Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On the Campaign Trail

As some readers of this blog may recall, I've been designing and playtesting a set of fantasy battle rules since 2006. The game is called Sword of Severnia and it's a tactical miniatures wargame typically played by 2-6 people on a 6' x 4' tabletop.

SoS is in the same genre as miniatures games like Warhammer, Battlelore, Hordes of the Things, Kings of War, and Warmaster. But my wargame is not tied to any particular manufacturer's range of figures and it has some unique game elements that make it play a good bit differently than other games in the same genre. Ultimately, it offers more interesting decisions and is more fun; in my humble opinion of course!

I spent a good chunk of 2006-2008 designing, testing, and refining the game while I ran my small business. But since moving to a consulting role with Hershey in 2009, the time that I've been able to devote to game development has severely diminished. It has been a real challenge to keep things moving ahead towards the ultimate goal of getting the game published. But I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

This past Fall, my burning desire to start a full map-based wargame campaign was rekindled. Not only would this be a helluva lot of fun for me and my 3 wargaming buddies, but it would make our battles really mean something. No more isolated, one-off battles; this would be a series of connected battles and savvy diplomatic actions that decided the fates of mythical nations and their kings. Plus, it would spur us to playtest the hell out of the Sword of Severnia tactical game rules on a regular basis. So it was a true Win-Win proposition.

All I needed was to design and write-up some campaign rules. Easier said than done, but I wasn't going to be denied. I spent about 6 weeks developing the game rules to my liking, liberally borrowing ideas from earlier campaign rule sets that I've developed over my 30+ years as a game design hobbyist. I sent them out to the game-group, and we met to review and discuss them. I've got a few minor tweaks to make, but so far so good with the rules. Crown of Severnia, the campaign rules that tie in with my tactical battle game, has officially been born. Woot!

Campaign preparations are now underway. We've even created a website to display updated maps, track stats for our realms and warlords, share campaign news and propaganda, etc. Turn-1 of the campaign should hopefully start within the next 6 weeks. I'm really excited!

Now that my beloved campaign concept has come to fruition, I've been looking for other sources of inspiration to stimulate my creative juices and help me add more bells and whistles to my core set of campaign rules. One book that I recently purchased for this purpose is the Warhammer General's Compendium by Jeremy Vetock and Eric Sarlin.

Wow! I've only touched the surface of this hefty tome, but I can already say that it's the best book on wargame campaigns that I've ever read. Chock full of gorgeous pictures and interesting ideas, it's a must-have for any serious gamer looking to get into miniature wargame campaigns.

I found it very interesting to see the kernel of several ideas that I used in my own map-based campaign rules system. Great minds think alike sometimes! But there is certainly plenty of other stuff in here to inspire me, and it showed me just how many varieties of campaign systems there can be. Although it's sadly out-of-print, this simply amazing book is well worth trying to track down for a reasonable price on eBay, Alibris, Amazon, etc.          

Fight On!

No comments: