I am starting to think seriously about implementing campaigns and pilots in Hexcell’s Blue Max game. I am writing out my thinking in a series of articles in part to help clarify my own thoughts and in the hope that it might provoke some feedback before I dig too deep a hole for myself.

I have another post about Pilots and their Abilities. This post is about campaigns and how players can enter them.

Standalone Games

Games on the site currently are all standalone games. There is no carry over from game to game  and players are all on an equal footing (given their plane choices). I do not intend to change this at all. Players should always be allowed to play in as many standalone games as they want like they can now. Campaigns will be in addition to standalone games.

Campaign Structure

A campaign is a linked set of games. The campaign adds a continuation from one game to the next. Players have pilots who can earn experience and learn abilities during the campaign. In fact the only place players can use pilots will be in a campaign.

Managing Campaigns

Players will be able to set up campaigns. During the setup the players involved will have to be selected and other parameters of the game set.

Campaign Option: Number of Players and Round Structure

Standalone games are limited to six players because that is all that can fit in the one game. In a campaign there can be multiple games in each game round so effectively any number of players could be involved. Unlike standalone games, campaign games will allow each player only one plane per game. Equal numbers of players on both sides will be enforced so there will always be an even number of players in total.

of Players
Round Structure
4 1 game of 4 players per round
6 1 game of 6 players per round
8 2 games of 4 players per round
10 1 game of 4 players and 1 game of 6 players per round
12 2 games of 6 players per round
14 2 games of 4 players and 1 game of 6 players per round
16 2 games of 6 players and 1 game of 4 players per round

Campaign Option: Player Selection

Players will need to be selected for the campaign. This is similar to inviting players to a standalone game. Players will be assigned to factions (Allied or German) either randomly or by the campaign creator. Players will only be able to create and play pilots of their assigned faction.

Campaign Option: Time Period and Number of Rounds

A full campaign would run from January 1917 (when the the first planes are available in the game) to October 1918 (with the war ending early in the following month). A campaign could be made shorter by choosing different start and end dates.

Campaigns that run from January 1917 to October 1918 for a total of 22 in-game months. Having one game round per in-game month would result in each player playing 22 games in the campaign. This could be shortened by having each round be multiple in-game months or lengthened by having each in-game month take multiple rounds.

Campaign Option: Pilot Death

Pilots can die and be captured. When this happens there are several ways in which players can start new pilots to replace them:

New pilot is Rookie: When a pilot dies the player has to start with a rookie pilot and will have to relearn to tail and do restricted manuevers. This will obviously make pilot death a large setback.

New pilot has same experience as old: The replacement pilot will start with an amount experience equal to what the old one had when they died. The player will be able to spend that experience on abilities before starting again. There will still be some penalty as a) the pilot will not have recorded kills of the old pilot and b) the new pilot will not get any experience from the game in which their predecessor died.

New pilot has experience penalty: This is the same as the option above, except the new pilot will receive the experience of the old pilot less some set amount. This is the middle ground between the above two options as far as penalties go.

New pilot gets a set amount of experience per round: For each game round that has passed since the start of the campaign new pilots get a set amount of experience, for example 25 points.

The Great War

One thing I would like to do is have an ongoing, site-wide campaign open to everyone. All players would get a pilot to fly in the Great War games. Unlike the normal campaigns I think the Great War would proceed on a regular schedule rather than over a set number of rounds. By this I mean that the in-game months would correspond to a set period of real-world weeks. If each in-game month took one week then a Great War could be finished every 22 weeks or six months. Players could join Great War games at any time. Games started in the first week would be set in January 1917, games started in the next week would be set in February.

Do you have any suggestions on how campaigns should be implemented? If so leave a comment here or in the forum.