View Full Version : Ork vs Empire campaign

04-03-2014, 09:36

I plan on conducting a map-based 2 player campaign where the Empire has to fight off an Ork invasion (using the mighty empires hex tiles).
At the moment I try to come up with all the rules involved and am looking for inspiration. However, most campaign systems I know are more about conquering regions, gathering resources and developing settlements/towns etc. to increase the point size of armies… What I have in mind is a little different:

Basically each player has multiple armies at his disposal that can move around the map and fight each other should they meet on the same hex. Those armies start with a fixed army list at the beginning of the campaign and their numbers dwindle as they take casualties.
The theme is the most important factor of each army list, e.g. you would get: Savage Orc army, all cavalry army, local militia army, state-trooper-only army, heavy artillery army etc.
Not all armies will be available from the beginning of the campaign, most will be available only after a certain amount of turns or start in remote locations. This way the vanguard of the Orc invasion starts the game engaged with the smaller empire forces, while the biggest armies join in later.

A defeated army will retreat and can keep the surviving models, however all those that were actively killed in battle are gone for good. There will be a way for both factions to hire reinforcements but this system should work differently for both of them. The Empire for example may recruit new troops at towns and other populated areas, the Orcs attract new followers for their Waaagh as they win battles, depending more on momentum. The more they win, the bigger the Waaagh gets…
I want to minimise having odd numbers for units (leftovers from battles), so there will be some simplifications/options. E.g. the Empire will be able to reform all their state troopers into new units as they see fit, which includes a change of equipment. For example, if there are only 14 troopers in a unit of spearmen, some could join the horde of halberds, while the others could form a swordsmen detachment etc.
Also I am not sure if I should give casualties a chance to survive, something like a 6+/5+ ward save, but I don’t want the outcome of the campaign to be too luck based. I might at least include something for the heroes. Likewise I could or could not add some rules for veteran regiments that survived multiple battles and improve their stats in the process.

Another point to think about is what the end-game goals for the campaign should be… probably about the Orcs capturing some key locations on the map or the empire throwing back the Waaagh into a certain area of the map… I guess with forces that die and vanish over the campaign a simple deathmatch would be possible as well but would be very anticlimactic.
Also I want to bring some additional focus on the areas of the map itself, at the moment this is limited to special rules for some areas e.g. “In this location the empire gets a free militia detachment” or “This area consists of a large river/fortified settlement” “In this area all battles will use the following special scenario” etc. Will this be enough to make a map as basis of the campaign viable? Or will it just come down to a “I will engage you with everything I have as soon as possible, no matter where…” confrontation?

Is there anything like it out there? What rules should I include? What pitfalls should I avoid?
Looking forward to your advice…

04-03-2014, 14:48
Hi there!

I´ve thought about a campaign on similar lines to yours, so I hope to see your progress in this thread and maybe steal some ideas! ;)

From my experience, the main pitfall to avoid is the temptation to be too realistic and let strategic advantages fully transmit to the tactical games. While in reality you would have battles of say 2000 x 1000 (and manouvre hard on the strategic map to get it), it´s not a good idea for the tabletop battles. There has to be somekind of link between what you do on the strategic level and the tactical level, but you have to curb its effects so as to not unbalance the tactical games too much.

What I´ve used so far is for example to have the smaller vanguard battles give the players advantages in deploy and terrain placement, or having a small boost or reduction to Ld, this kind of stuff. Actual points differences between the armies involved in the battles shouldn´t be over 10-15%.

So, how to get different armies on the strategic map, with different points composition and even taking over casualties, while at the same time avoiding the above said pitfall is, IMO, THE single most important problem to solve for this kind of campaign (and something I´m not sure how to do myself yet).

Related to that, I think that the other major question is how to deal with the replenishment of troops. One thing I´ve thought of is to have different difficulties for getting your reposition. Like core costs 100%, special 150% and rare 200%, to simulate the difficulty of getting special and rare stuff back and make the battles be played more realistically (force conservation, particularly of your better things). Also, IMO characters that die should stay dead and/or have a severe handicap (injuries) system.

Finally, I´d suggest for the campaign to have several, scattered objectives, so as to avoid the natural tendency of force concentration. There has to be a reason to divide your armies, be it supplies or area control.

Good luck and please keep in touch about your progress, as I´m really interested in this kind of campaign myself. Cheers!

04-03-2014, 15:06
THis is a nice idea and I would really like to do the same for my ATO9G currently going, a nice campaign to fit in our monthly games, the aim being to claim the ultimate magical item that will bend all will towards the bearer, and thus a win.
How are you going to recruit units?

