Monday Night Mordheim; Organizers, Recorders, and Referees, Oh My!
Originally, I wanted to do a piece on the nature of a map based campaign, but I'm still gathering my thoughts on that. Can I haz moar Research? So in the mean time, I wanted to talk about the other things that are important for running a campaign. Everything I want to talk about today is what I call the Book Keeping Triumvirate. Get your organizational skills ready, ladies and gentlemen!
If you were to ask me what the most important thing in a successful campaign was, I would say the Organizer. Hands down, no holds barred, primo, numero uno, and other quaint clichés! Coming a close second is book keeping. At a far distant third is referees. Sometimes they are all different people, sometimes they are all the same person, and rarely (but not unheard of) they are different personalities of the same person.
The Organizer: Now, I said the Organizer is the most important. Let me get into the reasons why. The Organizer is the one who determines when and where the matches are taking place, who is playing against who, what rules are to be used, and how the campaign is run. The Organizer is the one who makes the important decisions. You could almost liken the Organizer to the commissioner of a sports league. The Organizer has the least book keeping, and paradoxically, the most important book keeping. Most of the work they have to do is at the start of a campaign, determining all the things that will make a campaign work, but once those things are settled, the rest of the information determines itself. Without a good Organizer to schedule events, a campaign is doomed to failure.
The Recorder: This is probably the second most important job there is. This position may also be the one to cause the most problems, and the one that takes the most explanation. The Recorder is to me the second most important job, but it is also the most likely to be ignored. The Recorder is the person who keeps track of the stuff that isn't the win/lose record or the schedule, but they take care of the other important stuff. They note all of the warbands, they watch the post game sequences to make sure that everyone is rolling correctly, they audit warband rosters to make sure that everything adds up. This is an especially important job with campaigns with more people. The smaller the group of players, the less necessary this job is. With more players, you need to have someone semi-impartial to make sure that everyone is adhering to the rules (RAW or RAI), it is too easy for someone to make a mistake by ignorance or maleficent. The other jobs of the Recorder are also easy to forget, ignore, or even abandon. The Recorder is the one who takes care of the newsletters keeping everyone up to date about the campaign, writes any battle reports for matches, and generally does all the paperwork. Much of this (especially battle reports), are often foisted onto the players in the campaign if there is no designated bookkeeper.
Referee: Ah, this is probably the least likely to be ignored position of all the book keepers. Mainly because it is an easy position to fill. Anyone that isn't playing at the moment can jump over and referee a game, heck, even if a rules question comes up during play you can bug someone else playing a game to make a judgment call. And if you really need someone to make a ruling, you can grab someone who doesn't even play the game to act as an arbitrator! Or, the more rational roll a d6, winner gets their way. Just because it is an easy job, doesn't mean that it isn't important. A referee can keep a game going over stalled rules questions so that things can get back on track.
ORR. Organizer, Recorder, Referee. All can be separate jobs, or all can be the same job. When I play in a campaign, I generally keep all of the jobs myself. Maybe its because I'm a greedy untrustworthy so-and-so, and assume that everyone else is too. Or it could be because I'm the only one that is willing to do it, and the rest of my group are lazy people. Or it was my idea to Play Mordheim, and everyone else is just using my warbands and my terrain. Regardless, I find that each of the different book keeping jobs are important, highly rewarding, and thankless tasks that need to be done for a campaign to work properly. If at least the basics of the book keeping aren't done, a campaign can devolve into chaos, and not the fun kind with mutants and deamons, but the unfun kind with hurt feelings and angry players. One of these days, I'm going to do a really long collated post with all the stuff I've written about Campaigns for easy reference. Many of the thing's that I've said about campaigns doesn't just hold true for Mordheim, it holds true for any game that you want to make a campaign for.