Being an Arbitrator Part 1 – Big plans for getting Necromunda back to the Tabletop!

Necromunda is a miniature game like no other and can require a bit of unpacking for maximum enjoyment. That usually falls to a lone individual known as the Arbitrator. Campaign play does not require an Arbitrator but will benefit immensely from a good one. The concept will not be new to role players but is often completely absent from most tabletop skirmish games. Think of a Dungeon Master or other session organizer and you won’t be far off.

Working under the assumption that gaming at home and / or in a store league will resume some time by late this or early next year gives me time to get a real humdinger of a set-up ready: both physically and on paper. Having less contact with my groups has forced my hand and I will fully don the mantle of Arbitrator for this next, future campaign.

Which means what? Well, I’m a scenery guy and I have the gaming space and stuff: the physical requirements for the game. I also have a good idea or two for a narrative (that will be different than the ones provided throughout the Necromunda books, which is where you should start if you haven’t played before…): the paper requirement. The hope here is that through blathering on in this article, I will arrive at a final and practical, and amazing package ready for my players (and anyone who reads this article obviously…) to peruse before play begins.

Safe bet that I’ll be running my Nasty Boyz in whatever league the future holds…

Each gang in Necromunda is different and functions in a unique way. This would normally be my first consideration but this time I have no idea what gangs will be used, or even who will be playing. Being a crazy scenery making mutant I’m going to base the campaign on (at least partly) location. This seems like a sane choice but is actually a totally irrational plan to create even more scenery. Regardless, I have a basic plan, of sorts.

In general, the gangs will be fighting throughout various locals of YYC Hive. A hive city north of the Great Ash Road, skirting the desolation of The Spoil. I’m not a political animal but I do enjoy a good laugh at almost anyone’s expense. Setting my Necromunda in a thinly veiled Calgary should provide some cheap laughs but also give me plenty of great ideas for both scenery projects and familiar settings for players.

My home-bashed Zone Mortalis set up. Let’s call this location: The Warrens, rather than offending some folks straight away by naming it after my least favourite spot in Calgary…

At this point taking stock of exactly what scenery I have, and how I plan on using it seems like a good idea. I’ve been going hard on Necromunda for around two years now, including lots of extra pandemic hours and have a ton of various stuff, crammed into totes, boxes and cabinets. Planning this campaign will, at least, force me to organize.

Zone Mortalis and Sector Mechanicus are the two different table types described in the books, and I like them very much. Using both makes for a much richer Necromunda campaign as it can be challenging for players to have their gangs properly equipped for each setting, which translates into ‘fun’. I have a good spread for both, but I think I can break down my settings even further.

Space is at a premium! I already removed two trays full of ‘extra’ stuff, for my new plan…

Aesthetically the old cardboard and plastic from the first edition looks much different from the new, shiny scenery kits. These could be used as separate locations. I also have the Sump Sea board that I built, and lots of the Games Workshop foldout boards (which are quite nice, in a pinch…). I should be able to organize at least five or six distinct and different table set-ups. Which actually gives me another idea…

New players often complain of feeling left behind, especially when game aids can sell out fast without reprint. Such is life. Get the stuff, or die. Lucky for me I got the stuff. Specifically, the Badzones, Environments and Events Cards. Possibly my favourite set of Necromunda cards as they can be left beside the game table for oldies to remind themselves of the rules in play and add so much awful and dangerous flavour to games. Which actually gives me another idea…but a crazy idea, too ridiculous to be believed.

It would have stayed as just another crazy idea as well…but then some quantum strangeness occurred and I found myself into yet another fairly massive scenery situation. Without getting into the whys and whats I was now the proud owner of two boxes of the new Games Workshop Floor Tile Sets. Naturally I grabbed another Dark Uprising box for the wealth of parts, and I got stuck in.

Eight tiles means eight diorama-ramas!!!

Plans can change at a whim but for now I am thinking of using the new tiles and scenery to make an ‘Up Hive ‘location for players to eventually reach, assuming their gangs are good enough. These pieces will also work wonderfully for a Palanite Enforcer Precinct, assuming again, anyone plays as that gang…

I’ve further broken down my existing scenery and saved a bunch for this project, to scatter around the tiles. I’m almost of the mind to try and build some as specific environments from the cards. So many unorganized ideas in my mind, which I think is a good sign.

The further along I get on this campaign idea the more I see that the narrative and the scenery will dovetail and, in the end, both will be required for the thing to work. I’ve been building and painting and thinking by myself for a while now, I realize. Lots of great ideas and projects have been percolating in my mind, with no real purpose. So, let’s get on turning those sluggish half ideas into a fully realized slice of Necromunda!

Sometimes you just need a good photo of some gang violence to tie the whole article up.

Building a whole new location allows me to add things that my other environments lack. Back to The Book Of Peril for some ideas and then back to the workbench to get going on the new tiles. Who knows what I’ll be on about next but I’d think there will be at least one tile done anyway…

-Uncle Mike

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