Tuesday, 8 November 2016

HOTT Time - A Linear Campaign System

These rules were originally developed and written by the late, great Jeff Bolton. I just did the editing.


The Linear Campaign System is designed to create a series of battles with a campaign feel or tone between two armies. Although these rules could probably be adapted for any set of miniatures rules, Jim Wright originated this system for De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) - historical miniatures - and I developed this version for Hordes of the Things (HOTTs) - fantasy miniatures. Because both of these games can be set-up and played to conclusion in less than an hour, it is quite possible to finish a campaign in a few hours.

The entire campaign takes place on a campaign track that can be as simple as this:

Player A
| 1 |
| 2 |
| 3 |
| 4 |
| 5 |
Player B

Player A's home area is at one end of the track, Player B's at the other end. The campaign is played as a series of Seasons. In a Season, the players resolve a HOTTs game. The loser of the HOTTs game withdraws one area toward their home area, with the winner following. Both sides then re-form their army. The seasons are repeated until one side is forced off the campaign track at their home area - losing the campaign.

The campaign starts with a battle in the number 3 area of the campaign track.

A campaign could be over in a minimum of three battles or rage back and forth across the campaign track.

Starting the Linear Campaign

Each side rolls a D6. The side with the high roll is the initial attacker for the campaign; the other side the initial defender. After the first battle, the attacker is always the side that won the previous battle and forced the opponent to withdraw one area on the campaign track.

All battles should be fought to the completion of the final bound. The HOTTs victory conditions are used for all battles.

Armed Forces

Each side begins the campaign with 30AP worth of HOTTs troop elements. No more than 24AP can be committed in any one battle; each side begins the campaign with 6AP in reserve. These reserve elements can be employed in later battles in order to bring the armies up to no more than 24AP. A limited number of elements lost during a battle are returned to fight in future games.

The First Battle

The first battle of the campaign is fought in area 3. Each side uses a full strength (and legal) 24AP HOTTs army. (Note: Larger armies can be used, but then the game area and replacements should be increased proportionately.)

The Second and Subsequent Battles

The battle is fought on the campaign track section that the attacker advances into.

Before the battle is resolved, both sides are given a chance to re-group their armies. The victorious side may have destroyed elements up to the value of 5 AP returned. The losing side may have destroyed elements up to the value of 3 AP returned. In addition:

Elements having fled the table are all returned for the next battle.

Ensorcelled magicians are returned for the next battle but remain ensorcelled, being placed in their ensorcelled (i.e. frog) state on their base line until desorcelled.

Ensorcelled heroes are returned for the next battle, they are not placed on the table until desorcelled (following normal HOTT rules).
In addition, each side can add elements from their reserve to their army. After reserves and losses are added, the army's total can not exceed 24AP. If there is a choice between using elements from the original army and those from the reserve, the original elements are used.

Unused AP from losses can be accumulated.

For example, in the first battle of a campaign, the Elves field 1 God, 1 Hero, 1 Sneaker, 4 Shooters, 2 Blades, and 1 Horde. In reserve, they have 1 Mage, 1 Lurker, and 1 Horde. The Elves lose the battle - the God took one look at the battle and fled, the Hero was ensorcelled, and 2 Shooters and 1 Blade died. For the second battle:

The Elven Hero remains ensorcelled, but is not considered part of the army for the next battle.

The God returns (or - at least - is available....) and remains a part of the army.

The Elves may replace 3AP from their losses.

The reserve is available.
To continue the example, the Elves elect to add the entire reserve to their army and reserve the 3AP from losses for future use.

Optional - Regrouping

The Regrouping rules are by Paul Grace
After a battle, either side can elect to avoid combat in order to regroup and rebuild its forces. The victorious side has first choice in whether it regroups or not. A battle must be fought following a regroup (you cannot regroup twice in a row).
The victorious side can elect to hold its ground (not advance one area after the battle). In addition to the return of destroyed elements as outlined above, the both sides can return D6 AP worth of elements from their original force. The next battle is then fought in the same area as the last. Both players dice to determine who will be the attacker (highest score chooses).
The losing side can elect to make a strategic withdrawal (meaning the victorious army advances 2 areas instead of one). In addition to the return of destroyed elements as outlined above, the losing side gains 2D6 AP worth of elements from their original force and the victors gain 1D6 AP worth of elements from their original force.


  1. I did something similar for a WWII campaign, but had it that units that 'fled' the field (i.e. had been smashed) in the first half of the game were not available for the next battle. That twist adds a dynamic as to the timing and holding and / or abandoning positions set against the strength of the other side.

  2. Ahhh. . . keeping Jeff alive. Was great to see his name in print again.


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