04-03-2014, 18:19
From experience after having developed my own campaign system and pack (which you can find on the page in my sig), some of the most important pieces of advice I can give are

make the campaign fun for the players, not the designer. I feel this strongly comes into play when creating situations in which armies of different values fight one another - in my experience this type of situation becomes unfun for both players and marginalizes individual player skill and the result of the game. When creating scenarios and systems, put yourself in the shoes of the participants and analyze the type of game you're going to have them run through. Depending on the scope and length of the campaign you're envisioning, making the wrong decision because you want to see the outcome as the designer, rather than keeping the enjoyment of the players in mind can end up affecting the enthusiasm of your players and momentum of your campaign. Other common examples of situations where this applies are striving for realism or creating systems that require micromanagement (often one bleeds into the other), which brings us to...

Create simple systems that interact in complex ways - when at all possible, try to keep things relatively simple and have them interact in complex ways rather than flat out creating complexity for it's own sake. The system you propose of managing all units down to the last model sounds like a lot of work, and if you'll be managing the campaign, would probably require you to keep careful track of the outcome of each game and review following army lists (your players are likely to fudge it up), even if just to make sure everything is kosher. You want to identify where your constraints will be - How far can you push a system while still keeping it working and at what point will it be too much? Keeping track of unit models individually from battle to battle is a lot of work and army micromanagement! I'm not saying its impossible, and if your play group likes the idea then you'll have an easier time, but as you go along from the inception stage to writing rules, this will require you to...

Concretize your ideas - Warhammer is already a complex game, so the systems you add for the campaign need to be as well thought out as possible. Make the consequences of your systems predictable - not boring but not chaotic. Try to hammer out your ideas in the form of notes, and start your design in the middle. Find the meat and potatoes of what you want to do and build out from there. Don't be afraid to throw entire systems out, before you're fully satisfied, nothing is canon or sacred - if you're not 100% on a system, throw it out and come up with something else. Try to design to what you perceive as the strengths of Warhammer as a game and the format/experience you're striving for with your campaign.

Im currently working on a Sartosa warbands campaign but I have a bunch of notes for an orc invasion of ulthuan so I'd be very keen to see what you end up coming up with. If you're thinking of any siege scenarios I think the old General's compendium has some that you could use as jumping off points. Id link you my lustria campaign, but the mods prefer me not to (though its fine as fair use in the US since its a personal design exercise and free of charge), but you could take a look and adapt, since I know the insert in the mighty empires box is really bare bones. Good luck!

05-03-2014, 01:34
Here are some starters, ideas, and hints:
-Units that flee off the board and partial units that are remaining on the board after the game should be able to walk away from the battle. In fact I think around Turn 5-6, units should be allowed to try and retreat off of the game board.
-Heroes and Lords should be treated as special. When Combat ends and they've taken more than enough wounds, they aren't killed and wiped from existence immediately. Yes, the battle continues as though the General of BSB has fallen, but the Lord/Hero might have just been taken away from a death-blow instead: Roll a D6 right there: 6: they'll be back after the battle is over. 5: They live, but will sit out that army's next battle. 4-3: They'll begin their game with already 1-2 wounds taken. 2: They are fragile and will die after a single wound. 1 or less: They are dead and removed. Of course you might want to add a penalty for each battle said hero has fallen in prior, but you should make your own heroic death chart
-Don't dedicate time on tracking the individual units and models that make up the Core Troops. Instead keep track of the Battle-Army's Point Value (Including Core as a number), which Heroes are in it, and Special/Rare Units in that unit. When a battle begins, the Battle-Army can deploy units up to its Point Value, but must begin by turning 25% of the Battle-Army's Point Value into Core Troops (which ones are the players pick). Any Heroes/Special/Rare units in that army can be deployed, but the Battle-Army must not exceed its Point Value. While it feels a little odd turning the points for Karl Franz on a Dragon into State Troopers, an army needs its Core Troops; a chess board needs its pawns, and so does a leader.
-As a separate idea from just above, when a player receives an amount of points equal from an upgrade, half of those points should be required as Core units. You're trying to simulate the recruitment of fresh soldiers, so they aren't likely to be veterans of major wars.
-Soldier Recruitment and starting place for the players can be different. For your Empire vs O&G example, the Empire would start with large standing armies and barely recruit any new soldiers, while the Orcs would start with small militias and be able to recruit more and more boys as the campaign goes on.
-Mismatched Battles are something a designer should plan for, because a loss on one day may allow the losing army to reform, recruit, and fight a winning battle on their own terms.
-The most important points of a campaign are these: The game does not have to begin at even strength. And both players should have even strength at the middle point in the campaign. The last battle should be a brutal one for the "attacker". He's looking to end the game, which isn't desirable for the either player.

Finally, be ready to change rules mid-game, and be sure to note what rules worked and be willing to add rules that may never work.

-SHT ;)