02 November 2011

GameTalk - Multi-player

What sorts of wargames work well in a multi-player environment, and which are abject failures? How have you seen 'team' wargames implemented successfully, and compare those with 'multi-polar' wargames? How do you keep the game moving when 3 people might be sitting around waiting for a fourth to do something?

Talk about multi-player wargaming and give us your success stories and your bomb-crater failures :)

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

Short of poking that fourth with a stick, I can think of no panacea.
Time flow has always been an issue in my games, more so when a player has lost the initiative and is just responding to the others actions.

I suppose team games that put several player in charge of allied forces with a common objective and then gave each of them smaller, personal goals would work without shettering the alliance outright.
Unfortunately I have never seen that implemented.

brtrain said...

Years ago years ago I designed a four-player Operation Barbarossa game that did precisely that, not badly if I recall.

There were three German Army Group Commanders and one Soviet commander. Each turn players would change roles randomly, scoring points for themselves within the overall framework of attacking or defending the USSR.

But I could never find three other people to play it with me.

I have designed other multi-player games of course, ten of them - though perhaps only three or four of them are made so that the third, fourth, sixth etc. players control enough forces to make play really satisfying for them. The others have multiplayer options or capacity to show the fragmented nature of one side or the other.

I think the key is to make the game structure or sequence of play interactive enough so that you don't sit around waiting for someone to finish working on his Master Plan for Turn Three when you shoudl be on Turn Six by now.

brtrain said...

Oh, but certainly poking people with sticks works well too....

besilarius said...

Was in a group that did Kriegspiels.
We had a big old house, and each command (a Napoleonic division) was in their own room.
As reports came in, the umpires gave them about ten minutes to work out their responses. Excessive time, meant couriers got lost, took a wrong turn, had to escape the enemy's cavalry patrols, etc.
Knowing they were under time constraints, and having clear cut possible penalties, had a marvelously judicious effect on the players.
One division staff couldn't decide on a course of action, so they used time. This resulted in their own courier getting lost.
The result was that they had to fight a miniature's game, with supporting units only marching to aid them, when the umpires determined they could hear the cannonade.
That division was badly used, and the team knew it was their dithering that caused it.