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Chris Brantley
08-05-2003, 04:41 AM
Campaigns are one of the more interesting features of the DBA rules. Most of us I'm sure would like to try our hand at a campaign. But most of us never do. My gaming group has started two campaigns that quickly petered out, and is struggling to continue our third campaign which was specifically designed to be more flexible. Getting a number of players to commit over a period of time is the challenge.

One solution...revamp the campaign rules so that you can actually conduct a campaign game in one day (4-8 hours) of gaming. This would also open up a number of opportunities for expanding DBA as a convention (non-tournament) game. But how?

Any suggestions or ideas?

[ August 05, 2003, 01:43: Message edited by: Chris Brantley ]

Basil Bulgar-Slayer
08-05-2003, 11:16 AM
I find it odd that you think there is a need to "speed" campaign play using the rules in the book. Between HOTTs and DBA, my local group of 4-6 participants have completed many (~10?) campaigns in a single day of gaming.

Redwilde
08-05-2003, 04:09 PM
When 1.0 first came out, our group played a bunch of the campaigns as one-day affairs quite easily. We'd start late Sat. morning and go into the early evening. We'd get in several years of campaigning and judge the results when we wrapped up. There was usually a clearly victorious country or coalition.

The only reason why we're not doing it now is because its more difficult to get a quorum these days.

For convention play, this works fine. Players who aren't involved in a campaign battle just play a friendly side game while waiting for the campaign to progress.

[ August 05, 2003, 13:11: Message edited by: Redwilde ]

David Kuijt
08-05-2003, 05:50 PM
I suspect that one of our problems is that "Saturday Gaming" for our group has never been a full Saturday (from, say, 10am until 10pm). We're lucky if we play from 1pm until 8pm, the three or so times we've got together for a Saturday.

Basil Bulgar-Slayer
08-06-2003, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by David Kuijt:
I suspect that one of our problems is that "Saturday Gaming" for our group has never been a full Saturday (from, say, 10am until 10pm). We're lucky if we play from 1pm until 8pm, the three or so times we've got together for a Saturday. Actually, our gaming sessions are no longer (even shorter) than yours and we complete the campaigns. Now you've got me wondering what the problem is....

Chris Brantley
08-06-2003, 05:50 PM
In our attempts at campaigns, each season generates one or more battles, which typically take an hour to resolve. Which means that it typically takes 3-4 hours to resolve a single campaign year. Since most DBA campaigns seem to be designed to run over 5-10 "years", that would translate into substantially more hours of gaming than we have been able to squeeze into a single gaming session. And once you finish the first session of gaming, getting all the required gamers back together on future dates has proven difficult, especially since we typically game only once a month.

hammurabi70
08-06-2003, 10:17 PM
Chris

I would agree with your analysis; we get three battles a night during an evening session in the pub. I think the key solution is to reduce the requirements for victory so that it does not take too long for a front runner to emerge or some equilibrium situation otherwise the laggards lose interest.

I limit the number of years the campaign can run and try to get a conclusion in three sessions; getting people to turn up three weeks in a row is as much as you can expect.

Basil Bulgar-Slayer
08-07-2003, 11:00 AM
Suddenly :eek: , it dawns on me what my group does differently. We do ALL the moves and the do ALL the combats. This speeds things up considerably!

You could take the DIPLOMACY approach: Everyone write their army movement orders, have one person read them off, and then resolve the battles.

Whew!

Dhingis Khan
08-08-2003, 01:34 AM
Back when I used to host weekly campaigns, we never had a campaign last more than one day. We would play until 10 PM and then count prestige points. Often, the winners were people who had never had their main army fight, but who provided allied contingents to every battle that occurred. The allies tended to attack camps and leave the main battle alone.

We would play three or four years in an evening. Because of the allied contingents, we usually only had one battle per season, with four players per campaign.

