Kings of War: Vanguard – Running a Campaign Part One

What’s that? You want more wonderful Vanguard coverage? Well, luckily for you blog readers we’ve got another week of rules previews and this week it’s a big one… because we’re starting with campaigns! Right from the beginning, we knew that we wanted Vanguard to:

  1. Be great fun to play in around an hour for one-off games
  2. Be fun for tournament play and give players tactical options for creating a warband
  3. Have a great that campaign system that would see units develop across games

The latter is certainly one of the most exciting elements of Vanguard – and is one of the reasons we chose the tagline: ‘Your Warband, Your Story’. After all, these are the guys/gals that you’ve handpicked and you’ll watch as their story progresses across games. You’ll no doubt give them all names, cheer when they do well and burst into tears when they get wounded. Playing a campaign is an emotional rollercoaster.

STARTING A CAMPAIGN

A campaign begins by creating a Company. Unlike a one-off game, which has a recommended points limit of 200, when you create a Company you’ll have 400pts to spend on models, equipment and spells. Then when you play a campaign game, you’ll create a warband that costs 200pts. This ensures you can tailor your warband to the mission ahead.

You begin creating your Company by selecting a Leader. The Leader can be selected from any Command model class in a faction list, e.g. a Biggit in the goblin list or Abbess in the Basilean list. The model that is assigned as the Leader brings the following benefits to your Company:

  1. +1 Red Power die while the Leader model is in play
  2. Bonus XP for the number of Warrior and Grunt models that survive each mission
  3. Bonus XP for completing mission objectives

RETINUE

However, Leader isn’t the only role you can give to your characters. Vanguard allows you to create a Retinue – these are the elite members of your squad, the second in command. You’ll need to decide whether you want to have a large Retinue, which will cost cash, or a hardened few to lead the troops.

When creating your warband, the Leader is a free role to assign and you get a second retinue role for free too. If you want to assign any more than that, you have to pay 3pts per role. But what are the roles? Well, let’s have a look…

  1. Leader – we’ve already covered this
  2. Quartermaster – this is only available for Warrior models. The Quartermaster is useful when it comes to find equipment after a campaign game
  3. Arcanist – this is only available for Spellcasters. They gain a new spell called Nullify, which can stop enemy Spellcasters using spells. What’s more, they’ll gain an additional spell slot at Rank 5
  4. Mauler – this is only available for Large models They will get a new ability called Thump! and they get an extra melee die at rank 4… nasty stuff
  5. Master Scout – this is only available for models with the Scout rule. These models can gain the Very Inspiring role and gain extra XP if they successfully survive a mission
  6. Healer – any model class can be given this role and you can have two Healers in a Retinue. This allows you to re-roll on the casualty table following a campaign game
  7. Hunter – this is for Support or Warrior models only. They gain the Pound and Marksman abilities, plus they’ll also get a Ranged stat boost at rank 4

As you can see, the Retinue gives you some great options when it comes to creating your initial warband. If one of your Retinue members is unfortunate enough to die, then you can promote another member of your Company into the vacant role. You can even demote Retinue members if you feel they’re not pulling their weight in battle.

GAINING EXPERIENCE

As we’ve mentioned models gaining experience and going up in rank, it’s worth quickly going through how this works in campaigns. Models (apart from Grunts) can gain XP in a variety of ways, e.g. surviving a mission, killing an enemy model, retinue-specific bonuses, etc. Progressing up a rank will then ‘cost’ XP. For example, progressing from 0-1 only costs 3XP, but going from rank 3 to rank 4 requires 9XP.

Once you’ve gone up a rank you have a few options. For example, you can choose a core stat upgrade, a new special rule, power dice upgrade, etc. With regards to the new special rules, these are dictated by the model’s class. Command, Large, Spellcasters and Support can all learn from four new abilities, while Warriors can learn from eight different abilities – which makes them one of the most versatile options for a warband.

Thanks to the experience system, your characters are going to be very different at the end of the campaign, compared to when they started out. You’ll remember that time Bob the Warrior levelled up enough to earn the Headstrong ability, or Alan the Arcanist unlocked that all-important new spell.

In tomorrow’s blog we’ll look at some more campaign elements, like equipment, casualties and exploration.

Remember, Kings of War: Vanguard is now available to pre-order. We’ve got a very special half price rulebook offer, so you can get the 160-page rulebook for just £12.49! Pre-order here.

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