Dropship editor Eli's wrote this 'Tis The Season post over at I See Lead People, and it inspired me to write a Christmas-themed campaign. This is a generic outline that can be played with any forces or rulesets you have available. In terms of army sizes, Scenarios One and Two should be whatever you consider a "typical" game force. It should be played with your battle rules of choice: Gruntz, Tomorrow's War, 5150: Star Army, FUBAR, USE ME, etc. Scenario Three changes it up by running just a handful of models on each side - something like Blasters & Bulkheads, In The Emperor's Name, Flying Lead, etc. Scenario Four is a no-holds-barred slugfest - again, choose any battle rules you like.
BACKGROUND. They waited patiently, biding their time, observing all of their enemy's deployment patterns. It seemed so obvious when that weakness was found. Most of the enemy's troops take their leave and visit their families at Christmas. This laughable ancient Earth tradition will be their undoing - it will be days before they can mount a counter-offensive. It is time to strike!
SETTING. Future Earth nations or early space colonies. A distant world with several independent colony-states would be ideal - I personally game science fiction to avoid using real-world nations and armies.
FORCES. Two distinct factions. The defenders are badly undermanned at the start of hostilities, while the attacker is ready for a prolonged campaign. The defender will occasionally be able to muster a dropship of special operations troops in power armor, but their primary forces won't be fully available until the late stages of the campaign.
SCENARIO ONE: Breakthrough. The aggressors' campaign begins by punching through a border outpost. Defenders are deployed in defensive positions, roughly halfway between table edges. If the defenders can hold out for five rounds, they gain a Quick Response Force (elite unit with transport) which can be deployed any time during Scenario Two. If the aggressors can get their units off the table edge opposite their deployment zone before the fifth round, they automatically gain first-turn initiative in Scenario Two.
SCENARIO TWO: Consolidation. The aggressors must seize a key military command center, power plant, or transportation hub to maintain their assault. The defenders are desperately holding on to every last bit of ground they can, while the High Command attempts to muster their badly fragmented army into a cohesive fighting force. The aggressors will take no more than 25% casualties before they fall back and regroup with their man body (off-table). The defenders, although their numbers are fewer, will hold out to 50% before surrendering such a key location.
SCENARIO THREE: Assassination. This will be a small skirmish game instead of a large battle. The winner of Scenario Two has one elite team of commandos. The loser becomes the defender of a rear-echelon command center. A key leader must be captured or taken out - his strategic genius is the only thing giving his side any advantage in this conflict. Successful assassination will give the target's side a 25% loss of forces at the start of the next conflict. A failed assassination will give the target's side a number of free re-rolls, to be used at any time in the next game.
SCENARIO FOUR: Breaking Point. A big battle, representing the last major offensive of the Christmas War. The winner of Scenario Three has the finally has the loser's side on the run - but every combat-ready unit is needed to press the advantage. When the dust settles, one side will have no choice but to surender to the other. This scenario's outcome will determine which side will write the history books, and which side's children will be ashamed to read them.
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So, loyal Dropship passengers... we're challenging you to play this campaign with us in the coming weeks. Assemble your forces, grab an opponent (a family member, a friend, yourself, that giant candy cane you find in your stocking - whatever you got!) and play out the scenarios. If you choose to participate, just use Christmas War somewhere in the title of your posts. Remember to include a little background about who is the aggressor, who is the defender, and why the invasion took place. We'll be watching your blogs and TMP posts for your own interpretations of the Christmas War. It would be great if we could get enough participants to declare one side (aggressors or defenders) the global victor!
And of course - this is just a generic framework. Modify it to whatever suits your collections and playing styles. Don't want to play with platoon- or company-sized armies? Don't! This could easily be played with nothing but skirmishes between rival gangs. Or it could be played with insurgent forces against the army that has occupied their homeland for the last few years. It could even be played as an alien invasion - maybe the Little Green Men had been watching our satellite TV broadcasts and determined that Christmas would be the perfect time to land their flying saucers. Have fun with it!