Friday, 2 January 2015

(Review) Flux Battle Objectives - Generic Scenarios for Wargames

I think scenario design, like activation, is a neglected area of wargames rules - one of those things added almost as an afterthought by the rules designer.  I value my OOP copy of "Scenarios for Wargames" so I was intrigued by Flux Battle Objectives, a collection of generic game missions/objectives, available for the princely sum of $1.50.

The "overview" or "designer's notes" - also something I approve of,  says it aims to be system-agnostic and asymetrical - both players may have different objectives - a primary objective, a secondary objective, and a sub-plot - and may not be aware of their foes'  objectives.    The missions can be weighted with different values for a campaign, and allow players who cannot accomplish their primary objective to stay in the game.  Success for one army does not always mean automatic failure for another.

The Shiny
A two-column 18-page pdf.  For $1.50 I don't expect much shiny. Home-produced, but easy enough to read and use. 
At $1.50 from the Wargame Vault, Flux is a cheap source of scenario ideas.

Primary Objectives.  There are 11 primary objectives - already an improvement on the 4-8 available in most rulebooks.   The wording had a sci fi vibe (data theft etc) but it doesn't effect the scenarios - they can easily enough be renamed/adapted for other eras.  Most are pretty par for the course, though one mission "assembly point" is one I don't think I've seen before.  It is suggested the primary objective is selected by a random roll.

 Secondary Objectives.  These are not the "main" mission and can be selected by the player, a gamesmaster or the opposing player.  The 23 secondary choices are more specific and interesting - assassinate x unit, bait enemies into a certain area, hold y objective, rescue a prisoner, etc. 

Sub Plots.  The 22 sub-plots add a sense of story-telling and apply only usually to a specific unit in your army.  This could be useful in a campaign where success could grant a unit extra "XP" or chance of advancement.  The subplot is determined like a secondary objective.  This could include keeping an enemy unit alive ("double agent"), capturing a flag or even examining local flora with a medic or leader.  There are quite a few variations on the assassination theme.

A useful source of ideas for scenarios and at $1.50 you can't balk at the price.  A few thoughts:

*Many missions rely on plentiful buildings or terrain - a further argument for terrain in wargames. 
*I'm not sure how "playtested" the missions are
*Allowing you/opponents to choose secondary missions allows players to  play to their strengths. 
*Not really aimed at the competitive crowd
*Sub-plots be used to "level up" specific units
*Success for one army does not automatically mean failure for another
*Assign a rating to the primary, secondary missions etc means you have a reason to keep fighting
*Good for linked games (campaigns) - can assign say 10pts for a primary, 5pts for secondary etc.
*Some missions might clash with each other
*I noticed a few scenario ideas missing i.e. "ambush" etc - more primary scenarios would be good

Recommended?  Yes.
I've actually been borrowing Malifaux's similar primary missions+sub-plot system for many of my other skirmish games and Flux is a much much cheaper alternative.  More scenarios are always good to have in your gaming repertoire. 


  1. Very nice, thanks for sharing. I'll definitely pick this one up.

    Sounds like it'd slot into most any game without too much trouble. Sounds like it leans towards a slightly more skirmish/low level type of game?

    1. I don't know if you - "Mr 100 Charts for Everything" - would really find anything new here, though.

      I think the author had sci fi h platoon/skirmish at the back of his mind, but it's just the wording - you could use it for anything.

  2. Sounds quite good - couldn't agree more with your second paragraph: 'Winning' is not always a zero sum game.

    I remember a great feature of early Epic rules that had sub plots for Titans that were separate to the overall scenario objectives and kept secret from the other player. very cool.

  3. BFG also had subplots for its campaign system and it was very nice...

    1. BFG was a vastly underrated game. Like most GW games that aren't WFB or 40K, they are actually quite good. Blood Bowl, Epic, BFG, Warmaster....

      ....I also deeply regret not getting into BFG when I had the chance. I thought it was too pricey then, compared to GZG spaceships... ....if I HAD bought them, I could sell them on eBay now and retire...

  4. Picked up a copy on your recommendation. Content looks good. Layout is a bit strange. Its written with a clear Sci-fi voice, but the layout is on a parchment 'fantasy' style background. A bit odd is all.

  5. Hi - this is the author here. I found your site totally by accident and just wanted to stop by and make a few comments.

    Firstly: thanks for the review!! - I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it and recommended it!

    If I might be so bold as to respond to a few points?
    *Ambush -- yes, this mission did cross my mind as well. But then I thought about what the point of an ambush actually was - it could be to eliminate the opponents (which is a different mission), steal from them, or perhaps even delay them from getting elsewhere (which would be the enemies' mission that the ambushers have found out about). I therefore inferred that an ambush is more about the set-up than the objective itself.
    *Playtesting: our gaming group play tested them thoroughly within a competitive (i.e. prizes available!) narrative campaign. As with many such missions, some were liked more than others, but the group were very favourably disposed to using these missions rather than others.
    * Parchment background - yep, it does clash a bit with the sci-fi voice Angus, agreed (and thanks for that feedback). That said, in sci-fi perhaps I can justify it as anything from previous generations can be used? (okay - a bit of a stretch of the imagination perhaps… but I'll take on that feedback for next time).

    Best regards & thanks once again.

    1. I think you've done a good job in an overlooked niche - scenarios are an afterthought in most rulebooks.

      It's probably not worth your time, but simple sketch diagrams of map layouts are something I have in some older scenario books, and help you setup the game.

  6. I was thinking of tinkering something together for Red Turban Press' Iron and Honor, some rules to give it a real campaign system. This sounds like it'll be a fine stand-in, instead!

  7. Thanks for the review, I really like scenario books and this looks like a worthy addition to my collection.