View Full Version : Why do campaigns do so badly?

12-07-2005, 20:31
Why do campaigns do so badly? Why do players not seem to want to participate in them?

12-07-2005, 20:34
It takes time, dedication and effort.

12-07-2005, 20:37
I have found inmy experiance that people are really interested for the first couple of weeks then the excitment dies away and they cant be bothered.

Or the campaigns are far to complicated for people to understand

12-07-2005, 20:42
Because campaigns are different. :)

Everything not matching the idea of a the common, 'perfect' 2000 (2500) point game, played using official army lists seems to scare players away. Especially if they might end up with a 'disadvantage' cause of the campaign settings (lower point value, restricted slots, characters, etc than the opponent).

On top of that campaigns are a lot more work intensive. Not only the game master (the one running the campaign) but the players too will need to keep track of the development of their army and stuff like that.

Another point is that players seem to lose interest once one person became too good and starts dictating the map/campaign. This is a pain to solve if it's based on the campaign rules cause some imbalances only reveal themselves once the campaign started...

^ Just a few first thoughts before I'm off to bed. :p

Lady's Champion
12-07-2005, 21:12
Nah Starkeys experience is as mind- people get nored of the rigid schedule or cannot make games- then it all falls apart and the GM loses all his hair

12-07-2005, 21:12
My experience is that many players can't be bothered to invest some swaet of their own in the form of making appointments and keeping them so that a campaign can flow in a regular manner.

At my local store there were several attempts to start a campaign or at least a kind of league and at first it went well. But beginning with round two or three suddenly players (especially the young ones) suddenly lose interest and don't have time to play according to a schedule or simply don't bother to phone up their opponent to make a date for a game.

So more and more simply fall off the roster until there's only a tiny handfull of hardcore gamers and with this you can't run a campaign.

The other point is a campaign i want to get in but it is currently full. The gamers are all adult in their late 20s, 30 or even 40s and it runs for several years now with regular games, maps and so on. So it can work but it also needs dedication on the side of the players and not just the organisation.

12-07-2005, 22:21
Dedication and availability of the participants is all important - you need to have players who will be able to have time regularly for the games, and to have motivation for that in the long run too. I used to run a lot of RPG campaigns in my earlier days, but it just ended up getting too difficult to arrange times that would suit everyone.

Over-ambitiousness is a good campaign killer too - it is way too easy to plan for way too big and complicated campaign. At least inexperienced campaigners should try to keep their campaigns short and with clear ending conditions.

And for a successive campaign, the inertia has to be kept on - once things get starting to slow down, and a player or two start lacking back in schedule, things can fall apart real fast.

Crazy Harborc
13-07-2005, 01:55
The last straw for me was "special" campaign "house rules" that were designed to favor one army/race/choice, to unbalance the chances of winning. (That wasn't just my opinion. Three others said it first).

13-07-2005, 02:40
We are running our second Lustria campaign. They are good campaign rules which are not vastly complicated. Here's what works for us.

Keep it simple with a time limit (2 months for us), and victory conditions (you can win by controlling half the map before the time limit). We play one or two turns a week.

Get a dedicated group of players. We have 4 people, all over thirty, with enough variety in our armies to keep changing things around game to game to keep things interesting.

13-07-2005, 02:52
My club ran a Fantasy campaign recently that worked out pretty well. We're on every Saturday anyway, and we have a decent number of fairly dedicated players, so having a defined time to play games wasn't too much of a problem. We used a map/node-based system pretty similar to the 40K Battle for Vogen campaign, and that worked pretty well. I made an applet that let us set up an online map where players could make campaign moves, and if two players clashed they'd play a game the following week. It was pretty simple, but it seemed to work ok. I think the main points in its favour were that the system didn't result in massively unbalanced games (you could get bonuses for outmanoeuvreing your opponents/holding special territories/fortifying territories/etc, but they'd rarely be more than a 10-15% points bonus), ran for a set time that wasn't too long (8 turns) and didn't require a GM.

13-07-2005, 08:32
I belive it is the dedication of the players that sets the limit of the campaign.

The first couple of turns are great, you move, plott and prepare yourself for battle. And you have worked really hard to get yopur part of the campaign going. Then BAM! You get a kiccking, either on the feild or just see that your land dissapears, and it's not that fun too face an uphill battle. That means that a few players are out, and the big players just are fighting eachother agian.

