Home Forums General Game Design Victory Conditions in an IWG

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    Otto Schmidt

    Dear List

    IWG is an acronym for “International War Game.” It is a branch of the hobby I have always been interested in, and it is a game where players represent the king of country, which country they manage as they see fit through war and peace. It’s more than a mere campaign game, and it’s especially suited to Imagi-Nations. It’s a lot of fun and an excellent basis for fanciful battles and intricate plots. It can involve table top resolution of battles or simply use an abstract method in the hands of the umpire.

    Anyway once I devised this Victory system where players attempted to gain “Victory Points”  by accomplishing certain things.  This accomplishing was done by paying game money and taking your chances, or devoting game resources to it and likewise taking your chances. Sometimes this was just drawing cards from a fate deck on which half of the card was a Victory Point and the other half was some strategy or ploy you could play in the game. When the game ended the person with the most victory points won.

    The unique thing was that there were twelve “suits” of victory cards each with twelve cards in it. At the start of the game you chose the “suit” you wanted to base your victory in and it was very much “the verdict of history” that is, what the history books would say about you 200 years later.   Obviously if the card had the suit of victory you were pursing , and you used the ploy half of it in the game, it went to the discard pile and wasn’t in your hand, but there were planet of other suits you didn’t care about that you would acquire to that was not a problem. This “Victory Deck” had specific tags for each card like ” Build a Pleasure Dome” or “Write your memoirs” or “Gain the Title Father of the Country” all pertinent to the specific suit. The interesting thing was that at the end of the game if you had the most victory cards in your hand of the suit you chose, you won… for that suit. If no one had the same suit even if you had only ONE card you won.  There was no master winner or across the board winner. You were also allowed to make up your own projects within the suits. For example one person who had chosen “Internal Development and Progress” decided to upgrade the rivers in his country with canals and had set about doing so with engineer battalions and lots of cash. The point is that it was theoretically possible for none, one, some, or all of the players to be winners at the end of the game.

    The areas available and represented by the suits were.

    “Titles and Honors.”  (Lion of Judah, Father of the Country, Ami Du Peuble… and so forth).

    “Victories on the Field of Mars”  (Defend an impossible position, take the Barad Dur,  Mentioned in Cressys 20 decisive battles and so forth.

    “Triumphs in the Courts of Venus” (Lover as beautiful as Cleopatra, Have 357 recognized bastards,  etc)

    “Internal Improvement and Progress”  (Post office, Patetnt Office, Found a National Bank, Work on the Erie Canal.)

    ” Patron of the Arts and Literature ” (Patron of Mozart, Establish an Academy of the Arts and Sciences. Refound the library of Alexandria etc.)

    “Wealth and Riches” (The Dragon Hoard, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Scrooge McDuck’s Money bin).

    “Defender of the Old Oder” (Restablish ancient codes of conduct, expel the Jesuits, Restrict the franchise, Recreate an ancient empire and costumes).

    “The Quiet and Contemplative Life ” ( The Postman’s Ball, Autumn picnic with the royal family, Yuletide carols by the fire..)

    ” Villany and Acts of Evil ” (Make Devil Worship the state creed, Slaughter of the Innocents, increase lines at rush hour at the bank, destroy art).

    “The Vanguard of the Revolution.” (Make the metric system, overturn old institutions, make a one party state, persecute religions.)

    “The Man of Sorrows ” (Repudiated by your son and heir, cuckolded by your queen, your religious reforms provoke revolt, they hate you for being kind to widows and oprhans…)

    “The Hammer of God” (Found theocratic institutions, create the Index, persecute the Jews, declare yourself to be God.)

    Again, all of these were embraced, each on a suit of 12 cards in the 144 card deck. Players were also able to develop projects on their own. One person who had ‘Triumphs in the Courts of Venus” built a huge X rated theme park for the elite to meet and greet, and one person who had “Defender of the Old Order.” Set about refurbishing and regenerating ancient monuments .

    It didn’t work as well as expected in all cases. One person who had chosen “Man of Sorrows” professed displeasure that he wasn’t able to profit from war, and there was really no way to gain anything from war. He wanted a more traditional gamer where one got points for taking over enemy territory and the like, but I told him that wasn’t his victory condition, and besides while the game didn’t allow for that, certainly he alone of all the players was poised to gain the most from going to war– and waging an unsuccessful one. I couldn’t think of something that would be a project more guaranteed to add victory points to a person who chose ‘Man of Sorrows” than losing a war. “So all you had to do,” I said “was attack someone and contrive to lose.”  “Or you could make a great convoy of treasure to go out to the indies and run it right past the pirate lair with no escort.”

    I guess to some gamers even incompetence is just too difficult.




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