Campaign Play: Fostering and Sustaining Investment

Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. Sharing my thoughts on how spark interest in campaign play and maintaining it.

Small Groups

The easiest way to ensure a successful campaign is to only involve a small group of players in my experience. Its far easier to create a narrative and format to cater to the interests of a small group of players than a large one. Its also far easier to manage from a logistics point of view in terms of aligning schedules. Also in my personal opinion, the importance of a single player’s performance in a campaign is usually lessened in a larger groups and this really cheapens the drama of striving for victory in a series of games. 2-6 Players is the absolute sweet spot IMO.

Select Your Players

One thing you definitely want to do, is select the players involved. I think opening up a campaign to just anyone who wants to show is almost always a mistake, except in exceptionally tight gaming groups. Choose players whose armies fit the narrative you have in mind, who you can rely on to show up consistently and on time and who generally have a similar approach to the game.

Searching out the “fluffiest” players in your area is by no means a requirement. I’ve found that involving even the most competitive players in your area usually works when they get along well with the players involved and are excited to get in a winner takes-all series of games against a small group of friends and rivals.

Focus on Rivalries

Easily my biggest take away in running successful campaigns is generating a format and narrative that allows rival factions or even rival players to get in a limited series of games where they can settle old grudges. Whether that be between an Imperial Fists player and Iron Hands, Aeldari vs. Slaanesh, Orks vs. Templars, Daemons vs. Grey Knights. Campaigns between rival factions instantly engage the narrative provided in the 40k universe, mitigating a lot of work on your part. Imperial factions slugging it out over random bits of territory is usually hard to make inspiring.

When it comes to faction rivalries, the narrative caters specifically to the players involved. In campaign play as an Aeldari player in a sea of Imperium faction players I often lose interest as my role always tends to be the same “schemer on the sidelines”. By both focusing on a smaller number of players, and narrative rivalries this puts that player and their faction center stage, while in larger games with looser narratives you can almost feel like an extra in a larger drama.

However rivalries can also exist between players as well, and campaign player is a great format for players to test their skill in a dedicated series of games between themselves and their favorite opponent and provide great narrative payoffs for a friendly rivalry and can help to establish some long term bragging rights.

Short Series of Games

Another vital piece of advice is keep the number of games short. The best stories are usually concise and well planned, the same is true of campaigns. Eating up too much of a person’s gaming time can usually stop a campaign before its begun. Also interest and even understanding of exactly what is going on can wane if the games/story are dragged out over too long a period of time. A short series of major battles with clear stakes is the best way to pique a players interest and maintain it, as clear narrative goals are presented over a short span of games.

Conclusion

Keep it short and sweet. A limited series of games with a small number of players where the narrative caters specifically to the players and their factions directly is usually a sure-fire way to generate and maintain interest.

If you are interested in Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

3 Responses to “Campaign Play: Fostering and Sustaining Investment”

  1. Avatar
    Tacobeasty December 20, 2019 9:14 am #

    All these campaign tips sound very similar to running a good table top RPG

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 20, 2019 9:44 am #

      The two styles of gaming are very similar.

    • Avatar
      Cavalier December 21, 2019 6:39 am #

      Huge amount of overlap. Getting player investment in an RPG or in a 40k campaign is always the trick.

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