Designer Diary: Two Player Scaling
by Audrey Jaeger on Jan 19, 2024
Two Player Scaling
By Mack Martin
Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Combat Zone with a friend. We’re playing a little bit of 2-player scaling to test a variety of rules, and I thought it might be interesting to discuss how you can get started playing the same way (albeit without all the testing units). I’m going to assume players are using a 2-player core starter with Maelstrom and Tyger Claws, but any pair of any faction starters will work. (my friend and I are playing Zoners and Bozos, respectively).
Firstly, this form of campaign has a few caveats. Both players will be playing a closed campaign where their only opponent is each other. This means you might need to track the Gear cards you add to your HQ (headquarters) on scratch paper (or you can find a fancy tracker here in the December Scenario to download and use) between games, especially once gear starts to get added to each player’s HQ. This can be really helpful if you need to separate your cards later (we’ll be mixing up the player’s cards a bit in this campaign).
Secondly, each player will be restricted to the contents of a Faction Starter. Some flexibility is probably fine if you really like a model from outside the starter; just make sure you and your rival are on the same page and that you’re working with 6 or 7 models in total.
Lastly, we’re going to be using the shared market rules (page 47 in the rulebook). This can lead to some very strange situations, especially if one player is a Bozo, but just lean into it and embrace the chaos!
Scaling campaigns increase the Eurobucks (EB) available each game. The first game will be played at a very low 50EB, which is likely only 2 or 3 models and very little gear. This is perfect for players learning the rules. For every game beyond the first, simply increase the EB cap by 10EB until you’ve reached 100EB. After that, increase the EB level by 5 EB per game until the campaign is complete! You might consider capping EB totals at 150 if you have limited play space or want to keep things within the “competitive” scale.
And there you have it, a way to run a campaign for two players that works with both the 2-player starter box or a pair of Faction starters!