Basically though I ran a campaign for my three friends, wherein they fought from the southern deserts to the re-emerged city of Seattle, hoping to unlock the fabled secrets rumored to be in the Space Needle.
In the end the fluff surrounding the Space Needle was:
As the eruption was happening and dinosaurs were emerging, teams of scientists hoped to hide away their vast stores of knowledge in various secure structures around the country. The Space Needle was deemed a suitable location because of it’s safe location, resilience to damage, and height over the dinosaurs.
So when you three entered the top of the tower, instead of finding a bunch of old world weapons and armor, you instead found books, CDs, and old rusted computers. Who knows if your three leaders would have fought for this, or considered it junk, or allied to decipher the remains.
However given enough time and effort, most of the information and knowledge could be recovered. Perhaps even leading to the emergence of a new fifth allegiance: Old World, a people who follow democracy, have advanced medical and scientific knowledge, and use robots and other strange technology to do the fighting for them.
The three players involved were: Dustbowl Dusters, Dustin Tails, and New Haven Vigilantes.
Because we used the official campaign rules these posses were able to grow and develop through the game, from basic 100 IP/$1,000 gangs to 300 IP/$3,000 veterans. Here is a fun little chart showing their IP growth:
In the end the involved posses looked like this:
We played through an intro game, and then 10 games involving different locations along the western coast of the US. Sometimes the players were against each other in a free for all, or in two separate 1vs1 games where I played an NPC posse against one of them, or in a big 3vs1 coop. In total these were the games and locations we played:
- Feb 6: Intro game (unrelated to campaign)
- Feb 13: Radio Tower. Dustbowl Dusters won by objective vs New Haven Vigilantes and Dustin Tails.
- Feb 20: Death Valley. NPCs won against New Haven Vigilantes and Dustin Tails.
- Feb 22: Pahrump bonus game. All three won against NPCs.
- Mar 6: Lake Tahoe. Dustin Tails won vs NPCs. New Haven Vigilantes and Dustbowl Dusters tied (amazingly enough).
- Mar 13: Lassen Volcano/Redwoods. New Haven Vigilantes won vs guest Rob NPC at Redwoods. Dustin Tails won against NPCs at Lassen.
- Mar 20: Crater Lake/Coos Bay Swimmers. Dustbowl Dusters won vs guest Cheryl NPC. Dustin Tails won against New Haven Vigilantes.
- Mar 27: Dunes Park/Warm Springs. New Haven Vigilantes won vs Alligator NPC. Dustin Tails won vs Dustbowl Dusters at Warm Springs.
- Apr 3: Tillamook/Columbia River. Dustin Tails won vs New Haven Vigilantes at Tillamook train yard (with no kills to either side!). Dustbowl Dusters won vs guest Paul NPC at Columbia river.
- Apr 10: Lewis Military Base. Robotic NPCs won vs all three (beep boop beep).
- Apr 12: Space Needle finale. Markus lost big time!
Well this campaign was a ton of fun. I’m glad I could rope in three friends to dedicate this much time to playing a game I designed. Very nice of them to indulge me like this. We played pretty much every Thursday for two months or so. Having a consistent game was nice, and I think the ruleset held up well. Plus the campaign finally motivated me to make my 6’x4′ table overlay (split into two 3’x4′ pieces), so that we could have two simultaneous 1vs1 games running.
We did have a brief hiccup around weapons a few weeks in. Every posse had focused on long range weaponry, which made the game play a lot differently than I would have liked, and nullified various fun posse builds. So rifles were toned down. I took that opportunity to do a big revamp of the weapons, which will be coming soon in the v2.5 release of the rules.
The only other problem I found was the weapon list is geared towards mid-tier posses, in the sense of $1k-$2k or so. Once you are past $2,000 the “top tier” weapon choices boil down to 1 per category (for example 1 repeater, 1 shotgun, etc.). This meant that there were a lot of Lawstar Repeaters :) The other issue was the Dustin Tails posse seemed to win a ton of their games. I’m trying to decide and analyze whether that was posse choice, player skill, enemy builds, or something broken or unbalanced in the rules. If it’s the last one we have a problem, otherwise I think we’re okay.
Otherwise I can’t complain. Everyone grasped the rules quickly and learned the intricacies and strategies as time went on. Introducing guest players to the system also seemed to go well. All in all I’m happy with the state of the rules, and I think a long term campaign like this was great for putting them to the test.
I do think having a “Gentleman’s Agreement” helped keep everyone happy, since even agreeing to stop at Defense 4 still caused a bit of tension. I can’t imagine how things would have been if anyone managed Defense 7.
From here we’ll be switching our weekly game sessions to a new campaign (probably Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG from Fantasy Flight games). So besides finalizing v2.5 (just need to retake the component photo and do a couple more tweaks), I’ll be a bit quieter in terms of Dinosaur Cowboys. But I hope to get back to (somewhat) regular battle reports after the next campaign.