Thursday 10 August 2017

Talomir Tales: A tale of a successful campaign

This blog has been neglected for a long time because of my peripatetic work life which led to a lack of face-to-face gaming. My Talomir Tales blog continued, largely because my players were remote, and I did not have to be present for the games. However, the long-running Talomir Tales campaign has finally ended (for now) with a victory for the Mirish empire. What gets me about this is that the campaign lasted for eight years and we could probably have gone on for another eight, had the freakish circumstance of Mirish acquiring all three artefacts not happened. As it is, Mirish successfully did this and thus wins. Presumably, the emperor will take them to the Peaks of Gorath and enact an unspeakable ritual to bring to pass a new age of the Black Moon.
This has caused me to reflect upon what made this campaign successful. To some extent, the reasons are probably nebulous. Steve and I made a connection with this campaign that endured and maintained our interest, where other campaigns that started well have foundered along the way. I have no idea what this connection was. Still, I can point to a number of things that contributed to the campaign's success.

1. We started small and built up. The campaign began with four nations fighting it out. That meant that we could get the armies painted quickly and easily with no downtime while we waited to finish the forces for each battle.
2. The campaign rules were simple with little book-keeping. I could easily run a campaign turn through in 15 minutes. This was a great help. When life got busy, I was still able to find time to run a campaign turn through and work out what the next battle was.
3. The campaign rules were focused on battles.This meant that the game was all about the table-top action, not the campaign actions. Players had little control over when they went to war, because that was dealt with by the campaign system. They only needed to focus on playing games and winning battles for their leader.

These are the practical matters that helped. The campaign was never a burden with loads of record-keeping, although it did become difficult when it expanded beyond a certain point, because we wound up with too many battles to fight. At that point, we recruited more people to help us.

This is where the chosen rules were also a great advantage. Rally round the King is eminently suited for solo play, so no one needed an opponent present to fight the battles. The rules include sections to aid solo deployment and fighting of battles, so that the player can get on with the important task of rolling dice. You can play one side against the system or you can let the system control both sides. The THW reaction system even drives most of the action anyway, so it is all very simple to have players all over the world even if they have no opponent present.

Finally, we got engaged with the story, and I think this is one of the main reasons why the campaign continued to a conclusion. We told stories about the battles, engaged in banter relating to the characters and generals in the armies, and we constructed a whole history for the campaign in our heads. We wanted to continue because we enjoyed the storytelling. The campaign could have been played to a conclusion without that, but I really do think that the storytelling drove us to continue.

So, head on over to the Talomir Tales blog if you want, and check out the history of the past 15 (game) years in Talomir. I hope you find something to inspire your gaming too.

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