Are there any games around specifically designed to tell a story set around a political negotiation? With the collision of interests, potentially high stakes and the importance of the characters involved, this seems like an obvious topic for games to cover but I don’t know of any that do. Any recommendations?
Mechanics in certain games, LARPs, some Krisgspiels (with an emphasis on personality ?). But aming the rare story games set around a table I know, I see none about war.
Oh, there’s a “communication” 200-worder called The ambassadors that fits the bill but ironically probably isn’t what you want.
Maybe Firebrands and Rebel crown are the closest.
Thanks for this- I guess there is a smaller difference between a larp where everyone is at the table and a regular tabletop game, I should at least look at those if I’m interested in hacking something together.
I can imagine using Follow for this - the three round, one-scene-per-character, play process might be a reasonable fit, but does the “three challenges” pattern work? I don’t know.
I’ll take a look at Rebel Crown, that definitely looks interesting and the kind of game I could have fun with anyways!
Diadem is about choosing the next Roman emperor. It’s very cool!
It does seem like LARPs would be a good place to look! I didn’t think of it at first, but the mention of Diadem reminded me of Conclave, but instead of choosing an emperor, you’re a bunch of Cardinals choosing the Pope.
In the tabletop arena, my first reaction is wondering how much you’d want negotiation to be “mechanized,” like as opposed to just straight up roleplayed. For mechanization, there might be some inspiration in systems like Hillfolk or Amber Diceless or games in the Dream Askew family…games where resolution is mechanized but not randomized.
Definitely an interesting question! Gives me a lot to ponder. I think the game will depend a lot on the kind of play experience you’re looking for. I mean…that applies all the time, but you know what I mean.
Try Executive Decision; a situation room game by Greg Stolze
The microgame Fortune Cookies and Nuclear War is a great game, that I never played. It looks great on
paper business card. Based on a true story as well.
This looks like very much the kind of thing, good find!
This is also clever in the way it mechanises negotiation goals, I was thinking about something that allowed a set of characters to start from independent perspectives and then bloc together around proposals ( I may still end up writing this myself! ) and have some weighting applied based on how many people belong to any specific bloc if an agreed path isn’t found.
Skulduggery from Pelgrane has some scenarios aimed at this> https://site.pelgranepress.com/index.php/skulduggery-2/
I was looking for something similar for a Flimsy Rituals oneshot (it’s in the next episode weirdly). We found a few that were useful but weren’t quite right for the kind of session we wanted. We ended up hacking a game of the Quiet Year to fit, since the “draw a prompt, talk about it a bit” method was mostly what we wanted (I can share that if you want!).
The other two really good examples that I found were from Adam Bell. Uneasy Lies the Head is the one that’s released and looks excellent, with a real focus on characters and their decisions - it was a little too heavy for what we needed, but if we really wanted to dive into something it’s what I’d go for.
They’re also funding Reliance at the minute, which looks more at what happens when a revolution has been won and explores the politcal landscape after. I’ve got my eye on this as a future thing to play.
We also thought about Follow, but we’re saving that. Some additional options might be something like Firebrands (there might even be a hack out there) or maybe Legacy if you wanted to expand it out.
Great recommendations here. Uneasy Lies The Head looks closest to what I had in mind, for sure, going to go and take a closer look at that directly.
If you take a look at DeScriptorsRPG.com and see how those rules were modified for the 1-on-1 relationship drama version DeScriptors: I Mean Business (https://descriptorsrpg.com/descriptors-i-mean-business/), you could easily use that system for such things.
Just change out “scene” for “negotiation point/tactic” and have enough challenges to force players to have to fail or fish for new adjectives (during breaks in the meeting/negotiation, perhaps?).
Alternatively, use everything surrounding the negotiation as a potential challenge, too: first impressions, researching the “opponent’s” assets before the meeting (great fishing potential), the negotiation itself, and then post-negotiation details like signing contracts or fallout and unforeseen problems after the fact.
This feels a lot like Kingdom to me; It’s the best game for “politicking” I’ve ever played. It might require some tampering if everyone is expected to be a “voting member” of a council, but if it’s more like a cabinet or circle of advisors to a ruler, it should work flawlessly.
I’m a big Lame Mage fan but for some reason I haven’t tried Kingdom yet. I should probably get hold of it anyways…
I kinda get the feeling it’s his “least popular” game, but I started with it, so it has a soft spot in my heart. Also, it did just get a second edition, which is basically, as far as I can tell from the Kickstarter and not having yet read the rules, a cleanup and re-explanation rather than any fundamental changes, so it seems like Ben Robbins felt the rules were good, but the presentation/explanation needed work.