A different kind of campaign …

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  zeker1966 1 month ago.

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    I have played in and run a great number of war game campaigns … naritive , map based , point system … a well run naritive can be a lot of gun but more often has very limited scope … map based can require a lot of work to run at 20+ players and csn get wacky … point systems reward the winner and punish the loser spreading out the group till things fall apart …

    Different kinds of campaigns bring different strengths and weaknesses but almost none of them offer built in player balancing or are easy on casual players or late comers … that is unless …

    The “Handicap” campaign point system … good for any tabletop game system that uses a point total for force allocation  … it might seem counter intuitive at first but hear me out … it starts simple …

    Win a game , lose points from your available force total …

    Lose a game , get points for your force total …

    For example , if running a 1000 point average force each win would drop your total playable points , say 25 points… lose a game gain 25 points … book keeping becomes a snap, players skill automatically adjust to the group’s meta over time , balancing players …


    So a player with 3 wins in a row would be down to 925 points wail a player with 1 win and 2 lose would be up to 1025 points … that’s a 100 point handicap between the two players … the more skilled player comes under more and more pressure to pull out a win wail the novice player is not thrown under the bus for losing the first few games of a 2-3 month campaign… the lowest point are the highest ranked players and win / get best seating at the end of campaign tunament (at starting point totals) or some such.

    Victory = more territory to guard, more resorses to gather , more borders to patrol … lest troops free for fighting …

    No other book keeping needed, no other force restriction or extra special rules … add random player match up every few weeks and you sure to get some interesting mix’n’match play.

    Food for thought …


    George Sealy

    This is a good way of balancing a campaign, and also prolonging it (players don’t become dominant). My concern would be how to still reward a player for winning games. I’ve been wondering about this lately, and also how to structure a campaign so that infrequent players can still feel engaged.

    Perhaps alongside the “handicapping”, players who win might unlock access to a wider variety of units perhaps? Rewarding them with more options, while still keeping games to the “handicapped” points values.



    If you have campaign objectives (like a map where you are gaining ground towards overall campaign victory) the winner is still “getting closer” to winning the overall campaign. It’s just getting harder to maintain that lead.



    On target dave … the bonus for winning short term is the next win gets harder , the challange level goes up … unlocking troops means some start locked , this is a hybrid aprotch I have muled over but have not tried yet, I would try the handicap first, then feel out the group’s thoughts on it before adding elements of other styles …

    With the basic handicap system one reward can be a simple leader board showing the 5 (or more) lowest scores … or their is a big post game bash, the scores can be reversed giving the winning players more points in the big final scrum … or if you end with a tournament then low score gets best seat in a double elimination sport style event … lowest in the top bracket, 2nd lowest in bottom bracket , 3rd lowest in 2nd from bottom bracket, 4th in 2nd from top bracket … the score system also helps game organizers balance teams knowing participants relative score for mid campaign events or side games…

    Plus if some players play more often than others their score will not get way out of wack… especially if any 2 players can only effect each other’s score once every other week / or max once a week in smaller groups.

    This is aimed at a casual campaign for a gaming group that can cover a range of era and play style , it will balance out in points over time … victory rewards and pins on a map are great elements in a more focused and detailed campaign and are great fun to play, but is more for a solid group of dedicated players that can comit to the x number of games and see it through … hard for the casual player or the pick up game player or even the drifting though town player (who might see the score system as a great way to gauge skill and offer a game to players in a relative level even if a straight points game) .




    Fascinating approach to scoring and balance here. I’m gonna take some time to digest this 🙂



    “Perhaps alongside the “handicapping”, players who win might unlock access to a wider variety of units perhaps?”

    I see your point here @george Sealy but there’s a downside to this.

    I played a saga campaign not too long ago but found my self-locked into an army list I didn’t have minis for and had other minis which I did have available not being used because the way the campaign was going didn’t let me use the units they were for.

    This got old real fast as I’d spent time painting stuff I couldn’t get on the table for a play about.

    So I’d look into some extra abilities or something before locking out unit types.



    One option would be to include a supply line setup, at least if you’re using a campaign map…

    The further away from your capital/base/whatever you want to use, you suffer a points penalty to cover the distance from it your troops are covering. It also adds a tactical series of options where you can press deeper into your opponents territory or keep on the edges of it to press inwards.

    This creates an unstable border between forces and a lot of areas to fight over.



    That’s a damnably intriguing idea. My gaming group have been talking about a small Dragon Rampant campaign of late and this might just suit. Many thanks for posting this. It is such a good idea I think I might just have to indulge in a spot of pilfering. Bravo!


    George Sealy

    @lloyd good point – the last thing I’d ever want is to stop people using units they’ve painted! I think in my head I’ve already gone down a slightly different route where each player can choose their own end goal (so no need to have one “winner” as such). In this sort of campaign, a player may choose their goal to be, for example, having a painted army – in that sort of situation they could add units to their force simply by painting them.

    It’s a very unformed idea at the moment, but I like the idea that rather than everyone having a single goal, each player instead is creating their own story, with the aid of other players.



    If you step back from “winning” And think about having a good game , a simple handicap system needs no other bells or whistles … like golf or bowling it is a bridge for players at different skill levels (some newer some vets) to get together and have a challenging match … without the campaign getting in the way of the game.



    Having move a wile back I have yet to find a gaming group open to being my test subjects … anyone have a chance to try handy cap out or run it by their game group ? Would be interested to hear if it gets any traction …



    I’ll float the idea in the club and see what others think. It’s a good idea for a campaign I think.

    I used to play a fair bit of darts in the pub. One of my opponents was a local champion and to make things interesting he was only allowed to count hits that he was actually aiming for. In other words no flukes. It made the game competitive though I still lost most of the time.

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