Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Skirmish Campaign Framework

I have been thinking about and working on a simple campaign system for use with Bolt Action and VBCW games, or for that matter any other skirmish game with a point buy system.The system is largely abstract and you don't need charts or need to deal with logistics etc. Something quick, easy and relatively painless, but at the same time makes things interesting and allows for more detail if that's your thing.

The goal

You're in, Win or Lose
Each player has to play four games regardless of whether they win or lose a previoius battle or even all four. Hopefully this encourages everyone to play through to the completion of the campaign, and allows them the capability to contribute to the win or loss of their team, even at the very bitter end of the campaign. This is after all, a campaign, not a single elimination tournament.

The rules

Multiple Army Lists
Each player must submit three Army lists for the campaign. These lists must include a force that is Inexperienced, Regular and Veteran.

Mixed Matches
In a perfect world you would know exactly which list your opponent is going to play and be able to pick and appropriate Army list to give him a run for his money. Well, that ain't gonna happen with these rules. The match ups in the first three round should be decided at random or in some fashion that at the very least isn't easily predictable. It should also be campaign specific and tailored to what is being played. The last match will depend on the results of the first three rounds.So this is all very vague and all depends on the context, so I will give two examples.

 Campaign #1 Pas de Calais Invasion
So I have decided I want to run a campaign centered around an alternate history scenario where the allies invade the Pas de Calais region instead of in Normandy, or maybe the landing is a diversion to draw off forces for the real Normandy invasion. Whatever the reason. I have decided that I will split the invasion into three phases.

Phase One - the allies land their special forces along the coast to take out the Cross-Channel guns.
Phase Two - Airborne forces are dropped behind enemy lines to capture bridges, and crossroads in order to keep enemy reinforcements from reach the beachhead and to keep them intact for the break out from the initial landing site.
Phase Three - the beach landings.

Since the Allies are the ones conducting the operation I have decided that their forces are deployed in the above manner and not randomly. The SAS and Rangers should be Veterans, Airborne forces should be the Regulars list (perhaps with some thought before hand that they will be playing an airborne for for this list), and the foot sloggers on the beach assault are inexperienced.

Axis forces forces on the other hand are the great "unknown" and draw lots randomly for which list they will play. No one knows if the forces guarding the Cross-channel guns will be Vets or Inexperienced Osstrupen. Same for the landing zones and the beaches.

Campaign #2 The Bulge
In this campaign both sides are lined up across from each other in a static front lines situation. One side launches an offensive attempting to capture whatever they can, or trying to punch a whole through the enemies front line. Each player decides which sector he will command for his team and assigns his Army lists; left, center and right, as he sees fit. In this instance the results are dependent on how both players deploy their forces, and each player will be playing the same opponent the whole campaign. So now I am thinking maybe to offset the various enemy sectors to allow for at least a little variation in opponents.

The Last Hurrah
After everyone is done with the first three rounds. Everyone takes a short break to assess the situation, consolidate gains and prepare their troops for the breakout or for a counter-offensive. At this point take count of how many games each side has won. Hopefully it will be a close tally. If not that's okay too. The losing side gets one last chance to win by launching the new offensive / counter-offensive. They can win the day by gaining enough victory points in Phase Four of the campaign to beat the other side, or by utterly destroying the opposition by winning all of the games in Phase Four (a long shot, but still a shot) of the campaign.

Regroup and Resupply
Each player should record which units survived the first three phases of the campaign, how many men survived in each squad, etc. In Phase 4 each player builds his ad-hoc final list from the remnants of those troops that survived the first three phases of the campaign. As such, players should keep track of which units survived, how many men in each, skill level and such. Alternatively if you are not fond of so much paper work, you could just keep track of the number of points of surviving troop by level of experience. Then allow each player to spend an equal number of points on same experienced units for their final list. 

Lastly, if a player does not have enough troops or points to play a full Army list for the last game, then allow them to buy as many Inexperienced units as they need to fill out the list. This is to reflect new troops making it to the front lines and being thrown into the fray along side the vets.

...and that's it.

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