Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Campaign Thoughts for Helvetica

Donald Featherstone's Solo Wargaming is among my favorite of the John Curry reprints. My copy is beat up and well worn, considering I've had it for less than 2 years. If you are not familiar with the book and you play solo wargames or even solo RPGs (there are ideas you can pilfer and tweak, if not directly apply), you should check your local library or pick up a copy.

To those familiar with Solo Wargaming, it should come as no surprise that Featherstone's chapter, "Domestic Wargaming" is among the chief inspirations for how I intend to pursue the campaign.

There's a good deal involved in approaching a campaign in this manner, in terms activity not on the tabletop. This isn't a bad thing, as it's an opportunity for some fun and creative activities. Still, it seems that there exists a general preponderance of campaigns started but not completed and I wonder if too great a space between games wasn't a factor.

Compare it, if you will, to the format I used last time, Bluebear Jeff's simple campaign format which requires minimal bookkeeping and non-game narrative, is focused on tabletop battles, one after the other, and can easily be fought to completion. Indeed, I didn't even need a map to play out the campaign, beyond the abstract map provided by Jeff. 

My map of Helvetica didn't exist until the campaign was well under way, and was made simply because I wanted to, whereas, a la Featherstone (and probably many others), it would have been necessary at the start.

My challenge is to strike a balance between a campaign that moves along at a decent clip, but, never the less, branches out a bit more in terms of these side-ventures (mapping, naming commanders and generating personalities, non-battle events, etc.)


  1. I am one of those types that probably spend too much time in campaign mode. That being said, I ran a versioin of Bluebear Jeff's campaign format many years ago. It was set in a Banana Republic. I found I really enjoyed it. The bottom line was that one battle affected the next one. Perhaps you could do something similar to what was in the back of DBA 1.0?

  2. Wow! A link back to something I wrote seven years ago. I am very pleased that you found it at all . . . and even more pleased that you've used it and like it.

    While the "fluff" of campaigns is very enjoyable in itself, it does sometimes grow to the point that it bogs down the actual campaign. Finding the right level for yourself (and your opponent, if any) is a matter of some experimentation.

    Once again I am very pleased that you found my simple campaign useful.

    -- Jeff