Link to the Game that Started it All
First off, big thanks to Red Berry Blue for bringing this idea to the forums and to all the players (especially Salt and Ranken) who worked hard to make it great!
Noticing now, however, that the game is pretty much dead (as of this typing, no updates in almost a week) or sleeping, I thought that it might be a good idea to open discussion about what it takes for a game like this to grow and thrive either in 'round the table' play or 'round the forum' play.
One thing that was certaingly not lacking from the initial game's launch was players and enthusiasm. The initial setup (Great Fish!) was awesome as well. But I think a series of hurdles sprung up after the initial opening waves that slowly dragged things down to our current standstill.
Some of these issues, from my point of view, include (and are certainly not limited to):Scope
What is the scope of the game and how can it be better defined? We started off with Red Berry Blue' initial idea and let things grow organically from there. This lead to some confusion, I think, as to whether or not we were producing a world to later play in or if we were playing by producing a world.Power Levels and Types
Looking over the list of gods and godlings, we see a wide variety of power levels and power types.
Power levels changed greatly from god to god with some deities having control over vast portfolios while others only have limited scopes. It also looks like the earlier one joined in, the broader the portfolio and thus the bigger the god's sphere of influence.
Power Types also varied. By 'type' I mean the type of god people are playing. Is your god a God of Stuff, a God of Concept, or somewhere in between? Each type of god has historical examples, but each type also has a different role depending on the stage of the game. Many of the Concept Gods are left out of actual world creation, while the Stuff Gods may fall by the wayside when it comes to race creation and development.Moving Godly Cheese
This was a big issue. Players were either overly aware of not wanting to mess with other player's stuff or more than happy to do so. Also, I think the moving the cheese issue really highlighted the disconnect between Stuff Gods and Concept Gods. For example, take Lord Salt who rightly pointed out that everyone was moving his cheese - as the premier Stuff God, he had a lot of Cheese to move! Likewise, Ranken, a Concept God of Balance has a portfolio that would pretty much have to move people's cheese in order to maintain 'Balance.'
When too much cheese was being moved, things would get sidetracked OOCly as folks tried to figure out what was going on or to express dismay that things were altered in their absense.
When folks were not willing to move other folk's cheese (say, by waiting for Rose to breathe life into the initial races), the game slowed down.Pacing
Red Berry Blue did a good job of keeping us all on track, but there were still some times where the pacing of the game was off. Newly minted gods were rar'n to get to work while other players were still joining. The game hinged for a moment on getting creatures living and off the ground. Some players focused on what future societies would be while others were still looking at primative organizations.Lack of Common Tropes
There are certain tropes in a fantasy world or game, tropes that we did not follow for this game. While I think it's cool to invent new races that people have not seen before, I think it's hard to have a group collaborative game where not everyone is up on what's going on. Four armed asexual monkeymen are all well and good, but when they're introduced as a 'standard' race after folks imagined that they'd be dealing with humans, elves, and other standard fantasy races. Too much originality makes it hard for other players and observers to contribute, I think.
So what can be done? I don't think these hurdles are too much to overcome. I think a little structure would help out future games like this (but not so much structure that the game becomes unweildy like Aria: Canticle of the Momomyth
* Define the scope of the game at its very start. Is the goal to play a game or create a place to play? Contributions change based on the scope.
* Set 'stages of development' that the player running the game advances the group thru. Stages could be added or subtracted as the game goes on depending on play, but would be communicated to all - For example, all games would have a 'Formation of the World' stage, but as things develop stages like 'The Second Age of Men' or 'Godswar' could be added.
* Use 'common fantasy races' - this makes it easier for players to collaborate and may aid in setting the game up as a future setting for RPG play
* Define gods' roles and powers. I'd love to hear ideas on how to do this. Perhaps an Amber-like bidding system?
* Define how interactions between gods function in a given stage. What can limit a god? A god of the ocean should certainly have the ability to flood the land, but would it fit the scope of the game for said god to simply sink the world beneath the waves? How could he be stopped?
Anyways, this is longer than I thought it would be due in part to my boss's vacation and the free coffee I found this morning. I hope it doesn't come off as critical, as that is not my intent. I'd love to hear your thoughts be you player of the initial game, observer, or just someone who thinks stuff like this is really cool.