Saturday, 6 February 2016

World Build Game

Some of you may already know that I like to build worlds. My own roleplay system has three, and players can from time to time use portals to travel between them. My earlier worlds are smaller, chaotic, often unbelievable places, sure its fantasy.. but I do like to get more of a feel that this place exists.. and So I created a game, one that creates worlds..

Fantasy Kingdoms

working title

For the Moment, Fantasy kingdoms is a massive multiplayer game of civilization. 

Players own a small town, that is on the verge of becoming its own. Some smaller villages have decided to band together, they've erected some makeshift borders, city gates, and charge tax for a place to come and trade their meagre supplies. 

The Lord, uses these taxes to establish contact with more of their race, build small outposts, send young hardy couples to go live there (at the crowns expense) to ensure that more people will bring more goods and more taxes to the new kingdom.

Through inventions, communication with other races, careful or sporadic resource management, eventually some of these kingdoms are going to rise up into empires, some are going to fall by the wayside or become part of the larger, more formidable, empires.

There are no computer players, players will send emmissaries to one another, communicate in secret, make plans, forge alliances, send forth armies.. but there is one underlying element to this game that will pause the kings hand. Heroes!

Heroes can be anyone, from any race, that the locals can usually hire, easily enough, to do their bidding. Unlike the world we live in, Corrupt politicians will often be downed by a hero. Maintaining the perceived happiness of the population is more important than waging war on your enemies, because the king can as often as not, hire his own heroes to take down the enemy king.

So, the King (you) must maintain a level of happiness, through safe streets, improved lives, low corruption and entertainment.

I ran a version of this game to a captive audience in 2011. Using it as a tool to teach English to foreigners. The players (80 of my students) were learning negotiation techniques, this helped them tremendously and they always asked for more. So I spent some time adding to the rules, improving it, and making it more of a world builder game.

My First run, gave me a map of 40 surviving kingdoms, you can see some of the trade routes and borders of them in the Image:


After Completion of the game, I sketched the details onto a large A1 sheet of hard card stock, and proceeded to colour it in.. Here's a work in progress shot:

 You might note some subtle and some extreme differences. Players who were at war and drew boundaries, have boundary markers, yet players who were for the most  part peaceful, or did not have the capabilities to close their borders, have a more open terrain, some roads connecting local villages and towns, and trade routes dominating the land.

Not enough detail

While the maps are nice, and provide some nice plot points for roleplay. There wasn't really enough. We stopped playing at around turn 26, because the office I worked at, closed, we moved and it was harder to touch base with all the students as regularly as I used to.

So now that Uni is over. I'm starting again.

I've contacted my local crews, roleplay groups, and such and said, HEY, is this interesting do you want to try? and they've said a resounding yes. Then I've gotten in contact with some local game clubs and gotten some players who are going to give this newer version a try. 

If you are interested in being a part of the next run, Heres whats going on:

2016 Ancient Civs

I'm running the game, from an earlier point in time, players will control a tribe of people on the verge of a new civilization, magic is present in the world, most commonly in the forms of creatures and occasional random effects, but until players decide to harness it, it won't be a 'thing' in that kingdom. Same goes for Spirituality, though its usually a lot easier to believe in a god and see the effects, so they'll more likely exist in many parts of the game.

You can come try it out if you'd like.

Players can have 3 turns a week until they either catch up to the time line, or encounter another player. We haven't started as of Feb 1st, I'm just adding this in case you're reading anytime up until late march.

Each turn takes all of 15-30 minutes to make some simple enough decisions. The rules are plain and fairly straight forward, my test group have been able to make turns without asking what to do, for the first few turns, based on the video instructions I provided.

If it sounds daunting, but you want to watch, just let me know, create an account (i.e. character-sheet via google doc / email) and then don't make any turns.. or make 1-2 turns and sit back and see how it pans out. 

We will be playing for a year, one turn a week after April, for a total of around 50 turns (unless no-one has reached the goal, and everyone insists on pushing the game longer) so expect to do a turn a week until christmas 2016..

At the end, I'll correlate the maps into a video, do some nice pretty screenshots, hand draw up a nice big map and publish it for all as a huge scan. If you really want it as a poster, I can have them made up.

The most awesome part that I got out of the first run was the History and Maps. Seeing who did what, who attacked where first, what city was made by which race, then conquered, then claimed, then populated by another, made some very interesting backdrop for my roleplay groups. They really felt far more immersed in the world when they play..

As worldbuilders, this can be duplicated in the future, If it all goes well, I'll invite anyone to run their own in the future for their own worlds. OR if the world you participate in sounds interesting, and you want to write your own material based on it, feel free. you helped create it, you own the rights to use it for yourself for your own publications.

While I'd love to make it open enough for many players, for now I can only cope with around 15 more.. but if all things work out, I'll most certainly set it up for a larger run in 2017 and beyond.

Let me know if you'd like in.