Narrative campaigns don't just have to be about the narrative: you can use a few different methods for scoring the players’ results to work out an overall campaign winner. The most common methods are simple, weighted and climatic.
Simple scoring is – unsurprisingly – simple. Each game is worth 1 campaign point for the victor (a draw is 0), and the player at the end of the campaign with the most campaign points wins the campaign. A variation on this is using victory points as described in the 40k rulebook, with a running total across the entire campaign. This encourages players to look after their forces, much like real world generals. Sometimes, the amount of troops you lose winning a battle can cost you the war.
In a weighted campaign, missions are worth different amounts of campaign points depending on how important the players feel that mission are. In our example, the actual sabotage scenario could easily count for more campaign points than the scout or evacuation scenarios as it's the main goal of the campaign. This can also be done with victory points, with the victory points been doubled or tripled for the sabotage scenario. It's perfectly fine to have different weightings for scenarios on the same level of a tree campaign if you're letting the winner choose which scenario to play next. This just adds that extra strategic level to the campaign with players have to decide whether to go for the easy points or try a harder scenario for the big win.
Escalation campaigns are a special form of weighted campaigns, where the forces start small and build up over the games played. Often these simulate the real world where conflicts start with border skirmishes and escalate to small force actions before going to total war. These can be scored with campaign points with each scenario being worth more campaign points than the previous one. Victory points also work very well in escalation campaigns: as the forces grow from scenario to scenario, so do the available victory points.
In climatic campaigns, the only game that counts is the final one, the biggy! That doesn't mean the games that come before the climatic battle don't count. Often they can give the winners an advantage and the loser a disadvantage in the next game, the final game or both. There's no need for campaign or victory points with climatic campaigns as it's all decided on that last game. The previous example of the small sabotage raids against AA, radar facilities and airfields preparing for an AI bomber raid scenario would make an excellent climatic campaign. With each successful sabotage game, the defender could lose ground AA units or fighter squadrons in the final battle. With a tree campaign, you can use the tree to decide what type of game is played in the final battle, whether it’s a glorious assault or a pitiful defence. It's down to how you do in the tree to find out how you'll test your skills in the final battle.
These are just a few ways to score a narrative campaign; the other key element to an ongoing narrative is the idea of ongoing effects: how your forces develop through the campaign and how their victories and losses have affected them.
Do you use any of these scoring methods in your campaigns? Have you got a suggestion for another way of scoring a narrative campaign? Please dd your comments below.
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