The minicampaign planning phase is proggressing nicely. The character creation was more heavy than I expected as my own, not so well thought out, test chars had taken only half an hour a piece, but now we have almost full set of PC's. I plan to have no mercy; post-apocalyptic convoy duty is dangerous. On the other hand, the characters all seem to be very capable so it could go either way.
I now have produced all the handout material for the players (and posted it in the links part of this blog). And I have a pretty good idea what's in the area of operations and when. I still need to drill deeper, at least in the key areas, and perhaps prepare a set of messages from HQ, but other than that, we are pretty much ready to roll.
One thing I'm worried about is this though: in real life soldiering, convoy duty and the whole war thing is utter and complete boredom. I however would not appreciate my campaign being utter and complete boredom, thankyouverymuch.
So how to avoid that? The theory of sandboxing says that it is all in the suitably interesting sandbox, that keeps responding even if the players are passive. Yeah, there's some of that, but in order to it being a game, where players play and do not just stand a side munching popcorn, players need to have the possibility to influence what happens within the bloody game.
There's of course many game elements. First one is the grand scheme of selecting the route and pace of the convoy. With wise routing and rerouting it is possible to considerately up the chances of succeeding. Second one is the tactical aspect of preparing to and conducting of small unit combat. Third one is resource management. Fuel, food and ammunition are not the resources here, but able bodied soldiers and vehicles are. There's some 'fat' in the convoy, so first losses should not be disastrous (or they could be, if we are talking about the leader, medic or combat engineer) but after that, losing each good soldier or driver will make things proggressively tougher.
Well, we'll see. There of course is nothing in it for my players if they do get the convoy to reach target destination within 4 game sessionss. Other than winning / losing, that is. But anyway, the real reward should be in the playing of the game itself. We all know from Psychology 101 why that is.
On other gaming related news, I have now been in two games of Warhammer 40k. Got interested enough that I'm going to try collecting a small army of Space Wolves. One thing though: I gotta learn them rules properly. That was the only thing that lessened my enjoyment of the game. Oh, and of course the massive headache in the latter session, but nice, well thought out game with good and hefty flavor. I'm actually pretty surprised how interesting the game was, been even avoiding it a bit in the past.