My ten year old son is about to become a Megagamer. We are scheduled to play in two Megagame Maker games later this year. So I’ve been thinking about how to ensure that his first games are fun. Part of that is to ensure that he is engaged. He’s going because he has asked to, not because I’ve made him come. That’s my first bit of advice for a new Megagamer. Play because you want to.
My experience as a megagamer
It’s a long time since I became a megagamer. My first megagame was Death of Fascism, at the Staff College in Camberley. There were over 100 players and dozens of umpires. I was a junior staff officer in OKH, I never saw most of the other players except in the plenary briefings. I do recall being involved in the arrest and court martial of Jodl for failing to obey orders. I also recall the controversial Hitler order to shorten the line to introduce a reserve. It was so good that I signed up for every other megagame going. To date I’ve done about 75, almost a third of them as control. I’ve also seen them being designed and contributed bits to a handful of games. I even have a couple of unplayed megagame designs.
I’ve learnt a lot from being a megagamer. It has helped me refine my negotiating skills, improved my rapid analysis ability, and helped in dealing with difficult people (NB mostly they aren’t really difficult, but they can present that way as part of the game). I’ve also had a lot of fun, and I’ve not ever felt that it was hard work.
Advice for a new megagamer
You’ll already have had the advice from the megagame makers site. It’s the official word on advice for the new megagamer. What follows is my personal executive summary, I’ll try and expand on them if I have time.
Here are some bullets to bear in mind when you play in your first few megagames
- Megagames are all about people interacting, so you need to talk to lots of people during the game.
- Make everything you do about achieving your objectives
- Help other people to achieve their objectives, megagames work best as team games
- Always look like a hard target, even when you are not
- Don’t make threats you can’t carry out (although once you have a reputation you can play on it)
- An adequate plan robustly implemented will do better than optimising, and probably get you inside other players decision loop
- When you need to take someone down finish them off quickly to remove the threat of retaliation, they’ll get another interesting role
- read the briefings before the game to understand the mechanics and the period, it will enable you to make good decisions rapidly on the day
- the megagame waits for no-one, so get moving and engage it
Got any other advice for a new megagamer? Remember your first time and want to share? Leave a comment.