Diaspora accounts for four primary conflicts:
- Personal physical combat
- Spaceship-level combat
- Platoon-level combat
- Social combat
Having yet to run a game, I would wager that each conflict works best with between a couple and a dozen or so participants. Star Wars, Star Trek, and Star Frontiers: Knighthawks were each influences in my formative years. As such, I have a soft-spot, as I’m sure many of the people my age, for a good space battle.
Having played quite a bit of Axis and Allies and other large scale military games, I also find myself interested in the potential for larger military campaigns, ones with large space battles, fleet deployment, strategic maneuvering, and propaganda.
In some ways, I’m musing about how to incorporate and/or use the amazing work Luke Crane did in Burning Empires; He implemented a very important concept of “scene economy” and adapted his Burning Wheel’s Duel of Wits conflict mechanism to address different stages of an insidious invasion.
In looking towards a macro-level conflict sub-system, I believe it needs to address, at a minimum, the following:
Information: The players need to know the current state of the conflict; In an abstract way they need to know how many hit points each side has left and should probably have a sense at which side has the momentum.
Influence: The characters need to have influence over the conflict; The actions they take at the micro-level should bubble up to the macro-conflict.
Expiration: The characters should not have enough time to methodically address everything. No single person, or even small set of people, can possibly always be the “critical path” of a macro-level conflict. Decisions and actions will be made outside the scope of the characters influence.
In the case of Diaspora, modeling the larger conflict would clearly be done with the existing sub-systems, and likely with another sub-system for measuring the macro-conflict. Or, would it make sense to create a handful of social conflicts that are happening concurrently? Then again, I want to see spaceships shooting it out. Blockades being run. Ground troops working at securing a critical resource.
So, what is the next step? I think it is time to re-read my copy of Burning Empires and figure out some next steps.