Then there are the tournament players that are used to 2000pts Pitched Battle that are in but can really stand the game concept. We have sorted them in under "Pirates", the get two scenarios (messengers and pitched) to play and the GM stears their movement so that all plyers get to fight every turn. It seems to work fairly well.

But from what I have experienced and seen, the problem usually is that you can't plan to be away 4-10 hours every week over the next 3-4 months. And if things go bad from the start you don't want to... :angel:

13-07-2005, 08:56
Be careful when starting out with map-based campaigns - at least try to keep the maps small.

I once participated on a map-based campaign that fell into parts by turn four or so, as a number of players got bored as they had not managed to get into any battle (the starting areas were quite distant, so it would take multiple turns to reach the enemy).

13-07-2005, 09:07
I think campains could work if using GW based campain books such as lustria, SOC, EOT etc. At least that way people could get the rules set if they want it and they check the rules with a book not a person.

However there is still the commitment of the player that needs to be sorted.

Thrashings should make the obay

13-07-2005, 10:13
My gaming group is a bit spread out so we find that narrative campaigns are a good way to go. When we weren't able to meet up for a game, we would produce some fluff for our ongoing storyline and send it round. It worked quite well and we came up with some nice storylines.

The boyz
13-07-2005, 10:59
Yeah I think it is mainly time and other commitments that hinders campaigns. I know that I will say that, I will join in with this campaign or this tournament, but then due to work and college I just dont have the time to be fully commited and so I dont normally play in them.

Ethereal Alpaca
13-07-2005, 12:47
It all depends where you game IMO. Players who, like in my club, have a limited amount of time, and obviously all want to get at least one game in, would just rather sit down and play instead of organising army movements and such.

The only campaign I'm in is the Underempire Civil war- like SoC, but more community, better fluff, and better mechanics.

13-07-2005, 13:13
I think campains could work if using GW based campain books such as lustria, SOC, EOT etc. At least that way people could get the rules set if they want it and they check the rules with a book not a person.

Well, I would presume that even with home-brewed campaign, the rules should be written down instead of just being kept in the gamemasters head.

That said, I have been lately playing in a historical wargame campaign (with home-brewed rules for battles) where there are no set rules for the campaign part - the players just give the march directions to the GM, and he determines what happens using his common sense.

13-07-2005, 14:21
The lack of time is our main reason for not running campaigns. During the normal year, we are lucky to get 1 game played a month. While this number is a little higher now everyone is free of work in the summer, but still we come together not enough times to play a proper campaign.

13-07-2005, 14:47
i think alot of you are either playing in the wrong campaigns or have been playing the wrong sort of campaigns.....one guy has commented on a two year camp...this is all well and good but the gamers obviously know what there doing....! i my exp i have found that campaigns should be small and snappy. the most important thing is flexibility! also gms are usually far to nice for there own good! a set of full rules should be added at the beginning of play...with the following main rule...i, as the gm and impatial master of the game have the right to do as i see fit, in case of any rules dispute, or add to the battles to help the flow of the game! now this is the best thing any gm could do...rules will always be manouvered around and loopholes abused (u only have to read some of the crazy threads to see that) starting armylists should be restriced to hinder the beard growing power gamers! here is the most important thing....games should rarely if ever be fair in points cost, why? becase it never is...however the rewards should reflect this! also the dreaded paper work should be shared not left to one poor sole. this has two benifits 1. the gm doesn't go mentally insane 2. the gamers appreciate the work goin in to the project!i have huge problems when playing games in a gw stlye camp system due to the fact the gm loses some of his/her control no one should ever get a rulebook and question the person making the rules! thats my two cents lee

14-07-2005, 16:16
Campaigns can often fail because players find them too restrictive, generally when it comes to deciding who to play. You might want a game against someone but aren't allowed for campaign reasons.

I guess the main reason a campaign fails is based on the type of campaign played and the players playing it.

We're involved in a long running warhammer campaign at the moment. It's totally open (a narrative campaign you might call it). Basically people play whoever they want and the GM decides its reason and the impact upon the world. It works since it's totally uncomplicated but at the same time can lack any sense of acomplishment for those doing well.

Our society 40k campaign on the other hand is based on a handful of territories which people fight over and using various formulae decide what percent they own each territory. It works for 40k becuase the races are divided into three sides (roughly Imperium, Chaos + evils, Eldar + Tau) and it just fits the feel of futuristic warfare better.

But we've tried many campaigns for both games before. Some work, some don't. It's a case of matching the players to the campaign style, which might take a lot of trial and error.