This is it for the Monkeys With Guns first draft. All that’s left after this is the outline for the Macaca Expanse campaign, which I don’t want to commit to filling in until I’ve got some more playtesting in (although I may just get impatient, make the campaign with my initial balance estimates, then hope for the best).
Creating A Tribe
In a campaign, each player commands two or more troops as part of a larger army called a tribe (or two or more companies as part of a regiment, if you prefer). Unless the specific campaign specifies otherwise, players have the same amount of troops as one another, each with the same amount of platoons, and the same total scrap to start. However, while each player has the same total scrap, they do not have to spend that scrap evenly between troops. Just like some platoons within a troop can be bought as cheaply as possible to provide more gear and talents to another, some troops in the same tribe can be underequipped and understaffed in order to provide more scrap for another.
The Campaign Map
The campaign is played on a hex map where each hex has an associated terrain type and possibly an associated scenario type or relevance to the greater campaign, depending on the campaign’s specific rules. For example, one hex might be a Precursor ruin, and any battles taking place there are scavenging scenarios by default and will take place in densely packed, urban terrain that is likely at least 50% covered in terrain pieces, and possibly as much as 90%. A campaign map might have multiple different terrains, such that some areas are forests dense with terrain pieces while others are plains with just the standard minimum of 25%. Additionally, if players like, after a battle has been fought in a hex, a picture may be taken of the terrain’s layout (or the page saved, if playing electronically on a virtual grid) and reused if there’s ever another battle in that hex. This is not necessary, however. Hexes are large enough to contain many different battlefields within them.
Fighting a Campaign
Players take turns moving troops in a campaign the same way they take turns moving platoons in a battle. A player first moves one of their troops, designated First Troop, and then their opponent moves their troop, likewise designated First Troop. Then the first player moves another troop, designated Second Troop, and so on. Once every troop has been designated, each player moves their troops in turn, with the first player moving their First Troop, the second player moving their own First Troop, and then the first player moving their Second Troop, and so on. Players may not change the order in which their troops move. If a troop is completely destroyed, that troop’s commanding player must skip their turn when the troop’s turn comes up. Each turn, a troop may move one hex for every twelve Speed of their slowest member. Primates who are in a squad with a vehicle may ride that vehicle to increase their strategic speed just the same as when on the battlefield.
Troops in the same hex may swap platoons between themselves, and at any time between battles troops may swap squads between platoons within themselves or even individual primates between squads (although primates of different clans can’t usually swap into the same squad due to Monkey Racism).
Battles occur when troops from opposing tribes end up in the same hex. By default, the battle is a skirmish, but specific hexes with campaign relevance will be have special rules. For example, campaign objectives often use battle scenarios in which both sides must try to occupy a critical strategic location, or siege scenarios in which one side must attempt to dislodge the other from occupying a crucial area.
When a tribe is defeated on the campaign map, they must retreat away from the enemy. If the defeated troop was the one who entered the hex, they must retreat back to the hex they came from. If the defeated troop was the one attacked, they must leave in the direction opposite the one the enemy entered from, or one of the two adjacent directions. For example, if the campaign map has true columns and the enemy entered the hex from the northwest, the defeated defenders must flee to either the opposite direction, southeast, or one of the two adjacent directions, northeast or south.
Holding certain hexes may provide scrap income, victory points, or just provide an extremely defensible position from which to camp an army and dare the enemy to waste troops attacking. Even battles fought in strategically unimportant wilderness can be valuable. Any primate who is killed in battle (but not one who routs or is injured/wounded before regrouping with their troop) leaves their equipment behind, which falls into the hands of the victorious troop, who can equip their own primates with it or sell it as they please. Additionally, any destroyed vehicles left behind on the battlefield may be claimed by the victorious troop, who can either pay a quarter of the vehicle’s scrap cost to repair it if they have a primate equipped with an engineering torch who knows how to use it, or they may sell off the wreck for half its scrap cost.
Artillery In Campaigns
Extreme range weapons with a Firing Arc may fire one hex from their position for every 24 squares of firing arc range they have. So an artillery cannon may fire into an adjacent hex, meaning that a troop with artillery weapons may provide support to another troop as they’re fighting. Any platoons in adjacent hexes containing artillery weapons (or other weapons with the range and arc necessary to fire into other hexes) may be activated as though they were on the map, however the only action they may take is to fire whatever weapons they have that are within range. Just like normal, all artillery in the platoon must commit to an attack before any attacks are resolved.
Because of how distant the artillery is from the battlefield, they are never considered to have proper line of sight, but instead may fire blind, simply blanketing the enemy’s half of the battlefield in random gunfire. Roll two separately colored d6 for the artillery fire. The first d6 represents the broad edge axis of the battlefield, and the artillery will land 6 squares from the enemy’s edge for every pip shown on the d6. As an example, if the die rolled a 3, the artillery fire would fall 18 squares from the enemy’s edge of the battlefield. The second d6 represents the narrow axis of the battlefield, and the artillery will land 8 squares from the enemy’s lefthand edge for every pip shown on the d6. As an example, if the die rolled a 4, the artillery fire would fall 32 squares from the lefthand edge of the battlefield from the enemy’s perspective. Taking both examples together, the artillery blast would be centered on the square 18 squares from the enemy’s near edge, and 32 squares from the enemy’s lefthand edge. Roll a random attack location for each artillery weapon fired onto the battlefield. Any number of artillery weapons may also choose to center their attacks on primates or vehicles targeted using the Targeting Smoke feature of a smoke grenade.
Artillery on the battlefield may attempt to return fire against artillery in neighboring hexes, or even just fire at troops in adjacent hexes rather than troops on the field. If this happens, the player using the distant artillery must position each squad of the troop commanding the artillery onto a 6×6 grid. All squads must be placed on the grid, whether they have artillery pieces or not, as other primates and vehicles in the squad are presumed to stay at least moderately close to defend the artillery in case of attack. When a player fires their on-field artillery at off-field artillery, they roll two six-sided dice, the first for the x-axis and the second for the y-axis. If the target has a squad in that position on their grid, that squad is struck by the artillery fire and takes damage as normal. Any squad struck by artillery fire in this manner is assumed not to have cover, unless the hex they’re in has special rules saying otherwise.
Artillery may also fire when two troops are in adjacent hexes and neither has engaged the other yet. This is done in place of moving the troop ordinarily. The troop being shelled places their squads on the 6×6 grid and the troop doing the shelling rolls one random attack for each of their guns. These attacks are then resolved just like an on-field artillery gun were firing at an adjacent hex.
In many campaigns, the map starts with most or all towns and villages in command of NPC armies, and the early game will typically consist of a race by various players to capture them. During a battle with an NPC army, one of the other players takes command of a pre-set army. These pre-set armies are often both small and weak, so the goal of these battles is usually not victory so much as wearing down as much of the enemy’s forces as possible. Many NPC troops have fewer platoons than the player troops do. These troops begin play with enough empty platoons to bring them up to the same total platoon number as the attacking player, and can activate these empty platoons in whatever order they like on the first turn, just as if they were regular platoons that were wiped out. A few NPC troops have more platoons than player troops, in which case the player gets empty platoons until they match the NPC troop’s platoon count.