The Megagame Megathread (We're going? to an online megagame?)

Talk about megagames here

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After missing the first online Den of Wolves megagame, I got a ticket to the second one. For this game, I was assigned to the press, a role I’ve never played before. Before the game even started, we were already distrusted by the crew of the Icebreaker, who were surprised that the press had access to their text channel.

The press for this game had 5 people:

  • Editor, who was in charge of setting the focus of our reporting and had final say in what went in the broadcast
  • Council reporter, who was mostly occupied following the new laws being voted on in the council
  • Military reporter, who provided details of the frequent Wolf attacks
  • Fleet reporter, whose beat was going around the fleet, making sure everyone got what they needed
  • Ace reporter (me), whose job was to follow stories that would otherwise slip between the cracks because the other reporters were busy or new events threatened make people forget about old problems that hadn’t been fixed yet

The day before the game, I reached out to each ship, telling them about my role and letting know, if there’s something they want to tell the fleet, to contact me or our editor. We did not have an agenda, other than to keep everyone informed of what was happening in the fleet during our 5-minute broadcast every 30-minute turn.

One new development for this game was that each ship had an AI. Basically, each ship AI was responsible certain administrative and logistical jobs on the ship. My main interface with AIs was, when I arrived on a ship, they would greet me and only let me in if a senior officer gave permission. I later read their text channel, and ship AIs were routinely used by ships to request resources from the fleet. Ship AIs followed a series of 15 protocols that ensured they followed orders and protected their crew.

I woke up at ~2:30am PT to join the game. Among the backdrop of ships constantly trying to get the resources (food, water, materials, strytium ore, strytium fuel, and workers, trained and untrained) they needed to operate and the Wolf attacks, the first crisis the popped up was Space Flu. However, this was quickly dealt with over a couple turns. The Quellon voluntarily self-quarantined itself. Research ship Endeavor created a ship AI upgrade that could detect the virus at the airlock, though each ship’s captain would need to come to the Endeavor to provide ship AI credentials to receive the upgrade (some ships found this suspicious). Hospital ship Salvador developed a vaccine, and the Chief Surgeon started the laborious process of personally vaccinating all the players.

A second Wolf attack left the fleet in bad shape. At one point, the ICSS Aegis (the Galactica of the fleet) had no working gun batteries. (In the news broadcast, we reported the fleet needed repairs but the extent of the damage in case Wolves took advantage of the situation.) The fleet urgently needed engineers to repair damage, which may have been why the first jump was a short one, to pick up an engineer unit. There was some chatter about Refinery 124 being left behind or jumping late. Then the 1st Secretary (who was in charge of running the Star Alpha, the residence of the council president) approached me and said this was nonsense and Refinery 124 actually jumped first. Hmmm… I wasn’t the one who followed up on Refinery 124, but this made me suspicious of the 1st Secretary.

Riots were starting to break out among the fleet due to low morale from insufficient food and water. Some prisoners from the Vulcan, who had been released by the council to perform work detail, seized a mining station on the Icebreaker, but they were swiftly dealt with. The captain of the Vulcan told me to broadcast to all released prisoners that they could just as easily be put back in their cells. The Salvador had a riot on the bridge that was also brought under control.

Around the middle of the game, it became clear to people that the bad resource situation was because resources were disappearing, despite the council appointing resources czars to oversee the distribution of each resource. People were claiming resources had been loaded into shuttles, but those on the other side claimed the resources never arrived. Suspicions were that Shuttle Slingshot was spacing resource while en route. Or maybe it was the William Jardine. This made ships distrustful of each other and disrupted the network of resource transfers needed to keep each ship operational. The William Jardine, while under control of the Council VP / transport czar, was discovered to have been broadcasting jump coordinates to the Wolves.

The VP was not shot out of the sky but was captured. Then he somehow escaped his guards, boarded a shuttle loaded with fuel, and crashed it into the bridge of the Aegis, injuring the admiral. Toward the end of the game, almost every council member started campaigning to be the replacement VP, though the game ended before the election could take place.

