Thursday, March 14, 2013

Preparing for the Long Campaign

After many months of work, school and other oddities of life keeping my away, I am finally returning to the gaming table. In my absence, many of the guys here at Remote Presence (Morgrim, Lo Pan and TimW) have been preparing for the 40K Team Tournament at Adepticon. I gave up 40K last year, but if you see them in Chicago, be sure to say hello and buy them drinks!
Starting in May, four of us will be cracking open those Campaign: Paradiso books to start what Corvus Belli terms a Long Campaign. Anyone who has the book has probably read through one or two of the scenarios, and possibly even tried to play a campaign. If they are anything like me, players may have some difficulty delving into the campaign and scenarios. They are somewhat dense and hard to decipher thoroughly. Over these next few weeks, I will try to give my best rendition of how campaigns and scenarios are meant to work.
A campaign needs a minimum of four players, and I think exactly four makes the numbers work out well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t allow for any flexibility – if one player gets sick or doesn’t show up, it kind of messes up the entire flow of the campaign. Players face off in scenarios, which have a variety of setups and objectives, which I will discuss in future posts. Each player chooses a faction, and they can build lists from any sectorial from that faction for that mission.

In this post, I will discuss the Control Screens (available for viewing here), Spec-Ops, Command Experience and Promotion Tests.

The Spec-Ops model starts off as one of your basic line troops. There’s a table available in the book for reference. You purchase this model into your army just like you would for that line troop – i.e. if I was playing Ariadna and I wanted a Spec-Ops, I would use the points cost and SWC of a Line Kazak (9 points, 0 SWC). He would then start with the stats of a Line Kazak.

What differentiates him is that you may spend experience points (XP) to level him up, either by adding to his attributes or by buying equipment or skills for him (the XP costs for any of these bonuses are listed in the book). You obviously keep track of them on the Spec-Ops Control Screen.
Now, what happens if your Spec-Ops goes unconscious or dies? We’ll get to that later on.

Command Experience
Another way to spend experience points is listed in the Command and Control Screen (C2). As you gain XP, you may purchase an advancement from one AND ONLY ONE military specialty. This means at the start of the campaign, I must choose the military specialty I’m going to advance in and I will only be able to buy advancements from that specialty. Also, as you purchase command experience, you must purchase the level before it, and you cannot purchase a level more than once. All of this is pretty standard, with the exception of the ONLY ONE military specialty.

Now, there is one way of gaining more than one military specialty, and that is to get promoted.

Promotion Tests

With the release of Campaign: Paradiso, there was this limited edition figurine that was released – Go-Go Marlene, who was supposed to be a journalist (the only one currently available in the miniature range). “This seems silly,” you may have thought, “Why do I need a journalist in my list?” This is why – getting promoted. After each game, the player may make a promotion test. This is a pretty hard test to make generally, but having a journalist gives you a +3 bonus to promotions. For each promotion you earn, you gain one extra military specialty you may access. However, as you get promoted, it becomes harder to get promoted.
As you can see from the Promotion Control Screen, you can calculate the value you would need to roll. If I’m an Ariadna player, I would start with 1. If I won my last game, I would add 3. If I had a surviving journalist, I would add another 3. If I had no other benefits, I would need to roll a 7 or below in order to be promoted to Level 1. No bonuses for critical hits, guys. Sorry.

Putting It All Together
At the end of each scenario, you follow a strict 8-step path.

1.       Write down whether you won or lost on the “Mission Control Screen”

2.       Write down the number of XP you earned this round, which equals the number of objective points you obtained. By the way, the game ends when all the troops of one army are immobilized, unconscious, dead, sepsorized, or possessed. This means, even if you’re the winner, you won’t have a chance to gain more XP after that point, so be aware!

3.       Write down whether you have a surviving journalist. You only get one +3 bonus, even if you have more than one surviving journalist.

4.       Write down the Surviving Troops Value, which is the points value for all troops still alive and conscious.

5.       Make a promotions test, using the formula explained above.

6.       If your Spec-Ops is unconscious (not dead) at the end of the game, make a MEDAVAC test. This requires rolling a specific value, as defined in the book on p. 173.

7.       If your Spec-Ops has a cube and either (a) you failed your MEDAVAC test or (b) your Spec-Ops is dead, you may make a CUBEVAC test. This requires rolling a different value, also defined in the book on p. 173.*

8.       Distribute XP across either command experience or your Spec-Ops as you see fit.

* If your Spec-Ops fails the CUBEVAC test, or does not have a cube, the Spec-Ops is dead. You can purchase a new one, but they start off as a basic line troop once again, without any special equipment or skills.
I hope this has helped to illuminate the rather daunting Control Screens printout available at the Infinity website. As I mentioned, we will be discussing various scenarios in the coming months. I look forward to playing some Infinity once again.

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