N18 "Assign Forces" campaign concept

NoOneII.

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I am probably gonna run a campaign somewhen in the not too far future, with the goal to have it half "RPG" like, with me as the narrator. The other half should be vying for ressources, territory etc.

I want to find a modus operandi that keeps the snowballing somewhat in check, so that a well off gang has good chances to have more impact on the campaign on the whole, but won't dominate every single game played.

All this is, at this point, just rambling and loose ideas. I'd love your feedback on those concepts, potential issues you see, etc.

The fleet commanding game "A billion Suns" by Mike Hutchinson has two very interesting concepts I want to steal for this campaign:
  • It's played on several tables simultaniously, with several mission objectives. i.E. On Table A, theres an Asteroid to be mined. On Table B, there's a distress call from a science station, on Table C there's a pirate fleet in need of being put down. Jumpdrives & Gates make it relatively easy to travel from table to table, but pewpew things cannot shoot that far.
    So players are forced to split their efforts and shift them around as needed.
  • The game is started with not a single ship on any of the tables. Credits are used to dispatch ships. Credits are also the victory points, because the players are profit oriented corporations, not political entities. If you can do a messenger job with a small, cheap fighter, you won't send a battleship to do that job, because your CFO will pinch your butt for doing so.
    But what if the other corp really wants to earn that money, and is willing to send two corvettes instead of just a fighter? Will you send MORE? Or will you let them have it, and put more ressources onto other goals?
Obviously, we won't have three tables of Necromunda set up and actually have them play simultaniously. (The lack of Jumpdrives on most gangers would make that unfeasible/useless, anyways.)
But for each gaming cycle, the Narrator could reveal X worthwhile targets to go for. In Cycle I, rumors have it that
  1. a new vein of Ore has been uncovered.
  2. a bounty is set on the head of an Ambull chewing on important cables
  3. the spicefruits have ripened collecting them from the fungal caves will earn good money
  4. an enforcer skiff with a shitload of good guns has crashlanded in the wastes near the hive
  5. etc.
Players will then secretly commit their forces to those targets.
  • Either on individual ganger base (Spiff, Dice and Slice will go hunt the Ambull while Slash, Bob and MarySue will fetch some guns from the skiff.)
    • very narrative
    • lots of bookkeeping
    • fiddly force composition
    • suggests everything goes down really at the same time, or suggests long travel times.
  • or value based. (~300 credits worth of gangers towards the fruits, ~500 credits towards the guns, whopping ~750 towards the Ambull.)
    • much easier to handle
    • Allows for a multiplier. Each cycle you can send 1.5x your gang rating. Or 1.2. Or 0.5. Whatever feels right to get good games.
    • you cannot send a certain ganger out twice, unless everyone else has been sent once at least, to somewhat simulate that aforementioned lack of jumpdrives on gangers
  • Priority tokens (Each Gang can pick three targets, with high, medium and low priority.) Depending on Priority, the gang can send A percentage of their gang value or a fixed amount of Points, appropriate for the scenario and the total amount of Gangs showing up.
    • This would help keeping the games themselves in a fun size and avoid tooo overwhelming odds.
  • ⚠️Other fundamental concepts very much welcome!
The Narrator has to make sure:
  • there's no freebies, with only one gang showing up, or just a singe juve going there, grabbing all the goodies.
    • Narrator can play some "neutral" opposition (Cultists, Wasterats, Enforcers, Animals etc.) As the Narrator is not "rewarded" for winning those games, he/she can just pick strenght of force that seems appropriate for a good match. Or arbitrarily be a bit more lenient on a struggling gang, or give a stronger gang some more opposition. Or there could be some kind of factor as well, if you want it more regulated. (The gang brings 600 Credits, depending on their standing in the campaign the Narrator can bring that x0.8, or x1.0, or x1.2 or whatever. Abstractly, this would mean that those gangs that more rarely fight against neutrals have an advantage, because they don't suffer casualties without also hurting their competition.)
  • Having 200 credits run into 1500 credits and being shot dead on the spot probably is as unfun as deciding to concede on the getgo.
    • There could be some kind of intelligence/scouting happen, so that players get to rearrange. Larger troop movements are easier to get wind of, or something.
      • Not sure on how that would go, yet.
    • Some Neutral forces could show up to somehow level the playing field a bit or at least mix it up a little.
      • Can be tons of fun, but can also feel very much like favouritism, as it would need a lot of arbitrary decisions (whom to shoot with that neutral plasma gun...)
    • There could be some minimum/maximum force allowance for each scenario, so values won't drift apart too far. Playing 500 into 800 is not *fair*, but it's not 200 vs. 1500. And it's Necromunda, *fair* is for nicer planets.
  • Games generally are in a reasonable size. 4 Gangs each bringing 15 People probably is a bit much. 2 gangs bringing 1 juve each probably isn't worth the setup.
  • ⚠️ Any other major impediments you can see, any flaws in the concept?

