Chris and I talked about dubbing them “open strategy games” to avoid confusion about that 1999 movie and explaining what a matrix actually is. It also removes it from individual ownership, though I can very much see people getting into open strategy games by reading and re-reading “the source material” much like FKR folks read and re-read Arneson and company.
Here are some guiding principles of running open strategy games sourced from writings, advice, and play (subject to revision, debate, etc.). This is NOT a definition. Open strategy games may deviate on these points.
- Play a role among other roles in a consistent world.
- Play to address problems and objectives.
- Play to see what happens.
- Player objectives are self-assessed at the end of the game.
- The game ends after a set number of turns.
- The referee explains rules, adjudicates actions, and otherwise facilitates play.
- Players are given the public-knowledge rules of the game.
- Players are given the background of the world and the initial problem(s) in broad strokes.
- Players are given predetermined objectives and assets (briefings).
- The referee announces a time by which all actions must be declared.
- Players tell the referee one specific action while including why that action is likely to be successful (leverage) and what the intended result is (outcome).
- Talking is a free action!
- The referee determines the outcome of each action according to internal logic and the rules.
- The referee reveals the outcomes publicly and privately as necessary.
- The next turn begins and play continues. Conclude the game with a talk-back party.