Author Topic: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas  (Read 1792 times)

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Offline sublight

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Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« on: November 23, 2013, 02:58:25 PM »
I'm trying to think of a scenario setup that would make a good multiplayer game.

Ideas so Far:

Ruins in the Middle
Essentially, King of The Hill. Players start in opposite corners of a premade galaxy, with ruins on one planet of the center star system. First player to hold the ruins for say, 10 construction brigade years (5 years with 2 construction units, 0.5 years with 20 construction units, etc) gains the uber advanced ancient technology and wins the scenario.

Escape Sol
The players either all start on Earth, or on Earth/Venus/Mars. First player to establish a 25-million population outside of the Sol-system complete with industry/labs/shipyards wins.

Inherit the Stars
Same as Escape Sol, but to achieve victory you also must destroy/capture all enemy shipyards so they can't follow you off planet.

Monster in the Middle
An asymmetric twist on standard conquest, an advanced empire must find a way to defeat two lower tech populations each with equal population/industry. No technology trading.


Thoughts anyone?
Any ideas on what would be the most fun to play in, the most fun to observe, and/or the most fun to SM?

Anyone have any other scenario ideas?
 

Offline Theodidactus

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 03:31:10 PM »
I think it's hard to GM a scenario. So hard that it's only "worth it" if there's a lot of RPing involved. Your Ruins in the middle scenario is the only one that I would really play with any enthusiasm, because it's the only one that would make a good story, at least, I think so.
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Offline sublight

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 08:43:52 PM »
I've found in my experience with GMing multiplayer Aurora games that it isn't so much 'hard' as 'time consuming.' By year 38 in the longest running game I was spending ~8 hours to run through a 6-month increment as the SM plus another ~3 hours to type a proper RP report (I'm a slow writer).

Yes, that 38-year sandbox game did generate a fairly memorable story, but being a slow writer creating a 'good story' is kind of low on my objective list. See, I'm an engineer. I love world building, enjoy war-gaming, and had almost as much fun watching the players use unexpected tactics to explore the universe generated as If I had been a player myself. The RPing and story-writing was just documentation to better interact with the players and share our results with the community, not the reason I was GM.

One of my discoveries was that, usually, players in a sandbox game react cautiously and avoid risk when dealing with each other, and instead explore outward and focus on diplomatically competing to build the biggest sand castle as it were. So, whereas a multifaction game run by a single person will usually RP tension and strife from the start, a true multiplayer game will often see the factions immediately negotiate diplomatic treaties before settling into quiet outward expansion with minimal apparent drama or conflict until a mineral crunch or aliens happen.

This gives rise to the following formate for every multiplayer game I've been a part of so far:
1) A few early years of persuasive RP diplomacy.
2) Many middle years with persistent exploration, research, and background trading that generally resemble the same exploration, research, and quiet trading of the year before.
3) A few late years of uncertain pressure as one or more factions go to war with an NPR or frantically try to overcome a mineral crunch.
4) A premature game ending when the GM runs out of time leaving an uncertain future of What Might Have Come.


By using a set of Scenario rules rather than default Sandbox rules I hope to break the above formate and create a game that:
a) Directs the players into uneasy shifting alliances or direct competition from the start.
b) Keeps the universe and number of player and non-player factions small enough that time advancement by the SM doesn't bog down too much.
c) Ensures that the game will reach the closure of an official ending within a reasonable period of time (less than 20 game years?)
d) Is interesting enough to attract players.
e) Is simple enough and fast enough that multiple players will be willing to act as GM/SM.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 04:34:21 AM »
It seems to be that the main problem here is that there is to much risk and to little reward involved in hostile action when your share same home-world.

This can also be seen since all your 4 suggested scenarios involve either forced conflict or different stating planets.

A few ideas to mitigate this even if you want to go with a same planet start:

- Everyone start with strong defensive ground forces and PDCs that ensure if the conflict escalates back to Earth neither can inflict much damage.
- A universal and generally accepted alliance (NATO) that is in place before scenario start working like NATO, if any one nations holdings on Earth is attacked all other others automatically ally to hunt down the perpetrator.
- A powerful Peacekeeping force present on Earth (doesn't have to even be modeled until need arises which hopefully never should happen).
- Espionage that has close to 100% control over how much and what quality ground forces and PDCs all your rivals have on Earth, this means you can attack without fear of them steamrolling you.