This is how far my brain got so far. Lemme know your thoughts, if you so wish!
 
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NoOneII.

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Hmmm.... Too wordy, I guess?
I have to be excused, I was unsupervised!

TLDR:
A campaign in which each gang has to split and allocate their forces to different Scenarios each gaming cycle.

:censored:
 
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MysticWolf

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Honestly I love this kind of concept. It also makes havjng big gangs so worthwhile and possible because, "hey, so I'm going to use these 7 guys to attack player X's territory, but leave 5 in the hab block and 8 back home defending the outpost." And the way you kind of have it planned sounds interesting and thought through. I'd love to hear how this goes if you try it.
 

NoOneII.

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Aye!
I will probably just keep posting my musings and experiences here, as a publicly available notepad, basically.

Main goal is to *both* allow successful gangs to be successful in the campaign, but also allow less successful gangs to be successful on the scope of a single game.

Another Idea I came up with:
Have players secretly split forces without assigning them to a location. And then have them publicly announce their goals one by one, starting with the largest force, working down.
 

Heart of Storm

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I like the concept, its reminiscent of the Necromunda Underhive PC game in that your served with a few options and gangs have to decide what to go for..

I can see some challenges with either side, I can see uneven match up happening a lot so you'll have to be clever with scenarios so that its not just a "who sent the most wins" situation, perhaps setting a credit or ganger range per "opportunity" would help manage this, so all gangs consider sending 3-5 gangers, rather than one gang sending 2 bodies whilst someone else commits their whole gang.

The other challenge is that bigger/stronger gangs will be able to compete more strongly across more games, which may make their snowballing worse. Personally I'm fine with that as players have some agency in how they deploy their gangs. Perhaps an answer is players indicate which scenarios they're going for that round, and they all got told who else is going for what BEFORE they commit resources, so they can make a call "oh the alpha gangs running for this scenario, I'll send my big hitters..."

...its a really cool concept, would love to see how it works out in practise
 
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NoOneII.

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Thanks for the feedback, @Heart of Storm !

I will probably plan the details of the scenario only after I know which players send how much personnel.
Setting up the win conditions, deployments etc. is much different, depending on if there are two Gangs sending 8 guys each, or 3 vs. 8 or if its three parties sending stuff, or even four.
Likewise, if four gangs decide to show up in full force, that comes with real life scheduling challenges. (certainly worth it, but still a challenge. :D )

Setting up ranges is something I have considered. Feels a bit restrictive, but might be very beneficial for the overall fun in the games.

The possibly increaded snowballing on the campaign level is a good thought. But as long as the snowballing does not translate into each single game too badly, I am not even overly concerned with it. The whole thing is narration driven, and being "last" on the table between games is not too much frustration, I think, as long as it feels fun and worthwhile to set up your minis for a not totally lopsided game.
"Yeah, life is unfair. Suck it up, ally with those nice torch-and-stake-fellas over there and claw them down."

I guess I will have to gather some experience with scenario design for 'Munda, first.
As they are written in the books, the ones I scrutinized so far seem to be very... not well written, mechanically.
"The Butchers try to eat civilians, the cops try to save them and send them home. Set up your gangs, and then alternate setting up civilians right besides your butchers or cops so it doesn't result in an actual game. Oh, btw. eating a civilian gives one point, sending one home gives two. Cops win." XD
 
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Heart of Storm

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Yeah many of the scenarios are wonky, and often its easier to kill the other gang than try achieve the objectives... does remind me I should ask the Community Edition guys if working on scenarios was in scope or not...
 

NoOneII.

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Sooo, slowly the day comes closer where all this theorizing will have to come to fruition...

So I'll have to start writing down stuff, and so I am not doing it alone I shall do it here.


Also, I decided what to do with the dastard Tactics cards:

I'd like to shrink down the vast amount of cards into a pool of 50 or so "general cards", which are neither useless nor silly broken. For that I'd gladly have some help from people who for sure already did such a thing.

Each player will compile his personal Deck, consisting of:
1) Minimum 1 general card per 100 gang credits.
2) Maximum 0,25 personal cards per 100 gang credits.


