A Race for … X mini-campaign can be used anywhere where two friendly forces are competing to reach the same objective – the “X” of the title. The campaign mechanisms are based on some work by Martin Rapier as modified by Huda (2003). I have tried to make it more generic than either of the originals, and also show how to apply the mechanisms in Crossfire.
In mid-2003 the guys at the Shed asked me to set up a scenario for a weekend bash. The parameters they outlined were: WW2, Crossfire, 8-9 players (optional umpire), 4 tables, 2 real days of gaming, and BIG. Krasny Bor appealed to me for a number of reasons:
- It involves the Spanish Blue Division
- It is very BIG
- There aren’t many tanks
- It is seemingly one-sided, and I wondered if I could still make it a good game.
I picked up the idea of a 3 round campaign from the BattleFront: Kursk Campaign and the BattleFront: Campaigns in Flames of War page on the Battlefront Miniatures website. Essentially it is a serious of linked scenarios, with some pre-determined logic for which scenarios are fought depending on the results of earlier games.
In the English speaking world at least, Arnhem is one of the defining battles of World War II. Vince Lody from the Shed ran a multi-player Crossfire game based on the last stand of the Paras at Arnhem. A last stand poses certain challenges for a scenario designer, i.e. you know the defender has to lose, so I wondered what other aspects of the battle would make for interesting gaming. I’ve sketched out the course of the battle and outlined what I think might make interesting scenarios.
I was asked to run a one-day Crossfire game for 6-8 members of the Guildford Wargames Club. This is what I came up with. It was designed to use all the WW2 / Eastern Front infantry I had at the time – one battalion a side – plus supporting equipment, however, with play testing I decided to increase the forces of each player to at least 1 company. This meant the total forces on each side ended up being 4 Infantry Companies + 1 Infantry Platoon + 2 AFV + 2 or 3 ATG.
In his article “The East is Ablaze: 1919-1926” Chris Peers outlined a simple but effective method for running a campaign without a map, and ignoring all those pesky things that can bog a campaign down (politics, diplomacy, economics and logistics).
I am a fan of campaigns and I’ve tried a few things involving the DBx family of tactical rules. The campaign system included in DBA/HOTT is ideal for one day events. And the same DBA/HOTT campaign system can be tweaked to make campaigns with more detailed tactical rules; I’ve run a couple of big DBM campaigns like this. But over time I have returned to the basics and used DBA/HOTT for the tactical rules as well. My latest initiative like this was Britannia 600 AD. DBA/HOTT are also a good complement for campaigns using Engle Matrix Games.
The essence of Engle Matrix Games is that they allow you to do whatever you want to, so long as you can make a logical argument. You play a leading general of the period. Each turn you get to make one argument/order about what you want to happen that turn. You can make arguments for your side, to cause problems for the other side, or to change the rules! (No more than one level of rule change.)