Design Notes – Campaigns

“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Japanese history is a series of great stories, written about the actions of heroes and villains, honour gained and lost, strange creatures, bold stratagems, personal sacrifice and cunning ploys.

It is in the campaign that players of Daishō shall be able to come closest to the true nature of this game. Where each small victory, each tragic loss, will be felt most keenly. Any man can win a single skirmish, but it takes a master to weld their victories and losses together to become the victor of a campaign.

One must remember that you need not survive your story to win. Take the example of the 47 Ronin who’s final and redemptive act, once they had avenged their Lord, was to commit seppuku. Or the story of Benkei, the half-oni monk, who died that his friend Yoshitsune could commit seppuku in peace. Japanese legend honours such acts.

The Campaign chapter draws heavily upon other chapters such as Landscapes, Scenarios and Complications. These are the brushes with which you shall colour the background to your narrative. What is  most important though is that you create an engaging story for your comrades to play through. Above all other chapters this one emphasises the collaborative nature of wargaming.

Thus we have spent a lot of time discussing and writing this chapter. Of course we have kept to our core principle of KISS and the campaign rules are simple to learn and straightforward to use. Nonetheless this is where players can really wield their imaginations to produce games that will be spoken of in the bars of clubs and shows for decades to come.

To give you an idea of the contents of this chapter of Daishō here are the section headings:

  • Structure and Narrative
  • The Points Pool
  • Capture & Ransom
  • Rewards for Success
  • Battles
  • Grand Finales
  • Victory and Player Awards
  • The Campaign Journal
  • An Example Campaign

Campaigns is the last chapter in the Daishō book, and deliberately so. It is where you bring together everything you have learned and play as a master of your own fate.