Ed Dillon
08-08-2003, 02:18 AM
Originally posted by David Kuijt:
I suspect that one of our problems is that "Saturday Gaming" for our group has never been a full Saturday (from, say, 10am until 10pm). We're lucky if we play from 1pm until 8pm, the three or so times we've got together for a Saturday. We need to catch Paul Potter before he goes on vacation next week. He does an Arthurian Britain campaign that can run in about 6 hours. He runs it down here once or twice a year.
Ed

David Kuijt
08-08-2003, 03:52 AM
Originally posted by Dhingis Khan:

We would play three or four years in an evening. Because of the allied contingents, we usually only had one battle per season, with four players per campaign. Maybe that's the problem -- we have never tried a campaign with less than 7 or 8 players. Playing with four must make it much, much easier to get done -- there will usually be no more than one battle a season (as you say) and sometimes no battles at all, rather than two battles a season at least and every season having a battle.

Darren Buxbaum
08-08-2003, 02:52 PM
I ran a campaign last Labor day weekend that lasted 8-9 hours (started at noon and ended around 9pm, minus the beginning chat) with 8 players. We only got through three campaign years. Most of the players were experienced, so things moved pretty smoothly. I am currently running a smaller campaign with weak armies and new players. This campaign has much enthusiasm which generates a good turn out. We have gotten together (4 players that has grown to 6) twice and had many battles. Granted new players slow things down due to learning the rules and we can only get in one year per session (about 4 hours). I think there are a few key things to consider when running a campaign effeciently and to keep interesting.

To get more years in a session:
Be very organized. I have sheets ready divided into seasons and number of players. This keeps track of player's moves and actions.
Keep seasons very regimented. I keep mine into 4 phases:
1) Movement: One army move per player only.
2) Diplomacy: Form treaties (up to 1 year max), declarations of war, alliances (again up to 1 year max), etc...
3) Action: battle, siege or send allied contingients
4) Aftermath: retreating moves of failed sieges or lost battles
Lastly, if players meet regularly and are experienced gamers, add a time restraint on battles (1 hour). If a battle isn't completed within the time allowed, then the player that destroys more opponents elements than his own is declared the winner. If a tie, then take in consideration of camp or generals lost, or who occupies a greater amount of the board.

To keep players interest: Reward more prestige points for battlefield interactions. I give points for certain element victories, even for the loser of the battle. Since my campaigns are for the medieval period, I assign mine appropriate to certain tasks. Examples: Any Kn that destroys any element recieves a pt (Age of Chivalry). To offset the Kn rule, any Lh that destroys a Kn gets a point (Fanatical Light Horse). A player that destroys an enemy ART gains a point (Big Guns). These are just a few that I use. I like these, since they create some reward for risk. Players like getting points, even if they are losing.
Custom campaigns geared towards a certain period/region. I give prestige points for certain cities captured as campaign objectives. These will give players direction during their turn and create conflict (battles). Of course I assign more than one objective per army with various point values, which is less restictive to the player and allows him to make choices.

I use these ideas and the players usually come back for the next game and we cover more ground. I haven't implimented the time allowance for the battles yet due to the new players that are learning the battle rules. This will speed up the battle phase when players have the most dead time. I know that these aren't ground-breaking ideas, but these are some observations that I have made.

Cheers,
Darren

Badger
08-11-2003, 09:02 PM
Originally posted by Basil Bulgar-Slayer:
Suddenly :eek: , it dawns on me what my group does differently. We do ALL the moves and the do ALL the combats. This speeds things up considerably!
Basil, I think you're confusing battles and campaigns. It's been quite a while since we last played a campaign, where losses from one battle carry over to a degree into the next, for example, and between battles there is strategic movement from one region to another, with battles seasonally and recruitment annually, and defeated opponents being turned into subject armies, etc. In the last campaign I recall, Dr. Stu ended as the declared Emperor of the World.

Mind you, I've been too busy to play for so long (I know, my priorities are all mixed up) that maybe you've been playing more campaigns more recently than I'm aware of!

A trick I recall being used by the gentleman who introduced me to DBX was to award more points for losing a battle than for ending in a draw (with more points for actually winning, of course). This was to encourage more aggressive play, in hopes of battles ending sooner. I don't think this approach alone would work, but it would be one tool to use.

