We’ve had a great response to the idea of doing a Community World-Building Game, and a lot of questions. So, here are quick answers to the most common.
So, have the two of you gone completely nuts?
What will you do if no-one turns up?
Well, we’re going to be in a pub, so I expect we’ll have a few drinks.
What will you do if too many people turn up?
There is no such thing as too many! If we get a lot, we’ll just have a lot of factions, or have teams. Either way is a win, really.
What are you aiming to achieve?
At heart? I think we’re trying to have a good time whilst demonstrating some of the ways you can build a world up, and create stories out of it. To look at how narratives unfold from conflicting inputs, and at how, hopefully, you get interesting and unpredictable outcomes from group creation.
Have you done this sort of thing before?
Sort of, yes. At least, we’ve both run large role-playing and crisis-management games with groups of up to 20 people. Honesty compels me to add that it’s been a while, but that’s why we are erring on something system light and participation heavy.
Are you going to be recording this?
At this stage, probably not, simply as we’re not sure if the audio quality we can get will be good enough. There will certainly be an episode about it, however.
What system are you using?
Short answer – we’re not. We want a narrative experience, not a mechanistic one. That said, we want there to be a random factor to model how even the best ideas in theory can go badly wrong in practice (and vice versa), and a mechanism for resolving conflict between factions when you can’t work it out like civilised sentients. More on this later.
The Colony Ship and Target World
There is more info on the Tabula Rasa herself and her target world to come, but at this stage we wanted it to remain a little bit loosely defined so as not to prejudice suggestions for crisis and factions. However, the broad framework is:
Are we on our own?
It’s early days in the Colonisation Game so there is not support expected from Earth
What toys to we have?
The tech base is “good enough to build a sustainable colony”. Disruptive technology we want to emerge from crisis or factions, otherwise its just sort of absorbed into the colony. Also, we want this to be open to all, not just futurist gear heads.
Who is in charge?
No-one is in charge! The landing is in chaos and its all up for grabs, although no-one group will be powerful enough to start launching coups (at first)
Are there aliens?
No sentient alien life has yet been detected although (obviously) life-bearing planets exist. Quite open to this changing through crisis, in-game.
What is the New World like?
The as-yet-unnamed Target World is life-bearing with a basic, indigenous, ecosystem. Its going to be up to the colonists how they treat it, but initially you can’t eat anything there (nor will it eat you) but it’s atmosphere and gravity and composition is “Earthlike”.
Factions and Crisis
Can we have [Crazy Idea X] ?
Suggest away? at this stage, nothing is ruled out. Some things may get dropped, or meshed together, but we want this to a crowd-sourced story, and that means we need diverse ideas. That said, it’s intended to be a fairly realistic Sci-Fi story, so no invasions by Space-Goblins with magic wands, please.
Surely you’ll have more factions than players?
Hopefully – non-player factions that make the cut will still form a part of the story, they’ll just be less dynamic
Can we have crisis that then spawn more crisis?
Well it’s a good idea but not this time. From a narrative point of view, linking events will probably happen, but we don’t want to have to worry about “decision trees”, at least in our first shot at this.
What about Technical Progress? Surely they will cause big changes?
We’ve already had several technologies suggested as a crisis event. Not all of them have to be “bad” – some could be positive, yet disruptive developments that need to be managed. Otherwise, Progress will be assumed to happen,. just in a way that society largely absorbs.