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TOPIC: The Perfect Campaign

The Perfect Campaign 01 Mar 2017 22:00 #244706

Ever since the glory days of HeroQuest I’ve always been interested in boardgames that can be played out as a campaign.  That is, you play as the same character over the course of several games, getting new gear/powers to help you overcome evil.  The truth is that even back in the time before work, responsibilities, and internet cat videos I RARELY managed to successfully finish a campaign.  

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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 00:21 #244707

Pandemic Legacy has almost everything you ask for here, but not a mention. There is a reason it is #1 on BGG.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 07:52 #244709

Great article!
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 08:51 #244711

You want D&D 3.5. It's the most boardgame-like of RPGs, in terms of tactical maps and actions, plus there is vast content available, 1 vs many, stories aplenty, leveling up, character development, etc.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 08:57 #244712

I second Pandemic Legacy. The Voyage of the Beagle campaign for Robinson Crusoe also has SOME of what you're looking for.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 09:31 #244713

Great article, Egg Shen. I too believe that the best types of campaigns lie within the realm of a human referee. We need more, not less of these types of games.
Ancient_of_MuMu wrote:
Pandemic Legacy has almost everything you ask for here, but not a mention. There is a reason it is #1 on BGG.
It is a good game, but only for that single campaign, since as far as I know each copy of pandemic legacy comes with the same twists. So the experience is diminished by lack of replayability. Then one must buy season 2, and then wait for further seasons. With a human referee, the game can be continued to be enjoyed in perpetuity, by numerous owners.

Legacy does really well for giving co-op/solo an exciting experience (or at least better), but to reinforce Egg Shen's article, it is simply no match for human creativity.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 10:48 #244716

The game Mark (Hotseatgames) and I put together hits all of your sweet spots and has a completely new type of campaign system that could last as few as two or as many as ten 45-minute sessions, depending on the outcomes. Each mission's outcome controls the next in a novel and profound way; it's not just the "last one that counts" as you noted. There's both personal upgrades (you start out as a sort of neutral character and then you choose a specialty, and then you can add skills every few missions; the skills determine what items you can use) and item upgrades. And a third set of unrelated skills that can be purchased with campaign points scored during the previous mission.

I've put a shitload of thought into this subject myself, and it looks like we're on the same page. You should enjoy it.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 11:00 #244717

Pete is correct, I think our character growth / campaign system is really cool. And it's also very easy to just do it as one-off scenarios if that's all you want.

Which is what I usually want out of a game; if a campaign is so integral, I'm often turned off. I don't have the right game group to make that successful.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 11:39 #244719

The character personalisation and progression is the main element of Shadows of Brimstone that I enjoy. It's weighed down by a serious amount of fiddliness, and generally poor encounter variability (combat has tactically improved in the latest expansion, but it's still just shoot/hit until dead kind of stuff) to the point sometimes where actually playing the game is less fun than planning on what gear to work towards or what level upgrades to move to.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 12:30 #244722

Colorcrayons wrote:
So the experience is diminished by lack of replayability. Then one must buy season 2, and then wait for further seasons. With a human referee, the game can be continued to be enjoyed in perpetuity, by numerous owners

I swear I don't understand this argument. You'll get an average of 18 sessions out of a playthrough of PL Season one. How is that a lack of replayability? What's the last game you played 18 times?
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 12:52 #244726

Most games I enjoy, I play a lot. A lot more than a couple dozen times.

My most recent game acquisition from last summer, gorechosen, has gotten close to between 70-80 plays on its own.

I include replayability as a valid barometer of sorts, because if a game is good, it deserves more play than what the cult of the new is used to to. And because I played second ed D&D twice a week for 8 years in the nineties. Got a lot of mileage out of that game and some of the most memorable gaming moment came from that time.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 13:37 #244727

Wow! You play a lot of games. I got Gorechosen 3 months ago. I've played it 5 times.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 14:53 #244730

Shellhead wrote:
You want D&D 3.5. It's the most boardgame-like of RPGs, in terms of tactical maps and actions, plus there is vast content available, 1 vs many, stories aplenty, leveling up, character development, etc.

D&D 4e is the most boardgamey RPG, and works great when played as a boardgame.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 14:56 #244731

RabidWookie wrote:
Shellhead wrote:
You want D&D 3.5. It's the most boardgame-like of RPGs, in terms of tactical maps and actions, plus there is vast content available, 1 vs many, stories aplenty, leveling up, character development, etc.

D&D 4e is the most boardgamey RPG, and works great when played as a boardgame.

You are correct. For purposes of this discussion, 4e is even more suitable for a boardgamer, though there isn't as much content as for 3.5.
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The Perfect Campaign 02 Mar 2017 16:26 #244736

Here's the only kind of campaign I really like:

1) You play a game and get some kind of money or resource
2) You spend that to improve what you have
3) The next game you put your advancement at risk
4) If it pays off, you get more resources, if not you lose something
5) BONUS- maybe a win/loss condition so that the next game has some sort of result from a previous one.

So this would be games like Blood Bowl, where the storyline that is created is the ups and downs of your team over time.

What I don't like is when board games try to act like they can (or should) tell stories like RPGs. Or TV shows. This is why I couldn't care less about all Legacy games. And if you look at all of the bookkeeping and tracking you have to do for something like Descent or Imperial Assault...it's just not worth it when the storyline is a framing device to pick up three different tokens or activate a switch.

Folks, let's face it. The best board game stories don't come from all of these bullshit, propped-up "campaigns". It comes from playing the games and what you do in them. Can any of y'all recount to me the actual STORY of any FFG game's campaign? Do any of you dare to speak up and claim that one of those "stories" was actually compelling and GOOD?

Board games should be story ENABLERS, not story TELLERS. The story should come from the performance, the alchemy of interaction and mechanics. Not from trying to create narrative by allowing Red Scorpion to keep a +1 sword for the next game.
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