Going on Campaign is an unofficial rulebook and source guide for campaigns in Games Workshops Warhammer 40k. If it's your first time here, then please read the Preface first, if you're coming back, then check the Project log to see what's new.

Practical campaigning

Campaigns can offer so much to players, but unlike pickup games, you can't just decide your going to play one and then start playing games. Even the simplest of ladder campaigns needs some planning and the more complicated the campaign, the move work has to go into planning it and running it. Then you've got all the organising of games and making sure players get everything they need to get done for that campaign turn. These are just a few of the practicalities of planning, running and playing in a campaign, but this is the trade off we accept as gamers in return for all the joys campaigns give us.

All campaigns need planning, whether it's coming up with a few scenarios for a ladder campaign or a whole world for a map campaign, it's going to take some time. Campaign are often planned in two different way, by collectively or by a campaign master. Campaigns planned collectively are put together by the players playing  in the campaign. Each having a say in the different parts of the campaign with decisions been made by the group. This may sound a boring on paper, but in real life, getting together with your mates, having a few bears and then plotting war can be a great way to spend an evening.

"Blessed are the Campaign Masters,
for they build the worlds we wage war on."

Campaign masters are wonderful people, who slave away in to the late hours planning all sorts of campaigns, scenarios, rules, maps and everything else you need to play a campaign. Quite often, they'll stay impartial through the campaign running it .Campaigns designed by one person tend to be set, ready to play with very little input from the players. It doesn't have to be like that, you can have campaigns designed by a cm and tweaked by the players before playing or a campaign that's broadly put together by the players, then formalised by a cm. Whatever way you choose to plan your campaign, it's going to take a bit of work before the dice get rolling.

The amount of work that goes into running a campaign really depends on how complicated the campaign is, who many people are playing in it and how much work went into preparing it. If you've planned it well with good maps, orders, results sheets etc, then even the most complicated campaigns are manageable with a bit of effort.

The amount of players in a campaign doesn't just effect the amount of paperwork that goes into running it. Players bring a whole load of other practical issues that have to be handled in order for the campaign to run smoothly. Real life often gets in the way of our games and hobby, peoples lives can be complicated. Also, you can't always guarantee the everyone's going to be as dedicated to the campaign as everyone else.

You have to work these things, and how you're going handle them in to the planning of your campaign. If your friends are slow at getting games done, make a campaign turn a few weeks. If you know you're going to have problems with guys missing turn deadline, then try rolling off for it. You need to be honest about what the practical problems are going to be when you're planned a campaign, only then will you been able to work in rules to handle them and keep the campaign running smoothly.

Finally, it's important to mention commitment. Been involved in a campaign takes a lot more commitment to play than a just a game. Campaigns work on everyone co-operating to have fun, and when one person doesn't get the games in or delays orders, it spoils the fun for everyone involved. The same goes for campaign masters, if they're behind in the paperwork or lose track of army movements, it very quickly spoils the campaign for everyone involved.

So, before you start on a campaign, sit down and make clear exactly what's involved in playing it, things like how many games, how often, how you're going to handle orders etc. Once everyone knows what's required, they be able to decide if they can make that sort of a commitment to play in the campaign. Once you have committed yourself to a campaign, you really should do your best to see it through to the end.

If you do run into problems that mean you're going to have to pull out, let the other players know as soon as you do, don't drag it out let them down on games etc. The sooner you let them know, the quicker and easier it'll be to take you out of the game whether permanently or just temporarily whilst making sure the campaign keeps running smoothly for everyone involved.

These are just a few of the practicalities you'll have to face and deal with when planning and running a campaign, but they're easily handled with a bit of prior thought and planning.

What practical problems have you come across when planning and playing in a campaign, how did you handle them? add your comments below.
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