I was involved in one called Galactic Anarchy, run by a friend and business colleague, as a tester and (of all things) cartoonist. The concept was simple: a turn-based space conquest game played over snail mail (and later also email) populated by several character types (“races”), filled with interesting artifacts and of course founded on certain rules. Players examined the status of their fleets and owned worlds, and then issued commands to move, attack, defend and anything else the command set supported.
Playing was an incredible amount of fun, even with the 18-day turnaround time for player command sets. In fact a large part of the experience was the anticipation over just what was going on between the time you submitted your instructions and the day you received the results. Even more fun was testing the limits of the rules and discovering loopholes and quirks that the game developer had overlooked. But then every game needs an easter egg or two.
I am revisiting this memory because I’m missing the joy of that sort of gaming and wondering if there’s a place for a revival. Of course no one will wait 18 days for turn results, but there’s a solution.
What I’m envisioning is a turn-based game with default behaviors determined by the player. In addition to deliberate commands, players could set certain behaviors and instructions meant to be executed if the player did not submit his commands in time. The server would ping each player based on a predetermined or random order, and await a response. The response time could be agreed upon in advance by all players or set by the host (it could even be an average of submitted requests). Pinging would be conducted by any and all means that the player set: instant message, SMS, Twitter, email, etc.
This would be ideal in a mobile setting, since players would be more likely to respond quickly. Timezones could be an issue but then that would be part of the agreed response time.
I’m throwing this out there for consideration by the development community, especially Gluon (I shared this with Leinir already). This is the sort of “sticky” scenario that pulls in and keeps a user base.