State of the Queue 2018

For large social games such as Survivor where the primary mechanic is social interaction.
xofelf
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Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:08 pm

Hey everybody, I wanted to give you all some really cool stats from this past year of the queue to give you an idea of how we're doing.

In 2017, there were 7 Large Social Games: 5 Survivors, 2 Challenge-Based Games. This is actually about the same if maybe more than years in the past.

76 users played LSGs. Of those 76, 28 were first time players. Out of those 28, 10 played more than one game. Our player base is growing, last I knew the active player base was only about 40 people maybe.

There were 16 individual mods, 1 mod ran 3 games, 2 ran 2 games. 5 mods ran their first game this year as well. This is less mods running all the games than usual, which is probably a good thing.


So with these stats in mind and the fact we have a new LSG mod, we would like to ask you the community a few questions about some things we will be trying to improve upon in the next few months.
1) What type of information do you expect to know about a Large Social Game before you dedicate months of your life to playing it?
2) How do you feel about the balance of Survivor games to Non-Survivor games?
3) If you haven't modded a Survivor game, what barriers are stopping you from doing so? If you have, what is stopping you from modding again?

If you're more comfortable answering these questions without discussion, you can use this form instead. But please, we very much want to have an open discussion about what the problems in the queue are with the community and to fix them as best we can. Thank you!
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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:30 pm

I will mostly speak to #1. I think we've had this convo on Skype before, Xof, but it'll get things started here:

We should have some sort of standard scale to describe how "out there" at Survivor game is. A lot of the complaints around both MLS and Civ had to do with the fact that the games were more complex or more, err, out there than normal, without that expectation being set up front. Having some sort of objective set of standards by which a game can be measured and advertised with feels necessary. For example, we could decide that the baseline for a game is:

1) No more than 1 idol/starting tribe + 1 and 1 additional non-idol item
2) No more than 2 swaps
3) No ability to interact across tribes outside of challenges
4) The ability to PM
5) 1 person, 1 vote (barring items)
6) No ability for dead players to return
7) The only form of elimination is being voted out
8) No more than 1 player is eliminated via not being voted out

Then we could say that if a game follows all of these guidelines, it is considered basic. If it breaks 1-2, it's considered standard. If it breaks 3-4, it's considered complex, and if it breaks 5+, it's considered bastard. Note that I don't think this is literally the scale that we should implement (it would have Civivor as more bastard than MLS, which feels wrong), but it's just an example to get the conversation rolling.
Last edited by BROseidon on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:34 pm

yea some sort of bastard system needs to exist: ie, "Is there potential for arbitrary actions in the game that are not alike other situtations?" "Can an action that looks like A actually be B"

A lot of what BRO said.

Maybe some sort of philosophy behind the game design.
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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:36 pm

I don't think it's bad to do things that are out there (I still stand by the core premise of MLS not being implicitly terrible, although a lot about that game could have used editing from a pretty objective standpoint), but transparency about how out there something is is important (the warning I gave for MLS should have been something along the lines of "the premerge will not involve voting anyone out, but instead be a long-term challenge with social elements")

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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:39 pm

In post 0, xofelf wrote:1) What type of information do you expect to know about a Large Social Game before you dedicate months of your life to playing it?

What kinds of challenges can I expect in general? How twisty is it?

In principle, I see the utility of the bastard system that has been suggested; however, such a system would work best if we clearly defined "bastard" like we have for theme games. hiplop's post feels like a good starting point for this discussion.

In post 0, xofelf wrote:2) How do you feel about the balance of Survivor games to Non-Survivor games?

As I only have one game of experience as a player, I do not feel I can make a fair assessment of which is more balanced; however, what I feel I can say is that it's hard to adjust to LSG's after many years of playing non-LSG's. The social aspect needed to do well in LSG's rarely shows up outside of them, with Buy the Bullet coming to mind as an exception.

In post 0, xofelf wrote:3) If you haven't modded a Survivor game, what barriers are stopping you from doing so?

