Making a Darn Good Game More Complicated

There’s a trend, and a good one at that, to make games quicker and easier to play while still being fun. It’s even the premise of several game companies: One Hour Games, One Page Rules, 2’x2′ Napoleonics, Snappy Nappy, Five Torches Deep, Index Card RPG, and, my personal favorite, Two Hour Wargames among many others. We live busy lives, but sometimes we crave something with a little more detail, sometimes called “crunch” among gamers.

As I enter those so-called golden twilight years, I take a look at my bucket list and discover an item I need to check off. I’ve been playing the Valkae Amazons for thirteen years, written several narrative battle reports, drawn maps, collected figures, and even wrote a game scenario book for Talomir Tales with Amazon characters – “Piathoe’s Peaks.” Now, I want to do something more ambitious – a map campaign. I’ve done narrative campaigns, ladder campaigns, decision trees, and “quick and easy” campaigns, but I have never played a map campaign.

I’ll be using the following books to design and play a solo map campaign:

  • The Solo Wargaming Guide by William Silvester
  • Tony Bath’s Ancient Wargaming by John Curry
  • Warrior Heroes Warring Fleets by Ed Teixeira
  • Warrior Heroes Warbands by Ed Teixeira
  • Rally Round the King by Ed Teixeira

I’m hoping I’ll be able to start playing the campaign in October. That gives me a month and a half to get all my ducks in a row preparing for the games. I have minis to assemble and paint, paper ships to build, and a big ass map to draw and populate.

Step One – Name the Conflict and Its Belligerents

The island known as Valkae, which means “the Land of the Strong Women,” is divided into three parts. The North and East is the Nycenaean League, a group of cities states with Nica as the capitol connected by a common oligarchy. The Western part of the island is the Asterian Alliance, a group of democratic city states with Asterian as the capitol. In the South lies the Queendom of Latona, a monarchy ruled by the Witch Queen. The old capitol of Latona is largely abandoned, the Witch Queen rules the land from Sogoth.

Queen Celeste of Nica and de facto ruler of Nycenae, is sixty years of age. She has been on the throne for thirty years and has long despised the democracy practiced by the Asterians. This year, the stars have aligned for her. Her spies have reported her sworn enemy, the Elector of Caplan, is occupied with a fortuitous war with Mirholme. This means Valkae is safe from any invasions from Caplan or the Northmen of Mirholme. The spies further report, Valkae’s oldest enemy, Imperial Tropilium, has devoted much of its army and navy to the South to secure its holdings on the Mare Tropilium, or the Sea of Tropilium. In addition, she knows Queen Hippolyte XII, the Asterian High Admiral of the Fleet and the High General of the Armies, will all be stepping down at the Winter Solstice as the people elect a new government. With the Asterians focusing on the Fall harvest, the upcoming Night of the Goddess (an ancient Amazonian holy ritual performed on the Autumnal Equinox), and the upcoming elections, this would be her best time for many years to invade Asteria and end the threat of democracy once and for all.

The Nycenaean nobility will come to call this time as the “War for the West,” while among the Asterians and the common folk, it will be known as the “War of the Iron Queen.”

Next Time

Next time, we tackle the next step, drawing the campaign map.

Have you ever played a map campaign? What was your experience? I understand many of them are never played to a conclusion. Let me know your thoughts – I know there are easier campaigns to play, but I want to do an “old school” campaign just so I can cross it off of my bucket list.

Thanks for reading. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Making a Darn Good Game More Complicated

  1. Does “Tony Bath’s Ancient Wargaming” cover the same material as Bath’s “Setting up a Wargames Campaign?” If so, I may need to by a copy. I’ve started with a skirmish which may spiral out into a campaign.

    1. The book has 3 short books by Tony Bath: Peltast & Pila Wargaming Rules – Setting up a Wargames Campaign – The Legend of Hyboria. So, yes, Setting up a Wargames Campaign is included and is the larger part of the book. The other book The Solo Wargaming Guide references a lot of material from Setting up a Wargames Campaign.

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