Once you have your map all sorted, you need to decide on what forces the players will be starting the campaign with. This doesn’t mean that these will be the only forces they have through the campaign, we’ll be looking at reinforcements later on but at this point you need to decide how you want to handle the initial forces the players deploy on the map. There are three main ways of handling the forces through the campaign, either by armies, by points or by roster.
In the by armies method, you simply decide how many armies each player has to place on the map and use to manoeuvre around the map and into battle. This method is relatively simple as once the army point level per army is set for the campaign, all the players and campaign master need to do is track where these armies are on the map. Whenever opposing armies meet, the players can simply pick their armies to the point level and play a game. This method is the simplest admin wise but doesn’t take into account the fortunes and misfortunes in battle of the various armies.
The next method is by points where you decide on a total amount of points available to a player and then the player assigns various points to various armies. For example, if a play has 4500pts at the start of the campaign, they could allocate them equally into three 1500pt armies or they could have two 1500pt armies and three 500pt ones giving them a proper armies and three scouting forces. This type require more in the way of tracking but allows for the points levels to change depending on the results of various battles and ongoing recruitment during the campaign. Overall, it gives the players greater control over the forces under their command, allowing them to amalgamate small forces or build up super forces. If you do decide to use this type, then it’s best to set a minimum and maximum point level for armies to stop players fielding lots of one unit armies or one huge super unstoppable army.
The third method is by roster, where the initial total points amount is divided up between the armies and then actual rosters are written up for each army detailing exactly what’s in each army. The benefits of this method is that it allows players to actually track the fortunes of the individual squads and vehicles playing in the campaign. This method is seriously labour intensive to track and it’s only recommended where there’s a small number of very dedicated players playing in the campaign.
Once you’ve decided on what method of tracking what points or forces each army is made of, you need to decide how many points each player is starting the campaign with. This is normally the same for every player, either x amount of points or x number of armies but you could allocated different amounts to different players if your campaign was following a strong narrative such as a desperate last stand or if a player has an advantage due to the map resources they control at the start of the campaign.
It’s also important to realise that these are just the starting forces, over the course of the campaign, their forces could diminish due to losses in battle or because of various events. They could also be replaced over the course of the campaign by the recruitment of new forces which we’ll look at later on. Once the map and initial forces have been decided, all that remains in setting up the campaign is to decide how it will end.
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