Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is this a totally crazy idea?

There are a lot of challenges to running a good campaign (which I will go into in a future post). For some time, I have been brainstorming this and I think have some good ideas. However, I would like your input.

My over-all plan is very bare-bones right now, but there is one aspect I've been struggling with.

My idea is to make up an entire galactic sector. The sector would be the setting for all the games in the campaign. All planets would be under the control of different factions. There would be imperial planets and Ork planets, for example. A good example is this from Dark Heresy.

Before each game, the players would decide what planet they are playing on or for. Then, the results for that game would be applied to that planet. In this way, the factions could take control of various planets.

Recently in my Mighty Empires-based campaign, a lot of the players have been wanting to play new armies. This has happened for several reasons. Mostly it was because people wanted to start a new army or re-start an old army when the new codex came out. Sometimes, I think people just got bored with playing one army.

For the campaign I have in mind, people would be able to play whatever army they wanted on a given week.

So for example, let's say a player (we'll call him Bob) started the campaign playing space marines. Two months in, Bob is getting ready for a tournament where he wants to play his Eldar. He wants to play some practice games so he asks the GM if he can switch.

This leads to many questions. Should Bob get to keep the territory/ points he's earned? How does this affect the story background? If he can do it, why can't other people do it?

So I say, let's make a campaign that's so broad in scale that players can play any army they want. It still affects the story of the campaign, but gives all the players a lot more freedom.

To use the above example again, Bob would simply play a game with his Eldar army and apply the results to a planet where Eldar had a presence. If he wants to switch back to Marines, he'll apply the game results to plant that the Imperium is contesting. If he's smart, he won't apply the points to the same planet thus negating his own progress.

Assuming the mechanics of the game actually work, what do you think? Is this crazy? stupid? Keep in mind that this really isn't meant for super-competitive players. I'm just looking for a framework to make games more characterful.


RonSaikowski said...

You summed it all up when you said this isn't for super competetive players.

This idea is certainly possible. It provides a great hook for just about any player to play against any other with any army.

You just record the results and apply it to the sector. With some leg work, you could make planets into great backdrops for games... giving them plenty of opportunities to try new things and play different ways.

I say go for it. All you really need to do is create a small chunk of the universe, like they said in a movie once, "If you build it, they will come."

Mike Oliver said...

I am glad I found this blog. Most blogs are lame and a waste of time but you are an enthusiast just as I am, which makes me drawn to the blog. So far I like your campaign idea. If you need help, post another blog asking for it. I am sure we will all come to your aid.

Scott said...

Thank you both for your comments.

I'm starting to think of this idea more as a setting and less of a campaign rule set. The line gets thin depending on the balance between complexity of rules v. complexity of background.

Anyway, expect another post about this soon. When I wrote this post, it was much longer. I cut a lot of stuff out which I'm writing into a new post.

xNickBaranx said...

I am intrigued. Definitely into the idea and looking forward to what you come up with.

Brian said...

Idea: Instead of a map, use a deck.

The "deck" is a bunch of cards with planets on them.

Each player controls a number of planets. Those are the cards in his hand.

When you beat another player you either get to take a card from his hand or pick a random card from the deck. The game could even be fought over an agreed upon planet in one of the players' hands.

You would have to come up with some kind of system for determining the worth of the planets. Maybe give them stats such as population, resources, and tactical value. The stats can be combined to let you do special things such as switch armies.

As for how the winner would be determined...the method I would use is a simple suite system. You get X planets from a single system and you control the system permanently. First player to control X# of systems wins.

lone pilgrim said...

Your idea sounds quite similar to how GW ran the Eye of Terror campaign. You could check out White Dwarfs for the year 2003 for the campaign mechanics which were published in their entirety (back when WD had useful stuff in it).

Scott said...

Brian, you idea is pretty interesting, but in the opposite direction of where I was heading.

Like I mentioned before I'm looking for more of a setting rather than a mechanic. I want to give games context. In fact, I was thinking that there would never be a winner, per say, because the setting would be ongoing.

However, there needs to be some mechanic to determine how games would affect the planets in the setting. I think you're right that each planet should have differnt value based on things like population and resources.

Also, I don't think the map mechanic would be tht strong either. In other words, it wouldn't be the case that you could only attack adjacent planets. We have the warp, after all!

Lone Pilgrim - I had thought about eye of terror. I didn't participate, but I do have the white dwarfs from that era. I'll have to go back and re-read that.