Thursday, August 27, 2009

HOTT Fall Campaign Rules

These are the Campaign Rules I will be using for the Fall HOTT email Campaign. They are similar to the ones use for the past two campaigns and are based heavily on the Campaign rules presented in Hordes of the Things thought I have borrowed some concepts from the boardgame Diplomacy. (Diplomacy at BGG) and made necessary tweaks here and there to make it all work... Hopefully it all makes sense...

The Campaign will be played on two different levels.

First, the Strategic campaign will be played by using the rules below via email. The players involved will act as the heads of state for the various nations and conduct diplomatic negotiations via email and submit movement orders for their field army once per week (on Mondays).

Second, will be the tabletop battles which will be played out using Hordes of the Things at our regular Wednesday night game night. The strategic email campaign will essentially act as a scenario generator for our weekly games night.

Note anywhere in the rules below where it says “players must dice…” for sieges or movement or whatever, I will be doing that dice rolling in their stead…

Each Player will begin with a country consisting of three (or sometimes four) regions, one of which is their capitol. The Regions are linked by designated routes, as indicated on the map .

To defend or expand their country players will also start with a Field Army. The Field Army will consist of 24 AP worth of troops.

The Campaign will be played out through a number of years. Each year will be broken down into four Seasonal Turns: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

Before each new campaign year Overlords can demand their tributaries supply them with allied contingents to accompany their field army for the year. Then all players will email to me the location of their field army – it must start in a province that the player directly controls. The locations of the Field armies will be posted on the blog before the beginning of the spring turn.

During the Spring, Summer, and Fall turns Field Armies may move about, engage in battles, and lay siege to enemies cities.

At the end of the Autumn season all Field Armies must retire to Winter Quarters. If traveling by sea each stage must be diced for as per the movement rules below.

During the winter player’s tax their people and raise new recruits for their Field Army. Players may add 2AP to their Field Army for each territory under their control, plus an additional 2AP for their Capitol. The maximum size of an army is 24AP. Additional AP cannot be saved or shared, it is lost.

At the beginning of each seasonal turn players will email me with orders as to where they wish their Field Army to move. This should be done before 8PM on the Monday of each game week. All are then simultaneously moved according to the movement rules below.

Field Armies may move up to two spaces along the designated routes shown on the map .. In some cases the first movement will be determined by the outcome of the previous turn. Field Armies cannot pass through or over an area they do not control unless granted passage by the owning player. All armies which are moving will be moved one space, any armies moving two spaces will make their second movement afterwards if it hasn’t been halted. Armies that “bump into” enemy armies are halted and may move no further that turn.

In cases where two opposing armies are attempting to move into each other’s adjacent territories both will dice – the higher moves first and is the attacker in their opponent’s territory.

When the Field Army moves all elements must move with the Field Army.

A Field Army, which moves by a sea route other than in summer, must dice for each sea movement stage. A score of 1 indicates that it has been caught in a storm and will roll d6 and lose 2AP times the score in the storm. The first element lost must be mounted troops, if any are present. (The Elves – who are the masters of the sea will use a d8, all others d6)

As an alternative to moving a player my elect to “Defend the Realm” in which case they make no movement until all other players have moved one space – they may then move one space to meet an invading army that has moved into the defenders territory.

A player’s Field Army is in supply if it is either in or next to a province controlled by either himself or another player that permits him to be supplied. If at the end of any turn (before compulsory moves are made – which are technically part of the next turn anyway) a Field Army is out of supply the player dices and loses 2AP times its score to hunger disease and desertion.

When two armies meet it should be determined who is the attacker and who is the defender. In most cases the army moving into the territory is the attacker. In cases where both armies have moved into the same region at the same time the defender is the player owning the territory or the player allied with the player owning the territory. In the case of a Field Army moving into an area to relieve a siege the relieving army is the defender and the besieging player is the attacker.

After the attacker and defender are determined the defending Field Army has three options:
1) to engage the attacker in battle
2) to retire into the locations stronghold and stand a siege
3) retreat away to an adjacent location and stand a siege without the presence of the Field Army.

The exception to this is when an army arrives to relieve a siege in which case the “Attacker” (the army currently besieging the region) has the option of retiring away to an adjacent location, the “defender” (the army arriving to relieve the siege) must engage the attacker in battle if the attacker wishes to stay.

If it is not specifically spelled out in the movement orders from the head of state what is to be done in any eventual outcome, the general on the ground (they local players commanding the army on the tabletop) will make a decision.

If the Defender (or attacker in the case of a siege being relieved) decides to retreat away from the location it is treated as a compulsory move (just as losing a battle) and the movement counts as the Field Armies first movement of the following seasonal turn.

If the defender decides to engage the attacker in battle it is fought on the tabletop using the Hordes of the Things battle rules.

Only the player owning the location, if involved, will have a stronghold on the table.

Allied contingents that accompany an Overlords army are deployed at the same time as their overlord’s army as part of the Overlords army. Though they are considered part of the Overlords army, the owning player still controls their movements on the battlefield. PIPs must be expended to move them as per normal. Elements of an allied contingent cannot form movement groups with elements of the main army or any other allied contingent.

It is possible that more than two armies would end up in the same territory during the same season. If all players agree this can be played as a Big Battle game where all armies are deployed on the table at the beginning of a battle. Otherwise two primary antagonists should be determined. They will be deployed on the table at the beginning of the game and the rest of the armies do not arrive until later. Each army not deployed on the table at the beginning of the game will dice each turn on their sides bound and will arrive when they score 6. Then up to 6AP of that army will arrive in a single element frontage column at the table edge best representing their map route to the battlefield relative to the main protagonists. Further elements can thereafter be deployed in a similar manner at the cost of 1 PIP per element. If an army does not arrive before the battle ends, and their ally has lost, a second battle may be played out between the full army of the late arriving army and the surviving enemies (elements will be recovered before the second battle takes place).