Meanwhile, the 1st Secretary, after calling us “fake news,” told me that he knew the Endeavor had video evidence of the Aegis XO altering the Aegis AI. Specifically, AI protocols 6 (protecting human autonomy) and 9 (protecting privacy), had been altered so that the AI could follow orders that violated 6 and report related information to the person giving orders. He claims he worked with the Endeavor to create that upgrade to give AIs more autonomy to be more effective, but the Aegis XO stole and was using it for sabotage. :roll_eyes: Incidentally, the Space Flu quarantine upgrade was also to protocol 6, since quarantining humans restricted their autonomy. So I began interviewing ship AIs, asking them what upgrades they had received. Also incidentally, the Aegis XO was the new transport czar, who later also had a warrant put out for his arrest.

I should note that sometimes hard to do our job as the press. Not only were we being used to possibly spread disinformation to further the Wolf or personal agendas, some information was deemed classified, and we didn’t time or a judicial system to release the information. For example, we noticed that a lot of senior officers were congregating on the Endeavor, but I was given no explanation for why they were there because it had been classified by the Aegis. Should I have put in the broadcast that we were being stonewalled, painting some ships in a bad light and possibly affecting morale?

Around this time, the prisoners on the Vulcan had had enough and took over the ship, killing the Captain and Warden. Now the Space Father lead the ship with the help of his Enforcer. The Space Father said the Vulcan and its defenses would continue to help the fleet if it received the food and water it needed. And it did, perhaps receiving more food and water than it did before the coup. Lesson learned.

Oh, the ship AIs were going haywire. The started receiving lorem ipsum over the AI network somehow, which was probably the signal for the Endeavor AI to activate as a Wolf sleeper agent, so it started attacking the crew. Luckily, the Endeavor had not greatly modified its AI protocols, and it didn’t kill any officers. Meanwhile, the AI network was glitching out, and there were a proposal to reboot the network, but many AIs and captains were distrustful of other ships and worried this was a Wolf ploy.

Finally, contact was lost with the Shepherd (the main food provider of the fleet) and Salvador. The Salvador did not make the final jump and was presumed lost to Wolf forces, a sad end to a ship that had been critical in containing Space Flu and healing injuries after Wolf attacks.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Shepherd arrested their First Officer. No, he wasn’t a Wolf agent. However, he was dumping food earmarked for the Icebreaker into space because he didn’t like them (the Icebreaker was probably the ship that pushed the most to improve their nation’s stature, their nation being Confederated Peoples of Asia, a.k.a. Space China). The First Officer was also trying to poison the captain so he could take over, the lovable scamp.

Oh, turns out the Captain of the Quellon was another Wolf agent, but he had his First Officer and Chief Engineer suspecting each other. The quarantine might have been a ploy to avoid sharing resources with the fleet, and he probably spent the game hoarding resources and wasting resources on improving coffee technology (I heard the Endeavor Chief Scientist sigh at one point when a meeting was requested). Apparently the Wolf signal to each other was “decaf.” Look, I woke up at 2:30am and was fueled by tea and chocolate covered espresso beans. Any talk of coffee seemed totally normal to me.

I want to say thanks to Gothenburg Megagames for running such a great game. There was constant chaos, but in a good way: it was caused by players trying to get information they needed and doing things they wanted done, not because they didn’t know how to operate the levers. Unlike megagames I’ve played in the past, the turns ran like clockwork with little to no slippage in schedule.

Finally, I was to thank the rest of the Interstellar News Corp staff: Council and Military Reporters for their detailed reporting on their beats; our Editor for compiling our notes into news (often typing the news bulletin as it was being read out) and keeping us coordinated; and Fleet Reporter, who used his streaming setup to give the news broadcast, complete with banner and rotation space station background.

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This all sounds amazing and incredibly stressful!

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It was amazing! It actually wasn’t too stressful because the events were really happening to us, as the observers. I also spent a fair chunk of my time waiting in airlocks to receive permission to talk to the person I wanted to interview, though I usually got a chance to talk to or overhear other people also waiting in the airlock.

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Whats your megagame history @jgf1123?

The only other megagames I’ve played have been organized by someone here in San Diego (he runs an escape room company). There have been two versions of Watch the Skies:

In the first, I was the French science minister. We kinda played a strategy game, investing in infrastructure to generate more money and science per turn, then turning that around to spend money in the UN (we wanted to reclaim France’s leadership on the world stage) and more research. There were two factions of aliens, one of which blew up random places on Earth so they could broadcast it for entertainment and make alien money.

