little wilson

SE General Rules & Etiquette Policy

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General Rules and Etiquette Policy
Welcome to Sanderson Elimination! 

Table of Contents

About Sanderson Elimination
Sanderson Elimination is the Sanderson-based, forum version of the party game Mafia/Werewolf. The most basic form of the game splits players into two groups: the village and the eliminators (elsewhere called the Mafia, Werewolves, etc). The eliminators know each other’s identities and can communicate freely, and their goal is to kill or outnumber the villagers. The villagers, on the other hand, don’t know which group anyone else is in, and their goal is to figure out who the eliminators are and kill them all. 

The game is generally played in turns: Days and Nights (which, combined, are one ‘cycle’). Day turns are when everyone votes on a player to remove, and the player who accrues the most votes by the end of the day dies. Night turns are when the eliminators choose a player to kill. Usually, some players also have a role that allows them to take some kind of action (e.g. a ‘protect’ role that lets you select a player to be protected that turn), usually at night. 

So what’s the Sanderson-based version of this? Well, we take Sanderson settings and build elimination games flavored around those. From little towns in the Final Empire, to a party trying to cross the Shattered Plains, to a group of people staying at an inn in the Forests of Hell, we’ve seen all sorts of settings and rules. Come and play with us!

How do I join?
Each game has a signup period of about a week. Look at the pinned threads in this subforum, and if one says “Quick Fix 49 - A Game of Guile” or something similar, it’s probably a current signup thread. The first post will contain the setting and rules, as well as when the game will start. If you’re interested, all you have to do is post in that thread that you’re signing up, optionally with an RP character name. Then it’s just waiting for the game to start!

How do I play? 
When the game starts, the GM (game master) will send you a PM detailing your alignment, role, and any other information you need. (If you are evil, you will usually also receive a link to a Google Doc in which you may conspire freely with your fellow eliminators.) This is the PM in which you submit any actions you have, and the GM will tell you your results and anything else that happens to you (e.g. if you die). Each turn, the GM will post a new thread in the subforum, and the previous turn will be locked and merged into the overall thread for that game. You may or may not be able to PM players individually depending on the game, but you will almost always be able to post in thread as much as you like. During the Day turn, votes are placed by coloring the name of the player you’re voting on red


Game Formats
We have 3 different game formats in Sanderson Elimination: Long Games (LGs), Mid-Ranges (MRs), and Quick Fixes (QFs).

Long Games
With plenty of playtime and a high level of complexity, the Long Games typically have in-depth analysis and plenty of role-playing opportunities. They also take longer to play out in full: usually in the 4-6 week range, but occasionally they take upwards of two months to end. LGs are always split into Days and Nights, where the Day turn is 48 hours and the Night is either 24 or 48.

Mid-Range Games
A middle ground style of game. The Mid-Range games run fairly quickly, but not nearly as fast as a Quick Fix. This allows for more roleplaying and analysis than a QF, but less than a LG. MR cycles can be either 2 24-hour turns, Day and then Night, or more commonly one combined-cycle 48 hour turn. They take 2-3 weeks on average. 

Quick Fix Games
The Quick Fix games follow a faster paced schedule than the other elimination games. This format will have fewer roles and less complexity than the other games, and be very light on role playing. Quick Fixes also always have an inactivity filter, which generally requires you to post at least once every two cycles. QF cycles are always 24 hour cycles with a combined Day and Night, and generally last 1-2 weeks. 

Signups for the next MR go up a few days after the previous QF ends, and vice versa, making a pattern of QF-MR-QF-MR. LGs are on a separate schedule: signups for the next LG generally go up when the current LG is on cycle 5 or 6, so that the new LG starts at about the same time as the current one ends. Signups almost always last one week. 

Anonymous Games
A few times a year, a game is run as an anonymous game. This can be a game of any format, and is marked as ‘Format #/Anonymous Game #: TITLE’. To avoid confusion with Anniversary Games (AGs), anonymous games are abbreviated as ANs. These games are generally signed up to privately, and at the start of the game each player is given one of our 30 anonymous accounts to post from. This allows players to change up their styles without seeming suspicious, try mimicking someone else, or otherwise play in ways that would be difficult if everyone knew who you were! 


