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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Campaigning in 40K- A Personal Quest

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, to yet another glorious update to the Chaos Corner. I hope you will find this offering to be interesting, intriguing, and indispensable! I have to say I am very excited to see new Dark Eldar on the horizon (I love the Haemonculus and the Wracks- though I wish the Wracks were a bit cheaper- unless they have really strengthened them in the new Codex). The Dark Eldar was my first army back in the day (I started in 2000 with 3rd edition Dark Eldar), and I loved their update in 2010 (fantastic models, great codex with lots and lots of options). And while I don't play Fantasy, the Nagash stuff has been interesting, and rumors that Fantasy Chaos will be getting goodies may well translate into 40K Chaos players getting goodies too (one can hope- either new Daemon models or at the very leaset models and bitz for conversions).

I have always wanted to play a long term, story driven campaign complete with a campaign map, story background, and a lot more. I'm not interested in the tournament scene really, much preferring to play with friends or one-offs with people at my local store. However, I have always wanted a hard-hitting, twist-turning, and exciting campaign. The problem was getting people to invest the time and effort in such a campaign.

In July 2005, my friends and I managed to put together one campaign. It was called The Gryphonne Secondus Campaign: The Siege of Kronian. Basically, the famous Forgeworld of Gryphonne IV is under attack by Tyranids. It's lesser known neighbor, Gryphonne Secondus is also under attack- not just by Nids, but also by Chaos and Orks! The idea was that all of our friends could take part in the campaign.

 We wrote a storyline that featured a good-hearted but weak Planetary Governor, a divided populous rife with traitors, slavering Nids and Orks, as well as heroic Guradsmen and Space Marines. The campaign centered on the city of Kronian, capital of Gryphonne II. We created a whole "campaign pack", which included the background, rules, maps, pictures, charts, and even quotes from key leaders. Yes- our imaginations ran wild! This was exactly what we were talking about doing for years! The first batch of games were an absolute blast! I even made a newsletter (The Daily Inquisitor) at the end of every campaign turn to summarize the events of the turn in an exciting fashion- I printed it on "old parchment" looking paper to boot.

But, there were a few problems. Our imagination got the better of us. We made the darn thing way too complicated. The map system I devised was a mess- with limited avenues of attack on the city "tiles". Making it worse was that each "tile" had its own rules, missions, etc. Basically,  it was way more cumbersome than it should have been. It made preparation a nightmare. And, of course, it was hard to schedule everyone to get together. Before you knew it, people dropped out--- the whole thing pretty much collapsed.

We played 4 campaign turns, which saw several battles in each turn- so it turned out to be a lot of battles, but as everyone pulled out, the whole thing just came undone. In the end, it was just me and my brother (which was not at all what I expected to happen). We played a "final Apocalyspe" match to determine the winner. Ultimately, my brother's guardsmen won the day, saving the world from the forces of evil.

The collapse of the campaign saddened me. But, the flame would not quite die. For the next few years, I tinkered with campaign ideas, tearing down what was done with the Gryphonne II campaign pack and streamlining it. I painted up the map- tiles that Games Workshop produced. I began to create a new story (which would see several revisions). Most of all- I kept after the rules, making sure that it would be faster and playable.

The Victory Parade at the end of the Gryphonne II Campaign

Thus, after years of tinkering and revision, my new campaign was ready- the Judgement of Trovana Prime!! In my next blog update, I'll let you guys all know how that campaign has been going- if I have indeed learned from my mistakes, or if I am indeed a fool and have learned nothing...

Until next time!!

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