Basically this idea is built on Earth being a safe haven but any colony or body outside is no-mans land which should encourage colonial conflicts.

Another solution is to force conflict as a GM, for example make sure that "tense" situations escalate as individual Captains open fire even if they have orders not to.
Or have powerful "neutral" corporations or businessmen interest approach nations with big rewards in credits, installations or resources they lack for attacking their opposition (and their civilian shipping!).
You can also introduce espionage/military reports that sow suspicion and make players not trust each other. With intelligence organizations that are convinced they will be attacked within a year or two you may be able to trigger an interesting conflict or two since this is self reinforcing. Player A gets intel report player B is preparing to attack a mutual colony -> Player A sends more troops and ships -> Player B is convinced player A is going to take it for himself -> War.

To promote war the element of surprise must also pay off, both sides need to know that if I don't shoot first I will probably lose.


Another compleatly different scenario idea would be a mighty over powerful GM controlled alien race attacking in which case it is intended and required that the players cooperate if Earth is to survive at all. That scenario also has a clear ending in that either earth is defeated or whoever manages to defeat the alien home world wins. Much epic storytelling possible here either in a desperate last defense against alien troop dropships or a glorious victory marsh.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:38:41 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline Maltay

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 07:27:28 AM »
1. Make the evil enemy (e.g., aliens, robots, or whatever).  They are technologically advanced and gunning for the Humans.  They do not like Humans.  Earth is five jumps away.  The prize solar system is 10 jumps away and five jumps from Earth.  The evil enemy knows Earth is five jumps away.  The evil enemy knows the prize solar system is 10 jumps away.  This makes searching faster.

2. Make Earth a multi-faction start with mineral boost.  Make it a TN start.  The evil enemy is five jumps away.  The prize solar system is the opposite way and also five jumps away.  The Earth factions have snapshots of the evil enemy and prize solar system as intel.

3. Make a prize solar system.  Give it a prize planet or two, good ruins, massive mineral resources, some reasonably tough Precursors, and stock it with enough technology an Earth faction could match the evil enemy.  It is five jumps from Earth.  It is 10 jumps from the evil enemy.  Make sure there are fewer prize planets than Earth factions.

Primary Win Condition: Make it to the prize solar system and defeat the evil enemy's attack.  Be in control of a prize planet when the last of the evil enemy is destroyed or leaves the prize solar system.  Evil enemy will launch one large attack.  Evil enemy will probably scout the prize solar system first if the GM remembers to RP.

Secondary Win Condition: Avoid getting destroyed by the evil enemy for 30 years.  This assumes you failed to make it to the prize solar system or the Earth factions that made it were defeated in the large attack.  Killed means you lack the ability to expand.  For example, mineral or fuel locked, out of Industry, etc.

GM Win Condition: Kill the Earth factions in less than 30 years.  You only get one large attack against the prize system.  You need to RP and be fair as you have full knowledge of what is happening.  Can write the AARs from either the evil enemy or Earth faction perspectives.

Restrictions: Earth factions not allowed to settle the same body (e.g., moon, planet, or asteroid).  Earth factions can take bodies from each other through war.  Do not tell anyone the technology level of the evil enemy.  Can flex the evil enemy's technology advantage, number of prize planets in the prize solar system, time restriction (i.e., 30 years), and distances between the three solar system to make it different each time.  Make sure to tell everyone how far away the prize solar system is so they can find it more easily.  Do not tell them how far away the evil enemy is, that is part of the fun.  You can let the intermediary solar systems randomly generate or pre-define them.  Maybe drop interesting stuff in between the three solar systems like nebulae, black holes, star swarms, etc.  Basically, things that make the Earth factions work together to get away from the evil enemy in time to put up a fight.  Makes it even better for when the Earth factions are forced to betray each other toward the end to try and claim the primary victory.  Especially as they all knew from the beginning how many prize planets exist.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 12:51:33 PM by Maltay »
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Offline RedKing

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 11:35:04 AM »
One thing that I find speeds up multiplayer is to have players create "standard rules of engagement" for how their ships are to respond tactically. That way, I don't have to go back every time there's a radar contact and get each side's micromanagement of the battle. I can just play out the battle, following the rules each side has set.