Useful Links

  • SE Discord - a place to discuss games or anything else with your fellow players. If you’ve got questions, come join and ask! Outside the games, our community usually hangs out in either spectator docs or here. 
  • SE Stats Sheet - a listing of the stats for every player and every game thus far.
  • GM signups thread - this thread allows you to sign up to be on the GM list, see what games are coming up, or volunteer to co-GM if someone needs help. 
  • GM signup list - this sheet shows who’s up next in the games for all formats
  • Art of Game Creation - this is a thread to discuss and get feedback on game ideas!
Edited by Elbereth

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Player Etiquette
Note: rules and advice on GMing can be found in the GM Signups & Discussion Thread. These rules are primarily about playing.

In an effort to keep conflicts to a minimum, here are some basic ground rules concerning player interactions. Please keep these in mind while you’re playing the games.

First and foremost, the general rules and guidelines from the rest of the forum still apply here. These include, but are not limited to, double posting, cursing, being polite, and proper grammar. If you’re unfamiliar with the site rules, or it’s been a while since you last looked them over, we suggest you read through them again, just to be on the safe side. You can find them here.

  • Put yourself in the other player’s shoes. This is especially important during times of debate and/or game-changing moments. If your team just removed a huge threat, that likely isn’t the time to start boasting. Think about how the other team must feel: they just lost a huge part of their game plan. Don’t rub salt in the wound by being demeaning. On the other hand, if someone is incredibly happy about a turn of events that adversely affected you, please keep in mind that they are not likely happy at your expense. To them, they just received a break and are just expressing their relief and/or joy.
  • Remember that this is a game. This can be difficult at times as things can get quite heated, but please try to remember that this is just a game. If you’re having difficulties, take a step back and breathe for a moment. You might realize that it’s not the end of the world and that, win or lose, there will be another game in the future.
  • Remember that the other players are individuals. They will do things that you likely wouldn’t do or play in a way that you wouldn’t. They are still people and still deserve your respect. You can’t force people to do things the way that you would do them. This is a game and the first rule is to have fun. If you try to force people to play a certain way, you are taking away from their fun. You wouldn’t want someone to do the same to you, so don’t do so to other players. You can’t expect others to play the same way as you, nor should you try to force them to.
  • Treat the GMs with respect. They’ve devoted their time and effort to create and run a game; it’s the least you can do. Remember that they’re only human and if they make a mistake or you disagree with their ruling, it’s not the end of the world. If you feel you must talk to someone about a ruling, PM the impartial moderator for the game.
  • Be proactive about dealing with potential issues. If you think something you’re writing could be taken incorrectly, adding a disclaimer or editing it to be more polite can resolve issues before they even begin. This is not an excuse to be rude or unsportsmanlike, however. Similarly, your RP and character are not an excuse to be unsportsmanlike. You’re still the one writing it. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little leeway here, but if you’re being rude and your excuse is that it was all in-character, that isn’t appropriate.
  • We strongly recommend against posting any notes you are taking during a currently-running game. We generally find that this leads to a more competitive atmosphere for the games, and makes players feel like they have to do more analysis rather than focusing on fun. If, sometime after the game, there is a meta discussion about note taking during games, you’re welcome to post notes from a past game as it’s relevant to the discussion, but do not go out of your way to post game notes.
  • Your forum or real-life relationships with other players should not cause you to play against your team's win condition, and should not be used to attempt to influence another person to play against their win condition.
  • As a corollary to some of the above points, please limit gamethrowing. Sometimes, going for a tie or a mutual win instead of a victory for your team is not a bad thing, and can even be fun. However, one should not make this kind of decision unilaterally if one has teammates. Consult your teammates (even if they are dead) to learn how they will feel if you throw the game, as this decision affects them as well. If they are not okay with it, we strongly advise against throwing the game.


Advice for Winning

  • Don’t be boastful. One of the worst things you can be is a sore winner. There is still an element of luck to this game, so don’t behave like you were the sole reason that your team won. This doesn’t mean you can’t be happy about winning or have some good-natured poking at friends on the other team, but make sure it’s just that: good-natured and lighthearted.
  • Be respectful and aware of how the other team might take your comments during and after the game. If you’re about to say something you wouldn’t want to hear if you were in their position, don’t say it. Be the kind of player you’d want to continue playing with or against in the future.

