This post is a primer for the campaign chronicles that I’m transferring over. It’s designed to get you thinking about campaign play and inspired to start your own with your campaign with your local gaming group.
This post was inspired by one of my fellow campaigners, Youngblood on the CBT forums. We got to talking about the campaign, reminiscing about some of the battles and how far we’ve come over the past year and a half. We covered a lot of topics, primarily about what we liked about playing in a campaign verses other types of BT gaming, such as Catalyst Commando events or one-off games at the local gaming store. And thus, I’m going to highlight a variety of points that make campaigns an excellent way to satisfy your BT gaming needs.
1. Ownership/Investment – For me, I think this is one of the most important and distinguishing characteristics of a campaign. You get to create pilots and units, give them personality and customize your forces the way you want. It is way more fulfilling to win with your creation than some randomly generated force. Additionally, it forces you to play “realistically”. What I mean by “realistically” is that in a campaign, you’re on the hook for ammo, repairs, ‘Mech replacements, etc. It forces you to play more conservatively, retreating damaged ‘Mechs instead of sacrificing them for the one-shot game victory because the consequences of that victory are meaningless. In a campaign, sometimes victories are more costly than losses, and you need to know when to make the call to fall back.
2. Creativity – This partially has to do with the creation of your own units, but more keenly focuses on the various scenarios you and your fellow campaigners will be playing in. The good thing about a campaign, you get to run a variety of missions with multiple objectives. No longer are you just running the standard last man standing or a kill ’em all game. I could go into all the different missions you could possibly play in, but you would only need to read the blog to find out a handful of potential mission types. I think that playing a variety of mission types makes you a better commander, as you start having to formulate different tactics for different situations and deploy different units based on their strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to the current mission.
3. Diversity – One might argue that randomly rolled forces and one-off games gives you more diversity than a campaign, but I’ll argue against it. If you alternate the OpFor, then you will always get to play with new and interesting units, ‘Mechs and conventional forces alike. I think that OpFor’ing in our campaign has improved my game drastically. I’ve been able to play different styles of forces and try out various tactics without detriment to my merc company because the OpFor doesn’t matter at the end of the day. So I can practice using light screening unit in a proper manner and tryout what different ‘Mechs are good at and not so good at. So while it is fun to play with your own stuff in a campaign, its nearly as fun and almost a better experience OpFor’ing. Additionally, you end up having to run large units, company sized or greater. This helps you learn to manage larger forces and use each lance as a piece of your command.
4. Consistent Game Play – One of the better attributes of a campaign is consistent game play. We play every other week, which is nice since it doesn’t consume every Saturday, but is enough to keep us interested and ready for the next session. Others might feel more or less meets their needs. But all can agree, planned gaming and the guarantee you’ll get to play on a consistent basis is awesome.
5. Building a Network of Friends – To me, this one stands out as the brightest. The group that I game with were all friends before I found them on the CBT forums. They were nice enough to bring me on board and I definitely enjoy playing with them and hanging out with them. Me and Youngblood have done some painting session together and we always grab lunch or dinner during our game play sessions. The cool thing is, since we play together so much, when we decide to show up to the Catalyst run games at the local store, we can kick some ass because we know how each other play, making it all the more fun.
There are probably countless other reasons why you should organize your friends or get together with fellow BT gamers and start up a campaign. I’ve highlighted a few, those that I considered to be the most important. Obviously, having fun is the most motivating factor here. But I’d argue that your growth as a commander will be increased by participating in a campaign. Between player made resources that you can find online and products provided by Catalyst and the legacy companies, there is plenty of campaign management support out there. The task is not as daunting as it might seem.
Thanks for following along and I hope you start your own campaign soon!