[ August 11, 2003, 18:05: Message edited by: Badger ]

gwrfelling
03-10-2005, 04:34 PM
In general, I prefer more "color" in a campaign, so we conduct all the political/economic/strategic decisions via e-mail and the gamemaster; we then schedule battles for the "turn" whenever time can be found, be it during regular club meetings or independently. In this way, we get around most real-life time constraints. Of course, this approach results in a longer-lived--but also much richer--campaign than many gamers have in mind. (For the purposes of resolving rules disputes, it is good to have the gamemaster present, but we tend to recruit a good-natured group of participants that shares similar values and attitudes toward gaming--and are mature enough to settle differences in the moment and to the satisfaction of all involved.)
Originally posted by Chris Brantley:
In our attempts at campaigns, each season generates one or more battles, which typically take an hour to resolve. Which means that it typically takes 3-4 hours to resolve a single campaign year. Since most DBA campaigns seem to be designed to run over 5-10 "years", that would translate into substantially more hours of gaming than we have been able to squeeze into a single gaming session. And once you finish the first session of gaming, getting all the required gamers back together on future dates has proven difficult, especially since we typically game only once a month.

imported_JamesLDIII
03-10-2005, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by Badger:

A trick I recall being used by the gentleman who introduced me to DBX was to award more points for losing a battle than for ending in a draw (with more points for actually winning, of course). This was to encourage more aggressive play, in hopes of battles ending sooner. I don't think this approach alone would work, but it would be one tool to use. Effective in a different way is to have the invader retreat if he doesn't win the battle in the allotted time. Then the invader always has the onus of winning the battle in order to secure the territory. It makes the 100YW English Offensive-Defensive strategy a bit more difficult to employ, but I think encourages the right spirit in the invader.

imported_JamesLDIII
03-10-2005, 07:29 PM
Originally posted by Chris Brantley:

One solution...revamp the campaign rules so that you can actually conduct a campaign game in one day (4-8 hours) of gaming. This would also open up a number of opportunities for expanding DBA as a convention (non-tournament) game. But how?
Any suggestions or ideas? The campaigns I was involved in all finished in a day (6-10 hours) of gaming with the standard rules.

However, there are other options:
Reduce the scale of the area and play as a coalition of two sides with only a single campaign year or two to complete. Say you extend the campaign turns per year to 6. Each side has 2-4 players each with an army or allied army. Use smaller provinces/areas for your map (say Burgundy/Switzerland as the entire campaign map for a Charles the Bold campaign)
Give the players reasons to bring all their armies together or split them up to seize different territories. You can end up with one massive BBDBA battle or a bunch of smaller ones. At the end of the year award the player with the most PPs as the victor.

A coalition campaign makes it easier to deal with players who can't play every week because other players on that side (or even who change sides) just pick up play with whatever armies are available.

imported_JamesLDIII
03-10-2005, 07:40 PM
Another point to think about in designing campaigns is who you want to reward with the victory. Do you want to reward the best DBA battle general or the best campaign general (or both)? After all, Sun Tzu said the best general receives no accolades because he wins without fighting any battles.

This is really based on who is playing in the campaign. If most of the players are present to fight DBA battles and would be disappointed if they showed up for 8 hours of gaming and only fought 2 actual battles, then I'd say change the victory conditions. Or add in items like Mike Demana (I think) did for one if his campaign rule sets. Players who did not fight in their own campaign battles fought as barbarians in periphery battles during the same time that the regular campaign battles were fought (with lesser increases to prestige, effects on barbarian invasions, etc.).

