Setting up a new game

How to become a PbF GM and set up a Play-by-Forum Game.

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Setting up a new game

Postby Morg » 04 Jun 2012, 18:13

So you are going to GM a Forum Game…

This is a basic outline of the mechanics involved in getting a Forum Game to the point where it’s actually ready for the first turn to begin.

Choosing the game

First you will need to find a forum game that you are interested in GMing, but that’s the easy part (although we recommend that your first game is a fairly straightforward game with no more than seven players - see the list). Before moving on to the next step, be sure that you understand any unique rules to that game, have a map on your computer set up with layers that you can play with and add units to (see the Map Making Forum), and have the time to see the game to completion (these games can take several months to finish). For the sake of this exercise let’s assume you chose to run the game “Heptarchy.”

Next you will need to find players who want to play your game. For this you will need to advertise. First make a post in the forum “New Games.” Title the post with the name of the game and that you are looking for players. (In this case the title could look like this: “Heptarchy – Sign ups.”) Many GMs like to post the number of slots available and the number of current people signed up (“Heptarchy – Sign ups 4/5” means that 4 players have signed up so far and the game needs 5 players)

In this first post you will need to post: a map and the game rules (or a link to the rules), the length of each phase (“3/2/2” meaning 3 days for each season, 2 days for retreats, and 2 days for winter is most common), whether or not there are speed deadlines, the victory conditions (15/29 SCs), an explanation of any special or unique rules, an explanation of any special or unique territories, how countries are assigned (note: blind auctions are a popular method, but require that no discussion of country preferences takes place prior to the auction so if you’re going to use this you need to make it clear right at the start), a list of players that have signed up, a list of any reserve players, and GM house rules (which describe the GM’s policies on things such as NMRs, replacement, and penalties – see … ). Above all these rules need to be clear (you can be “tough, but fair” only when everyone understands the rules, otherwise you’re just “tough”).

Most of the time, your game will begin to fill up, however sometimes it doesn’t fill up very quickly. In these cases it is appropriate to advertise. You can do this by making another post which calls attention to your game and redirects people to your first post. Many times it is to the GM’s advantage to have a few extra players as reserves who can be ready to start, as often players will misjudge their ability to play, continue playing or disappear (which as a GM is never fun).

Your game fills up and you have a couple of reserves. Excellent work! You are ready to begin your game. Now you need to do a few things to get your game started. Firstly, ask your players to confirm that they’re still ready willing and able to start – a post in the Sign-ups thread AND a circular PM help here, as they do throughout the game. Usually one or more players drop out at this point, which is the first reason why some reserves are useful!

Secondly, PM {Morg}, our friendly Forum Game Moderator, stating that your game is full and ready to be moved to the “Active Games” Forum. He may ask you to answer a few questions or ask you to send him something, don’t panic, he’s really just trying to help you out. If he raises concerns, it’s not the end of the world, 90% of these concerns can be easily resolved (and most likely he’ll do this earlier, before you’re actually ready to go). When he moves the sign-up thread to “Active” he’ll leave an automatic link behind so that nobody who’s interested loses track of the game

Thirdly (this can be at the same time) send a PM to every confirmed player announcing the start of the game. If you need bids for country assignment or to allocate anything else before the game starts, make this clear in your PM (also set up a deadline so that players know when to send their bids into you). Put this announcement in the sign-up thread as well.

Once all pre-game assignments have been made, send all your players a PM making all assignments known so that everyone clearly knows who is who. Also tell them the deadline for their first set of orders. Your game is now officially running (especially when you see it has its own forum in “Active Games”)! Again, as with almost everything, post this publicly as well.
"He says there are no easy answers. I say he's not looking hard enough!"
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Re: Setting up a new game

Postby Morg » 11 Apr 2015, 20:57

3
"He says there are no easy answers. I say he's not looking hard enough!"
User avatar
Morg
 
Posts: 3105
Joined: 25 Feb 2011, 22:50
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (1428)
All-game rating: (1561)
Timezone: GMT-8


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