If you want an added twist, you can have rules for some of the personality traits as chances that they ignore parts of the standing orders. Aggressive or Risk-Taker might give an increased chance of attacking even if SOP tells them not to, Methodical or Inflexible and Dogmatic might mean 0% chance to deviate from SOP, even if common sense would dictate otherwise, and Dynamic or Insightful might give the GM more discretion to make tactical choices based on the situation rather than standing orders. Suddenly, you have more to consider than just numerical stats when assigning captains.

Plus it adds to the feeling that the player is a fleet admiral rather an omnipresent ship captain. That layer of abstraction, the "indirect god game" is very much in vogue nowadays.





A favorite scenario of mine (even in single-player mode) is to have a fairly bog-standard Terran Federation on Earth, and (with Real Stars) an alien race some distance from Earth (I usually play ~15-20LY) with a single goal: Conquer Earth. Problem is, they have to find it first. With a fair bit of astronomical knowledge, you can get a general idea of whether a series of jumplanes is heading in the right direction or not. But because of the way Aurora creates jumplanes, it's not a guarantee. You might find Alpha Centauri but then Earth could be 1-4 jumps away depending on how it plays out.

Tends to lead to the Terrans building up defenses and early warning stations, while the Aliens are building and deploying scouts like crazy. If the Terrans can find and destroy the scouts before they find Earth, they have the advantage. If the Aliens find Earth, they can switch into War Fleet mode and build up a conquering armada. Which leaves the Terrans with all sorts of strategic decisions to make. Do they turn Sol into a fortress? Do they build a counter-armada? Do they try to reinforce strategic chokepoints on the jumplanes and whittle down the armada? Do they try a daring preemptive strike before the armada can be built (if they've found out where the alien homeworld is)?

And if it settles into a long slog, both sides will need to create a logistics network to find and exploit additional resources. One side could conceivably win by attacking supply lines and colonies to deny the other the raw materials for their war effort.
 

Offline Xelanthol

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 01:38:04 PM »
One thing that I find speeds up multiplayer is to have players create "standard rules of engagement" for how their ships are to respond tactically. That way, I don't have to go back every time there's a radar contact and get each side's micromanagement of the battle. I can just play out the battle, following the rules each side has set.

If you want an added twist, you can have rules for some of the personality traits as chances that they ignore parts of the standing orders. Aggressive or Risk-Taker might give an increased chance of attacking even if SOP tells them not to, Methodical or Inflexible and Dogmatic might mean 0% chance to deviate from SOP, even if common sense would dictate otherwise, and Dynamic or Insightful might give the GM more discretion to make tactical choices based on the situation rather than standing orders. Suddenly, you have more to consider than just numerical stats when assigning captains.

Plus it adds to the feeling that the player is a fleet admiral rather an omnipresent ship captain. That layer of abstraction, the "indirect god game" is very much in vogue nowadays.





A favorite scenario of mine (even in single-player mode) is to have a fairly bog-standard Terran Federation on Earth, and (with Real Stars) an alien race some distance from Earth (I usually play ~15-20LY) with a single goal: Conquer Earth. Problem is, they have to find it first. With a fair bit of astronomical knowledge, you can get a general idea of whether a series of jumplanes is heading in the right direction or not. But because of the way Aurora creates jumplanes, it's not a guarantee. You might find Alpha Centauri but then Earth could be 1-4 jumps away depending on how it plays out.

Tends to lead to the Terrans building up defenses and early warning stations, while the Aliens are building and deploying scouts like crazy. If the Terrans can find and destroy the scouts before they find Earth, they have the advantage. If the Aliens find Earth, they can switch into War Fleet mode and build up a conquering armada. Which leaves the Terrans with all sorts of strategic decisions to make. Do they turn Sol into a fortress? Do they build a counter-armada? Do they try to reinforce strategic chokepoints on the jumplanes and whittle down the armada? Do they try a daring preemptive strike before the armada can be built (if they've found out where the alien homeworld is)?

And if it settles into a long slog, both sides will need to create a logistics network to find and exploit additional resources. One side could conceivably win by attacking supply lines and colonies to deny the other the raw materials for their war effort.

I actually really like this idea.Sometime in December I'm starting up a game GM'ing for my friends-I will control nearly everything but I do need a system in place that handles how they want their commanders/economy to react so I don't need to keep going back to them.

Thanks for the ideas!
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Multiplayer Scenario Ideas
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 04:32:30 PM »
The Let's Play (/Bgreman) style seems the most practical to me, the GM plays the enemy while the players fractiously quarrel and collectively constitute the 'player faction'.

 

 

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