Warhammer 40k Campaigns

Coffee Post time –

Our topic today is on campaigns in Warhammer 40k. What is a campaign in Warhammer 40,000 you ask? A campaign is a linked set of on-going games of 40k where the outcome of the prior game impacts the following games (sometimes for everyone in the campaign). To me this is one of the best parts of 40k, it adds a whole new level of real strategy to the game. I’ve seen plenty of different campaign styles over the years and I’ll attempt to outline a few below.

1.) Planet Strike – Very simple out of the box campaign setting where you pick tiles (hexes) on a board and each hex provides some or no benefit to your army. When you play an opponent, you compare how many and what type of tiles you each control. Then based on that you’ll make rolls on a table for special rules or get additional points to add to your force. Games sizes are whatever you and your opponent decide. The winner of the game has the chance to take a tile from the other player. Again, based on what tiles each player has and where on the board determines what you need to roll. This can lead to some great games and interesting combo’s with giving units new special rules. FNP Thunder Wolf Cav anyone? Outflanking Dreadnoughts?

2.) Make your own map and track movement – This makes it a little more complex and takes more work to run. You really need someone who acts as a campaign coordinator to get this to run smoothly. Once you draw up a map and layout the grid on it you’ll need to decide the in-game impact of each grid square. Does it generate points for the controlling army every turn? Does it subtract point from an army attacking it? Give quick access to far away grids? Provide other special rules? Really whatever you decide as a group. For movement you’ll need to decide how many grid squares each type of army can move per turn. Does DE move faster than Black Templars? How many grids can Blood Angels or Bugs cross per turn? Different grids types can also make a difference on movement. Roads, rivers, mountains, etc. Once that’s done divide up the land and start the campaign. Most of the time the group agrees on a preset number of points per battle.

3.) Map, Movement, Multiple Armies and Points! This is where it can really get crazy! Same items as number two, but add in splitting your force into two or three smaller forces and growing them, moving, tracking, etc. Take control of a couple of industrial grids to bulk up the smaller groups before the enemy comes to attack. Hit an opponent from multiple sides with two different forces. Again, it just adds a whole new level of strategy to the game! The other item here is tracking points… Battles matter more in this setup. You may have won a battle, but your army is in shambles afterwards. With tracking points, you’re in game kills matter from one game to another. Let’s say you start with a 2000 point army. After battle one you had 1500 that survived the battle, that’s what you have for the next turn (plus whatever bonus your getting from the grids you control). I’ve also seen where after a battle you do return rolls to see if something really died or was just damaged and can heal up for the next turn. It can get as complicated as your group likes it.

Bottom line, I feel that campaigns turn Warhammer 40k games from disconnected pickup games into something that matters or has impact down the road. Do I really risk charging this hammer unit in if there’s a risk I don’t get it back for the next turn? Do I order my industrial grids to make Land Raiders or Long Fangs this turn? Dave’s Chaos force is coming my way, do I set a trap for him? (Silly question, of course I do!).

Dan from The Eternal Warriors and I have talked for months about running some planet siege type campaigns where the bugs are infesting a world and you need to win a series of scenario games in order to free the world. Again, the idea being that one game affects the downwind games. The other idea we’ve been talking about between the Screaming Heretic crew and The Eternal Warriors is to have a multiple level campaign between different Games Workshop systems.
Level one – RP in the Fantasy Flight games – Have missions that people need to carry out which gives plus(s) or negative(s) to other levels of the game
Level two – Kill Zone or Necromunda for squad level missions, again where the outcome can impact the other levels
Level three – Good old Warhammer 40k! Same as above
Level four – Battle Fleet Gothic or even Warhammer 40k Epic! Again this can have good and bad impacts for the players in the lower levels of the game.

I’m not sure how far we’ll be able to take this, but it’s generated a ton of great conversation. I know Chaosdave has worked out some of the rules for integrating the Battle Fleet Gothic games in to standard 40k campaigns.

So what else have you seen? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

That’s all for now, my coffee is getting cold!!