Over on the NUIM Gamessoc forums, I’ve started GM ing a play-by-posting RPG which I urge all my gaming-minded readers to check out. It’s just called “Politics” because that’s what it is.
Players are cabinet ministers in the government of a slightly altered Ireland, one with more people, more guns and more balls. The players discuss matters of national importance, implement policy and try not to screw the country up more than when they started. The goal, like with all politicians, is to get re-elected at the end of the game.
I’ll enclose the rules below for people to give a gander. All thoughts are those of the author and a few select friends, any similarity to any other system of gaming is coincidental and not intentional.
Here’s the game thread. Feel free to sign up if you so wish: http://minds.nuim.ie/~gamessoc/boards/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4520
Here’s the test thread, if people want to see a short test game from start to finish (starting a few pages in): http://minds.nuim.ie/~gamessoc/boards/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4518
And the (current) Rules:
People pick Ministries. Its first come, first served. There is no minimum number of ministries. Once the 15 traditional ones have been nabbed, other players are free to join in, as long as they can come up with one that isn’t completely stupid. Or they can simply split an existing Ministry in two (eg: Minister of Information, Science, Veteran Affairs, the Elderly, Immigration, Fisheries, Religious Affairs, Communications, the Colonies).
I also don’t mind if players want to make up one right from the start as long as it is feasible.
By random dice roll, one of the Ministers will be an Independent Representative, given the position as part of a new initiative by the President to foster greater co-operation in the Oireachtas.
Players are all Ministers, but they can choose if they want to be TDs or Senators. Purely Cosmetic choice.
The actual character you’re playing is, in terms of personality, temperament and knowledge, completely up to you.
The actual game goes in 4 phases:
Phase 1: The President outlines the issues that the Cabinet has been called to discuss. The standard is 1 major issue of national importance and 2 minor issues. This is the norm with one exception.
Phase 2: The actual proper one, where Ministers discuss the issues and propose solutions.
Phase 3: Voting on the proposals.
Phase 4: The aftermath, as it is revealed what effects your decisions have.
Debating and Proposals
Ministers are free to discuss the issues however they please. Throw in real-life knowledge, curse, I don’t care. If something you talk about doesn’t match the world I’ve created (which will probably not happen) I will say so.
At anytime Ministers can propose a course of action by simply saying “I propose…”. Unless the player is obviously joking, I will take anytime a player says these words as actual proposing a solution. After that proposal is seconded by another Minster, it will be considered a legitimate voting option.
For the sake of clarity, I ask that all Proposals be numbered as they are introduced and written as clearly as possible. You can change the wording whenever you want.
The Minster who proposed can withdraw it at any time.
Debate time is currently set at 96 hours from the start of the turn.
Ministers, when doing anything, should consider the following (and not necessarily in this order):
-The effect any decision will have on your department (especially in terms of funding and prominence)
-The effect any decision will have on your own popularity
-The effect any decision will have on your private interests
-And, the effect any decision will have on your constituency.
Ministers are reminded that they should be serving the needs of their own constituency as well as the country as a whole.
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll consider your actual home areas to be your constituencies (Galway West for Newbreed for example). Each constituency has its own issues that you would know better the I. Doing things to the advantage (or disadvantage) of your own constituencies will obviously effect your popularity.
Reminder: The goal of this game is not to make Ireland great. It is to get re-elected.
The Chairperson is chosen randomly from the Ministers by the GM at the start of every turn. The Chairperson decides tied votes.
No player can be the Chairperson twice in a game unless all other players have already been the Chairperson
In the debate phase the Chairperson can introduce his/her own unique piece of legislation: this can be anything the Chairperson chooses as long as it is not blatantly illegal or impractical. Players can use this power to further their own personal agenda.
Chairperson legislation is treated the same as any other issue it terms of debate and voting.
The President, following a certain amount of time, will call a vote. Right now, voting will last 12 hours unless the required number of votes to finish the phase are found. Players are given the list of proposals, and are asked whether they vote “Yes” or “No”
In the event of absentee voters (which is inevitable), if that player has very clearly already stated a preference in the thread, I will count it as a vote in that preference favour. If they have not made a position clear, they will be listed as “absent” for voting. This is up to the GMs discretion, but I promise I will use my common sense when determining.
If two proposals conflict, the one with the most votes wins. If there are more than 2 proposals, the one with the most votes will still win: a majority of the cabinet as a whole is not needed.
In the event of ties, the Chairperson has the casting vote.
After that your policies are implemented. I tell you how it goes down, with your people, your party and anyone else of interest. At the conclusion, I inform you what your popularity rating is.
That will conclude a “turn”. Right now, not knowing hop popular or sustainable this game will be, I will estimate 6 turns to a game, with plenty of room for expansion if people want it.
The above is the norm for all turns with one exception. Once per game, at the GMs decision, the turn will be on the yearly budget. In this turn, the only issue is the budget.
It is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to make a balanced budget for the coming year. He/She is given a set monetary total (and the previous year’s division) to divide amongst the various Ministries. Ministers will spend the debate phase arguing for a greater share of cash for their own department…and arguing against others.
At the conclusion of the debating phase, the Minister of Finance presents his/her Budget and it is voted upon by the Cabinet. Failure to pass the Budget leads to an automatic downturn in popularity for all involved and a Cabinet Reshuffle by the President.
The Chairperson rules are the same for this turn. The Minister of Finance cannot be the Chairperson during the Budget turn.
If no Minister of Finance exists, the Budget turn will not take place.
GM note: The Budget Turn will only take place in a long game that involves a large number of Ministers.
Players can, each, once per “turn” ask for some polling data from the GM. You PM me:
-The question(s) you want asked
-Any specific demographics you want it asked to (like, say, your own constituency rather than the whole country).
I’ll go back to you ASAP with the numbers. Such data can remain private, though with 1 caveat: 10% chance the data will be leaked to the media.
Players can also intentionally leak data, from Polls or from Cabinet meetings. All they have to do is PM me the relevant details. Players can also intentionally leak private correspondence between themselves and other Ministers if they so wish. GM warning: Players attempting to game the system by making up complete bullshit and leaking it, especially in terms of Private Messages between Ministers, should be wary. Remember: they can do it to you as well.
Leaked anything will have an effect on opinion polls.
At the start of the game, I will PM you some private motivations. These can range from business interests, bribery or just plain ambition. These are long-term goals, that are not designed to effect your thinking on every issue: however you should always keep them in mind.
Players can feel free (and are encouraged) to machinate and use intrigue at will. Private Messaging functions are handy for this, I have discovered.
Popularity and “Winning”
Just about everything can have an effect on your popularity, which is the aim of the game. As this begins, everyone, including the President, has a popularity rating of 50%.
At the conclusion of the game, those players above 50 are re-elected, those below lose their seats. A general popularity rating will also be in effect for your party as a whole.
Sign up if you’re interested!