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"A threeway" Topic

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Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 12:57 a.m. PST

I have quite respectable forces for my Field of Glory Bronze Age gaming: notably Mycenaean & NKE armies, of about 800 & 1200 points respectively.

I have also built up various dribs & drabs of 3-4 BGs each of Canaanite/Mitanni, Shasu/Bedouins & Sea Peoples, partly with the mistaken idea they could provide the 2 large armies with mercenaries (specious) & because, well, I like to paint.
Looking at this Bronze Age flotsam, it occurred to me that I could, with a minimum of figures, create a third army: the Hittite Empire, who used these peoples as Allies. I've bought a number of Caesar plastic Hittite sets & plan, over the next 6 months or so, add the "core" of BGs from Great Hatti.

The next stage would be to design a loose campaign-like structure so all three could "slug" it out with about half a dozen battles over 18 months with my pals. I have suitable terrain for both desert & a greener Anatolia & Greece.
What would such a "threeway" look like? I don't want myriads of record keeping & this "campaign" would be in conjunction with other games & periods so anything too involved will be confusing. Clearly, not hard-edged history but it should be plausible.
Is there any loose design mode out there on the net etc I can adapt?

if not, what aspects will I need to consider? I'm not keen in making it overly map-driven. On the other hand, it would be useful to send my pals emails with "off-battlefield" events.

Any ideas seriously considered.

Swampking20 Apr 2017 2:05 a.m. PST


It seems to me the best way to imagine a menage-a-trois of pain would be to set the campaign somewhere in the north Levant, the southern coast of Turkey or Cyprus as all three were known to have had contact with all three powers you mention. Cyrus, in particular seemed to be of major importance, as it was the main source for copper (thanks, Swampster – old age is slowly creeping up on me), which was needed to make bronze. So, if you back up the time period to the mid-Bronze Age you could start the campaign with a Hittite invasion/conquest of Cyprus and then see which of the other two powers had the cojones to knock them off the island.

Historically, it seems the Hittites controlled Cyprus at one point in time, so you're not far off the reservation if you decide to go that route. For the Mycenaeans I would think they would want to expand their 'sphere of influence' to include Cyprus and I doubt if the Egyptians could stay out of it, as control of the island might threaten their control of their northern possessions.

Just my two cents. ;)

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 2:41 a.m. PST

I'd be tempted to base it around the Levant. The more naval stuff you involve, the harder a campaign becomes. You have to factor in which places are practical for an army to land, how easy it is for navies to cross open water, how easy it is for navies to intercept each other. There is also the danger that it becomes a sequence of amphibious raids without land battles.

You could just abstract this all and use a system like the DBA campaign rules PDF link . A node style map like in DBA is one of the easiest ways of doing this. It allows players to make decisions of strategy without having to worry about all those fussy things I've mentioned above. Certain places can become strategically important if routes pass through them. You can also assign victory points to places which are more important, like Cyprus (which was for copper, not tin :) )
link is one example of a DBA style map, though covering an area a bit bigger than you want.

Personal logo Don Manser Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 4:19 a.m. PST

Seconded. We've used it often and it works well.

Defender1 Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 7:51 a.m. PST

Based on the thread title I thought this was going to be about something else. I'm a little disappointed. LOL.

Yellow Admiral20 Apr 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

I've had a lot of fun modifying the basic DBA campaign format, so naturally I'm with Swampster here. :-) There's no good reason the format can't be used for diferent tactical rules.

Some additional thoughts:

Threeway campaigns inevitably suffer a two-vs-one gangup. Brainstorming some simple ways to mitigate this:

  • Make the strategic moves strictly sequential (only one empire is making moves at a time);
  • Moves that end with two opposing armies in a node result in an immediate battle;
  • Any army which spends its entire move in the same node as another army suffers heinous attrition.

This will basically prevent serious coordination, and kinda reflects the jealousy period monarchs felt for their own power and prestige.

Campaigns tend to go until one player feels too weak to gain anything and drops out. A way to prevent this is to give each player a "core territory" which provides a strong base army and can't be added to anyone else's empire; if conquered, the conquered and conqueror are ineligible to attack each other for some number of strategic turns. While this enforced alliance lasts, the conquered player can only attack the third player; after it expires, the 3-way free-for-all returns. I did something like this in a 6-8 player Age of Arthur campaign I ran a few times.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral20 Apr 2017 8:52 a.m. PST

Another way to do this would be to separate the strategic situation into 2-4 theaters (e.g. Ionian Anatolia, Cyprus, coastal Levant), and run each as a simple one-dimensional track, like this piston campaign. Players feed reinforcements into one end of the track defined as "closest" to their own empires, and own as much territory along the track as they can conquer and hold.

This way there is no chance of losing one's own empire (it simply isn't possible for unfriendly troops to get there) and the only strategic decisions are advance/hold/withdraw and reinforce/maintain/draw down.

- Ix

mghFond21 Apr 2017 1:14 p.m. PST

I don't play DBA but some great campaign ideas in those links, some day I might steal….oops… borrow them.
Interesting thread.

Marcus Brutus22 Apr 2017 6:03 a.m. PST

If your three armies were NKE, Hittite and Mitanni or Middle Assyria you'd have the perfect match up in Middle/Northern Syria. Your current match up doesn't easily lend itself to a campaign since the common link between all three is the Hittites in the mountains of Anatolia. How about simply making up a fantasy map. Lots of options out there if you choose to go that way.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

@ Marcus

As you can appreciate,I'll need to go with the armies I have.
But it is very likely Mycenaeans raided Egypt even if an invasion is improbable. I take your point about "fantasy" but I think the gaps in our knowledge (chasms?) are such that the Bronze Age is borderline fantasy at the best.

I'll stick to historical places and I'm intrigued by Cyprus: where some sort of campaign is plausible.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2017 3:19 p.m. PST

BTW thanks for the valuable pointers.

I have a follow-up question. Is it possible for me to actively participate with commanding one of the empires or will I have to languish as ref/GM/organiser?

Swampking23 Apr 2017 9:14 a.m. PST


I would think you could command one of the empires but allow for some 'chance' using cards or dice to determine a course of action – I do this all the time in solo games. For instance, I develop a scenario and say if I roll a 1 or 2 – this happens, a 3 or 4 – this happens, a 5 or 6 – this happens. You can use a deck of cards the same way, shuffle the cards well and draw a card, depending on the suit or if it's a face card or a number – something happens – meaning you take one course of action over another.

It all depends on how complicated you want to get. I've even gone so far as to draw up rosters for my regimental and brigade commanders – plodding, aggressive, brilliant, fumbling, etc. and assigned dice or cards to cover their actions – it keeps me honest in a solo game and adds a bit of chance for the 'fog of war'. You can do the same for wounds or 'kills', i.e. intervention of the gods.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

@ Swampking.

Excellent advice.

Also, I hadn't thought about the "gods". No offence to Fantasy but I don't want actual gods but a belief in them might prove interesting. Food for thought.

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