Discussion Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
08-19-2016, 03:24 PM
Post: #1
Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
Alright, feels a little weird opening up a thread in here already, but I love discussing game design and I just realized you guys might be able to help me out of a future problem.

To explain, I cohost a series of Survivor games in a community far far away, but we've decided to end the series after its final season some time this year. This community is sort of conjoined with another community which mostly plays mafia, and doesn't really play much else. There's a certain exchange of members and overlap but the two communities are distinct and separate and both in constant flux.

I'd like, once my Survivor series is finished, to host something different. My cohost and I have a lot of ideas we'll likely be working on but I'd like something unique to host solo. I've been brainstorming a bit but I come at it things from a heavy mafia/reality game angle, and it seems like you guys come at games from more of an RPG/board game angle.

So, I'm looking for suggestions on games to use or adapt into a forum game which would be drawing members from both communities. It would need to be fairly adaptable as the needs of the community are a bit odd, and there are some unique benefits to the style of games over there that certain types of games can benefit from. I can go really indepth on that if people are interested, but instead I'll just ask for your favorite games that are:

1. Easy to learn
2. Have a competitive element
3. Require public discussion
4. Aren't TOO complex
5. Can scale to an above-average number of players
6. Don't require constant host-updating (like dice rolls or something) or heavy host interference.

I'll also rule out:
House On Haunted Hill
Dead of Winter
The Mole
Big Brother

since these are all games people already plan to host or are hosting variants of.

Thanks to anyone who wants to help out!
08-20-2016, 11:48 AM (This post was last modified: 08-20-2016 11:48 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #2
RE: Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
Hey, cool to see you planning a game!

I cant speak for the Mafia crowd, but most of the other games run on this forum are of an entirely custom nature, taking inspiration from various other games or genres but usually using entirely custom rulesets to achieve whatever the game is trying to do. There have been some pretty mechanics-heavy games here in the past, especially when we were still part of MSPAF, but nowadays its mostly just Rp's and Rp's with a few game elements. Complexity tends to only bog things down.

Now personally, outside of the games I play here and various video games, I dont really play other types of games, like the various ones you name as being excluded, but I know that some of the others here do, so if you want to host something thats tried-and-true, there will probably be an audience, maybe. That being said, once you have an idea you're probably better off posting it in the General Games Chat to ask for feedback or interest. I dont think very many people check this subforum at all.
08-21-2016, 09:04 AM (This post was last modified: 08-21-2016 09:13 AM by AmericanFortuneteller.)
Post: #3
RE: Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
Alright, good to know! I figured since there was a more diverse crowd of forum gamers here there might be some ideas for things to start with.

Pure RPGs don't really work for the people I want to host for. They get drawn in by mechanics and competition, and then they embrace more role-playing aspects and in character stuff, but they also need really gentle learning curves. Whatever I do is going to be adapted substantially no matter what, because we have a unique template for event games and high player counts. Board game adaptations and reality show adaptations are pretty popular.

ETA (posted by mistake):
The games I ruled out all have in common that they're co-operative and competitive at the same time. They all involve group dynamics and relationships while also encouraging suspicion or paranoia or sabotage. Most involve some type of periodic elimination and Dead of Winter is the only one where it is possible (if unlikely) for everyone to win.
08-22-2016, 03:56 AM
Post: #4
RE: Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
Hi there!

It sounds like you're more looking for forum based board games (or at least traditional party games). I'm not sure about similarities with the Mole and Big Brother, but Resistance and it's many variations are always fairly exciting and fast paced. There are a lot of more complicated versions too with diverse powers and actions beyond just discussion and voting that exist as well that I can put the effort into remembering if you're interested.

For more typical board games, I would recommend and Legacy game before just about anything else. If you don't know what those are, they are versions of fairly well known games (I would recommend Pandemic or Risk Legacy) that generally run quicker than their parent game and change each time you play based on the actions of the players in previous games. It brings a whole new level to classic games without completely losing the spirit of them.

Finally, I'd recommend Diplomacy. The game is 100% about strategy and mechanics, with no chances for things to happen at random. Best part is, there are countless variations that are pretty commonly accepted as being balanced enough to be engaging and/or entertaining that would allow you to fit in a lot of players (and then there's always Chaos Diplomacy if you're only looking for something really crazy).

Let me know if any of those work out as an idea or if you'd like me to delve further into any of these.
08-22-2016, 07:07 PM
Post: #5
RE: Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
Thanks for the ideas! They help a lot! I'm not strictly looking for board games though they do play out well and tend to be a little more adaptable. Adaptable is important because we have at least 15-20 people who would be interested so a lot of things have to be changed in other to accommodate that number. Survivor and Mafia have spoiled a lot of the player pool for larger games because they're so easy to scale up thanks to their setups. For example, a few months ago my friend hosted the 6th game in his mafia series, a 57 player game, which was the last big event game we had. It lasted 19 Days and 19 Nights and a from far-behind mafia victory thanks to a very smart con and a very dumb miller.

