We’re going on campaign here at BoLS, here are some tips so you can do the same.
One of my gaming resolutions for 2018 was to try and play more campaign-style games, which is convenient, and definitely not Mandatory, because one of our new pushes on Twitch is a big narrative campaign. But besides the big one, we’ve been really enjoying some of the planetstrike rules out there. Campaigns can be a good way to shake things up, so if you’re looking to play a little more, let’s do this.
Look, somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, someone might be living the dream of a sprawling map-based campaign that adapts to the state of play and is well-balanced and fun to play in while still kinda competitive and interesting.
But for the rest of us–nobody has time for that. We have lives, or a facsimile thereof, and the prospect of eating the whole elephant might be daunting, even one bite at a time. Set your goals clearly though, take a second to get the scope of your campaign, maybe it’s just 3 games per player. Maybe it’s more, let’s play over the next three weeks and wrap up. The point is, your campaign doesn’t have to be too big to finish.
I’ll no doubt shortly be escorted from the premises for that one–but before I’m defenestrated from BoLS HQ, let me explain what I mean. When figuring out a campaign, it can be helpful to think about what you want the end to feel like first, and work your way backwards.
Ate you building towards a big megabattle with multiple players on the same table? Are you looming for a team fight? Are you looking for one last desperate stand from one side, and so on. Whatever your endgame is, if you start from there, you can figure out what you need the campaign to do and make sure you build towards that end game.
Even if we win, we lose
The other thing to watch out for in a campaign isb that moment when it becomes clear that one player has pulled so far ahead that the rest of the game doesn’t matter, and you may as well call it.
There are some suggestions for avoiding that in the rules, things like, bonuses to defenders, rewarding risky choices with cool campaign perks. But it can be tricky to balance the matches if one player is clearly scoring more. Some things to consider–winning and losing a game should both have some kind of sense of progression, that’s the appeal of a campaign, the continuity. The sense that your actions have an impact in the unfolding battles.
Okay, this one might be a little more nebulous–but it revolves around the idea that, win or lose, your actions still matter to the campaign. If you’re playing a narrative campaign, you can find little moments to advance the story that don’t require a win or a loss.
Take a cue from Legacy games and look for ways to change the gane down the line. Things like, if a player controls the spaceport for two turns, they can signal reinforcements in the next game. Or, if a vehicle explodes, the resulting crater reveals an objective to fight over in the next game. Or other things like that–little events that give players interesting tactical decisions. Do they go for the spaceport, or the objective that will give them the victory, and so on.
Them of course there’s the end of the campaign. Once everything has been tallied and the final scores are in, it can be super important to just take a minute and encourage your campaign members to work out what happens in the aftermath. After all, you’ve just played several games, everyone’s probably got at least one memorable moment from a match–see how those fit together when summarizing the effect of the campaign. Basically, do a little storytelling, kinda like the summation a detective might do in a murder mystery after asking the guests of they’re wondering why they’ve all been brought to the dining room. It’s your moment, your campaign, make it matter.
At any rate, just some ideas to help you get your campaigns off the ground. Chapter Approved has some cool guidelines you can check out as well.
Running a campaign of your own, we’d love to hear about it.