Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ending the campaign

The final key element in designing a campaign is deciding how it will end. Without setting out what the victory conditions will be, campaigns run the risk of running on for a long time with players slowly losing interest and the campaign ending in a sort of stale mate. It’s easy to think that a last man standing approach is the best way forward, but that’s not always the case. There’s a few different methods of ending a campaign including by a time limit, achieving certain victory conditions or by holding a certain about of the map.

The easiest is by time limit. Simple specify how long the campaign will last in either actual time or campaign turns. When this limit is reached, the players with the greatest number of territories, forces left or victories is declared the winner. There’s a number of advantages to using this method, the first being that it’s pretty simple to keep track off but more importantly, it lets the players know how long they’re going to be playing the campaign. Without defining an end point, it’s easy for players to become bored with the campaign and drop out, especially when things aren’t going well for them. Whereas when they know that the campaign is only going to last a few more turns or another month, they’re more likely to stick with it and see the campaign out to the end even if they’re not doing that well.

The second method is by achievements, whether it’s achieving a certain number of victories, controlling a number of key locations or a certain amount of the map. This method encourages to players to go for the objectives of the game picking their fights tactically compared with the time limit method which just encourages players to play the campaign to the end. The downside of this method is that it could take a while to achieve those victory conditions especially when campaigns turn into a stalemate. This method also doesn’t encourage players who aren’t doing that well to stick with the campaign, meaning that a player who doesn’t do well at the start might drop out early as they don’t see a chance of winning the campaign. The other important thing to note is that the victory conditions must be achievable within reason. The harder the victory conditions are to achieve, the longer the campaign will run and the more you risk the players losing interest.

The third method which is the most obvious and the hardest to achieve is a total wipeout victory. I wouldn’t recommend setting this as a sole victory condition, but if a player manages to sweep all aside, then obviously, they should win.

The best form of victory conditions are one’s that include all these methods. Simply decide on what you want your main victory condition is based on an object such as controlling key areas or a certain percentage of the map and then specify a time limit to the campaign and how the winner will be decided when the time limit is reached. This way, the players will still play the campaign tactically going after their objectives but won’t lose interest if they’re not doing well because they know when the campaign will be ending.

As a final note, it’s fine for different players to have different victory conditions as long as they’re balanced unless you’re playing a campaign with a strong narrative where unbalanced victory conditions add to the story leading to a last man come underdog type campaign. Unbalanced campaigns are fine as long as the players know what they’re getting themselves into.


Can you help? Have I missed anything? include your thoughts in the comments and I'll get them added to the page.
 

0 comments:

Post a Comment