40K: Tactical Objectives for Narrative Games

Little Hereos

The Narrative Guys are back. Tactical Objectives made 40K missions dynamic and exciting. What would happen if we took it a step further?

As narrative event organizer, my primary job is to manage player fun. In our narrative games we act as game master with a focus on keeping the players having a good time. A big factor is player fun is what they focus on. There are times when a player loses enough of their force that the major mission objectives are out of reach for them.  That is when as event organizer I need to give them something new to focus on. We use ‘Drop in Scenarios’ that act just like Tactical Objectives with props.

 

lander

 

“An Aquila Lander has crashed in your zone of operation. A VIP in on board and must be secured”

Score 1 Victory Point if you control the Aquila Lander revealing the VIP model. Score 2 more point if he is safely off the board or in your control at the end of the game.

The way the ‘drop in’ works is this; it is turn 3 in a 3-on-3 game and one of the Dark Angels player is down to a squad of tactical marines and half of his command squad. The game master at the beginning of the turn drops the crashed Aquila Lander 12 inches from his un-engaged tactical squad. The game master tells the table the lander has crashed and hands the Dark Angels the object card.

 

Zombie_last_stand

We love crunchy bits in our games. The above is an example of how to use scatter terrain as an objective.  Another idea might be to use proxy force. For example: give a Chaos player two units of zombies for a raise the dead tactical mission. We have a couple of missions ready to go for each prop. That way we can be flexible on how we use them.  We also play test the missions to see how far away we should locate the prop, what mechanic works best and where we can vary the mission for the best effect. There are lots of options, all with the focus on flexibility and engaging players who may have lost sight of the fun in a game.

objective
The key to success is keeping it small and simple. Simple in that the object and any mechanics need to fit in 1-2 sentences. Complicated ideas are better suited for big missions where you can spend time explaining before the game and answer player questions. It’s also a good idea to keep the scale small. As cool as it sounds to bring a titan on the board, you can accidentally steal fun from another player who worked hard to defeat his opponent’s army in the first place. Try to avoid just giving the player fresh units and instead, make them use the units they have left for something new.

How do you think we keep 40K from becoming a card game?

  • Zingbaby

    Cool ideas. I love having small incentive missions outside of the typical objectives. Especially with greater campaign implications these can be great – like sacrificing that last tactical squad for an important side bar mission gives them bonus throughout the campaign.

    Nice post, I’m glad someone is putting this stuff out there mainstream.

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    • Me

      Yeah, I love constructive suggestions like these. Instead of doom and gloom and life sux kind of stuff, they help to show people how to get the most fun out of the game and help others do the same.

      On another note, please ban Rene Carroll, or put her into full moderation mode, or something to keep those posts from showing up.

    • Unwashed

      Thanks -Dan

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    nice idea. i don’t know why there aren’t a few things like this in the rule book. Would be easy and cool to have rules for genestealer infestations in terrain, wandering monsters, civilians etc. No need to make them mandatory, but discretionary rules, like the special rules for GW terrain, can be fun.

    On the same lines when are we getting a new edition of Cities of Death? The book is very dated now. If I was running GW i’d roll that and the old Missions book together, updated. a great way to add a bit of interest halfway through an edition.

    • Jacob

      Cities of Death did get a minor update, was released in the blood angles campaign book I think. Possibly wrong on that point though, would love a true update.

      • There was a Cities of Death thing in the White Dwarf issues associated with the last BA release:

        http://www.spikeybits.com/2014/12/new-pics-cities-of-death-blood-angels-dataslates.html

        It really wasn’t anything though, just some boring tactical objectives cards if I remember correctly. Not at all like the older CoD book, which I thought was great—ruins rules, stratagems, hobby ideas, campaign maps, etc..

        • Shiwan8

          Those cards are a lot better than the basic ones.

          • John Bower

            They are but I do think CoD lost some of the flavour that the old book had. For sure I’d like to see it fleshed out a bit; the whole Tac Ojb idea was good but could have been better if done more like Planetstrike was; you with strategems etc.

          • Shiwan8

            I agree.

    • Unwashed

      The Cities of Death cards where a big inspiration for us at the Narrative Guys, when thinking about these little missions. -Dan (OP)

  • Victor Hartmann

    Nice! This seems like something regular players could add in on their own from time to time.

    • Unwashed

      Thanks, the challenge with using them in normal games is where you set things up. If you can be friendly about that it works out well. -Dan (OP)

  • Drpx

    Those dang aquilas always crash.

    • CMAngelos

      Had to be something out there more useless than the Averus lighter

      • Unwashed

        Funny you say that… I have an Arvus Lighter and we have 2 missions that use it. One is an evac civilians mission and a supply drop mission. -Dan (OP)