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13Feb/110

Memorable Games: Joe’s Map Campaign

Most gaming clubs work like this: everyone shows up, people who arrive find others and say "want to play X points?" and then they do.  However, there is a more complex way to play that covers the struggle to dominate an entire world.

I speak of the venerated Map Campaign.  To some, the pinnacle of the gaming experience.  Map campaigns are immersive and engaging.  They make casual game nights into fights for the fate of a world.

Some explanation for those unfamiliar with Map Campaigns.  The person running the campaign creates a map with territories on it.  These are then distributed to the various players/teams.  Some territories could give special bonuses, such as an airport giving the owning player the ability to attack far away territories, or a factory letting players replenish their forces more easily.  Players can attack other players territories to take control.  Often, players' army lists are limited, so that taking heavy losses can be worse than losing.  The object of the campaign is to take over all of the map.

Joe put on a team based map campaign back in the Mary Mayo days.  There were four teams, each with three players.  My team consisted of myself (Azure Flames Space Marines) Scott (Cadian 401st Imperial Guard) and Lexington (unknown Imperial Guard regiment, which has since been sold).  We were the white team, facing the red, blue, and black teams.  There were several odd matchups, including Maestro's Blood Angels with Dan's Tau and some Chaos and Space Marine pairings.

In Joe's campaign, the amount of territory you held gave you points to replenish destroyed units, so teams had to ration their points to the players that would make their forces more effective.  We ended up spending a lot of points on Lexington, as he was our "holding force."  Lexington's guard army essentially took the worst beatings other players had to offer, and Scott and I pushed out and gained territory.  This ended up working really well.

Joe's campaign also had cards Joe made himself and each player had one that was shared by the team.  Cards had varying effects, among them: "They have a Cave Troll!" which would add a Troll to your forces.

Some highlights:

-I won one of the rare crushing victories against Dan's Tau.  This had a lot to do with some bad deep strike rolls on his part and some good setup on mine.  He played the "Play the same battle over again." card, and so I played the "The battle doesn't get fought." card, negating that.  I lost the victory, but forced him to use that incredibly valuable card for nothing.  As a bonus, his team did not conquer our territory.

-During the whole campaign, Maestro's Blood Angels used the "Rhino Wedge" tactic, essentially driving empty rhinos around, and parking them in a V shape.  Then, his Death Company would hide in the V of this formation and not be a valid shooting target.  It was a terrible rules error in 3rd ed that allowed this to be viable, making this a real deadly combination.  Maestro was finally stymied by Scott.  Maestro attacked us and played a card that let him bring 2500 pts to a 2000 pt game.  He set up.  Scott set up his invincible Cadian gun line.  Maestro ceded the fight and put his models away.  Scott won that game with a STARE.

-In another epic battle with Dan, Chaplain Alexsandr, my Terminator Chaplain pulled victory out of defeat.  In 3rd ed there was a mission in which the defender (me) splits their forces in half, and DOESN'T GET TO USE THE SECOND HALF.  Half of your army is GONE.  However, the enemy has to kill EVERY model left or they lose.  The last turn had only Chaplain Alexsandr on my side in close combat with Commander Farsight.  The battle dragged on (because Dan kept making 4+ invulnerable saves) until the end of the game.  After the game, Dan and I rolled out one more round of close combat.  Alexsandr made three 4+ invuls and FINALLY killed Farsight.  Woo!

-Lexington also faced off with Maestro, taking as many plasma guns as he could.  Ideally, enough of these SHOULD pop a Rhino, but I guess no on ever told Maestro that as his invincible boxes of doom approached Lex's lines.  That Rhino Wedge technique was good on average, but without dedicated anti-tank or a lucky roll it was UNSTOPPABLE.

-EDIT: According to game master Joe himself, Dan blew all his points that could normally be used to buy units and spent them on cards.  He then used every card against Scott in one night.  Scott lost, but we replaced his losses immediately, and Dan was out of cards.

Endgame

In the end, our victories outweighed our losses and we ended up winning the campaign handily, even when the other 3 teams all turned against us.  It was a blast, but I don't reccomend it more than once a year for a group.  It's a lot of work and it's not the only reason you should play.

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  1. Man, those Guard of mine got a beating the likes of which is well beyond the pale of even *my* hilarious experience. Great campaign, and being the punching bag for our worst enemies was made up for by our crushing overall victory.

    Dumb, fun, cheap army, though. Mostly made of old hard-plastic miniatures from 2nd Edition Warzone. I was *swimming* in those guys for a while.


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