Advice for Losing

  • Accept defeat with dignity. Refer back to ‘it’s just a game.’ Don’t be the person that ragequits when they’re losing. Not everyone is going to win every time and there will always be another game to play.
  • Don’t take the game too seriously. It’s easy to feel like everyone is ganging up on you, no matter what team you’re on, but when you’re losing it’s even easier to feel like even the slightest provocation is a personal attack. 99% of the time, it’s not.
  • If you feel you are being attacked or someone is intentionally trying to goad you, don’t engage with them. Talk to the impartial moderator and let them deal with the situation.

How to Approach Arguments

  • This shouldn’t need to be said but it will be anyway: be polite. Text is not a good medium for conveying tone. A sarcastic comment can also be easily seen as an attack, whether or not you meant it to be. Emoticons can help convey your meaning. Conversely, if someone says something that you believe is an attack, take a couple of minutes to reread the post before you reply. Ask someone else to read it and get their take on it. More often than not, it was not meant to be an attack (and even if you think it was, don’t engage). Sometimes simply asking the person what they were trying to say will clear things up.
  • Don’t take an argument personally. People will disagree with you—especially the other faction—but that’s part of the game. Because of that, don’t take any arguments too seriously, and if you find you are, take a step back. Walk away from the argument. It’s not worth ruining yours and everyone else’s fun.
  • You don’t have to convince everyone you are right. Even if you’ve built a logical masterpiece and the other person’s argument stands on logical fallacies and faulty assumptions, that doesn’t mean you need to force everyone to see things your way. There are more people in the game than just you and the person with whom you’re debating. If you feel you’ve made a good case for yourself, end your part in the debate and let everyone else decide for themselves.
  • Disagreements are common, but just because someone says something you disagree with doesn’t mean that you can insult them or that they can insult you. Name calling will not be tolerated.

Feedback and Suggestions

  • Be polite with your feedback on games, both in the Game creation thread and post-game. There are many factors to account for within these games and even the best GMs are not going to catch them all. On top of that, many GMs are trying new things and build both roles and settings from scratch. Even if you lost due to what you feel was a flaw in the game, be polite about it and remember that you and everyone else are working to make future games better.

Conflict Resolution
Your first step, should you have a problem with something game-related, is to take it to the impartial moderator. They are there to diffuse situations. Explain what’s going on to them, and they’ll talk to the relevant parties, as well as the GM, to clear things up.


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Other Rules & Warnings

Game Information Restrictions
The rules below are standard unless the GM allows something that deviates from the General Rules (with approval from the committee or the moderators for the deviation). The GM’s rules and stipulations are law within their own game. Those rules are what players are expected to obey.

  • Don’t quote anything from your GM PM during the game for any reason. This includes quoting your role PM or action results. Do not show your GM PM to any other player.
  • Don’t use your forum or real life knowledge of a player to guarantee to someone that you are telling the truth. The bluffing and lies are part of the game. Similarly, don’t use your real life relationship with another player in any way to convince other players of a person’s honesty or alignment. If you know your sibling is an eliminator because you saw them in a doc, don’t tell other players what you saw. (Do contact the GM to let them know.) This goes for any game-related knowledge you may have due to your real life relationship with that person. The lack of information is part of the game.
  • If you’re currently playing in a game, do not talk about that game with another living player (outside permitted PMs including the GM), or in any public place where another player might see. Be cautious even when talking to dead players or spectators who know more than you do about the state of the game, and if you are the non-living-player in that scenario be very careful not to give anything away. If you gain knowledge about a player(s) through this type of communication, don’t tell other players about the details. If the information is sensitive enough, talk to the GM and the impartial Moderator and let them decide what to do.
  • No one can quote PMs from other players or your own to other players or the game thread. If you need to relay what happened in a PM, you must paraphrase what was said. This includes eliminator docs.
  • Editing your posts in a way that changes the meaning is not allowed. Fixing grammatical errors or adding more information so as to not double post is fine, but do not change the intent of your post. This applies to deleting your post as well. The mods will see it, and you will get a warning. Also, please do not edit your vote in, even if you were the last to post, as it’s easy for other players or the GM to miss. Double posts are not nearly as frowned upon as in the rest of the forum, and if you need to post again to cast your vote, feel free. 
  • If you are not a living player, you cannot participate in that game (unless the Impartial Mod and GM both give consent, in certain circumstances). This means you cannot post in the thread after you die, and you cannot continue talking in any docs you were part of. You should also generally avoid upvoting posts as a dead player, especially if they’re good because of something living players don’t know. 
  • Do not use ciphers, codes, or other languages to communicate in a way other players cannot understand. If a game has limited or closed PMs, you can’t get around that by making private messages in the thread. At most, you may communicate a particular piece of information specified in PM (e.g. “the first name I say in my first post will be the person I think you should scan”), but you cannot just tell someone a key in PM so that they can decipher the piece of code you put in the thread. 
  • The spoiler policy of this subforum is the same as the rest of the site

