I can’t remember if we’ve discussed this before, but has anyone in the thread played in any matrix games? (The role-playing-like wargames, not the company that produces computer wargames).
There are several groups that run them at Gen Con every year, and I know that they are played in some military and political circles.
Tom Mouat describes them in his collection of notes, Practical Advice on Matrix Games, as follows:
Matrix games are different. In a Matrix game, there are few pre-set rules limiting what players can do. Instead, each is free to undertake any plausible action during their turn. The chances of success or failure, as well as the effects of the action, are largely determine through structured argument and discussion. This process allows for imaginative game dynamics that are lively and open-ended, and yet also grounded in reality. In a Matrix Game, you use words to describe why something should happen, the Facilitator or the players (or both) decide how likely it is, and you might roll a dice to see if it happens (but equally, in the face of a compelling argument, you might not need to). If you can say “This happens, for the following reasons…” you can play a Matrix Game.
Matrix games are particularly well-suited for complex conflicts and issues involving multiple actors and stake-holders, varying interests and agendas, and a broad range of (diplomatic/political, military, social, and economic) dimensions. The game system crowdsources ideas and insight from participants, thereby fostering greater analytical insight. The games themselves are not intended to be fiercely competitive, with obvious winners and losers. Instead they operate with the players working to generate a credible narrative. The player roles may have objectives that will place them in conflict with other players, but it is perfectly possible for all of the players to achieve at least some of their objectives by the end of the game.
I’m busy with the upcoming Westphalia game at the moment, but once that is completed, would anyone be interested in giving one of these a shot? I’d be happy to moderate, and have some ideas about what to play and how we can adapt it to a online forum.