Aim is to have a deck that is generally useful to the particular gang (hence the handpicking from the pool of 50), but is interpersed with up to a fifth of the more flavourful and more broken stuff.

A random Tactic Card will be just drawn straighaway.
"Picking" a tactic card will mean drafting two and keeping one. Or maybe, if you're a total underdog, drafting three and keeping one.
 
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Vonvilkee

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To prevent snowballing I suggest allowing the low rated gangs/struggling ones the option to raid the other gang hide outs.

This would allow them to strike at miss next battle fighters and avoid obvious blowouts in the field while forcing the higher ranked gangs to consider how many fighters they send out.
 

spafe

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full disclosure I have only fast read over your ideas so may have missed some stuff that answers my thoughts. if so, sorry!

Big issue I can see is having all the players coordinated to be able to make all the games in a 'round' against everyone else who might have sent fighters to objectives. If you can get round that/it isnt an issue for your group, this is amazing.

Beyond that, I can see various things playing out here, so having some flexiblity is key. ie: gang A commits 1200 value to a scenario, Gang B only 250. In this case the option for Gang B to just call off contesting it (the fighters realise they are so outmatched here they jsut slink away), should be an option. however, if the scenario is loot based, or whateever, and the 250 gang has brought a ganger and 2 juves, reckons they might be able to snatch a few bits of loot from under the larger gangs nose, that in its own right is quite a cool play.

next example, Gang A 1200, Gang B 250, but Gang C has also sent 600. The option for gang B & C to form an uneasy truce to deny Gang A the free run at the rewards should be possible (either with an agreed split of loot for the 2 gangs or some other agreement).

I really like these options/style of play, its proper detailed and allows for larger gangs to cast a wide net. Also allows for the idea of forming mini 'chapter houses' that operate under the larger banner of a gang without it being super unbalanced against smaller gangs.

I think your biggest issue will be getting the relevant players to the tables. Esp once a gang gets enough members that it will seriously contest 2 or 3 objectives and might need to try and play 3 big games in the time others are only needing to play 1 full game or 2 or 3 smaller numbered raid missions.
 
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NoOneII.

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First: Thank you for your thoughts, all very valid pointers and good things to have considered.
Big issue I can see is having all the players coordinated to be able to make all the games in a 'round' against everyone else who might have sent fighters to objectives. If you can get round that/it isnt an issue for your group, this is amazing.
Yep, scheduling will be... interesting. In case of unsolvable issues I could use narrative freedom and either have multiple of the same objectives (more than one weaponcache got lost and *accidentally* not all gangs go to the same). Or I could have one gang which's player cannot make the appointment get ambushed on the way or something, so the player gets a different than expected, but hopefully still fun game.

Beyond that, I can see various things playing out here, so having some flexiblity is key. ie: gang A commits 1200 value to a scenario, Gang B only 250. In this case the option for Gang B to just call off contesting it (the fighters realise they are so outmatched here they jsut slink away), should be an option. however, if the scenario is loot based, or whateever, and the 250 gang has brought a ganger and 2 juves, reckons they might be able to snatch a few bits of loot from under the larger gangs nose, that in its own right is quite a cool play.
Also a good point.
I'll probably have some kind of alerting system that makes "large troop movements" visible. Probably the assignments will get separated into phases. (Numbers just off the cuff for now, and could be either absolute or relative values)
Phase 1: More than 1000 credits get secretly assigned via PM to me, but then openly revealed. Word got out, preparations haven't gone unnoticed, etc.
Phase 2: Similar process with 500 credits, but must be assigned to different places than the 1000+ before, so you cannot double up
Phase 3: Less than 500 credits : Secret assignment that stays secret. Those CAN be sent to help out the 1000+ crews, but not assist the 500-1000 crews.

Also, I am thinking about an obligation to assign leaders/champions to the larger teams sent out, if possible.