Colored Text

  • All game discussion should be in black once the game starts. This applies to RP and out of character discussion pertaining to the game. This includes using knowledge of basic game mechanics to identify suspects, detect lies, and get others to vote to kill someone. This is all game-related and should be in black. Optionally you may choose to put RP in a separate color, so long as it is not one of those listed below.
  • All out of game discussion should be in blue once the game starts. This applies to everything that is unrelated to the game, mostly pertaining to real life events/situations that affect your ability to play or that you wish to share with the other players. Site issues like the server going down and being unable to access the site or a site update creating problems in other parts of the site that affect the game would be blue-text as well. If it pertains directly to the game itself in any way, keep it in black.
  • Lying about real life or site issues that are in blue text is forbidden. Using blue text for in-game discussion as a way to prove you’re telling the truth is also unacceptable.
  • Moderator comments for in-game issues will be in gold. Please pay attention to these posts as they are for all players, and please do not use similar colors.
  • Red text is for voting who to remove.  Green is for retracting prior votes.  Typically any past votes need to be retracted before new votes are counted.  Greening out your votes in past posts can help the GM keep track of the tally but it is also highly recommended that you post your retraction in a new post as well for other players to see.  Adding new votes into old posts is NOT allowed. If you don’t have access to the rich text formatter, use the following codes to color your votes:
    [color=red]My Vote[/color]
    [color=green]My Retraction[/color]

Anonymous game rules
There are a number of rules associated with the use of an Anonymous Account. Please follow them carefully. Given the potential for abuse of Anonymous Accounts, any rule breaking using the accounts will be dealt with harshly.

  1. Do not change the password of the anonymous account you are issued, nor anything else about the account. The IM and the GMs will have access to all anonymous accounts for the duration of the game being played. Do not use your anonymous account to post in any thread other than the thread of the game it is currently being used for.
  2. Do not use the anonymous accounts to PM any non-anonymous account, other than the accounts of the GMs or the IM. Please do not use your normal accounts to PM anonymous accounts.
  3. Do not tell any other player or individual associated with SE if you are playing or not playing the Anonymous Game. Player identities will be revealed after the game, not on the death of their avatar. You are not forbidden from telling others your identity (truthfully or no), but we ask that you at least not use OOG confirming information. Part of the attraction of anonymous games is keeping identities obscured, and we’d like to ensure that nothing is certain while the game is ongoing. 

We understand that mistakes do happen. But a mistake that happens consistently or often is likely being done either through ignorance of the rules or deliberately. To make sure that these games remain as fair and as enjoyable for everyone, people caught in violation of these rules will be given a warning. Occasionally, a player may receive two warnings at once, especially in the case of egregious inactivity that has taken place over multiple games. 

The first time that a rule has been broken, that player will be warned by one of the mods and asked to reread the rules again, to make sure that they are up-to-date on them all. On the second offense, the player will again receive a warning. 

On the third offense, the player will be pulled from whatever games they are in and they will not be able to join the next game. If the player continues to break the rules after that, the player will be blacklisted for a period of time and future GMs will be alerted of the risks of allowing said player to join in their games.

Edited by Elbereth

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SE Lexicon

Action: An ability or task you can do, based on your role, alignment, or an item. Generally submitted in your GM PM. 

AI / NAI: Alignment Indicative / Non-Alignment Indicative. This is used to describe whether something a player did is useful to determine that player’s alignment or not, often in reference to how that person usually plays.

Alignment: What side a player is on. There are at least two different alignments in every game: good and evil, though GMs can create more.

AG: Anniversary Game. This is a LG run around the end of December each year, in remembrance of the very first game, LG1. These are usually anonymous games, and to date their rulesets have either been the same as LG1’s, or one of our Shard games. (Note: the role names from LG1 are now often used as the ‘standard’ names for those roles, and are included in this lexicon.)

