Saturday, November 28, 2015

Planning a Campaign

As a player of all 3 of FFG's Star Wars Miniature games I'm really interested in the idea of a campaign that brings all 3 systems together.  I've run a tournament using all 3 that was actually a lot of fun.  This will be the first post in a series where I look at integrating all 3 games in to a campaign.  

When I'm not pretending to lead fleets in a galaxy far, far away I'm actually a teacher.  There's a principle in teaching called backwards unit design.  The gist being that you design the test or other assessment for the end of the unit before you decide what actually goes into the lessons that make it up.


Well, in the case of this campaign I want to know how it ends and how you win before we worry about the rest of it.  There are lots of ways to determine how you win a campaign in miniatures games.  You can control territories on a map or maybe accumulate victory points for your side.  But this is STAR WARS!   There weren't maps or victory point tallies. You knew who won at then end based on the outcome of a BIG battle.  

So then, that's our goal. A big battle at the end of the campaign to determine which side wins.  We could probably also declare a best general/admiral per side based on individual games won.  Looking at the three game systems that we have, Armada is the grandest in scale and makes sense to me as the system for the final game.  I like it.  

Now that we know the end goal, we need a way for the campaign to support it.  We could just allow each win to contribute a certain amount of points to the final battle, but that feels a little too generic and could get really one-sided.  Instead I'm thinking that each side gets 2 large and 2 medium ships for the final match, plus a bunch of basic squadrons, but with no upgrades or small ships.  The results of each game in the campaign leading up to the finale will allow the winner to add some assets to the fleet for the final battle. For example, an X-Wing match might involve escorting a transport full of turbolaser parts.  If the transport survives, then the owner would get to add some turbolaser upgrades to the ships in his fleet for the final battle.  

With an idea of how the games can contribute to the finale the next step would seem to be figuring out how many games to play.  Given the realities of life and scheduling, I don't want to overshoot this.   If a campaign turn is one week long, then three weeks of games to setup the final seems manageable.  Within a campaign turn there would be games of Armada, Epic X-Wing, regular X-Wing, and Imperial Assault.  That gives a minimum of 4 games per campaign turn/week.  X-Wing and Imperial Assault play quite a bit quicker and could easily accommodate multiple games, but you probably don't want too many games before the finale.  

This setup would work well for 2-8 players.  With a full 8 players split into two teams of four each player would contribute one game per turn.  In the finale, each could take control of one of the medium/large ships and then split up the small ships and squadrons.  With additional players you could probably scale things up pretty easily.  To make things interesting a player could be restricted from playing the same game type more than once. 

Another fun rule for the campaign might be to limit the use unique ships and upgrades/titles.  If Luke is being used by the Imperial Assault player in round one, then he isn't available to the other Rebel players that turn.  If he is lost/defeated/blown up in a game then Luke would be unavailable for the rest of the campaign. However, to make it worth risking Luke in an early round you could only allow unique characters into the finale that survived at least one other game in the campaign.  

At this point I think I have a nice basic structure for a campaign.  Now I need to settle on scenarios for all the game systems in each of the rounds and figure out rewards for each of them.  I also need to come up with a name for the campaign and maybe a basic story arc.  Each campaign turn being a lead up to a major sector battle,or something.  

If you've read this far, I'm impressed.  Please leave a comment on what you think and maybe a suggestion for a name for the campaign.  


  1. Just getting into Armada...but have run a few campaigns myself in my day (Mordhiem, Cities of death etc) and I feel you have it spot on. Having it only over say a month stops it petering out which I always feel is an issue with Campaign games!

  2. Someone got a good start.

  3. As a fellow teacher (instructor, in my case), I hear what you're saying about backwards unit design, even if I don't always practice it as well as I ought to do so. I also read what you're saying about it leading into a big battle at the end. That's very Starwarsy indeed.

    If I understand it correctly, at each juncture points will be at parity, but the stakes at each stage will be in order to limit the opposing side's access to unique cards in a following stage?

    Who all do you have recruited to play in this campaign. I suspect you'll be doing it at Dice Age, which will be beyond my radius, but I'd like to hear how it's going.

    1. Yep, you have the basic idea of it. I'm still working on the framework at each stage, so it hasn't started up yet. I will be producing more posts here as I start to piece it together.

  4. Looking forward to updates on this. Would it be worth combining forces with the Galaxy Map project ( or are the goals too different?

    1. I did look that over and I think the goals are different enough to keep the projects separate. As soon as I find some time to get it typed up, the campaign rules will be posted on a page here.