Mapless Campaigns

The premise of the Mapless Campaign system is that complicated campaigns involving maps with detailed map movement, and where losing a couple of battles seriously impairs a player’s chance of success, are doomed to peter out. There are no maps in this campaign but players get to collect territories. And collecting territories makes the player more powerful. It is based on the campaign system in the Warmaster Ancient Armies book by Rick Priestley.


Tactical Rules

This works with any tactical rules in periods where armies march across a large land mass. For example we have started a Mapless HOTT Campaign set in Britannia 600.

Variations are given for a variety of game systems including Warmaster Ancients (WMA), De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA), Hordes of the Things (HOTT), De Bellis Renationis (DBR), Field of Glory (FOG).


Campaign Set Up

Players

You need some players, who can optionally be organised into teams.

Armies

Each player selects an army from the relevant army list. Allocate a modest number of points for these armies to enable faster battles. The armies can in fact change between games; the only important thing is that each game is balanced. Each player will need figures for their army, plus for bonus troops they’ll acquire during the campaign.

Rules Suggested Army Size
WMA 1,000 points
HOTT 24 army points (AP)
DBA 12 elements
DBM/DBR 300 AP
Crossfire 100 points
Field of Glory (FOG) 600 points

Initial Territories

Each player randomly generates three territories. A player can have at most one rich territory, of any type, at the beginning of the campaign. If you get more than one, then discard the excess and generate some more territories.

Campaign Battles

Any player can fight any other player (if using teams, any player can fight any player from an opposing team) any number of times. All of these can be campaign games. If you win a battle you get more territories. All players need to keep track of their territories.

Pre-battle phase

Territories are used in battle to simulate pre-battle manoeuvres and/or advantage derived from greater resources. Each player secretly selects three of his territories. These are revealed simultaneously.

Territories provide:

  • A reinforcement unit (usually low value) or enhancements to another reinforcement units (to make it high value)
  • Optionally, some deployment advantage.

Fighting Battles

Use the tactical rules of choice. Each player gets their basic army at full strength, plus any reinforcements.

Post-battle phase

If the battle is a draw then neither player benefits, however, if one player wins the battle:

  1. A new territory is added to the campaign. The winner of a battle randomly generates the new territory.
  2. The winner gets an extra territory. The winner can then either take the new territory or one of the territories the loser used during the game.
  3. The loser retains the same number of territories, although depending on the selection of the winner the specific territories may have changed. If the winner takes one of the loser’s territories the loser gets the new generated territory to replace it.

Winning the Campaign

Before the campaign starts you should set out the victory conditions. Options include:

  • The player who has the highest total territory value at the end of a fixed time period (e.g. for a one day campaign).
  • The player that reaches a target territory value fastest.
  • The player that acquires a certain number of territories fastest.

Territories

Territories are the campaign goal and provide benefit during the campaign. As players gain additional territories they become more powerful.

The table below has example territories for an campaign of any period. Although my original focus was Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfare, this system also works for Gunpowder Warfare and later. The number column is the number of that type of territory you might include in a typical campaign. Points are given for WMA, DBA, HOTT, DBM and DBR.

Number Territory Reinforcement WMA HOTT DBA DBM
/DBR
FOG Other Benefit
10 Mountains Aerial or skirmishing infantry * 30 1 1 10 20
10 Forests Skirmishing infantry or missile infantry * 40 1 1 15 30
10 Wastes Non-skirmishing infantry or camels * 45/60 2 1 15/20 30/40
5 Plains Skirmish cavalry ** 40 1 1 15 30
8 Mountain Pass Infantry or cavalry or aerial ** 45 1 1 15 30 Flank march
9 River Crossing Infantry * 45 1 1 15 30 Flank march
8 Farmlands Non-skirmishing infantry * 60 2 1 20 40
8 Town Cheapest non-skirmishing infantry * Two identical units 2 1 20 40
8 Pasture Chariots or non-skirmishing cavalry ** 80 2 1 25 50
5 City *** Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can’t be combined with any territory providing the “cheapest” type. 125 4 2 40 80
4 Port *** Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can’t be combined with any territory providing the “cheapest” type. 125 4 2 40 80 Flank march
5 Mines *** Increases the point value of a reinforcement provided by another territory. Can’t be combined with any territory providing the “cheapest” type. 110 3 2 35 70
4 Fortress Either:

  1. Aerial or skirmishing infantry or skirmishing cavalry ** or
  2. On-table fort
60 2 1 20 40

* If you don’t have such a type then take the cheapest/worst infantry unit in your list instead.