In the second, I was the Brazilian military minister. I mostly tried to protect Brazilian control over South America and Antarctica (countries drafted their national goals, and I think Russia also picked the Antarctica one). And someone decided to build the space elevator on the equator in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, I was watching the mess in Europe. I think what happened is that one of the megacorps bought a super-soldier serum from the aliens and used it to take over large swathes of Germany. Except killing super-soldiers turned them into zombies? So basically aliens, corps, and nations were have a throw down in Europe. Oh, and the megacorps controlled the media, so it was part-news, part-propaganda. One interesting development in this game was the world terror level was represented by a dexterity game in the middle of the room. Certain actions would cause you to pull out a dowel, and maybe some of the balls it had been holding up would fall out.

I also played a murder mystery megagame. I unfortunately got bum role (the secret information I started with was literally some sort of red fish). My friends played police, though they had mole problem. I think there were one or two competing organized crime rings. People could die and be exiled to a corner where they were watched over by Anubis, but there were ways to communicate with them and/or bring them back to life. In the end, no one quite figured out the convoluted murder plot, and the organizer explained the crime like a great detective wraps up a mystery novel.

Copied from the old thread…

(Small proviso. As a Brit, there is obviously a bit of European bias in this list. Please comment or PM me and I will add other relevant links, or flag up any errors.) The best place to look is the main facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/mmakers/

I’ve participated in several, so feel free to post any questions you might have. I’m sure we have a lot of other megagamers about the place.

SU&SD Coverage
https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/susd-play-megagame/ The original Watch the Skies Video

https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/susd-play-megagame-2-pt1/ The follow up video for Watch the Skies 3 part 1

https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/watch-skies-2-pt-2/ The follow up video for Watch the Skies 3 part 2
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Podcasts
https://soundcloud.com/susd/podcast-17-the-megacast SU&SD discussing their first Megagame Experience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMZd-8XJfPE Daft Souls discussing the teams’ second Megagame Experience

https://soundcloud.com/user-749170155 Megagame Report - A regular podcast on the American Megagame Scene

https://soundcloud.com/last-turn-madness Last turn madness - A podcast focusing on the UK Megagame Scene.
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List of Megagame Sites
http://www.megagames.uk Website of the UK’s Megagame Makers

Megagame Makers tend to run slightly less games these days (only 6 a year now I think) and only in London:


A new website including blogs on megagame design and free resources for megagames.

Horizon Megagames - https://www.horizonmegagames.com/
South West Megagames - https://www.swmegagames.co.uk/
Pennine Megagames - https://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

https://megagamemaker.com/ Personal Website of Jim Wallman

https://www.beckybeckyblogs.com/ Becky’s blog focussing on her experience with the press role and designing her own megagame

https://boundy.me.uk/Games/Megagames/Events/ Probably the largest list of Megagames being run around the world.

The Shut Up and Sit Down Discord has a Megagames channel: https://discord.gg/nyTqey8

And on a wider scale for your international Megagames needs, there is the Megagames International Discord server as well: https://discord.gg/nPpfwbH

https://twitter.com/hmegagames?lang=en Horizon megagames, a new set of megagames being designed and run in England.

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So this just popped up.

A more serene megagame, played over 2 weeks. @jgf1123 are you aware of this?

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No, I didn’t. Thanks for posting it!

Is anyone else thinking of registering?

I am! Will have to explore discourse.

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If the dates were anything but when they are, I’d be very interested, but those two weeks are literally the only two all summer when I can’t do it. What a bummer.

I’ll keep on posting similar @Brattyjedi

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@Brattyjedi ?

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That’s a possibility! I’ll check with my husband on his interest once he gets up. Should be soon I think. He recently switched to night shift and is still figuring out the new sleep schedule. Thanks!

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(Were you two only engaged when we met at SHUX? If so, congrats!)

We got engaged at SHUX 2019, yeah. We got married in early March on a cruise right before everything shut down (pic here). So, thanks!

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Oh, that’s right, you guys did get engaged at SHUX. Such a cute story!

I bought a ticket for OWL League.

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@RossM and anyone else who registers: who’s interested in making a SU&SD team?

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Totally! said the man who has 20 characters.

@jgf1123 I have now bought my ticket!