How can I join the Western Sydney MegaGame Society?
The Society is a non-profit community group – you don’t need to pay anything, sign anything, or even live in the local area. Everyone is free to join our MegaGame Society and can do so simply by following us on Twitter, ‘liking’ us on Facebook, or joining in on our Facebook discussion group. Links are at the bottom of this page!
The British cabinet from The Third Kind deliberate over their next move
What is a MegaGame?
A MegaGame is a lot of things – it’s part board game, part roleplaying game, part political simulation, part war game. Of course, the genre and thus general ‘feel’ of a MegaGame changes a lot from game to game, but there are some common elements that seem to define what a MegaGame truly is. Generally, MegaGames include:
- Referees/Moderators/Controllers – whatever you call them, a group of people who know all the rules and are on hand solely to ensure the game runs smoothly
- Teams – a mix of different teams, all with different numbers of players, goals and principles to abide by during the game
- Roleplaying – all the players are given briefings which explain who they are (or who they represent) in the game, and how they should approach the game
- Rules – a set of guidelines and mechanics which govern the game, these rules are often very vague and fluid in their use to ensure the imagination and innovation of players is not hampered
- Wildcards – there are often many mechanics, rules and even entire teams in the game which function differently to the rest, have very different principles and goals, and are sometimes even working ‘against’ the other teams of the game
- Chance – while strategy, tactics and diplomacy play are huge role in these games, luck is always a factor not to be underestimated
On game day, dozens of players meet up in a pre-organised space (we’ve previously been using a local library) and undertake a 6 to 8 hour journey of diplomacy, roleplaying and stress. Teams are given goals to aim for and principles to adhere to, and only have a certain amount of time (the game time is broken down into turns, often between 30 and 40 minutes each) to achieve these goals.
Moderators or Referees, who design and write the rules, are on hand to ensure questions are dealt with quickly and consistently, and that players are not hindered beyond the realm of reason in their actions within the game.
The concept of a MegaGame in a nutshell: replace traditional board game or computer game mechanics of ‘AI’ with real players, and simulate a huge, messy, politically charged situation where all (well, most) factions are played by real people. Imagine a huge game of Risk, with 50+ people, or a detailed strategy computer game with just as many players! This, combined with the freedom of roleplaying (throwing away ‘concrete’ rules and using moderation and discretion more to adjudicate the outcomes of actions in the game) leads to a unique simulation that’s a lot of fun.
MegaGames, as the Society plays them, are based on the original concept developed by the UK based MegaGame Makers. Check out their website to see how it all began!
The military map from The Third Kind
Who plays MegaGames?
The Society has drawn in people from all walks of life and various different age groups. Provided you are interested in any of the above mentioned activities (board games, roleplaying, war gaming or political simulation) then it’s very likely you’ll find the Society, and a MegaGame in general, right up your alley.
How do you play a MegaGame?
The process of playing a MegaGame changes per game and varies a lot based on the role you are playing on the day. From start to finish:
- Purchase a ticket when the MegaGame of your choosing is advertised
- Prior to the game (usually a few weeks beforehand) you will receive an information pack with rules and pre-game briefings relevant to your role and your team – read these thoroughly and contact a Moderator if you have any major queries.
- Pre-plan. If you’re able, get in touch with your team mates and start to figure out if there is any special plan you’re all going to stick to on the day.
- Arrive on the day on time – usually the ‘start’ time will be set half an hour before the actual game begins, to ensure everyone is ready and in position. Details vary per game and venue, but generally it’s a good idea to bring your briefing documents, a drink and maybe some snacks for the day.
- When the game begins, things get vague. Sticking to the briefing information, you will liaise with team members and start to problem-solve, plot and negotiate with other teams. Adhering by the rules, don’t be afraid to go and talk to other players – a MegaGame is, after all, a very social affair.
- Keep it clean – nobody wants to deal with rude, dishonest (well, you know, in moderation…) or difficult people. Everyone is there to enjoy the day, so keep any misgivings to yourself or see a Moderator about any issues you have.
- When the game concludes, sit back, relax, and maybe have a strong drink or two with your enemies.
The pre-game briefing material for our first game, The Third Kind, ready to be packaged up for the mail
Usually a game-day schedule will be included in your briefing documents and will have details on what is expected on the day, if there is any special dress code or catering requirements, and any special events following the game such as after-drinks.
If you have any specific questions about how a day goes, get in touch with our community of past-players on our Facebook group page (link in the sidebar) – they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have, as they’ve lived through it themselves.
Can I help develop/run MegaGames for the society?
Definitely! Everybody has to start somewhere, of course, but we do generally try to get people interested to play a MegaGame first. Having perspective on how the game plays is important in developing and moderating future games.
That being said, we are always on the look out for designers and moderators, so don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or social media.
Do I have to pay to be involved?
Membership to our Society and involvement with the community group is free of charge. Each MegaGame we play, however, does cost a small fee. Our first game ran for $5 per player, our second escalated to $10 per player, and pricing for future games will vary based on the materials and time required to organise and run the event – we’re still learning just what this cost looks like! This fee is not for personal gain, but is used to cover the cost of catering on the day and the time and resources required (printing, designing, assembling game pieces, etc.) to prepare for a game. Check out our photo gallery to see what kinds of ‘resources’ we mean.
As it stands we are lucky enough to have a quite adequate venue (the Narellan Public Library) for our games, which is free to use! In future, if the library is unavailable or unable to support our game (as we may hold larger games in the future), the fee for registration may increase to cover venue hire.
We will always aim to keep the registration fee for all MegaGames as low as possible as the purpose of the games is to have fun, for both the players and the moderators.
The final moments of Brave New World, 2016