Monday, 29 February 2016

Campaigns for large skirmishes

My gaming at the moment is mostly large skirmish - SAGA principally, Dragon Rampant perhaps, and hopefully some Oldhammer next month. After our first game of Dragon Rampant our thoughts immediately turned to putting a campaign together, hampered by DR not including any campaign rules. My co-conspirator unearthed this thread on The Miniatures Page, which suggests a variation of the Warhammer Ancient Battles system but, although a nice straight-forward, low-paperwork system, for me that doesn't have the right ingredients. So I put some thought into what I think are the right ingredients -


Apart from the low figure count from a painting point of view, the thing I like about large skirmishes is the idea that each figure is an individual. So if your warband / army is somewhat more than 40 strong, but less than a couple of hundred, there's a limit to the scale of the campaign†. You're not going to be conquering swathes of territory, your objectives will be somewhat smaller (although not less interesting).

Related to that is that the personalities should be the same from battle to battle (survival permitting). And here too, if it's a large territory that's being battled over then the chances of Mandraks the Murderer running into Corma Lightmantle again at the next battle are slim.

The bad guys

I don't like the conquer-territory-and-get-related-troops (you now have a chapel, you can recruit a priest) setup as it doesn't work for the bad guys. You have fantasy armies that might settle territory, then you have those that raze it to the ground. Orcs (or Vikings for that matter) are raiding for loot, prestige or just because they enjoy it. Successful raids get them status which get them further recruits looking to get in on the action, and you need a mechanism to reflect that rather than the settler approach.


One of the great things about Dragon Rampant and SAGA is their scenario-driven gameplay. To me a campaign system needs to encompass this too, not just be a way of linking a number of line-them-up-and-knock-them-down sorts of game.

In summary

I'm almost sure what I'm looking for isn't out there - it'd be a miracle if it was, as I'm such a picky so-and-so. But I'm hoping there are elements of it in the campaign system for 2nd edition, and probably Dux Britanniarum. So I have an excuse to by the latter in the name of research! Over the next several months I'm planning to get some more concrete thoughts down on how such a system might work, but I'm rather hoping that after more research I find an existing system that roughly meets my criteria.

†One of my pet peeves (or my view of the "George, where did it all go wrong" moment for Warhammer) is the switch from WFB scenarios with forces in the 800 - 1600 points range to the 3000 point standard. From there it was only a small step to the emperor riding a griffon...

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