Timurilank
03-11-2005, 11:42 AM
jldiii wrote:

The campaigns I was involved in all finished in a day (6-10 hours) of gaming with the standard rules.
However, there are other options:
Reduce the scale of the area and play as a coalition of two sides with only a single campaign year or two to complete. Say you extend the campaign turns per year to 6. Each side has 2-4 players each with an army or allied army. Use smaller provinces/areas for your map (say Burgundy/Switzerland as the entire campaign map for a Charles the Bold campaign)
Give the players reasons to bring all their armies together or split them up to seize different territories. You can end up with one massive BBDBA battle or a bunch of smaller ones. At the end of the year award the player with the most PPs as the victor. I like the campaign between two major powers with a host of peripheral kingdoms; Byzantive versus Fatamids, Eastern Late Roman versus Sassanids, etc. Each side has a number of armies which would be involved with various aspects of a campaign; punitive expeditions, defence of frontier provinces, to full scale invasions. With two or more armies per side I would suggest increasing the number of movement stages (provinces) than the normal three per field army; perhaps a major power of twelve movement stages with three field armies. Generals on the same side would have different roles or objectives. Players unable to play an entire day’s campaign could take a minor kingdom on the periphery of a major power to serve as allies or raiders. As allies they may fight their own battles against other minor kingdoms. These players could be given short term goals keeping within the theme of the campaign.

cheers,

Dhingis Khan
03-15-2005, 03:24 PM
I used to play one-day campaigns a lot some years back.

First, we played to a time limit - game over at 10 PM. Whoever had the most prestige points won, period. Somew of our winners only fought as allies, never attacked with their armies.

Second, we had no diplomacy breaks. Everyone did their business at the table, no going off to other rooms. (I hear folks saying Junta takes all night to play. Get rid of the diplomacy breaks and the game runs 2-3 hours. That's how I play it and I wrote the thing.)

Third, it's just a game. Play. I had a battle where my Franks were up against a Gothic army. Rather than hole up in a corner I figured go and get my whipping over, keep the game moving. The Gothic player's dice went cold, mine were hot and I beat the knights in a frontal attack by warbands. It's a one-day campaign, don't lolly-gag, play.

In 6 or so hours we would play 4-8 years, 4 or 6 battles, never had a tie for first. We allowed people to use prestige points as bribes, as in "I'll give you two if you attack him instead".

Dhingis Khan
03-15-2005, 03:29 PM
This idea just popped into my head:

If someone drags their feet, give them a warning. If they still procrastinate, allow the other players to vote for a penalty (no debate) - lose a prestige point for delay, maybe two for pre-meditated obstruction.

whefam
05-13-2005, 07:40 PM
"I hear folks saying Junta takes all night to play. Get rid of the diplomacy breaks and the game runs 2-3 hours. That's how I play it and I wrote the thing."

YOU WROTE JUNTA - cool!

I have played the game many years ago - one of my favs.

Back on to campaigns - I found the campaign rules rather naff (or am I missing something). I tried to play my own campaign system but struggled with uneven battles (less or more than 12 elements). It worked OK. You right when you say the trick is to get players to committ over a period of time (unless you can do it one night of course!).

Regards

Andy

Dhingis Khan
05-14-2005, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by whefam:
YOU WROTE JUNTA - cool!

I have played the game many years ago - one of my favs.

Back on to campaigns - I found the campaign rules rather naff (or am I missing something).
Glad you like the game!

As for the campaign rules being naff - being a Yank, I'm not sure what that means, but it sound negative.

The rules are very simple and really a device to have battles that are connected. I've played lots of one-day campaigns with these rules, never any longer. If you play 'em as a light thing, not a "omigod what do I do now" kind of thing they're very nice. Kind of like DBA itself, a light repast, not a 5 course meal.

Perhaps I'll run one again over several weeks and see how that goes. Longer games tend to see players invest more in their 'kingdoms' and with that the fun often disappears. It's best when you can laugh at the disasters that beset you because you won't be stuck with them for weeks or months on end.

konstantinius
05-14-2005, 09:03 PM
I liked the ideas of
a) having more than one player as part of the same power with peripheral enemies to deal with
b) trading prestige points as "bribing".
This last one I think I'll use in my own solo campaign, if allowed of course smile.gif

whefam
05-14-2005, 11:21 PM
Vincent,

Thanks for your quick response...