** If you don’t have such a type then take the cheapest/worst unit in your list instead.

*** City, Port and Mines are rich territories. A player can have at most one rich territory, of any type, at the beginning of the campaign. If you get more than one, then discard the excess and generate some more territories. When using a rich territory the higher point value of the rich territory replaces the point value of the other territory; for example, in DBA you’d get one element for a River Crossing but if combined with a Port you would get two elements (not three).

Flank March

Flank march rules will vary depending on the rule system, as will the implications of an On-table fort.

Reinforcements

WMA: Assumes 1,000 point armies. Only one unit can be taken for each territory, unless otherwise mentioned, and the points are the maximum value of the unit.

DBM/DBR: Assume 300 army point (AP) armies. The points in the table are the maximum AP to be spent on that type of troops. Horde elements can be both skirmishing and non-skirmishing. DBM Horde, Auxilia and Cavalry elements can be both skirmishing and non-skirmishing.

DBA: Assumes 12 element armies. The points are the number of elements of that type. Horde, Auxilia and Cavalry/Sipahi elements can be both skirmishing and non-skirmishing.

HOTT: Assumes 24 army points (AP) per army. The points in the table are the maximum AP to be spent on that type of troops. Horde elements can be both skirmishing and non-skirmishing.

And just in case the types of reinforcements aren’t obvious in each game system:

Reinforcement WMA HOTT DBA DBM DBR FOG
Skirmishing infantry Horde, Lurker, Sneakers Hd, Ps, Ax Hd, Ps, Ax Hd, Sk LF
Missile infantry Horde, Shooters Bw Bw Dr, Sh, Bw, Art Mob, MF, HF with Bow, Crossbow, Firearm, Longbow, Sling
Non-skirmishing infantry Horde, Blades, Spears, Warband, Artillery, Cleric, Magician Hd, Bd, Sp, Pk, Ax, Wb, Art, WWg Hd, Bd, Sp, Pk, Ax, Wb, Art, WWg Hd, Pk, Bd, Wb, Pon, WWg Mob, MF, HF, LArt, HArt, BWg
Camels Riders *, Knights * Cm Cm Cm Cm
Chariots Riders *, Knights * CV, SCh SCh N/A LCh, HCh, SCh
Skirmish cavalry Riders, Beasts LH, Cv LH, Cv LH, Si LH, Cv
Non-skirmishing cavalry Riders, Knights, Paladin, Behemoth, Mounted Heroes Cv, Kn, El Cv, Kn, El Ln, Ps, Si, El Cv, Kn, Ct, El
Aerials N/A Gods, Dragons, Airboats, Flyers, Aerial Heroes N/A N/A N/a N/A

* With appropriate figures for the type of reinforcement


Specific Examples

Check out:


References

Priestly, R. (2006). Warmaster Ancient Armies. Games Workshop.

2 comments to Mapless Campaigns

  • Chris Doherty

    I’m quite liking this and looking at using it in lieu of the usual “dudes on a map” tactical scenario generator.

    Can you expand a bit on what you mean by “randomly generated” territories? Do you mean that you just select a type of territory at random, or do you create a list of all the possible territories in the campaign, and draw randomly from that?

    For instance, if territories are randomly selected by type, there is a 1-in-13 chance of getting a Mountain territory (given your table). If they are randomly selected from the total territory list, then there would be a 10/94 chance of getting a Mountain.

    If it’s the latter, do you exhaust the list as you draw territories? Would this mean drawing order at the beginning affects starting position balance, or does it not actually matter very much?

    Do the territories played pre-battle affect terrain setup at the tactical level?

    • Steven Thomas

      Hi Chris. I had in mind the 10/94th chance rather than the 1/13th chance. Some types of territory are more common than others.

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