Sunday, February 20, 2011

Turn order and Initiative

There’s three main ways of organising how players take turns in a campaign ranging from the very simple simultaneous method, to the ordered method or the more complicated initiative method. Much like campaigns themselves, the simpler it is, the easier it is for the players to use but the less it offers in campaign strategy. There’s two main things to consider when deciding how the campaign turn will be ordered, the first is the order that the players will take their turns and the second is the order that their individual armies will move and battle.

The simplest way for the players to move their forces is simultaneously. Every player writes down the orders for each of their armies on a piece of paper or order sheet and then they’re all shown at the same time. Players then follow the various orders, moving armies, going into battle or performing other actions. The benefit of this method is that no player gets an advantage by moving first before another players has had chance to do something. It’s also very easy to run as all it requires is for the players to write their orders. The downside is that it can lead to situations where one army is constantly chasing another with never been able to seize the initiative and catch them. You could always add a rule that where an army is moving into an area at the same time as another is moving out, you roll to see if the escaping army manages to break off and escape or is caught and brought to battle which solves the constantly chasing problem that can occur with the simultaneous method.

The next method is ordered, where the order players take their turns is decided at the start of the campaign. Players can then either write their orders as normal or just decide on the fly what their armies will do that turn. This method can be simpler on the paperwork side but can lead to situations where one player is always last to move and often gets pinned in battles before they have chance to do anything.

The third method is initiative based, where the order players take their turns in that particular campaign turn is decided by random at the start of the campaign turn. This can be done by a simple roll off or by one person picking players tokens out of a cup. Although it requires a little bit more effort to do, it does allow players to seize the initiative which is far more realistic. The randomness of it means that one player is never always disadvantaged by going last, well as long as the dice gods don’t turn their back on them.

The other thing that you need to consider is how the individual armies making up a players force take their turns. This isn’t an issue with the simultaneous turn method as all the armies move at the same time but with the ordered and initiative methods, a little more planning is needed. With these methods, you need to decide whether all the armies in a players force move at the same time or whether the players take turns to move their armies individually. Although moving all the armies at the same time seems the simplest, it can lead to a situation where one player is able to deploy multiple armies against one single enemy army to overwhelm it. Whereas moving them individually if you’re not using orders can lead to a tit for tat situation, it can also give quite an advantage to a player who has more armies than another player as they get ‘extra’ turns.

It’s down to you what method you use, but we’d recommend using the initiative method in combination with orders written in advance of the initiative being decided along with moving all the armies in a players force at the same time. This method keeps the admin to a relative minimum whilst giving players a more realistic campaign phase with their plans to seize a vital objective or escape before becoming overwhelmed dependant on whether they gain the initiative much like real life commanders.

(Coming soon)

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

40K Campaigns on the Web

After getting some feedback from some guys who had recently seen the Narrative Campaigns PDF, I've decided to start a brand new section to the Going on Campaign project based on other 40k campaigns going on in the blogosphere and the interwebs in general. So, I'd like to introduce two new blogs to the blogroll on the right hand side.

Cadian 113th Shock Troops

First off we have a blog by Cundo, who was kind enough to submitted a pic for the Narrative Campaigns PDF. Currently there's a node campaign running based on a map published in White Dwarf a few years ago. If you look further back, you'll also find a few small map campaigns based GW's plastic hex map pieces. It's well worth a look, especially some of Cundo's combination artwork pictures.

Khaleraaq Wars

Next up, we have a dedicated campaign blog based on a digital hex map. It's earlier days in the campaign, but the map, the general graphics and the background is truly excellent and well worth checking out. I'd love to know how the map was created, may I can get the creator to do us a tutorial, if I can figure out how to contact them. In the meantime, check it out, it's very inspiring.

