What's it all about?

Posts applicable to the variant selection process circa 2015 and before. Will also contain subforums where approved & elected variants are "workshopped" for specific tweaks during implementation.

What's it all about?

Postby Pedros » 16 Oct 2013, 16:23

The existing system for nominating and voting for the next new variant on the site fell apart this time around because most variants which were proposed had questions about details of the map and rules which did not emerge until the process was well under way. Most variants have been played under more than one set of rules - the GM at the time implements whichever version she/he prefers, and the amount of discussion about the effects of this varies from game to game.

We are looking at a different approach, not to the voting but to the questions which are important before we get that far: exactly what version of any particular variant are we talking about? And is the variant of the quality which we want to see on our main games site? There is no reason why this discussion shouldn't take place completely separately from the nominations process - Heptarchy and War in the Americas have had substantial discussions in the past about issues with those games quite apart from any thought of nominations for main site, and probably the majority of variants which have been played more than once have been the subject of player-GM discussions before later games start and/or after they finish. We want to collect a list of games which have been through these discussions and an agreed map and set of rules adopted.

The procedure would be as follows:-
- any member can propose a variant to be considered for discussion and subsequent inclusion on the list of games available for nomination;
- they should complete the following questionnaire and submit it to asudevil and Pedros, who will be the Mods managing this process
- It will initially be tested against the basic criteria (similar to those used in the current round of voting), namely:-

  1. Games with major rule-changes will be considered case-by-case[/color] (eg 1900 and AMed are fine, and dipsy reckons he can deal with the Trans-Siberian Railway in Colonial, but something like Vain Rats, or map-changing variants like Seismic, are out - it would be impossible to code them!)
  2. They must be well-established variants, which can be relied upon to produce good and enjoyable games. Newly designed games, and any whose provenance we don't know anything about, won't be accepted (we hope that these variants will be around for a long time; no good if after the first couple of games everybody knows they're useless!) Games which do not have a track-record on PlayDip must have a well-attested and widely known record elsewhere.
  3. Very large-scale variants, involving large numbers of players or likely to last for a very long time, are likely to produce large numbers of NMRs and surrenders; this will be taken into account when deciding the suitability of the variant for inclusion (although it is possible that a large variant could be included on the basis that it is suitable only as an unranked game because of the number of NMRs likely.

- If there appear to be rules issues which may cause coding difficulties these will be run past super_dipsy; if he believes they will be difficult to code this may rule out the variant (there may be cases of uncertainty here; if so dipsy's verdict will be final, and may include "OK, carry on with the discussion, but once it's all clear the answer may be No!")

The proposer needs to complete the following questionnaire, giving as much detail as possible so that discussion is focussed from the outset on the key issues and based upon clear information. If inadequate information is provided the Mods do not promise to go hunting it for themselves!!

The number of discussions active at any one time will be severely limited (probably to no more than three at any one time) to ensure that they get the detailed attention they deserve (and Pedros and asudevil aren't overloaded!!). Variants which were defeated in the final vote last time do not need to be discussed again and will be the first variants on the "approved" list.

Once a conclusion is reached then discussion on that variant will be locked and the variant added to the list of those approved for nomination for future voting. It will be possible to propose that discussion be reopened on a variant (because of a newly discovered problem with map or rules, or similar reasons) but a particularly good case will need to be made out before this is agreed. (An example would be Colonial, where the map was agreed but it was acnowledged that there was an outstanding issue about the possible land-bridge between Vladivostock and Sakharin; future play-testing might shed further light on this question.)

The questionnaire:-

Name of variant
Username of proposer
Number of players
Link to map - or maps, if there are multiple versions
Link to rules
Please list all the questions which need answering, so far as you are aware. This includes alternative versions of the map and rules, optional rules, known ambiguities and uncertainties, variations introduced by GMs here or elsewhere, etc.
What experience do you have of playing or GMing the game?
List the games which you know to have been played here or elsewhere and which constitute a basis of play-testing to establish the robustness and value of the variant
Why do you believe it would be a positive addition to the site?
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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