Alkasyn’s Homemade Fiction Campaign
A short introduction into the campaign system.
As one of the Warcors in Warsaw, as well as an active member of the community and a player more interested in the background of the game than winning at all costs, I took it upon myself to organize regular leagues in the FLGS at Wilcza 68, Warsaw.
As the basis of this campaign, I used the campaign system presented by Corvus Belli in the Campaign: Paradiso supplement. Although not ideal, it provides a decent framework upon which an organizer can base his ideas. I found that in order to maximize the amount of games played and avoid player burnout, some basic things should be taken into consideration. First, the campaign should not last longer than four games, which in our case means eight weeks, with two weeks for each round. Second, there should be an incentive for the players to finish all their games. In my case, we did two things in that regard—the Operators (my fancy word for Spec Ops) of all the players who finish all their rounds on time gain the Veteran skill in all future campaigns. It does not upset the balance of the game and is a fitting reward for background-oriented players. Third, as we had an entry fee of 10 PLN (~3 USD), I made sure that apart from rewarding the top 3 places with store credit a reward would be distributed randomly amongst all the players who finished their games in time—store credit reward equal to the credit awarded to the player who got the first place. This meant that 80 percent of my players finished their games on time – the ones from the bottom of the scoreboard more often than the ones on top of it. Those two rewards should mean that the majority of your players finish their games.
Creating a story…
Organizing the background for the campaign was an easy task— I did not customize the missions according to what armies they were playing. Instead, I wrote a general backbone story featuring a Commander who participated in different missions in the Paradiso theatre of operations. The identity of the Commander was left vague although players interested in the background and not afraid of thinking for a while would easily realise that the Commander was a Hassasin Barid and that his team was a Black Ops Bahram unit. The background was written in such a way, however, that any Human Sphere player could feel that he was the Commander. This draws in the background-oriented players and lets them treat the story as their own.
I rather liked the idea of Personalities not being available due to casualty removal. If Tarik Mansouri died in mission one and failed his EVAC rolls, he would be unavailable in the later missions. After talking about it with Venator, a friend of mine and fellow organizer, we figured out how to make the campaign feel even more as a series of connected missions and not just four separate encounters. We introduced the Casualty system which means if a unit of yours dies and fails its EVAC rolls (another mechanic from Paradiso), it is deducted from your AVA pool for that unit type. In order to balance this in later stages of the campaign, if you had an unlucky streak or tough matches, you would end up playing with Drones and Line Infantry only so we introduced a limited pool of additional Mercenary Units that each player could draw forces from based on the on-going story. This also reinforces the story-side of the Campaign, as players could use unit combinations of models not available in regular ITS or YAMS games.
Some additional guidelines for running a campaign would include:
– Be a dictator. You have to make all the tough decisions yourself. If you plan different missions, playtest them and talk about the mechanics with your Inner Circle, i.e the players who help you out and have your trust, but do not present them as a debate to the general population. It only creates disorder and awakens the complainers and “know-it-alls”. Explain ambiguities, but try to avoid starting a debate about what should be changed in your mission after you have already posted it for this round’s mission.
That does not mean that you should not listen to feedback. If your players raise serious concerns or have good input, use it for the next round’s mission or for the next campaign.
–Never change your mind mid-round, especially if some players already played their mission. You have to stick to your decisions from the beginning of the round, even if, in hindsight, they seem to have been wrong. It happens.
–When pairing players, if you have a big enough community, try to pair together people playing different factions, as well as people who have never played with each other. Even if only two people swap contact info and start playing together after the campaign without you as the mediator, it is a win for the local Infinity community.
–Do not be afraid to experiment. Introduce rules of your own or bend the existing rules. It’s a fluff game, not an ITS. Allow Mercenaries, add or subtract AVA, homebrew units yourself. Go wild!