Turning Vanguard into a more narrative type experiance

ok, so bit of a heads up here, i’ve not yet had a chance to get the full rulebook (making do with the freebies right now) but what i have read so far the game is a nice skirmish ruleset with some interesting ideas.

that said, from the stuff i’ve read and the demo videos i’ve seen, the game seems to be rather focused on fighting and defeating ones opponent. i get that the framework of the games concept is that of basically special operations on behalf of your army, but it seems to me that as a skirmish game there is a lot more potential scope of options than just facing another player and killing their warband.

specifically, i mean more narrative focused games, like GW’s old Mordeim, or Osprey’s Frostgrave and Shadow Deep, where the focus is more on the campaign, and games are less head to head throwdowns but more focused on storyline objectives and/or exploring the board finding things and getting into trouble.

of particular interest to me is the options in the osprey series (from what i’ve read) for Co-op games or even full solo-play, where rather than fighting each other the player(s) deal with whatever random or not so random opponents they encounter, based on the scenario and encounter tables.

it seems to me that Vanguard would fit rather well into this approach. rules wise it should adapt to an exploration and encounter type game fairly easily, it just needs some rules for points of interest (that would turn up treasure or various random events or encounters), some new scenarios focused on such play, and some ideas for various potential settings for players to build narratives around.

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This sounds interesting, looking forward to see what you’ll come up with! :slight_smile:

Maybe you should buy the rules and see what’s in the campaign system and advancement system already built into the game… then Ice and Iron for its campaign…


The full rules have 12 objective based scenarios and an enduring campaign system with levelling up and permanent injuries etc. Demo videos tend to focus on the mechanics of the game in general, which will of course be fighting enemy models.

The solo/coop idea sounds good though. There’s been a few suggestions along the lines of basic decision tree “AI” enemies ala the D&D adventure boardgames and other systems. It would be good to sketch something up and have others help polish it here :slight_smile:

We used the in-built campaign system - its not map-based but does give advancement of the characters. Ours ran alongside a KOW campaign using the “hook” from each Vanguard scenario to influence the following KOW battle


So I think you should definitely get the rules and play the game a bit before planning an overhaul, but there is definitely a lot of room for narrative games in Vanguard. Heck, many of the official scenarios call for assassinating troublesome bards, stealing eggs from a dragon’s nest, and other flavorful encounters.

That said, Vanguard is definitely a tactical wargame first and a story engine distantly second. Most of the scenarios have a very generic “fetch the macguffin”, “touch the Victory Point generator”, or “go stand over there” feel to them. There’s definitely room for improvement in the narrative department.

Unfortunately, it’s also a pretty tightly integrated system, and homebrewed scenarios can be tricky to balance.

yeah, i knew it had a campaign system, though i doubt it is really set up to run something akin to say, the old Mordheim style games where you also had an element of an economy going between missions (as you bought/upgraded gear or recruited new members) as well as the experience based advances.

yeah, some random encounter, event, and treasure tables for a given campaign setting, as well as decision tree type “AI” so you can run them with less GM support needed would be a useful tool for that style of play.

not surprising, since it was envisioned as basically the scouts and/or special operations units pulling off missions ahead of or in support of a larger army.

i don’t see why you couldn’t come up with a framework focused more on say, prowling a location in search of treasure or exploring an unknown area.
Mordheim and Frostgrave are both basically “explore the ruins of a city in search of wealth and power”, though Frostgrave adds a number of pre-made larger plot arcs other than “find loot”. (mordheim allowed this but didn’t have much of the sort pre-made)
while Frostgrave’s spin-off Ghost Archipelago takes the exploration angle, with the player warbands being the retinues of important people exploring a mysterious tropical island chain that can only be reached every few generations.

Pannithor certainly has enough ruined ancient sites and unexplored regions that similar concepts could be applied to it.

The rules cover beuying and upgrading equipment as well as random encounters between games. That said though, our group felt the need to tweak the economy of the war bands a bit and what was available.

The random encounters are there, but could very well be changed and focused on a specific campaign. As of now they are kinda “You se a village, you get a horse”, “you meet a ranger, you get a bow”. No bad, but a bit too random to follow a specific narrative. So there are alot of room to play with for your own settings campaigns. The Ice & Iron include some weather and food rules as well.

Im looking forward to see what you’ll come up with!

You really need to grab the book :slight_smile: you earn gold from games and between game exploration. You level up your members, recruit new members, lose some to injury. Buy new equipment, redistribute among your companies depending on who’s missing a game because they’re healing etc. Lose some equipment because it was on someone who you let die on the battlefield. Missions are about capturing or freeing prisoners, lighting or putting out fires, dodging dragons while you steal their eggs, opening mystical portals or channeling arcane energies from standing stones. Seriously, buy the book. It’s all the things you’re assuming it’s not :slight_smile:

no, i don’t think you do know what i’m looking for. or what i know about the game. and i now see this is pointless because nobody can even grasp what i’m trying to discuss. instead they’d rather just do repetitive and redundant sale pitches.

I’m sorry for being pushy, we’re just really enthusiastic about this game and think you’d like it if you gave it a go!

Vanguard does as well though.

There is no in game random encounters etc, but as I said I would love to see that as a part of the game as well. Localy we have a narrative focus to the games, but we haven’t come up with rules or a structure to it. But would love to see your ideas about it. As far as solo-game I haven’t tried it, but Id happily try out some 3rd party AI on the board or a co-op ju no experience.

As far as I can tell people aren’t giving you sale pitches, but rather get the rules and share your reflections? I played Mordheim when it came out, but can’t really remember anything that made it stand apart from Vanguard. The Osprey games Ive only looked through several of the books, but not actually played it more than a few demos which were great. But by all means, share your thoughts and experience. Atleast Im interested in a more narrative perspective of Vanguard.
Other than that Im a bit unsure what kind of feedback you were looking for? :thinking: