Passable Diplomacy Variants for 8-10 players

The local teenagers are after Diplomacy like cats in heat. We’re going to play some again tomorrow, and I’ve been told that there’s a good chance for having more than seven players present. Even if I might myself well stay out of the game and act as a rules arbitrator, it’s still possible that we might be looking at an 8, 9 or even 10-player game.

Consequently, I spent some time last night trawling the net for suitable variants for this number of players. I wrote earlier about my aesthetic preferences in regards to Diplomacy variant design, but in the local situation they are not only aesthetic: a bunch of teenagers, some of which have only played a couple of sessions of Diplomacy, need a clear, solid variant with no complex special rules, and not some horrid mess with special characters, double-strength units, garrisons and such. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bull Dungeoneering

Mazes & Minotaurs, as the name implies, is a D&D -derivative roleplaying game published a while back. I remember reading it several months ago when I was bored – it has the feel of a ’70s rpg polished to fit modern standards in terms of terminological clarity, rules logic and such. The most amusing part of the game is that it is a Gygaxic take on Greek myth, as opposed to the medievalism of D&D. The game has the same goofy setting bits that make it a bit difficult to relate to at times (like making centaurs a PC race, not my cup of tea), but it also has lots of Greek flavour; I especially liked the Noble as a character class, that should make for some interesting roleplaying.

It’s not the game I want to discuss here, though, but the recently released adventure/campaign (I guess it’s not a campaign in traditional terms, but I know I rarely play this long games nowadays myself) Tomb of the Bull King. It’s an amazing, over 200 page long dungeon adventure, and seems to be the among best adventures in its genre that I’ve ever read. I simply can’t figure out what drives these guys – all the hundreds of pages of material for M&M are free, and apparently just created for the larks, or perhaps out of passion for the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Light of Tomorrow

I’ve started writing the new Shadow of Yesterday book. I know what I’m doing with it, so it’s just a matter of laying tracks and throwing stuff up for playtest now and then to keep things real. Easy and fun, at least if I weren’t harassed by lesser things caused by being a part of society. Christmas, for one – apparently going to cost me some working days. Read the rest of this entry »

Analytical boundaries of Diplomacy scenario design

Busy, busy… I started writing the new TSoY book, and I have all seven sorts of whitecollar monkey business on my plate, too. In my free time I’ve been speculating about Diplomacy variants a bit again. This time I decided to write down some basics about what makes a Diplomacy variant. This isn’t necessarily that interesting for Diplomacy players so much as game designers interested in system aesthetics – there are certain aesthetic principles to Diplomacy, and they can be used to determine when something goes over the line and becomes something else than a Diplomacy variant.

I should note that the following might seem slightly mystical. That’s Diplomacy for you, some of us take it far too seriously. Read the rest of this entry »