How much have you used Domains at War?

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Yukiomo
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Joined: 2013-07-16 00:19
How much have you used Domains at War?

Just what the title says.

  • Have you used D@W as part of a long-running campaign?
  • For sessions featuring D@W: Battles, how much table time was typically spent resolving large-scale battles?
  • Was every player (and the Judge) generally invested in running D@W?
  • Do you notice a "sweet spot" in using it (e.g., a range of PC levels where it works best, or a particular scale)?

A more specific sub-question: When you run D@W battles, do they usually play out in a "combat as war" fashion a la standard ACKS, or does the temptation to allow for epic clashes of vast armies shift the game toward more of a "combat as sport" style?

GMJoe
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Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

  • Have you used D@W as part of a long-running campaign?


-Yukiomo
Yes.

  • For sessions featuring D@W: Battles, how much table time was typically spent resolving large-scale battles?


-Yukiomo
I've never used Battles, only Campaigns.

  • Was every player (and the Judge) generally invested in running D@W?


-Yukiomo
Uh. I'm not sure how to answer that? We don't really draw a distinction between the core rules and Domains at War. We just treat them both as parts of the same ruleset... So, I guess we're exactly as invested in Domains at War as we are in the core rules?

  • Do you notice a "sweet spot" in using it (e.g., a range of PC levels where it works best, or a particular scale)?


-Yukiomo
Not yet? Again, I'm not entirely sure how to answer this. My players started recruiting an army for their domain at around level four or five, but have only been using it for domain security and patrols, not for any actual mass battles.

Yukiomo
Sinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2013-07-16 00:19
You raise a good point, that Campaigns interfaces with base ACKS pretty smoothly. I guess my second and third questions were more specific to Battles. Since Battles introduces an entirely new subsystem, I wonder if people often find the cognitive load of switching contexts to not be worth it.
James K
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I also used Domains of Wars in my last campaign, but only Campaigns. For my current campaign I'm planning to introduce a smaller scale for mid-range battles where the unit size is 6 infnatry or 3 cavalry.

Aryxymaraki
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IMO, Domains at War: Campaigns is a near-essential supplement for high-level ACKS play, with a huge amount of information and assistance for all sorts of domain-type logistics.

 

Domains at War: Battles is an optional way to play a minigame inside ACKS.  It's a very fun minigame, but you can get all the rest of your ACKS gameplay done without dipping into Battles.

jojodogboy
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Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

Battles - used in my campaign.  All of one PC party involved.  1st battle took about 6 hours but included marching, scouting, end of battle, and set up of secondary battle.  2nd battle ( bigger one) took up about the same.  Part of the time was the learning curve.

Campaigns - used for supplemental rules setting up, for scouting and information, etc.

We all had a good time and there was a lot of room for individual heroics  and roleplay despite mass combat.  The PCs were 7 and 8 with henches 3 to 5 (platoon scale).  Only experience so far.  

I would agree that it is pretty much required for domain play. 

Edit: combat as war, although the PCs were able to win by baiting a cavalry charge and finishing off enemy commanders and toughest units with magic and commander on commander combat.  It had an epic feel.

RandyB
Joined: 2018-02-14 22:07

A hopefully slight tangent. Here's something I posted elsewhere about ACKS in general, and the role of D@W in ACKS as a whole:

ACKS is a masterwork.

To understand why I say this, travel back with me... to the Misty Days of Yore, to Jolly Ole England, and meet a group of wargamers calling themselves the Society of Ancients...

One of their members, a gentleman named Tony Bath, took on the ambitious project of refereeing not just a series of unconnected tabletop battles for this fellow Ancients, but an entire campaign of interconnected and related battles, all set in his tweaked version of Robert E. Howard's Hyboria. He documented his experiences as referee of the Hyborian Campaign, as it came to be known, in a book titled "Setting up a Wargames Campaign". In that book, Bath described the kinds of challenges presented by that project, the steps he took to meet those challenges, and ideas for other means of doing the same. What he declined to do, while acknowledging that he had been approached to do so, was to codify his process into a definitive set of rules for running such campaigns. Instead, he left it to each referee to tackle such a project in the freeform manner that was common to gaming in those days.

Let us return to today...

Standards in the gaming community, and even the most commonly played game types, have changed. RPGs supplanted wargames (and were in turn supplanted for a time by CCGs); yet wargaming lives on. And there is an increased expectation for definitive rules for different kinds of gameplay; whether that is for good or for ill is a different discussion.

What Autarch ... has done with the combination of ACKS and the full Domains at War set (Campaigns and Battles) is to accomplish what Tony Bath, for his own valid reasons, declined to attempt. Taken together, you have a full set of rules for your own analog to the Hyborian Campaign, whether you start with a bog-standard RPG set up and build up from there, or start with a full setting built by ACKS rules and go straight to the wargames. Or anything in between.

Thus, ACKS is a masterwork.

-

Whether you use Starter, Campaigns, Battles, or Campaigns & Battles in combination,1 you stand in that long and storied tradition from whence RPGs came. However you use them, you continue that tradition, carrying it forward along with RPGs.

As to the OP, I have yet to use them. I am currently without a gaming group, though I have a couple of possibilities I plan to pursue. And I will at least use Starter. if I can get the group interested, I would like to use the full Campaigns & Battles, mixing wargaming using Battles with the RPG campaigning.

jedavis
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> Have you used D@W as part of a long-running campaign?

Yes, Battles once or twice. Used Campaigns mostly for information on wages and supply costs and such, rather than for procedures like reconnaissance or the battle resolution system.

> For sessions featuring D@W: Battles, how much table time was typically spent resolving large-scale battles?

It was a pretty good chunk of the session. I had used Battles before playing the Fangs scenario to get familiar with the rules, but my players were largely unfamiliar with the Battles rules (none of them have the book), and we played a little fast-and-loose with strategic initiative.

> Was every player (and the Judge) generally invested in running D@W?

Hard to say. They had spent a lot of time and money hiring mercenaries, some of whom got wrecked, so that was frustrating for some of them. The mage had a good time killing leaders and cavalry with fireball.

> Do you notice a "sweet spot" in using it (e.g., a range of PC levels where it works best, or a particular scale)?

We were around 7th level with platoon-scale armies. I've also kicked around doing "squad scale" like James K, but I'm not sure you really need the Domains at War rules at that point, versus just having your three cavalrymen or six archers act on the same initiative and roll a pile of attacks.

koewn
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I'd used Battles in a somewhat less structured way the last two engagements of an old campaign - around 4th/5th level, and I'd broken things down to the platoon and squad level, due to the relative sizes and compositions of the forces.

It was honestly more like one Heroic Foray that I happened to "bunch" all the various mercenaries/brigands together and used a single attack for the group against PCs with the indicated Hit->PC HP conversion for the size of the unit.

And, this was all on my side of the table, which honestly, I think is fine for the level/scale we were at - just me, the Judge, treating a group of 30 men or whatever as a big "blob of monster" that attacks and does XdX damage. 

 

Oh, also, it helps that the melee combatants were of a level that various bonuses comspire to make 1 hit == 1 kill for normal men, which made it real easy for me to work break points for the units when the fighter waded in. Very Chainmaily?