It's gonna be a bit bothersome to make all players commit on time in this multi step process, and ofc it's gona be a bit arbitrary/artificial, but what can you do!

next example, Gang A 1200, Gang B 250, but Gang C has also sent 600. The option for gang B & C to form an uneasy truce to deny Gang A the free run at the rewards should be possible (either with an agreed split of loot for the 2 gangs or some other agreement).
Yes, such a thing would be perfect, but must then be followed through. No backstabbing for truced parties. Not "realistic" in the context of Necro, but probably best for the gaming experience.
Unsure of how to enforce a "non-truce", though, should the players decide they don't want to team up.
I really like these options/style of play, its proper detailed and allows for larger gangs to cast a wide net. Also allows for the idea of forming mini 'chapter houses' that operate under the larger banner of a gang without it being super unbalanced against smaller gangs.
It gives me hope you expect the system to do that. :D Because that's what it's aiming at.
I think your biggest issue will be getting the relevant players to the tables. Esp once a gang gets enough members that it will seriously contest 2 or 3 objectives and might need to try and play 3 big games in the time others are only needing to play 1 full game or 2 or 3 smaller numbered raid missions.
Yep, that will definately be an issue. Luckily we're a pretty tight knit group of friends and not "public", so in worst case it won't be an issue to prolong the schedule by a week so that Jim can get his big games in. (And the others have plenty enough other gamesystems they want to play anyways. :D )
 
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spafe

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Unsure of how to enforce a "non-truce", though, should the players decide they don't want to team up.
It's a simple binary system. if they team up they are 'one gang' for scenario purposes, (I would mimic the allies no affecting the other gang with your leadership stuff though). They are friendlies in all ways as far as game mechanics are concerned. Give each the option to bottle seperatley, but if a bottle check is failed (one roll against casulties v starting combined gang size), then both gangs bottled. If they choose to no ally, its a 3 player game, all count as enemy fighters.

In terms of tactics, thats up the players if they are actually going to support each other on the field or just not shoot them. But I imagine if the player with 3 fighters doesnt feel sufficiently backed up then they will jsut leave, leaving the other gang quite outgunned.

Also, I am thinking about an obligation to assign leaders/champions to the larger teams sent out, if possible.
I think this should be a requirement actually. They much be led by a fighter with the 'gang hierarchy' rule, if your leader is present, its them, if not then the nominated fighter 'counts as' the gang leader for mission rewards etc.
 

NoOneII.

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3 player games have this ugly tendency to lead to volatile de-facto truces, which probably is less of an issue if one gang is far stronger than the other two.
But having the "shoot closest enemy" rule in place will already help with that.

Hm, as we're playing after the LostZone Idea with maximum two champs, that also helps to not make it a million single games for a player.
 
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NoOneII.

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Yesterday we took the plunge.
I was but half as prepared as I'd liked to be, but that's always the case, I guess.
As to be expected for a dozen people it's darn difficult to get them all together in one place, so we started with 4 players+me.

My very short plothook was that the House Bezash, which had ruled the dome with iron hand for the longest time quite unexpectedly and unexplainedly had departed in full a couple weeks back. The local gangs therefore went to grab as much of the suddenly available cake as they could.
I rolled up 30 territories from the Lost Zone chapter and gave them fancy Names to seed a bit of story. (Ace & Daice for the gambling Den, Rosthor's Zoo for the Beast kennels etc.)
Then each player got randomly assigned to of them to represent the careful spread of influence before and after the departure of Bezash.
Then two each got paired up (Delaque vs. Escher and Delaque vs. Outcasts). One table played Downtown Dustup, the one with the neutral hivers. The other played a modified "Take Over". Escher won the first after an unlucky bottle test for Delaque, the other table was won by the other Delaque.
The winner of each table first got to set up their HQ in one of their preassigned territories, and could then decide to "trade" the other territory for one of the loser's territories. Then the loser could set up shop in whichever territories he had.
So ultimately both gangs had two territories each, but the victor had more say in "which ones." (I see different numbers of Territories as the main offender with balance explosions, hence I want to keep a lid on that, at least in the beginning.)

All this served as a nice introduction, people had a lot of fun they say. Learned to know their gangs a bit, first rivalries developed.
I hope to do a similar thing next week with the rest of the group.
 

locleos

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3 player games have this ugly tendency to lead to volatile de-facto truces, which probably is less of an issue if one gang is far stronger than the other two.
But having the "shoot closest enemy" rule in place will already help with that.

Hm, as we're playing after the LostZone Idea with maximum two champs, that also helps to not make it a million single games for a player.
the ganging up is the best part of the 3 way brawls imo. At least, I've played one that worked beautifully, with two of us duking it out until the cops closed in too much and we had to team up in a uneasy truce until 1 of us thought we could handle the rest and betrayed the whole lot. It was a thing of beauty.
 
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NoOneII.

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That's the best case and sure sounds like fun! (Betrayal is a matter of taste in games, though. :D )
The worst case is: One gets ground up between the two others, then they duke it out with whatever they have left. And that's... less fun.

But yeah, it can certainly work out, sometimes. And then it's fun!