Diplomacy sounds like it might be perfect! No one's ever run one, and a lack of randomness helps a lot. I'll have to look it up and see if it adapts well to our board setup but it probably will.

See, one thing that certain games (like the giant mafia game) in these communities do, which I haven't seen much outside of it, is a dedicated board of its own separate from any other forums. Players sign up as characters, and are not allowed to disclose to anyone outside of the hosts who the player behind the character is. Every player gets a journal board to discuss their strategies and reactions. Anonymous helps a lot to introduce new dynamics between players. Sometimes they can guess who their friends are, and some try to use that, but they're just as often wrong as they are right. People get into character in varying levels, from me-with-a-mask-on to fully in character, even affecting decisions. It makes for a very fun game to read back later, but between the scale of the players and the extra board work, there aren't many of us willing to host games like this.

I'll start reading into diplomacy and the other games you mentioned and see what I can come up with! Thank you!
09-21-2016, 02:32 PM (This post was last modified: 09-21-2016 03:14 PM by Vancho1.)
Post: #6
RE: Searching for A Newbie Forum Event Game
I like Diplomacy, though it has a bit of work involved with resolving the actions and can be difficult to scale (of course, there are variants with more players, but they all have some limit and play differently). The Resistance is also a good choice for a mafia-like game. Basically here I agree with Pala.

I'd perhaps suggest Carcassonne? It's a board game where the players build up the board together and then place tokens to try and maximize their scores. A fun, turn-based game that could probably be translated to a forum game with very little change.

You might also want to look into adapting a wargame - those are generally slow games with many players, so they could probably go into a forum game - though the GM upkeep might be a bit much.

Look also at this list from BoardGameGeeks, specifically the games listed as best with large numbers of players. Some of those are completely unworkable for your needs (Cards Against Humanity comes to mind), but you might find some of it useful.

EDIT: You might want to try implementing Civilization (the inspiration for Sid Meier's Civilization), or rather, its most modern iteration Mega Civilization (which can go up to 18 players). It's been adapted to/from computer game and board game, so forum game might not be too far of a stretch? Of course, this is probably still waaaay too mechanically complex for your needs.

POST-SCRIPT (of a sort):
I'm going to philosophize a bit here, so feel free to ignore this. The fundamental difficulty in answering your question lies in the nature of the question itself, that is, the criteria for the game you are looking for. Simply put, you want a party game that can be played by mail - that is, a simple game which doesn't suffer from significant time-delay of its actions. This rules out a lot of party games, simply because they are heavily reliant on being played in-person. Most card games are appealing because of the speed of play or the human element - online poker is fun, sure, but something is lost when you can't see the other players' tells and bluffs. A lot of other card games are like that - Bridge, Spoons, etc. Similarly, party games which need acting, or rely on humor are also a poor choice because text is not a very expressive medium (poets and authors, feel free to disagree with me, but the fact remains that certain emotions and thoughts which can be conveyed in the audio and visual components of speech are lost in transcripts, and thus you must find other ways to express the same things). I'd never play Cards Against Humanity if I wasn't doing it live or in-person, for example - too much is lost. Thus, a very small subset of simple games are easy to adapt for forum play, and they by-and-large have already been adapted (Mafia, etc.)

So most simple games which are easily adaptable have already been thought of, and you've ruled them out. What about board games? There is a certain subset of board games which is of the "middle complexity" level (a term nebulously defined here by me as having too many rules to explain quickly to a new player, yet simple enough to pick up in one or two games). The problem with these board games is that they're not easily scalable. Take Settlers of Catan, for instance. That game could easily be adapted to a forum - after all, it's turn-based, the players do most of the upkeep anyway, so why not? Unfortunately, these sorts of games are only designed for a small number of maximum players, usually 4-8. This is all well and good if you're playing with your family or with a group of friends, but a forum can have in the tens of people signing up. That's a problem, since there isn't really a fair way to choose between players. A stopgap measure is to run multiple games at once, in parallel, but this doesn't have the same "large game" feeling. Ultimately, this sort of game might be fun to play, but it can't suit your needs without some degree of wrangling, balancing, and general game redesign.

So finally we come to complex games like wargames. Hex-and-chit or miniature wargames can potentially accommodate larger numbers of players, however, these are completely unsuited to your needs. They are heavy on rolls and hard to learn. Tabletop RPGs are not much better - while I've seen attempts to adapt Pathfinder on a forum here, it's very hard, and usually requires live sessions, so also a no. Honestly, there are few complex games with high player counts that can be simplified enough to suit your needs.

To make a long rant short, most, if not all of the games which fit your needs have already been thought of, simply because they're the obvious choice.

And after all that, another suggestion - go on BoardGameGeek, go to "Advanced Search", and look for games with up to 10 players. Some of those might be easier to adapt than others. (I've already found another that's kind of similar to The Resistance or Mafia - it's called Secret Hitler. Might want to take a look at it.)

The one, the only, Vancho!

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