GoD Campaign sequence part 2

6 Campaign sequence part 2

6.4 Set up and play 40K games

We finally get to the whole point of the campaign system – playing lots of games of 40K! Before playing the Gamesmaster will have to ensure that the players are available, the right points are being played, and perhaps give some guidance on the mission.

Players

Normally it is obvious which players will be involved. Players will defend their own planets. When invasions involve neutral planets a second player is needed to take the part of planetary defenders. This might be the Gamesmaster, someone not otherwise involved in the game, or someone in the campaign that does not have a game to play this turn.

Points and army selection

Each player should work out the total points penalty that he has accumulated as he has captured planets. This is knocked off the points available to him for the game. A player with a large empire is likely to find himself at a disadvantage, therefore, if he attacks a player with a smaller number of planets. This has two functions. Firstly, it represents the ambitious player over stretching himself as his empire expands and he spreads his forces ever more thinly. Second, it is a built-in handicapping system that will make it hard for capable players to attack less capable ones. It also keeps the game challenging for the more capable players.

There is no need for both players to reduce their forces by the full penalty percentage – just work out the difference. For example: Aaron has 20% penalty points and Gary has 8%, giving a difference between the players of 12%. In a campaign with a 1500 point base size Aaron would play with 1500 – 12% = 1320 points, and Gary would fight with the full 1500. Obviously if both players have the same penalty percentage then they can play with the full points, and since you are taking the difference in points penalty there will always be one of the players playing with full points. Taking the difference in points like this prevents the games from becoming too small.

The simplest approach to army selection is to allow the players to rewrite an army list before each game. You may prefer more elaborate systems where players raise units at the start of the campaign and have to stick with them, perhaps developing them as they gain experience and new skills. We say a little more about this in the advanced rules section.

Mission

Feel free to play any mission you like if you both agree (within any special limitations imposed by the Gamesmaster). If you cannot decode then choose a mission by:

a) Rolling it up according to the 40K rulebook or

b) Using the D66 mission table from White Dwarf or

c) the side with the lowest campaign points rolling 2D6 and consulting the following table:

2

Player with the highest campaign points chooses the scenario, but the mission ALWAYS uses the Random Game Length scenario special rule from the 40K rulebook.
3 – 4

Player with the highest campaign points chooses the scenario
5 – 9

Play a standard scenario
10 – 11

Player with the lowest campaign points chooses the scenario
12

Player with the lowest campaign points chooses the scenario, and may choose to use ONE of the “Scenario Special Rules” as per the 40K rulebook, regardless of scenario.
If campaign points are tied each player rolls a D6 and the winner is assumed to have the higher campaign points and the loser the lower. In scenarios that call for an attacker and defender the planetary defenders will always be the defending force. If neither player is the defender (for example if two players are fighting each other to capture a neutral planet) then they decide between them who will take on the role of attacker and defender in scenarios that call for it (they can dice for it or ask the Gamesmaster to arbitrate). Scenarios that make it especially tough for either the attacker or defender should be avoided in this situation.

6.5 Absent players

Absent players and their planets

A planet may find itself under attack while the owner is absent or unable to defend it. This might happen if a player misses a meeting or is attacked on several fronts at once (he can only fight one battle at a time, after all), or if he prefers to fight a battle elsewhere rather than defend the planet against attack.

In this situation the planet is left to fend for itself. At first the planet will put up a spirited resistance but its will is gradually broken if repeated attacks are made and the owner does not defend it.

If a planet is attacked and the owner does not fight a battle to defend it the owner or GM rolls a D6 in consultation with the GM and consults the following table to find out what happens:

Self-defence dice roll table

Attack:

Planet defends itself on a D6 of

Planet reverts to neutral on a D6 roll of:

First

2+

1

Second

3+

1 or 2

Third

4+

1 to 3

Fourth

5+

1 to 4

Fifth

6

1 to 5

The number of times a planet has been attacked and not defended by the player is recorded on the location card and fleet card (or in the database). This is a running total and is never reset.

If a planet successfully defends itself it is treated as a draw – that is, the attacking player is allowed to move on past the planet on his next campaign move even if defenses are installed.

A planet can never be attacked more than once in a campaign turn, because only one fleet per turn is allowed to attack a planet.

Players can nominate a proxy governor to play their battles if they know you are going to miss a number of meetings.