Balance: A term to explain the fairness of the game. If all teams have at the beginning of the game an equal chance of winning, a game is said to be “balanced.” If the game favors one team over the others, it is said to be “imbalanced.”

Bandwagon: Typically a group of votes on one player within a short amount of time.

Bussing:  The act of distancing yourself from your Eliminator partners, usually by helping to remove them (and hopefully playing a major role in convincing others that they are worthy to be removed). The term "bussing" comes from the phrase "to throw under the bus", which means sacrificing them to gain credibility. The 'bussee' is the player being thrown under the bus, and the 'busser' is the one doing it.

Coinshot: The generic term for a kill role. 

Character: Your fictional identity within a game. It can be anything, but please remember the setting and choose accordingly. 

Cycle: The standard way to delineate lengths of games and when things happened. Depending on the game format, a cycle could be two turns (a day and a night) or it could be one turn (a combined day and night).

Doc: A Google Doc where certain teams or players are allowed to openly talk with each other. Generally there’s one for the eliminators, for spectators, and for the dead (which is often combined with the spectators). 

Eliminators: Also known as the evil faction, the eliminators try to kill all the villagers.

Faction: See Alignment. Faction is a term more generally used when there are more than the standard village/eliminator pair, and/or when there isn’t a clearly defined ‘evil’ faction.  

Fake-claim: When someone claims a role that they don’t have.

GM: Abbreviation of “Game Master.” The GM is the host of the game and runs the game. They are the main arbiters of rules within their game.

GM PM: The PM that each player receives at the beginning of the game from the GM, in which they are informed of their role/alignment and anything that happens to them, and where they may submit actions. 

Hard-claim:  When someone explicitly claims their role in thread or PM by name.

IKYK: Acronym for “I Know You Know.” This is when one faction tries to anticipate the moves the other faction will do, while the other faction anticipates this anticipation. The levels of IKYK are deep and filled with paranoia. Learn more about IKYK on TV Tropes.

Impartial Moderator: Commonly called Mod or IM.  Provides an impartial person a player or GM can talk to should a problem arise. The Moderators are: @little wilson, @Elbereth, @Devotary of Spontaneity, @Elandera,and @Araris Valerian

Inactivity Filter: Often, GMs will include a filter where if you’re inactive for a specified period of time, you are removed for the game (or replaced, if pinch-hitters are available). Inactivity may mean not posting in thread, or may mean not being active in any game-related location. These generally do not apply if you know in advance that you’re going to be gone, so long as you inform the GM.

Items: Similar to a role, an item can bestow an ability to the player that has it. Items are usually distinguished from roles because they can be passed between players, and/or only have a specified number of uses available.

Jack: The Jack-of-all-trades is a role with several abilities - typically abilities centered around investigating, protecting and killing.  Sometimes referred to as JOAT.

LG: Acronym for “Long Game.” Go to the Game Format section to read more about Long Games.

Lurcher: The generic term for a protect role. 

Lurking: The act of being on the Site but not posting.

Lynch: Alternate term for Removal, changed in AG7. 

Mayoring: When a player, especially a confirmed good player, tries to dictate what other players should do or who they should suspect. Generally frowned upon. 

Metagame: The norms and conventions around how SE games are usually played and what’s acceptable or not. 

Metagaming: Using knowledge of how other players act when Eliminator or Village in an attempt to determine alignment.

MR: Acronym for “Mid-Range.” Go to the Game Format section to read more about Mid-Ranges.

Ninja'd: When another player posts while you are typing up your post, sometimes covering the same points you were making.

Occam’s Razor: A philosophy principle that states that the more assumptions one has to make to explain an occurrence, the least likely said occurrence is. “The simplest answer is most likely the best.”

OOG: Acronym for “out of game.” Applies to anything that is not game-related.

OP: Two different possible meanings. 1- Original Post. This is the first post in a thread. Typically referenced as it most often contains the rules for each individual game. 2- Overpowered. Typically in regard to a specific role or mechanic within the game that is more useful than any other aspect of the game.

Pinch-Hitter: A player who was not originally in the game at the start, and instead, as the name suggests, replaced a player who for whatever reason could not continue playing.

Player: Anyone playing in a game.

PM: Acronym for Private Message, which is used as a means of private communication between players. Not all games allow private messaging, and even if a game does allow it, it could be restricted in some way.

Pocketing: Pocketing refers to when an evil-aligned player buddies up to a village-aligned player in the hopes that this will make said player view the evil player favorably. Usually the evil player will defend the town player in order to "pocket" them.

