GoD Notes and comments

8 Notes & Comments

This section contains comments and insights that we uncover during our campaigns, or that other gamers send to us.

Rebels – are they too good?

Rebel armies are really intended to allow players who cannot commit themselves to regular games to still take part, and players to fall back to if they lose all their planets or are struggling in the campaign. They do not carry a points penalty because this helps rebels to survive when playing against strong armies.

If you allow a strong player to be a rebel, or a player starts out as a rebel but ends up being able to play a lot of games after all, you may find that they become too powerful. This happened to Kev, Pete Delafield’s Ork Warboss in our recent GoD campaign.

I suggest that you make such players form a secret rebel base and give up their rebel status. Create a new location and join it into two or more existing locations with new routes. Do not publicize the location of the base, but if a player gets to one of the locations connecting to it tell them that a new route is available to them. Make the value of the base in Campaign Points equal to the entire campaign points of the rebel at the time it is created. This means all the rebel’s eggs are in one basket! To reflect this I allowed the rebel to increase his army by campaign points % when defending the base only. This reflects all the resources that he has stashed on the base. So, for example, Kev formed a secret rebel base when he had 9 campaign points. The base was worth 9 campaign points and he was allowed to fight with 1500 + 9% (1635) points.

The rebel base also imposes a points penalty equal to double the campaign points value, which was 18% in Kev’s case. This represents the resources being used to defend it, just like the planets for ‘ordinary’ players.

Tyranids

We found that the Tyranids were very strong in our last GoD campaign. We weren’t unhappy about this – their rampage through the Galaxy, consuming all in their path because of their lack of points penalty, was very characterful. Towards the end of the campaign we took a couple of measures to help players get to grips with them. First, we allowed combined allied forces to gang up against them (see below). Second, we allowed players to ‘spend’ campaign points to boost the size of their army when playing against them. For every campaign point spent, players got 10% more points in their army. So, if a player had a 20% points penalty he could spend 3 campaign points to face the Tyranids with 110% of his army points. This represented the player calling in his scattered resources in a desperate attempt to stop the Tyranid hoard. However if the player lost then he lost all the campaign points he had spent on his army and the Tyranids consumed them, gaining the points towards their total.

The campaign end-phase, and ganging up against front runners

Most players want to see some sort of end-phase to the campaign, rather than just stopping after an agreed number of turns. After a few turns leaders usually begin to emerge and it is safe to begin letting players form alliances. Once an alliance is formed the player’s campaign points are added together but they each continue with their own points penalties. If the players manage to get their fleets at the same location then they are allowed to combine their armies against the planet populace, if it is neutral, or another player if it is owned. Of course this requires some organisation and openness on the part of the allied forces (not to mention trust!). Players seem to find this challenging, and might need a few hints before they’ll get into alliances to challenge the front runners.

Probes – a simpler approach

We discovered that keeping track of probes as they moved over a route from turn to turn was too fiddly. What we now do is allow a player to launch a probe and declare where it is going. We add up the number of sector boundaries it will cross on its route (just there, not there and back again). Then we roll one D6 for each boundary it will cross. If any of them come up 1, the probe is lost. If not, the probe arrives safely and transmits a report about the locations in the target sector. The player looks away and the GM scans through the locations and says something like ‘There are 2 dead worlds, a neutral world of undetermined type, and a civilised world with a garrison installed owned by another player.’ The player is not told exactly which world is which.

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