Board Game Campaigns
For many years, board gamers talked about running a Campaign or series of games. They rarely happened, due to time constraints and the limited availability of gamers who would include themselves in multi player rosters and then not be able to show up on a given date, thus plunging the group dynamic into chaos.
Since I also collect miniatures, I played most of a two player WWII Malaya (British vs Japanese) campaign I designed years ago. As the only campaigns that ever get played are small ones (say 3-5 battles), last year I played a Napoleonic Leipzig two game 'mini-campaign,' where the forces deployed for both had to be preselected, because they were part of a larger battle happening simultaneously, which was lots of fun.
Currently I'm involved in two board gaming campaigns, although both are two player, and thinking about a third. This has become possible only because of the recent availability of good simple multi scenario boardgames and one Campaign Book. One I was doing last year was cut off, but lots of fun while it lasted. For those of you who are interested, here's which games I am/was using. Most are the Richard Borg games, one is very Borg like (Hold the Line).
1. A regular opponent for a series of scenarios: This is simply where I play through the scenarios of a game in order, usually with an opponent who particularly favors the historical period covered by the game. Right now I am doing this for Command and Color Ancients. This may not sound like a big deal, but so far we've covered the basic set and all of the expansions, working now on Imperial Rome, Expansion 4. We've been playing for years now, and this longest 'campaign' represents over 100 scenarios played! I've learned a lot about the history of the Alexandrian/Roman world, which I knew about least of all the historical periods of military history.
The scenarios in these games are presented in chronological order, although do not always keep to their set themes (Alexander the Great's Campaigns in the East, Carthaginian War, Rome vs. the Barbarians, Roman Civil War, Imperial Rome). But we played through them as the sets were published over the last few years--a multi-player version is also now available.
I'm also playing through Hold The Line. With the other scenarios from the original version (Clash For a Continent) and the French and Indian War Supplement, these together include playing 10 French and Indian War and 22 Revolutionary War scenarios. By making up a Master List of battles in chronological order including these three scenario sets, we are able to play them in sequence as they happened in history, and therefore go through most of the major battles of 18th Century America--we've done the FIW and are working on the first half of the ARW.
2. Gaming out an actual campaign:
Last year I played in a Wars of the Roses campaign a pal had found online and tweaked for Battle Lore. We were having a great time. Unfortunately, life intervened, and he had to withdraw from gaming. This was a historical series, without using the great magic modules also included in these rules.
Last year's Memoir 44 Campaign Book was a terrific product, including three major WWII campaigns: France 1940, Barbarossa 1941 (Eastern Front) and France 1944. Each is about 3 series of 3-4 games each, linked by some special campaign rules, and a different sequence of scenarios based on who wins each battle. There is also a Grand Campaign level, but I haven't accomplished that yet! I solitaired through the 1944 campaign entirely and played the first series with a live opponent, and am planning to do at least part of Barbarossa (Center, North, and South) soon. These are all two player battles, so you can get them done, even if you don't play the same opponent for all of them. They are very doable, and highly recommended.
The games mentioned above are all wargames, but simple ones, and their availability makes it much more possible to actually play a campaign while Real Life is happening around you than ever before, without doing a whole lot of prepatory work on your own. If you only have one or two possible opponents to game with in your area, they are a good way to provide yourself regular gaming sessions, with a contest that is in a larger context than just a single battle.
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