QF: Acronym for “Quick Fix.” Go to the Game Format section to read more about Quick Fixes.

Removal: Removal is the Village's primary and sometimes only killing method. The living players,  both Village and Eliminators, agree on who to remove by casting votes for the person they want to see dead. Typically the player with the most votes at the end of the Day round is killed.

Rioter: The generic name for a vote changing role. Usually a Rioter can change one person’s vote to a different target, and the Rioter’s own vote is canceled. 

Role: Any given ability that a player can have. Most games have at least a few different roles.

Role-claim: When a player reveals their role and any results/actions they have received/taken.

Role Madness: A game with no ‘vanilla’ or normal roles.  Normally it is stated in the OP if a game is role madness, but not always.

Rollover: When a new cycle or turn begins. The GM will create a new thread, posting a write up with the results of the previous turn/cycle. The old thread will be merged into the main thread for that game.

Seeker: The generic name for a scan role, especially with regards to scanning alignment. The standard Seeker can target a player at Night and find out their alignment. 

Setting: The world and/or scenario in which the game takes place. This will change based on where the GM decides to create their story.

Soother: The generic name for a vote cancelling role. A Soother can generally make their target’s vote not count that Day. 

Target: Some roles require you to perform an action on or against another player (sometimes including yourself). This player is the target for your action.

Thug: The generic term for a role with a passive life (which usually protects from one attack or one removal). 

Tunneling, or Tunnel-vision: When a player is so convinced of another Player’s alignment that they are unwilling to look at other cases or consider that they might be wrong. It becomes the only thing they post about, and every post the other player makes is seen as confirmation of that result. This happens most frequently when someone thinks someone is an Eliminator.

Turn: A day or night section of the game (the GM can call these different names).

Vanilla: Vanillas are defined by having no special abilities beyond being able to post and vote during the Day like everyone else. They’re also sometimes called ‘roleless’.

Villagers: Also known as the good faction or the town, the villagers are trying to find the eliminators and kill them before the eliminators kill all of the villagers.

Vote: A part of all elimination games, this is how villagers get to root out the Eliminators. All players are able to place a vote during the appropriate turn, and the player with the most votes at the end of the day will (usually) die or be expelled from the game in some sort of way.

WGG: Acronym for Wounded Gazelle Gambit. This is when the eliminators attack one of their own, but the attacked eliminator is somehow saved from death (usually due to protection), in an effort to get them trusted by the village. Learn more about the WGG on TV Tropes.

Write-up: A narrative or summary of the prior rounds results. This can be as sparse as simply the results, or long and detailed flavor pieces about the goings-on.


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Introducing: Break Tanks!

After throwing around the idea for the past few years, we've decided to start up a fourth game format, the Break Tank. Unlike the other formats, this one is meant more for GMs to test things than for balanced games, and especially to test unusual mechanics with little or no precedent. These games will be short, potentially extremely broken, and hopefully give GMs a better idea of when something is horribly broken. :P

General Structure
Because Break Tanks are explicitly for broken or off-the-wall games, the structure is fairly flexible, but general guidelines:

  • Turn length: between 1 and 12 hours. (It's probably better to go for one of the ends of that scale rather than in the middle; I would expect a lot of 1 hour and a lot of 12 hour turn games but few 6 hour turns.)
  •  Timing: the start date will be set well in advance (preferably 2-3 weeks beforehand), so that (especially if turns are 1 hour long) players can just block off an afternoon to play.
  • Inactivity filter: not recommended, and any that is there should be fairly lax. Not everyone will be able to get on during every 12-hour span. No pinchhitters.
  • RP: little to no RP, including in the writeup. The priority here will be game-relevant discussion; we'd ask that everything else be put in spoilers for the sake of players needing to catch up.
  • Rules must still go through the Committee (and you still need an IM as usual), although with somewhat lower standards for approval. If the committee can point out a break for you to fix without having to have players experience it, then all the better for everyone.
  • Unlike standard games, Break Tanks do not have to start on Cycle 1 and, at the GM's discretion, can instead be started as if it were midgame. (This could be useful if, for instance, player power increases significantly over the course of the game, e.g. with elevations in KKC or item consolidation in LG61/20/5.) The GM can also choose to end the game prematurely at their discretion.
  • Signing up for a Break Tank slot without a specific game in mind is discouraged. A Break Tank GM must have GMed or been a substantially active coGM for at least one game before running a Break Tank. Having a coGM is strongly encouraged, for everyone. 

