N18 Dominion Campaign & Gangs joining later in the campaign


New Member
Jan 2, 2020
Hi there!

Me and a bunch of friends recently started a dominion campaign, with slightly altered rules. We played almost no n17/18/19 until now, so most of our experience is theoretical.

Our houserules include:
o Territorys: Each battle is fought over a random territory drawn from the pile generated when the campaign started. If you win, you can choose to keep the territory, if you don't the loser may take it instead. If noone wants it, it goes to the "discard-pile". You can only gain 1 territory per campaign week, and if you didn't get one, you can take one from the discard-pile. (basically everyone will have roughly the same number of territories).
o In the Takeover-Phase, every battle has a random territory (from the defenders territorys or from both players, depending on the scenario) at stake. If you win the terriroty, you may exchange one of yours for the one you just won. (Like this, all players still always have 4 territories: settlement+3others)

Our biggest problems with are:
o Is this system more fair than the standard system, where a gang theoretically can own all territories, or will we still have the problems of gangs "spiking ahead" too much?
o If so, how do you prevent that?
o Some of my buddies dont have that much time and may not be able play as much. Is there a useful Underdog-mechanic, like there was in oldcromunda?
o Also some players may want to join while we are already in the middle of the campaign. How should we handle that? My idea was giving them some bonus-credits and maybe the ability to buy advancements, and then giving them random territories (we would have to add new one to the territory pile though) to roughly match the other gangs power.

Bonus Question: We played exatly one game in our campaign until now, and our genestealer cult's leader psyker-guy was killed in the first match. How do you deal with such things? We're starting out so making a new gang seems logical, but what about mid-campaign? Can he buy a new leader or is genestealer cult really at a huge disadvantage as soon as the leader dies?

Thank you in advance ;-)
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Gang Hero
Nov 29, 2014
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK
I haven't played a Dominion campaign so I can't speak to whether your house rule will prevent 'spiking', but I will note that not all territories are created equal and a gang that gets an enhanced boon still has an advantage. And some high lasting injury rolls can have a dramatic effect too, as your xeno cultist friend can attest!

One suggested variant in the rulebook is Old Kingdoms, in which every gang starts with a settlement plus two randomly drawn extras from the territory deck. It means that you probably want to shorten the Occupation stage of the campaign though, or just have two Takeovers instead.

For Underdogs, there is an effort to balance each game by giving the underdog an extra Tactics card for every full 100 credits difference in the gang ratings. This doesn't help in the wider campaign however, like bonus xp did before. The Turf War campaign included a Reputation bonus to the underdog (+1 per 100 creds again), which would boost rare trade rolls over time but otherwise I don't think is much use in Dominion.
We're in a similar situation with some players short on time. What we're doing is running each campaign week over a real fortnight. It won't help the guy suddenly called to jury duty a week after moving house, but at present everyone else should be able to get one game in per campaign "week" this way.

On new players, how long are you running your campaign for? And do you plan to play another after? If you're sticking with the standard 7 week model and intending to play again after, then it might be better/kinder to get new players to wait for the restart. Play some skirmish games to help them learn the rules and explain that it will be a more level field in a few weeks.

An alternative could be to let them jump in at the downtime stage. Agree a credit limit among your existing players, something like the value of the lowest-rated gang before the downtime boosts and they don't get those boosts (so they'd start around 250 below the least fortunate player who's been there from the start) and then draw them some territories from what's left unclaimed. It sounds harsh but remember that their fighters won't have any lasting injuries either. You could allow them to buy from the common trading post instead of just their HWL if you're feeling generous.

For your dead GSC psyker leader, the rules are that the most leadery acolyte takes over and their type changes. By the rules, that's all that happens and then the new leader can buy psychic powers as the leader would have done (assuming the new leader was late generation). But for a standard gang, when a Specialist ganger changes type to a Champion (which admittedly costs 12xp), they get a free Primary skill, and you could try house-ruling something similar; let the new Adept roll for a random cult power to boost them a little.
That said, upgrading an acolyte will give the player a leader who's more combat capable but needs to up their mental stats. Maybe the player wants to boost one of their acolytes that way as insurance against another dead leader.

At one game in however, perhaps the player could be allowed to promote one acolyte and swap their stats for those of an adept. It has the advantage of keeping any earned xp on the gang and letting the gang's story develop; they've still lost an important member of the cult but not one that might feel quite so crippling for the player.