The tabletop battle is fought until ended as specified in the battle rules. The losses of allied players are added together when determining whether the side is defeated. Secondary Armies that have not yet arrived do not count towards the sides total AP. As soon as they arrive the full strength of the army is added to all allied forces for the purposes of determining whether the side is defeated – regardless of how many have actually yet arrived on the tabletop.

Loss of a main protagonist’s general or stronghold is penalized by the further loss of an additional 4AP from his Field Army in addition to those destroyed during the battle. This simulates desertion by demoralized troops. The may be diced for and rallied/recovered just as units destroyed in battle as below.

Elements that leave the table and ensorcelled magicians return to the Field Army after the battle.

Elements destroyed by combat are diced for after the battle to see if there are enough survivors to rally, regroup and reconstitute the unit. On a 5+ the stand returns to the Field Army immediately, otherwise it is lost. This roll is modified by the following:

+1 if you won the battle
+1 if the battle took place in a territory you owned at the beginning of the game.

A Hero still ensorcelled at the end of the battle must also make a roll (modified as above) – on a 6+ they escape the clutches of their captor on their own, otherwise they are taken to the bespelling magician’s nearest stronghold, and cannot be recruited back or its AP used again unless voluntarily released by it’s captor, rescued by the capture of that stronghold, or desorcelled during battle at that stronghold.

If the player owning the province fought over is defeated, the province and it’s stronghold are captured by the opposing main protagonist without any further siege.

A defeated Field Army must retreat to another of it’s own provinces. If it cannot it may retire to the province of an ally that permits it to do so. If it cannot do either it is destroyed. The retirement move is considered a compulsory first movement segment of the following turn – or part of the Field Armies retirement to winter Quarters in the case of a defeat in an Autumn turn.

After a battle, each player gains one prestige point for each AP his troops have destroyed or forced to recoil or flee off-table in excess of those of his own elements that have been destroyed or forced to recoil or flee off-table. This is done BEFORE rolling for recovery of troops. A player who captured an enemy stronghold during the battle or whose troops destroyed an enemy’s General gains an additional 4 prestige for each such instance.

If the defender elects not to fight a battle the province’s stronghold is besieged. To determine the outcome of the siege the attacker dices. He must score 6 to capture a stronghold in which an enemy Field Army is present, or 5+ in an enemy Field Army is not present. If a captured stronghold contains the defender’s Field Army, the whole army is treated as though it was destroyed in battle – all elements may be diced for as per units lost in a battle above and any survivors must retire just like an army defeated in battle.

If a besieger fails to capture the stronghold he loses 2AP of his choice from his own Field Army (not an allied contingent). The Siege continues next season unless winter intervenes or the besieging army moves or is defeated in battle. The score needed for capture reduces by 1 each season the siege lasts. A Field Army that has accepted a Siege can sally out in it’s next turn to give battle, but not retreat without battle.

A player can ask at any time to become the tributary of another, who, if he agrees, becomes his overlord. A tributary cannot invade another country without the consent of his overlord and must at the beginning of each new year provide an allied contingent (of up to 6AP) to accompany his overlords army for the year if ordered to do so. Neither can attack the other while the relationship lasts.

A player whose capitol is taken normally automatically becomes a tributary of the conqueror. The tributary retains control of his capitol and any other provinces yet remaining to him. If however his race is completely inimical to the conqueror’s he is instead knocked out of the game. If so, his field army disperses and his remaining provinces become independent until successfully besieged. Field Armies cannot enter or pass through such an independent province except to besiege it.

If a tributary’s capitol is subsequently captured by a different player, he becomes tributary of that player instead, the same rules for inimical races applying

A Player who himself is or becomes tributary can retain or acquire tributaries of his own, and can order these to provide a contingent o support his own field army or provide a substitute contingent for his own overlord. A player cannot have two overlords.

A player whose overlord loses his own capitol or two consecutive field battles can renounce their tributary status and regain his independence.

A play may cede territory to another player this may only be done over the winter and must be done before initial dispositions are declared for the spring. Players cannot cede their capitols to any others, nor may they cede territories without the consent of their Overlord.

When the time limit has been reached, each player counts as his score the prestige points he has gained in battles, 6 points for each province now directly under his personal control, and 4 points for each of his direct tributary’s provinces. A player who is knocked out of the game before then gets no points for provinces, but retains his prestige points.


  1. I have a suggestion-- just for a little more "period" feel, how about Tim only does, say, three exchanges of diplomatic correspondence a week? What do you guys think?

  2. I promised I'd do two to three per day... but part of the reason I'm doing this is to add some friction and slowing of communications as you are suggesting. But this is a FANTASY campaign, so they probably have crystal balls and two way-magical pools or magical hearths or giant eagles to carry messages... so...

    I imagine once the warfare gets underway there won't be much more than two or three exchanges per week anyway between any two nations....

    The other reason is some of these players know each other and have participated in campaigns whether face to face. It is interesting to see how differently (or similarly) they are conducting their diplomacy when they don't know exactly who the other players are. I think a couple may have guessed who some of the other players are - based on their style or writing and/or diplomacy. Others I am guess THINK they have guessed who the others are, but are dead wrong! (he! he! he!)

    I am keeping all of the correspondences in a file and may write a bit of a "campaign chronicle" when it's all over and insert some of the juicier missives.

    I was giggling all night last night reading through them!

  3. Sounds good: could I make a suggestion which might be worth considering?
    Allow players who can't spend their full APs in Winter to save them at a rate of 2 or 3/1. This will allow succesful or cautious players to build up something of a reserve.
    You will probably then want to allow this to be plundered by powers taking control of that player's capital