N18 How do you handle player challenges and scheduling in a campaign?

Merzbau

Gang Champion
Nov 9, 2018
282
373
78
Philadelphia
My group is getting closer to starting a new campaign after our last one fizzled out pre-pandemic. One of the main factors our last attempt fell apart was the difficulty of issuing and receiving challenges, and the scheduling problems that could arise from it. We’re running a combined Dominion and Law & Misrule campaign (to encourage players to diversify their portfolios a little and to still have plenty of options after removing the worst offending Territories from the Dominion deck) with a group of six. These are some of my concerns:

If we do have players issuing challenges one at a time (starting with the lowest gang rating/wealth/rep or some other metric), it means a potential backlog as the earlier games have to resolve first, which will affect how subsequent players want to use their “turn.” We could have everyone issue their challenges at once and fight the new owner of any territories/rackets that change hands when their turn comes up in the order, but this also results in a lot of potential for multiplayer pileups. The other two players who are co-arbitrating this with me as a kind of rules committee are veterans of the original Necromunda and are adamant that multiplayer games, making deals for alliances, and the inevitable backstabbing are part of the fun, but this is exactly what contributed to our last campaign falling apart and some players having such a bad time they’re not interested in rejoining at all (we discovered that the Toll Crossing terrain is nothing but detrimental to a campaign, for instance).

And even setting aside the politicking aspect, multiplayer games require their own set of missions, and there simply don’t seem to be that many good multiplayer scenarios available. Games devolving into two gangs shooting it out until one of them bottles is already an issue, and this seems like it would aggravate it by taking an already-slow framework (we tried a four-player mission last weekend as a test game and while we were admittedly rusty, we barely finished two turns over four hours) and dragging out the game length.

We’re already planning on smoothing out income generation by having it happen once at the start of each campaign week instead of after every game (especially since players will control both starting Territories and Rackets), but I’m still concerned about the potential for huge clusterf*cks again.

The compromise we settled on to reduce multiplayer games was having all players simultaneously reveal their attack targets— naming individual Territories or Rackets, not players— and letting each player attack once and defend up to one territory/racket (and with rescue missions scheduled at the convenience of both players). This solves one problem (ensuring everyone plays at least one game per campaign week) and makes a stab at a second (ideally cutting down on the number of multiplayer games), but practically guarantees a high turnover and some feelbad moments as players feel hanged up on and have to cede territories in excess of their ability to hold them.

How have your campaigns handled the issue of who fights who when? It feels like it should be simple, as it’s the most basic element of campaign play, but it’s a ridiculous can of worms; only Uprising and Outcasts seem satisfactory on paper (with income once per week by default and other kinds of progression than territory turnover) and the group decided against those campaign types.
 

spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
Staff member
Necromunda Custodian
Yak Comp 2nd Place
Tribe Council
Feb 8, 2013
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Tilehurst, U.k.
I'm in 2 groups at the moment.

Group 1, we meet once a month, there are in theory 8 players, but realistically we have 6 usually who can make it. If we have an odd number we agree a multiplayer scenario as required. We play as each game night is a campaign week, and have a whatsapp group where we organise incomes, scenarios etc etc (all the pre battle stuff) in the week before hand so people know who they are playing, whats going on etc and can jsut get to it on the night. We have used this setup for turf war, dominion, law and misrule, and now uprising campaigns (currently got 'week 5' due next week then we'll talk about some funky climax games for the last session of this campaign). We aim for a round robin esk approach of play whoever to start with, and by week 3 or 4 I'll knock up a quick table of who hasnt played who so we can have new opponents where possible.

Group 2 is a more local group, and we tend o have game days when people can make it, there are 5 of us in that and we'll play each other in no particular order other than aiming for not playing the same person again and again. We are currently in down time and have done a couple of side missions. These ones would play literally side by side, the game that finished first claimed their territory, the loser got a random one. Then the 2nd game finished and winner from that would pick their terriroty and loser gets a random from the rest (our house rule to keep all gangs progrossing and not getting left behind).

I will say, both groups are casual plays, we are more interested in catching up with mates and rolling dice with new people (in our friend groups) rather than challenging for advantage etc and studying the match ups for best growth potential in our gangs (Or at least thats how I approach it and everyone seems to be similar. I did regret facing a chaos cult once in a stop the ritual game when I didnt check anything though as my entire gang suffered insanity for the game and his was mostly unaffected lol. Was still entertaining though).
 

TopsyKretts

Hive Lord
Honored Tribesman
Dec 29, 2017
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Norway
Haven't played Necromunda in a while, but play a couple of other games regularly. Have played all sorts of games in the past. Doesn't matter if it is GorkaMorka, Blood Bowl, Kill Team, Mordheim or anything else, the format is always the same. Anyone who shows up plays against anyone else that shows up. It is a futile task to try and schedule anything in advance because people arrive late, are sick or otherwise not able to attend at any given day. This is one reason the new necromunda campaign doesn't fit well with my group at all. The solution we had was to heavily modify the campaign, removing all schedules/challenges and compensating with various underdog bonuses for those who got to play less or suffered more setbacks than others. We also try to avoid having same matchup consequently to have most varied battles.

Always found it strange how rigid the new necromunda campaign blueprint is. Unlike virtually all previous games we've played, where anyone can play, join or leave at any time.
I did regret facing a chaos cult once in a stop the ritual game when I didnt check anything though as my entire gang suffered insanity for the game and his was mostly unaffected lol. Was still entertaining though).
Can relate to that! Ended up rewriting all immunities to re-roll failed instead.
 
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Scabs

Gang Hero
Feb 4, 2014
503
609
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San Diego. CA, USA
Issuing and receiving challenges is very straight forward. What the Necromunda designers intended was for all participants in the campaign to meet on the same night each week, at the appointed time. At the Regimental Club. After hail and hearty greetings, don smoking jackets, retire to the Trophy Room, light up Cuban cigars, and enjoy a ribald round of challenges over single-malt Scotch, neat. Hip, hip, cheerio!

IF for some strange reason, your group can't do this, then the whole stupid thing does not work. Just pair off, or let the Arbitrator randomly or insidiously assign opponents. Yes, this means the silly deal where a Challenger can win a territory from the Challenged, but the Challenged has nothing to gain, does not work. Try it once, and watch the rich get richer and poor get poorer. It is the weakest part of the Dominion campaign. That said, it's a great game!
 
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