How Break Tanks interact with various game types:

  • Blackout games (or games with secrets) are generally discouraged, since they'd obviously not be blackout by the end of the Break Tank. :P There are circumstances that might call for it when the game just shouldn't be run as a normal game but would be fun (e.g. QF26 or MR1), but games which are actually testing mechanics should take priority.
  • Anonymous games are permitted, but not encouraged unless the mechanic being tested inherently requires anonymity. They take more effort on the part of the mods, and require more effort to actually start playing.
  • Weird/new faction variations are encouraged to start out as Break Tanks. Faction games are notoriously difficult to balance, and are very messy on the regular.


For GMs: How and When to Run a Break Tank 

So you want to run a Break Tank game! First, let's talk about how running it differs from other games:

  • Keep rollover time short. (This is another reason you should try to avoid complexity in your game.) Don't do a writeup - you can prewrite or edit it in later, but during rollover you should send the necessary PMs and post results, as quickly as is feasible. (And try not to mess up. :P)
  • Still try to make sure players have fun! The game is primarily for you, to test mechanics, but the players should still enjoy themselves.
  • If you can play the game out to the end, do so, since the players will have a much more satisfying time that way. End early if 1) there is a major break that makes the game unwinnable for one team, 2) there is a major break that means the game will drag on a very long time, or 3) you've seen what you need and you don't have the time to finish the game properly.
  • Don't change the rules. A mid-game balance change is as likely to confuse your results entirely as to help. This is a test game; it is okay if stuff breaks.
  • Document, document, document. You must do a post-mortem for the game, and please document your thoughts on balance as the game goes along (perhaps in the spec doc). If someone else wants to run a game in the style / with the mechanic you're testing, they need to be able to learn from your game.
  • Remember that every game is different! Don't take the lessons you learn from a Break Tank too deeply to heart, because different games with the same ruleset will have wildly different outcomes. (See how differently the AGs have played out over time, for instance.)

But you also need to consider whether you should run it as a Break Tank. Some advice on that front:

  • Simplify. Running stupidly complex games is going to be a headache for everyone involved, and you don't want them to spend the whole cycle just reading the rules! Try to isolate one or two specific mechanics and only have those in the game.
  • Generally try to avoid or minimize activity rewards. You shouldn't need them for this game, and in fact too much activity will be a problem for players who have to step away and then try to catch up.
  • Usually, what you're testing should be a rules mechanic more than a specific distribution, as the latter is much more game-specific and hard to draw conclusions from or rerun. (Distribution here does not include a question like "how many elims should I put in the game" if the game is different enough that that's a difficult question, however.)
  • Try to avoid planning for or expecting a particular player count.
  • PM-heavy games are mildly discouraged; in general, this should be a game that other GMs can read and learn from.
  • Try to balance as well as you can beforehand! The more you can fix now, the more fun it will be for your players and the more helpful it will be for you in seeing whether it's actually balanced.
  • If you can combine cycles rather than splitting Day and Night, do. 
  • If you have a fairly normal ruleset but are nervous about GMing it for some reason, a Break Tank probably isn't for you. In those cases, talk to a mod or committee member, get a coGM, or ask your IM for distribution help.

Here are some past games that would have made for great Break Tanks (not an exhaustive list):

On the other hand, KKC or the Shard games would not have made good Break Tanks. They're much too complicated to do well with 1-12 hour turns.


For Players: What to Expect

  • Don’t go into it with the same expectations as in a normal game. In particular, the game might be horribly broken, it might start or stop in the middle, and the end may not be satisfying at all. Try to have fun anyway, but don’t get your hopes too high about winning. 
  • Try to interact with the rules; that’s what the GM is testing. Spell out your thoughts if you have them, in your GM PM if not in thread.
  • Feel free to banter and have fun, but keep anything not game-relevant in spoilers if at all possible - we want it to be as easy as possible for people to catch up on the thread, and not everyone has as much time as you might. (Doc banter can also be in a separate section, if need be.)
  • Playing in a Break Tank and a regular game at the same time is not recommended. 


(Note: much of the content of this post is in the Game Signups OP, and will eventually be taken out of here to keep this thread clean.)


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