If you know of any campaign dedicated blogs or posts, please drop me a line at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Campaign Phase

Campaigns are played in a series of turns, much like 40k. The campaign turns can be as simple as each player taking a turn to move and battle with their armies across the map to far more complicated turn phases including stages for orders, scouting, battles, reorganisation and a lot more. How complicated you want your campaign to be is down to you but the more complicated it is, the more dedicated the players need to be to see it through to the end. You might like the idea of the players having to micromanage their armies but if they don’t, they’ll soon lose interest in the campaign and it’ll come to a premature end.

The two most important factors in the turn phase are moving and battling, without these you can’t actually play a true map campaign but there’s so much more you can add into the turn phase to make things interesting. These include ….
  • Turn order / Initiative
  • Supplies
  • Orders
  • Scouting
  • Moving / Actions
  • Battles
  • Retreat
  • Reinforce / Admin
There’s many more phases you could include in your campaign turn, but these are the main ones. Quite offer, 40k campaigns differ quite largely from fantasy campaigns when it comes down to world building. Fantasy campaigns often have rules in place for building your empire by gathering resources, building settlements and raising more forces. This is because it’s typical for a number of different races to ocupy the same map battling to extend their territories and build their empires.

This is normally handled by having a specific empire building phase which is played after a number of battle campaign turns representing the winter season where the players can collect taxes from their settlements, raise and reinforce their armies ready for the next season, build new settlements or improve the one’s they already have along with other activities such as espionage and magic. Whereas with 40k, normally a single race will ocupy a planet and be fighting off other invading races, so they tend to concentrate on the fighting side of campaigns although it’s entirely acceptable to have an empire building phase in your campaigns if you want one and we’ll be looking at that later on.

Before we can even look into the mechanics of moving and battling over the campaign map, we need to look at the order players take their turns.

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

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Narrative Campaigns PDF

It's finally done! The first of hopefully many editions of the Going on Campaign PDF. This first edition concentrates on narrative campaigns, explaining the different sorts of narrative campaigns and ways of scoring them, along with a few narrative suggestions for your own campaign. There's also a simple sample tree campaign for you to give a try. You can download the pdf from .....

Download here

Hope you find it interesting, and it gets you going on campaign. I want to thank everyone who's contributed to Going on Campaign, it wouldn't be what it is without your help. I especially want to thank the following blogs who've contributed their time and resources to make this pdf what it is.

Admiral Drax (Proofer) -
Yeti (Valhallen pics) -
Big Jim (Disclaimer) -
John (Front cover) -
Cundo (Tank pic)

The next edition will include territorial and node based map campaigns, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, I'm going to get stuck into writing up the section on the turn phase for map based campaigns.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A quick update

I just wanted to do a post to give you a quick update on the progress of the Narrative Campaigns pdf.

It's almost finished (Yay!), I'd probably say that it's 75% done and so I'm hoping that I'll be able to get on the blog in the next week or so. Here's what's done and what needs finishing ......
  • Front cover - complete
  • Page template & layout - complete
  • Main text - complete
  • Example images - 80% complete
  • Example campaign - 20% complete
So, I've just got a bit of graphics work to do and the example tree campaign and it'll be all done.

I'm still after some decent hi-res pictures to pad it out, so if you think you've got some pics that might do, drop me a line at

Keep your eyes peeled guys, it's coming real soon and once it's done, I'll get back into writing up the map campaign rules.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Front Cover Sneak Peak

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, work and home life have been pretty manic lately. On the plus side, I have managed to make some progress on putting together the Narrative Campaigns Source Guide pdf during my lunch breaks.

As part of that process, I've just finished working on the layout template and I managed to get the front cover completed today. So, here's a sneak peek of the front cover .....

I would have preferred a more Giger'ish / 40K'ish background, but beggers can't be choosers. Big thanks to John over at Plastic Legions for providing the map pic and taking the time to rephotograph it so it was easier for me to work with.

Hope you like the sneak peak guys, more coming soon!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More maps for the showcase

Two more maps for the showcase, this time a computer based node campaign and a Mighty Empires map with some scratch built hives ...

Thanks to SK (Citizen Nick Hobby Center) for submitting these. As always guys, if you've got a map you'd like share, drop me a line -

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