Absent players and their fleet

It may happen that a player leaves movement orders for your fleet but then are not present at the next meeting to deal with the consequences. A fleet might also be holding position and be interrupted in the absence of the player by the arrival of another fleet. This is what happens in these circumstances:

If the fleet is at one of its own planets it will hold position and it is dealt with as described above
If the fleet is at any other location and another fleet arrives then it will back off as described below
If the fleet is at a planet owned by another player it will back off.
If the fleet is at a neutral planet it will hold position.
6.6 Fleets backing off

When a fleet has to back off it returns to its former location. If it has to back off again (perhaps because this former planet is also owned by someone else and the player is still absent) then on the next campaign turn it will go to the next previous location, and so on. This is why a fleet’s path must be recorded on the fleet card. The rationale for this is that in the absence of other orders the fleet retraces its steps in an attempt to get back to a planet that it owns. This should eventually happen (provided the player has not lost all his planets by then) and at that point it will hold position as described above in the section on absent players. If the player really has lost all his planets then after retracing its steps back to the campaign starting location it will either be eliminated from the game or, if the advanced rules are in place, become a rebel fleet (rebel fleets are described later).

6.7 Slow players

We all know them – players who take forever to finish their games. Your campaign will run much more smoothly if you get through one campaign cycle per meeting, ending up with players handing in their fleet cards so you can sort out the conflicts and effects ready for the next meeting. We recommend that if players do not have a game finished by the time you need their fleet cards you move things on by:

Adjudicating on the game as it stands and declaring one player the winner
Allowing the defender to hand in his fleet card, but making the attacker (invader) miss a campaign move
Of course in most gaming groups you have to finish a game, because you need to pack up and go home.

6.8 New opponents arriving during a battle

This will never happen if you follow the guidance for slow players and keep everyone playing at the same pace. If it does happen we recommend that you give the new attacker the option of waiting until the current conflict is resolved, or passing unimpeded to locations beyond. Of course, as Gamesmaster you are free to think up more imaginative solutions if you wish!

6.9 Do players have to play every turn?

Paradoxically, one of the downsides of a thriving campaign can be that it takes over the gaming group to the exclusion of everything else. Players who are not in the campaign can find it difficult to get a game of anything else and even players in the campaign can get tired of having to play the same game week after week. This alone can lead to the campaign failing.

Players who do not want to play a game of 40K at a meeting should try to arrange this by taking a non-combative turn. They could hold position or voluntarily back off if challenged. Players who don’t want the commitment of a campaign but would like to play a few games of 40K now and then would be better off helping out by playing as planetary defenders or as rebels, if the rebel advanced rules are in play.

This can lead to the situation where the winner of the campaign is simply the player who plays the most games. This is inevitable to an extent, but we think the handicapping system will reduce the chances of this happening for a long time.

6.10 Announce conflicts and distress calls, update Common Knowledge Map

When a battle takes place all players are informed of the location, but nothing more. Perhaps there is a disturbance in the warp, like a million souls crying out at once and becoming suddenly silent…anyway, pin up a notice saying: ‘Campaign turn 8, battles detected at…’. Pinning little explosion markers on the Common Knowledge Map at the locations where battles have taken place is a nice way of notifying players.

If planets have sent distress calls then these should also be pinned up in the gaming room. A distress call gives more information and should be something like:

‘Help. We are Alpha Beegin, a civilised world at location 23. We are under attack from an Ork fleet. Please help!’

Players should be allowed to broadcast their own messages too, and add them to the Common Knowledge Map (with the GMs permission).

Any other information, rumors or false leads that the Gamesmaster wants to broadcast should also be done now.

6.10 Resolve the conflict phase

As your meeting draws to a close you should gather in results of conflicts and occupations. If planets have changed hands or have been captured for the first time the location cards, pages or database entries are amended accordingly. They are added to or deleted from the player’s fleet card (the database will create an up-to-date player record for you automatically based on the details in the location table). This shouldn’t be too difficult to manage because the players will come to you together at the end of the game.

While you have their attention they should make purchases of scanners, defenses and so on so that you can mark them on their fleet and location cards.

As they do, amend the cards and make a note in your campaign diary of the campaign points of each player (amended for purchases and so on). You will then be able to draw up a new leader board to show the status of the campaign. We recommend that you post the player name, number of planets owned and total campaign points. Everything else should remain a secret unless the players decide to share information between themselves.

Post the new leader board in the gaming room for everyone to see. We recommend you wait until the campaign has been underway for a few turns before posting a leaderboard.

6.11 The movement phase

The campaign turn ends with the movement phase. This may seem a little odd at first, but the purpose is to allow the Gamesmaster to have things sorted out ready for the next meeting.

In the movement phase the players mark their desired destination on their fleet cards and hand them in to the Gamesmaster. Probes are also launched during this phase and the probe program cards handed in to the Gamesmaster (probes are discussed in the advanced rules).

The Gamesmaster then moves the fleets and probes and the game cycle starts again.

The Gamesmaster briefs the players on the consequences of their movement as discussed in section 6.3 so that they can arrange any games of 40K ready for the next meeting.

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