Thursday 3 April 2014

Why Campaigns Fail.

Sometimes a well organised campaign can be more fun than any other form of gaming event. However, if it’s badly organised, it will fall apart faster than an Ork Trukk in the Dakar rally. Here is our latest experience of such an event.

Spicerack and I decided to jump onto the free to play fantasy campaign that started up about two weeks ago. 500 points escalating as you win battles. It sounded fun, however it fell to pieces within a week. The first issue was that no one had access to the player information. We were told to turn up on gaming night with our forces, ready to go at it. Unfortunately, once we arrived we found out that the organisers wouldn’t be starting it until 630-7pm at night (store closes at 7-730 for dinner, and then fully closes at 9). Now while I truly appreciate that players have other commitments in their life, it wasn’t a good start. Spicerack and I had a game anyway and just counted it as our first turn. 

Now the campaign itself was good in spirit. The organiser had been playing fantasy for a very long time so he had a good idea of how to run the fluff. However, the players pack was based on old editions of the rules. We had to “unlock” special and rare slots etc. Which meant it was very awkward when using % values for calculations. Furthermore, as I said earlier, because none of us had the information, we all turned up with very different armies. Some guys were told they could only make their 500 point force out of core units, whilst Spicerack and I turned up with Special and Rare. Even now I am unsure of what is happening with army composition. A further issue arose when we discovered that after every game you took territory and generated gold. Again, some players took this as to mean they can game once a week and that was their turn. Others took it to mean after EVERY game they generate gold and build their army. Unsurprisingly, when we turned up for week 2, there was guys there with 1500 points, whilst we were still scratching at 700. They had played 4-5 games whilst we were only on one.  

Another issue with week 2 was that the organiser wasn’t present. Again, completely understandable. When you have family/work commitments, you can’t always make it. Which is fine, however no one had the information in order to play “phase two” of the campaign. None the less, a lot of players were turned off. With a huge mix of points ranges, army compositions, confusion and a lack of an actual campaign board, most people just shrugged and went back to regular gaming. It’s a shame really, tonight is week 3 and I’m not particularly interested in the campaign anymore. Spicerack is the same, and I doubt we will see many others turn up. It was good in theory, but didn’t work in practice.
SO taking from the huge garble of information above, we can say that the following points are needed in order to run a successful campaign:

  1. Organisation is key. Keep it simple. Instead of building your army with campaign points, it should be a simple case of starting at 500 and adding 250 points per week. Limit “scoring” games to two per week so that everyone is up to the same stage of the campaign, and no one player has suddenly conquered ten territories in a week. 
  2.  Each player needs an information booklet. The minute confusion arises and players begin to make up their own rules, you have problems. Keep the key information SIMPLE and to a single A4 page.
  3.  Social Media. There is no reason why you need to keep the campaign limited to the store. Throw together a private group on facebook, a forum, or any other form of social device so players can communicate with each other and the campaign organiser.
  4. I think one of the key factors in a store campaign is to have it run by someone who is a regular. Someone who is able to monitor what is happening, and control special events in the campaign storyline.

There is talk in the store of one of the other guys starting up another campaign. He is one of the store regulars who is up to date with the current rules of this edition. I won’t lie, I do feel bad about this one falling apart. The organiser was genuinely enthusiastic about it, and I just hope he isn’t turned off from coming back into the store because of it. 

Anyway, I’ll put up a quick post about what happens after tonight. The crew and I will be organising for our Battle Brothers Event this Saturday anyway, so speak soon!


  1. All very good advice, and also applies across to 40k as well.

    It's a shame, my mate was starting up a campaign with a few of us as he had his own gaming space and table but he then shipped off abroad to do anti-pirate private security work. :(

    My Dark Angels had received word of a Fallen lurking somewhere in-system and dispatched a battle group to investigate. When they arrived they discovered a radical Inquisitor faffing about a bit too deeply with warp energies and imprisioning daemons within his underground compound lab.

    First game was a 200pts Kill Team of my Vets supported by a Ravenwing Speeder investigating the possibility of their target lurking in the Inquisitor's retinue. Opposing was his Inquisition codex force led by a chap supported with a pet daemonhost. My objective was to break through his lines and got VPs for every model leaving via his table edge.

    The next game was a normal game of 750pts representing my Angels securing a landing zone and moving in reinforcements to root out the betrayer. Opposing them from the Chaos Marine codex was the Fallen Angel himself as a Dark Apostle and three Cultist blobs.

    We felt that moving from the Inq to a Chaos force represented the uncovering of more insidious elements in the Inquisitor's retinue and fitted the story rather well. We were then going to progress on to a 1,500pt game to represent the majority of the force leading the Inquisitor astray standing their ground to defend the labratory's access point while my Angels, having captured their quarry, moved against the imminent threat of a significant hostile force opposing their follow-up investigation into the lab.
    To wrap up we were going to finish with a Zone Mortalis game where my Angels enter the lab itself and try to defeat the corrupt Inquisitor and collapse the warp rift that he's dabbling with. Daemons would enter from the portal and Chaos military units would be defending it...but we'll have to follow that up at a later date.

    Loads of fun; linked games with a point!

    1. Yeah now that sounds fun. When you have storyline linked it, it makes it that much more motivating.

    2. Aye, it also has a knock-on effect on my painting. When involved in a campaign I know there's scheduled games incoming and I want my new models to look decent when I field them. Not got so many games in many unfinished models... :'(


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...