My first game is still in the planning stages, and has generally been progressing very slowly because of time commitment issues (which, for me, have lessened), and this is making it hard for me to stay motivated in developing the game. An updated version of Xalxe's guide might be useful.
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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:40 pm

Is it possible your game has any of the following: cults, mid-game alignment changes, moderator lies that cannot be reasonably anticipated (for example, Godfather, Tailor, Miller, Ninja, and mechanics like that are generally fine. Telling someone they are a reflexive doctor when they're actually a PGO is not), secret win conditions, un-divulged non-randomness in player role/alignment generation, direct moderator influence during the game? (Yes/No)

This comes from the questionnaire that needs to be filled out every time a Large Theme mafia game is run. Some sort of equivalent to this should definitely happen, perhaps with a little bit of specificity as opposed to just a yes/no. And it should be on a third party to determine this, not the mods but either a reviewer or the Listmod assigned to the game.

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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:42 pm

I don't think BRO's too far off the mark, but a severity scale could do wonders. The farther something strays from said scale the more it counts towards a non-standard game (ex. Eon's million idols would be a pretty severe break from rule 1). Let's say that there's "no change" "slight change" "moderate" and "severe". These each increase the bastard-ness (word choice) by a number that makes sense and would likely need fine tuning, but having two metrics that work hand in hand to determine a scale of the sheer hilarity of this all is probably all we need if we go that route.
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Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 pm

Way too much Survivor no enough everything else. Has an anonymous, say, The Mole ever been run? Ever?
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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:51 pm

Anonymous Mole, no. But the Mole has run before, it just tends not to finish. mallowgeno is the only mod I can think of who has finished a Mole game.
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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:52 pm

2) How do you feel about the balance of Survivor games to Non-Survivor games?
3) If you haven't modded a Survivor game, what barriers are stopping you from doing so? If you have, what is stopping you from modding again?


We need more variance when it comes to non-Survivor games. We had all sorts of non-Survivor games in the past - BB, Endurance, Kingdom Clash, Amazing Race, other Survivor-esque games - but we’ve had much less of them recently, barring Pabs and CC’s Challenge series.

Modding is an incredible time commitment. Somebody needs to be on call nearly 24/7 to handle player concerns or answer questions, big and small. It takes a specific type of person. Even with three people it’s tough to manage this, and unless at least one of them can commit tons of time to being active it’s near impossible. Bands was a shitshow at least partially because the queue was long enough that Ceph and I were coaxed out of modding the game at a time of year that was ideal to me, and a lot of the other past mods have much busier lives now than they did (Reck’s got a new job, for example). We don’t know who is around that can find consistent time to mod, and it could be people that are too intimidated by having to design a whole game to step up. I’m sure loads of people would love to design games, and many others would be fine with handling the day-to-day stuff for games, so we’d have a lot more games if we could connect those two groups of people.

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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:58 pm

I'd play the heck outta a Big Brother style game here with 12-16 people. The alliance aspect will come out real well when you have every possibility open. More betrayal too. Is that a possibility in the future?

It does say "Survivor and other social games" in the title, so more variety in shows represented would be amazing to see.

The only other big ones i can think of just got mentioned already though... Unless somehow someone would play as "The Bachelor(ette)" in a dating sim.

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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:00 pm

In post 10, JaydragonKing wrote:I'd play the heck outta a Big Brother style game here with 12-16 people. The alliance aspect will come out real well when you have every possibility open. More betrayal too. Is that a possibility in the future?

It does say "Survivor and other social games" in the title, so more variety in shows represented would be amazing to see.

The only other big ones i can think of just got mentioned already though... Unless somehow someone would play as "The Bachelor(ette)" in a dating sim.

http://s15.zetaboards.com/RealityShowX/topic/8116723/1/

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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:06 pm

... well now I see that the Bachulor(ette) isn't something you can really do online, actual romance be damned. Still think smaller things like Big Brother should be around here.

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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:07 pm

We've had Big Brother, but it's been a while. It certainly is allowed and encouraged if anyone wants to design it.
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MattyP: Ur an enigma tho when it comes to circadian rhythm and the traditions we hold dear when it comes to the sun and the moon
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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:04 pm

One big focus is trying to get the right balance of diversity in the LSGs. Stuff like MLS and Big Brother and Endurance and the Genius. However, a lot of people here come for Survivor. The question is how to find the best needs fit for the community. We want to make sure there's variety, but only enough to meet demand.
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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:19 pm

Okay guys I'm running Solitary I hope you all enjoy it*

*I am not actually running Solitary

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Post Post #16  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 pm

Hey, if there's a need for it, cool beans.

