Monday, September 3, 2012

Outline Of A Game

As I think about gaming, I sometimes think about different ways to approach the fiction that is a game. One of the games I'd like to play in (or even run) would take quite a bit of preparation.

There are several levels of game involvement, and I'd like to see one that includes several of them interacting. There's the level of individual adventure, which is the most commonly approached level in gaming today. It has come to dominate so much that other levels are largely ignored in most "modern" games. There's the level of the manor, which is pretty much what higher-level characters were given the opportunity to play at in older editions of (A)D&D. That's the level that is frequently described as the "endgame" in recent old-school RPG discussion. Then there's the strategic level, which is like the "endgame" writ large. This is the level of kings and emperors. It is the large-scale politics and warfare of nations. Mostly, this has been relegated to boardgames in the past, with examples like Dark Emperor from Avalon Hill or Wizard Kings from Columbia Games being notable.

So, imagine a game where there are players who represent the major kingdoms, playing a (slow-moving) boardgame of sorts. The rules of the game would be derived from whatever mass combat system and wilderness movement system are normal for the game. BECMI/Cyclopedia D&D have probably the most useful versions of these, though games like Swordbearer might have useful elements to include (specifically in that latter case, the wilderness movement rules can be used to build something useful for our hypothetical game). Each turn of the game would take place once a month or whatever, keeping in mind Gary's admonition about time tracking. This would be used to generate the large-scale background of the game. The other levels would then be more traditionally-based adventure gaming, with low-level characters acting on the individual adventure level, and higher-level characters running their manors as parts of the larger game. This would let the players who want to play the Game of Thrones (ahem) to act on the larger level of the game, and the players who want a more murderhobo game could play on that level, but all of them would be acting within the same milieu.

I dunno, it's a pretty new idea for me, so I haven't thought it completely through, but the idea of mixing a strategic/grand tactical wargame with traditional adventure gaming seems promising to me.


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  2. That's rather how I envision the Star Clans Traveller game I'm running... Not sure I'm succeeding on all fronts.

    1. That sounds like it would be fun! Are you using Pocket Empires, Mongoose's Dynasty, or something else entirely (house rules, a GDW boardgame, whatever)?