you advance a stage. Either way if you are attacked before your next turn then some of your army may still be lost in the wilderness and either won't be available at all for the battle or will straggle in late. For each unit throw 1d6: 1-2 not available at all; 3 straggle in late; 4+ available from start. Fast moving troops (e.g. cavalry, vehicles) get a +1 on this roll, i.e. are more likely to be available.
3.        Do nothing
Use any rules you want for the battles. The players armies should be as evenly matched as possible and if you are using a points system then agree the points before the campaign starts. The "attacker" in the tactical battle is the player who elected to attack using their campaign initiative. All losses are recovered between battles.

Them-And-Us Campaign I really liked Chris's ideas, but often war wasn't a free for all, but involved multiple force teams. I think you only have to make a couple of changes to the basic system to achieve this:

  • Each side has different goals (e.g. different enemy capitals to capture); not that it makes a difference to how the game is played.
  • You can only attack somebody from the other team.
  • You personally win if you reach the enemy capital before your team mates and before any enemy player reaches your capital; and your side wins the team competition at the same time.

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