Also: this is free spitballing. We, as 2-3 people running the Mish Mash portion of the site, have no way of knowing what the community at large feels is necessary. So please, speak up! We want to hear from everyone. If you're not comfortable posting publicly about it, xof has included a handy Google Form instead.

The categorization thing is really important to me, but it's also tricky. I feel like it almost exclusively applies to Survivor games, because they're the most established in terms of history. Big Brother games have rarely been run, and "expect the unexpected" isn't a slogan for the hell of being a slogan. Endurance, Pirate Master, The Mole (omfg I would LOVE to see an anonymous mole game!) etc all don't have enough establishment to be able to say "what is normal".

And to clarify, right now, the discussion isn't about a categorization system as strict as what the Normal Queue has in Mafia. It's more about a tagging/identification system to give mods something to work under and give players something to judge their time commitment by. It also easily allows the mod team to look at the horizon of games and go, for example, "Hmm, there are a lot of CATEGORY FIVE Survivor games in the works! We really need to make sure a more back-to-basics game is ready to go as well, just in case the need arises." This doesn't mean that we'll say "Nope, only XXX type of game can run next", it just means it'll let us be able to try to cultivate a wide variety of games ready to be run at any point.

Basically, categorization helps players have a better experience, helps mods know where the lines are in their games to avoid negative reception, and helps listmods be able to ensure there's enough diversity in the queue that everyone can have at least a handful of games that fit their desires each year.
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Post Post #17  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:37 pm

A Mole game ran not too long ago run by Realeo. It didn't finish for whatever reason though. It seemed like player interest was low.
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Post Post #18  (ISO)  » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:38 pm

Honestly, I think the survivor vs. non survivor type games has been pretty balanced. Just this past year alone we had 2 challenge games with the genius series, an allocate game, and a tontine game. Not to mention all the attempts/successes for skypevivors AND another survivormeet. Maybe throw in a BB game or two and I think that would be a good balance.

But yeah it all comes down to demand. People come for survivor games but stay for the variety.

And ditto what reck said. A tagging system would do wonders. Let’s players know what they’re getting into and let’s mods/site people know the degree of variety currently on the site. Win/win

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Post Post #19  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:08 am

In post 16, xRECKONERx wrote:Hey, if there's a need for it, cool beans.


While I love Solitary the TV show and would totally host a Solitary meet, it would make a garbage forum game.

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Post Post #20  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:10 am

In post 6, animorpherv1 wrote:I don't think BRO's too far off the mark, but a severity scale could do wonders. The farther something strays from said scale the more it counts towards a non-standard game (ex. Eon's million idols would be a pretty severe break from rule 1). Let's say that there's "no change" "slight change" "moderate" and "severe". These each increase the bastard-ness (word choice) by a number that makes sense and would likely need fine tuning, but having two metrics that work hand in hand to determine a scale of the sheer hilarity of this all is probably all we need if we go that route.

As a note: I really like this and am pondering what this could look like!
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Post Post #21  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:19 am

an acclaimed scale indeed
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Post Post #22  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:09 am

Seems complicated to create a quantifiable scale when there are like 5 survivor games a year, why not just have the social mods mandate a specific warning be in place for games that are bastard like what exists for mafia games. I trust the social mods to have judgment about what is an appropriate warning for different games

Seems like a lot of unnecessary work to create this scale and it adds a layer of complication I dont think needs to exist

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Post Post #23  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:18 am

I like the idea of having a scale. When designing games, I'm always trying to figure out how much is too much so what Bro proposed seems fine to me.
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Post Post #24  (ISO)  » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:45 am

In post 22, MattP wrote:Seems complicated to create a quantifiable scale when there are like 5 survivor games a year, why not just have the social mods mandate a specific warning be in place for games that are bastard like what exists for mafia games. I trust the social mods to have judgment about what is an appropriate warning for different games

Seems like a lot of unnecessary work to create this scale and it adds a layer of complication I dont think needs to exist

Im a grinch


Alternatively: Have the mods put down on paper how they would make that call in a consistent way so that people can't bitch about the mods being unfair later.

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