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Author Topic: Troubleshooting an Abbreviated Battle Campaign System  (Read 555 times)

VanVelding

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Troubleshooting an Abbreviated Battle Campaign System
« on: 29 September 2012, 17:52:45 »
So, I've been working on a simple campaign/RPG/Battletech system for not-so-dedicated players. Ideally, I want it to center around lance-on-lance battles with the many factors of a Battletech game (starting/home edges, map orientation, objectives, etc.) determined by the context in which the combatants engage one another. It accommodates more than two players, so I'm trying to ensure that there's not more than one Battletech game per turn (so that each player gets equal amounts of play time). However, I wanted to run the central campaign framework past regular Battletech players, not for any consistency with Battletech canon, but for general soundness as the centerpoint of a campaign system.

Rules:
The basic setup is that an invading company lands on an enemy planet. The planet has its own company of defenders and a few facilities--simple buildings that provide the planet's controller some benefit (For example, Supply Depots, Factories, Communications Buildings, etc.).

The Attacker's goal is to have a Raiding lance hit one of these buildings to either steal something from it (supplies, captured mechwarriors, etc.), destroy it, or scan it for intelligence. To do this, each Attacking lance receives orders to Raid a target facility or to Screen those Raiding lances from interception by the defenders. There's no set objective; a lance that reaches its target isn't bound to a single action. For example, if a Raiding lance reaches a Supply Depot with the intent to steal Supply Points, but they find a lance of assault 'mechs defending it, they can instead shoot the Depot up, scan the enemies for intelligence, and withdrawal.

Defending lances can Hunt or Guard. Hunting lances travel afield to try to identify or engage the invaders while Guarding lances remain at a single facility and defend it from any attack.

After actions are declared, Hunting lances roll to intercept Screening and Raiding lances, with modifiers based on each lance's movement points, equipment, orders, and a few other things. Successful interceptions result in an Engagement, as do any Raiding lances that slip past Hunting lances to reach a Guarded facility. Only one Engagement results in a Battle that's played out that turn, with Raid v Guard Engagements taking priority over Raid v Hunt Engagements, which take priority over Screen v Hunt. All Engagements that aren't played out as Battles are resolved as Skirmishes.

Obviously, this system is rough. There are problems with ensuring only one Battle happens per turn. Restricting attackers to one Raid order per turn would simplify things, but impose (yet another) artificial restriction and cut down on the flexibility of company composition. The interception rolls seem like they would total up quickly (with a maximum of 9 rolls per turn, using modifiers from six lances). The system doesn't account for two different players attacking a third player's world simultaneously (it's not like there's going to be an invasion queue in orbit).

I could go on, but this post has already gone on long enough and I'm sure there are other problems with the core of this system and the underlying concept that most of you have already seen and I would be happy to hear about them. It's better than fleshing out the rules and then having players poke holes in it.
I also have a blog about gaming, comics, and news at vanvelding.blogspot.

Matti

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Re: Troubleshooting an Abbreviated Battle Campaign System
« Reply #1 on: 03 October 2012, 23:42:49 »
You know what they say, don't you? About how us MechWarriors are the modern knights errant, how warfare has become civilized now that we have to abide by conventions and rules of war. Don't believe it.

VanVelding

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Re: Troubleshooting an Abbreviated Battle Campaign System
« Reply #2 on: 06 October 2012, 18:51:43 »
Yes. I've read that. I've got Sword and Dragon and Wolf and Blake and Blake Ascending. I've borrowed a lot from them, but their fundamental structure doesn't provide the consequence, game setup, and rewards I really want out of a campaign.

Parts of what I'm talking about address the problems you had from the other thread; "How does each side know they won?" The issue is that winning depends on the circumstance. If you took 60% losses, but saved a supply depot from being leveled by an enemy force, you won...if that depot was worth more than 60% of your lance. If it's not, then you just lost a big chunk of your metal for nothing. I wanted a little something more than "if you take out 50% of the enemy force, they vanish immediately because you won and somewhere else, another lance can start a specific mission that we assure you is related to this one."

I would love to use the campaign tracks to cobble together something like Subset Games' FTL, where the campaign is nothing but a random gauntlet of scenarios, salvage, and supplies, like The Warriors with 'mechs, but that's another thing entirely.

Thanks for the help though.
I also have a blog about gaming, comics, and news at vanvelding.blogspot.