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Reference How to run a Strategy forum game?

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by Loupgarou, May 1, 2011.

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  1. Loupgarou Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2010
    star 3
    In the 'our games and how to play them' sticky it mentions 'the risk type rpg', which in that thread really just means large-scale strategy game. Though it acknowledges them,it basically says that if that's your thing you already know how to do it. Strategy games are my thing, but i have no idea how to play one through forum posts. Does anyone know of any games like that that were successful here, or know of the rules/methods that have been used?
  2. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Go to the RPF and look up the older iterations of Clans and System Lords - search bar is obviously your biggest asset here - for some examples.
  3. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    Check out the Chess game on the RPF that was up a little while ago. Really cool stuff.
  4. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    That is something I have seriously contemplated running a few times now but have never actually done, so take this theorycrafting with a grain of salt:

    Chess is not really a good example here because it's very small and simple - two players, a square board, and very simple rules. Don't get me wrong, Wing's Chess game is fantastic and still required a ton of work from a GM perspective- you can see that (even discounting GM-run NPC interactions) Wing basically had to post a new map of the chessboard after every player's turn - but it's not really what you're talking about here. You're talking (I assume) about running a game like Risk or Axis and Allies or Starcraft on the boards, which would be an order of magnitude more difficult. Essentially you'd have to come up with a strategy system (and game, obviously) that is interesting and engaging, yet scalable to however many players you plan to cater for (which likely means 'easy to keep track of in Excel or your favourite spreadsheet program').

    (An alternative is to look into adapting board games to your purposes, if you're into them at all. Some of them have been adapted to play-by-email systems - I know people play Carcosonne, Settlers of Catan, and the Game of Thrones board game over email, although I don't know where. You probably can Google it.)

    And you also have to realise it's gonna take up a good chunk of time regardless of how well you engineer it, simply due to its scale. I recall Sith_Lords saying once, although I can't for the life of me find the quote, that System Lords took a good 2+ hours to update each time.

    ... I don't mean to dissuade you, honestly. I know it's supposed to be my job as a mod to be encouraging and stuff. :p But I just want to make sure you know what you're walking into. Strategy games are loads of fun, but they are also a ton of work.
  5. Cronal Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2009
    star 4
    I am actually also quite interested in strategy type empire builder games and did run one a long time ago. I must concur that it was a lot of hard work. Was set in the galaxy far, far away and had to put down things like factions, resources, ship lists, dealing with research projects and dealing with player squabbles when they battled one another. A lot of balance issues as well as you can get a situation where one player reaches quite high and the others complain thats its powergaming; sometimes it is, sometimes it isnt. Plus, balancing new players (if you are accepting new ones) with the pre-existing ones as well as the disappearance/lack of interest in some players leaving their respective factions up in the air. So, personally, whilst I enjoy playing them, I am quite reluctant in running one. Not played any on this board though so obviously there would be differences in style in the one I played compared to those that featured here.
  6. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Actually I think you SHOULD look at Winged´s Chessgame. Because I think it is very simple, very approchable and you could read posts, even if you had no idea about Chess. Point is, pushing units around is nothing that gives you long term motivation. Especially when you´re on the loosing street. Story and characters might do the trick, though.

    I was one of the players and clearly superior in the end game. But I almost envied Sinre (the other player) for being ble to make such awesome posts!

    Second thing to learn. You NEED a map! some sort of map. No matter how crude, but to make decisions you need to visualize things.

    Third thing. You need time! Free time! And MOTIVATION! Because it´s a load of qwork for someone not actually playing the game, but "only" GMing it. Everybody loves his game, when it kicks of. But can you do it a month, three? Half a year? Can yu deal with players leaving? Because no game has ever finished with all it´s players. None!

  7. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    This. It's a simple representation of the way strategy games work.
  8. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'm not saying it's not a good strategy game or that it isn't a great way to run one, only that the very simplicity of chess makes it not a very good example to use as a template for a large-scale strategy game which (I assume) is what Loupgarou is asking about. Consider if you tried to use the same approach to play four-player Risk: updating the board after every move with GM commentary would work, and would be true to the way the game is played IRL, but it would take ages.

    I do agree that you definitely need story and characters to sustain a strategy game, though. Chess was successful and engaged a wide audience of lurkers precisely because it wasn't just "move pawn to A4 please thanks" - it was a fantastic game even if you completely ignored the chess part.
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