Maybe I should give it another go (and yes naff means no good here in blighty land).

We play on a mid week night for 4 hours - long enough? (4 or 5 players).

Andy

Dhingis Khan
05-16-2005, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by whefam:
We play on a mid week night for 4 hours - long enough? (4 or 5 players).I'd say 4-6 hours. If you're limited to 4 hours, make speed your main priority. Spend as little time on the campaign as you can and play battles instead. We used to say the last turn started when the clock hit a certain hour. Then count up prestige points and declare a winner.

I also like the idea of first warning a slow-poke and then having players vote to deduct a prestige point if that player still drags their feet. If you can get three battles played it should be good. When I used to run these campaigns some people won who never fought except as allies.

I don't run campaigns any more because we game on weeknights and only have 3 hours to play. Perhaps I'll run one that lasts a couple weeks. That's hard to do if business or family keeps people from attending - although the French and English had plenty of pauses in the 100 Years War.

[ May 16, 2005, 15:06: Message edited by: Dhingis Khan ]

whefam
05-16-2005, 06:57 PM
Thanks Vincent I will give it go. I may end up doing the campaign over two weeks (if I can get the same people turn up two weeks in a row!).

Andy

Dhingis Khan
05-18-2005, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by whefam:
I may end up doing the campaign over two weeks (if I can get the same people turn up two weeks in a row!).If players don't show, have someone else play their side. Or use programmed player rules, like those listed in the variants here or the excellent ones in Warrior Kings. Of course, then a non-player nation may win the campaign! smile.gif

Macbeth
05-18-2005, 09:24 PM
Some time ago we had a very successful days campaign play with three players and six armies. Each player drew one primary army and one secondary army.

They played the primary army as normal, while their secondary army was played as a programmed leader.

It was only in the cases where the secondary army attacked the country of their own primary player (or vice versa), that we needed to farm out the secondary army to a different player for the battle.

This could have been minimised by choosing the secondary army based on the furthest one from the primary army - but we did a random assignment.

In all we ran through two full campaign years in an afternoon's play.

Cheers

John Meunier
05-27-2005, 01:34 AM
Here's a thought that I'd like some feedback on:

A six-player BBDBA combat campaign game.

Six players each get a single DBA army.

One player is designated (in some way) as attacker. He chooses and enemy to attack. Then the remaining four players join side -- two per -- so you have a BBDBA battle with three players per side.

Play the battle (dropping the low pip/high pip) rule.

Prestige points:

On winning side +1
CnC of winning side +2
Each enemy element killed +1

Routed command -2

Losses remain for next round of battles.

Every player should get to be CnC at least once (either as attacker or defender)

Dhingis Khan
05-27-2005, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by John Meunier:
A six-player BBDBA combat campaign game.Sounds like a good idea. You don't even need a map, just play three BBDBA games.

Nils Kullinger
06-12-2005, 10:06 AM
Junta is a fantastic game!

However, I think the diplomacy brakes are more than half the fun, and I'm fine with it taking all night! smile.gif

Chris Brantley
06-12-2005, 03:37 PM
Would you allow the subordinate general to betray their CnC? One way to handle is to use the same rule as for allied commands in campaign games -- you can't leave the battlefield intentionally or change sides, but "the eagerness with which they assist him is a matter for their own consiences."

This is where the "diplomacy" element of campaign play comes into this BBDBA variant...how much do you want to win versus how much you want your CnC to win versus how much you want your opponent not to win should make for some interesting game strategies.

In regular DBA campaigns - prestige is awarded 1 point for each element killed, minus one point for each element lost, plus 2 points for killing a general or taking a camp. You could translate that to your system as follows:

+2 CnC of Winning Side
+1 Ally on Winning Side
+1 Each enemy element killed by your command in
excess of your own losses
+2 Each enemy command routed
+2 Each enemy camp captured

You could put in corresponding negatives, but in a three battle "campaign" you don't want the point spreads to be so wide that the overall winner is clear by the second game.

[ June 12, 2005, 12:51: Message edited by: Chris Brantley ]