Would You Play a Campaign Game Again?
Now, I am not putting Legacy games into this, a lot of them are meant to be one and done. By that I mean, for example, you play through up to 24 games of Pandemic Legacy and at the end, you’ve played it 12-24 times, but it isn’t playable. And then there are some legacy games that you can play again, Charterstone, Aeon’s End Legacy, or Clank! Legacy, in some capacity. But Campaign Games are specifically non-destructive, but the question is would someone play a campaign game again?
Why You Wouldn’t
There are obviously some reasons that you’d be unlikely to play campaign games again. A lot of them tell a story that is important to the game play as you go along. Once you know the story, it won’t be fresh or new again. You will see parts of the story over again even if the story does have some branching narrative paths. And that removes some of the fun of the game knowing what is coming up.
You also might have more campaign games to play. Honestly, this is what will keep me from revisiting something like Gloomhaven with another group soon. I have a lot of other campaign games to get through from Tainted Grail that I’m playing now to Reichbusters and Apocrpyha on the shelf now, and games like Middara, Frosthaven, and Oathsworn coming in probably this year. So it isn’t like I’ll be running out of games to play in the genre.
Why You Would
Now, there are reasons to again. I talk about how you might have seen a lot of the story, but you won’t have seen all of it. For example, I have played the first chapter of Tainted Grail 5 times now, twice solo, and then two different groups three times. I know I haven’t seen everything. I know that the group that I have played it twice with, I’ve done different things than before. So if the story is highly engaging and offers a wide variety, then there is reason to go back through it.
Mechanically if the game is interesting I’m more tempted to go back through it as well. For example, Gloomhaven, I love how that game works mechanically. I love the card play in it. I see going back to it eventually if my kid grows up to like board games. It is a big game, but it’d be something to share experience over, or if I have another group of players who really want to play it. I won’t get bored, even though I’ve seen a lot of story, playing through it again, because there are still classes I haven’t played.
Finally, bonding, board games are something that bring people together. And a campaign game can bring a group of people together more consistently. It is like Dungeons and Dragons that way, you can set-up a standing time where you play. It grows friendships and gives people a reason to get out and see people, which in Minnesota in the winter, you sometimes need. That is why I tried to keep it going, and we did a solid job of it, throughout the pandemic playing on TableTop Simulator or games via Zoom.
What Games Would I Wouldn’t I Play Again?
I think it might be useful to talk about the campaign games that I have played, the two I’ve finished and the one I’m going through now and see if I’d play them again and why. It is easy to explain that there are cool things about them, or I really like them, but is that enough to keep them around.
Let us start with the one that I’m playing. Mechanically the game is solid, but that isn’t the reason I have played it so many times. Some of it, thus far, is because it is hard. But the story is the element that really draws me back to it. I know, like I said, that there is more yet to find in that game. We finally made it to chapter four last night, and I’m seeing all sorts of new things that I didn’t know about before. I am going to new locations on the island of Avalon and fighting new monsters. For Tainted Grail that openness of the world and story is what keep me coming back to it.
Sword & Sorcery
Now, I sold this game, it might give you a hint. There are two things that kept me from wanting to come back to it. The story itself is fun, but it doesn’t branch much. So you play the story once, you know what will happen. And mechanically, it is a bit lacking at times as well. I love leveling up, getting new abilities, and fighting in new ways. But that doesn’t happen that often. So it ends up being the same thing, find a monster, use an ability, aim, and attack. You roll dice, and it’s just the same combos over and over. It is just missing that umph that Tainted Grail has.
Finally, Gloomhaven, that one is my #1 game of all time. It is staying in my collection, and I would gladly play it again. It doesn’t have the most in depth and branching story. But what it does well is give you enough story to keep it interesting. And it gives you a ton in it’s game play. Mechanically with all the different classes you can play, it is so much fun. We saw all of them in my play through, but I haven’t played all of them. So Gloomhaven gives you a lot to go back to, and you can just play randomly generated scenarios as well, which is cool.
Would you go back to a campaign game? What has made you go back if you have before? What do you look for in one that you think you might go back to?