[WF-General] Game Concept: Colony

Oliver White ojw at iinet.net.au
Sat Oct 21 13:40:13 PDT 2000

Hi folks, I've been musing again...

I've been reading about the 'beer game'. It's an old teaching aid
developed at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. It goes along these

There are three people in the game. One is the retailer, one the
wholesaler and the third the manufacturer. It shows how a very small
change, where demand for one kind of beer goes from 4 cases at the shop
to 8 cases and stays there, causes the entire system to go haywire, due
to delays in the feedback mechanisms.

I'm thinking the same concept will make life very interesting in our
world, considering the way simple rules, combined with human effects,
will cause all sorts of strange situations. I think this is really where
the fun of online gaming is going to come from - not what has been
planned, but what springs up naturally. Many people have discussed this
throughout the course of the project.

I'd like to base a game world on these forces of supply and demand,
extending the mason rules.


The players in this world have landed, following a month long journey
from Earth. The world is a lovely, lush, green world, though some of the
inhabitants may prove to be hazzardous eventually.

The colony is run by the players, and a system of trade needs to be set
up, and players must buy the components they need to build and furnish
their homes. The homes are crafted from prefab components, and for the
most part will be built onto the same compound. It is in the players
best interests to plan the new town in the most effective way to ensure
the populace's health and happiness. A missmanaged planning effort could
result in a warren of tunnels and burrows and a muddle of chambers
throughout. We all know how much that would suck, right? ;-)

There was, of course, a team of expert city planners on their way to
help set up the colony, but unfortunately they all died of food
poisoning after eating tainted space rations. Terrible shame.

The players must set up some form of system of commerce and politics and
role play the decision making process. Their actions and the forces of
'nature' will determine the eventual culture and structure of the world.

Players will be asked to provide a character background to be judged by
the administrators, in the main game I plan. However, a group of
roleplayers could set up their own world and see where it
leads. Different games could be played in the same world, but in
different locations, trading between cities could emerge and so forth.
There is a hundred and one ways to play 'colony'.

An important component of the game will be entropy. Things rust and fall
apart, over time. A poorly maintained compound will eventually become a
hazard to players. Crime can ensue and stop-gap measures may be appllied
to keep the structure occupieable.


The idea of the game is to develop trade and political systems for
WorldForge. I envisionge a lot of the roleplaying will be done on
mailing lists, thus avoiding the problem of having to be in the world
all the time. Extensions to our clients will also make the process of
managing various aspects of the colony - trade ledgers, electronic
ballot boxes, etc.

Importantly, this game will let our artists begin work on a futuristic
art database. I think this would have to be the number 2 genre for role
playing games, and it will let a lot of other sci fi projects get off
the ground.

Eventually combat could be integrated into the game, and the tunnels of
our more seemy compounds will become somewhat of an adventure, as theves
roam around looking for food, clothing and shelter.

This game has a lot of things going for it. Most of all, it allows us to
extend upon Mason without having to put in too much extra work. Several
stage mods should be the product of this endeavor, improving the base of
world tools.

Hope to get a few of you interested...

Oliver White

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