How to facilitate a strategic game without an SM

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How to facilitate a strategic game without an SM

Postby captain_carrot on Fri 10 Aug 2018 12:35

My friends and I recently picked up the book and we've been making our way towards starting our first strategic game.

The problem we're running into is that, as I think shouldn't be surprising for a bunch of guys picking up a new war game, that we all want to play as an empire.

What considerations and adjustments should be made to keep a game running smoothly when all involved parties are players? We're already in a sort of gentleman's agreement to not go digging through the galaxy document looking for new routes to our enemy's homeworld and careful documentation of what constitutes "Empire Knowledge" vs "Player Knowledge" when it comes to surveying warp points and planets.

Also, it would be nice to have a section in the book about this sort of thing. It mentions in a few places optional rules for when an SM isn't present, but at the same time provides most of the rules seemingly under the assumption that an SM is present.
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Re: How to facilitate a strategic game without an SM

Postby Cralis on Fri 10 Aug 2018 15:37

captain_carrot wrote:My friends and I recently picked up the book and we've been making our way towards starting our first strategic game.


Awesome!

The problem we're running into is that, as I think shouldn't be surprising for a bunch of guys picking up a new war game, that we all want to play as an empire.


I can understand that... but let me make my case for the SM. I have always enjoyed and preferred to play the SM for several reasons. The biggest reason is that I get to play the Non-Player Races. Because the NPR is not *my* empire, I play them out like an RPG. I can have them act in a way that I wouldn’t in my own empire, and I can tailor the NPR like a master story-teller to be memorable to the players. If they get destroyed or amalgamated? Start another!

And as the SM I can have masterful super enemy NPRs to give the player a huge challenge. I’ve had no qualms using my SM knowledge to make an NPR admiral seem smarter than I am... you know, predicting the player’s movements, deducing their tactical weakspots, knowing just which system to attack... that sort of thing.

I just have a lot of fun with it. And I’ve run NPRs that were far more challenging to beat then they would have been without my help. MUHAHAHA!

What considerations and adjustments should be made to keep a game running smoothly when all involved parties are players? We're already in a sort of gentleman's agreement to not go digging through the galaxy document looking for new routes to our enemy's homeworld and careful documentation of what constitutes "Empire Knowledge" vs "Player Knowledge" when it comes to surveying warp points and planets.


You are on the right track. Always try to have NPRs played by a player that probably won’t find that NPR. The hardest part is going to be figuring out when more than one player has units in the same system. One way to do that would be to list the system IDs of any system you had units in during the month and what days. Then you can cross-reference to see if anyone else was in the same system.

I was just thinming that it might be neat to have a script or program that each player could put that information into and it would only tell you if there were potential conflicts.

Also, it would be nice to have a section in the book about this sort of thing. It mentions in a few places optional rules for when an SM isn't present, but at the same time provides most of the rules seemingly under the assumption that an SM is present.


Hmmm... an addition to Appendix CC or something to address no-SM games. That’s something we can certainly consider adding!
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Re: How to facilitate a strategic game without an SM

Postby krenshala on Mon 03 Sep 2018 13:41

One method is someone is the dedicated SM, but they do their turn first, then process everything else. Takes a player that doesn't have problems sticking to "character knowledge" only when making decisions for this race. The other version of this is the one Cralis listed - the SM that gets to run all teh NPRs in annoyingly efficient or crazy manner. :twisted:

Another method is to have folks trade off who does the SMing based on which other player(s) are involved in a particular situation. e.g., if two players are entering the same system at the same time for the first time, a third player would SM the movements and (if it happens) engagements between them. Doesn't matter which player acts as the SM in those cases, just that its not one of the ones directly involved with their own empire in that activity.

Which works best for your group is all going to depend on the players, of course.
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