Matrix Game Rules

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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:56 pm

Hi everyone.

First of all let me say Run to 2012 is an awesome idea, and thanks Dingle for creating this place.

However choose your adventure stories can get old fast if all you do is choose an option, so I am suggesting you we try the Engle Matrix Game, which is a very simple game that's still structured and allows and a more active participation for the players, which can decide everything, instead of choosing from limited options.

The game was created by Chris Engle, rules offered for free in: http://www.hamsterpress.net/news/list

The home rules that I present here are based on a classic version, which is better in my opinion, with some mods. I have been using them succesfully in pbf games and chat during the years and it was fun.
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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:57 pm

*** BASIC RULES ***


INTRO

The game is about creating a story using arguments, which need to make sense for them to happen. The rules are light but the game is good enough for simulation and strategy games.

It's also serious business because the British, Aussie, and French armies have used this game to teach strategy and decision making to their officers, according to the website.



ENTITIES

Entities are the basic unit of the game. Together they form the game universe which is the Game Matrix. Entities are the characters, but also can be countries, cities, armies, starships, or whatever, or can even be abstract concepts.

Players can control one or several entities and will decide what they do.

Players can also recruit entities to make them fall under they control, or create new ones. It's also possible to steal control of entities from other players.



STATUS MATRIX

Every entity has a Status Matrix, which is a series of words (statuses) that define it.

A status can be anything, including: a skill, description, resource, personality trait, technology, weapon, damage...



TURN

The Game is played in turns. Every turn represents a certain amount of time and has the following phases:

1- Negotiation
2- Movement
3- Arguments
4- Resolving arguments
5- Deal consequences



NEGOTIATION

In this phase the players can talk and coordinate their actions. It can be done on chat, PM, etc.



MOVEMENT

There's a map of the game that's divided in zones.

Every turn, players can move the characters and other movable entities that they control from one zone to another that's next to it, and anywhere inside the zone where they are in.

Movement rules can be chaged for any particular game. For example if airplanes are available, characters can be allowed to move anywhere in the world in one turn.



ARGUMENTS

In this phase every player declares one argument.

Arguments are used to make something happen in the story, and they can be used for anything, including an action that a character does or an event that just happens.

Arguments do not need to be about the characters the player controls, they can be about anything.

Arguments are described by:

1- A short paragraph or sentence explaining what happens and what are the consequences.

2- Up to three Reasons explaining why the argument happens or justifying it.



RATING

The Gamemaster rates every reason of the arguments based on its likeliness:

-Strong (+2): very likely, strongly supports the argument.
-Neutral (+1): likely, supports the argument.
-Weak (0): makes sense but does not support the argument especially.
-Stupid (-1): contradicts other things established, makes no sense.

By adding the numbers it is decided the strenght of the argument. The max strenght is 5, and the min is 0.

Also if an argument makes no sense, the Gamemaster can veto it and the strenght is automatically 0.



ROLLING

1D6 is rolled for each argument. If Result <= Strenght, the argument "happens" (it's added to the story and modifies the matrix), and the consequences must be dealt. Elsewhere it never happened.

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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:58 pm

*** ADVANCED RULES ***


COMPETING ARGUMENTS


If two arguments can't happen at the same time, only one can succeed, so if both happens they have to be rolled again several times until one fails.



SAVING ARGUMENT

If an argument causes a big trouble to someone's character, the player can make one extra argument to try to save it, by describing how would it be saved. It is rated like normal arguments.

(Example: a building collapses, killing everyone inside. Everyone who had a character in the building can make an argument to try to save them, explaining how they survived.)



CONFLICT

This mechanism can be used to resolve an important confrontation between two players (like a battle or combat).

1- The players in the conflict describe their advantages (surprise element, bigger numbers, better technology, etc.)

2- The Gamemaster decides whose advantages are better, and he is the first player to act.

3- The first player describes how the conflict is resolved with an argument.

4- Argument is rolled, if it succeeds that's what happened, elsewhere second player gets to make an argument and it's rolled.

5- If second player's argument succeeds, that's what happened, elsewhere first player goes again, etc., until it's resolved.

If the conflict is very important or big scale it can be resolved in a series of conflicts instead of just one.



BARRIERS

A barrier is some protection a player can put on the map (by using an argument), around a zone or around an entity. They can only be crossed or removed by using another argument.

Some kinds of barriers only affect certain type of entities (for example, a wall will not stop a flying creature).

Also barriers don't need to be physical, for example a barrier of secrecy means a location cannot be found because it's secret. If a character is afraid of the dark, a dark corridor is a barrier for him and he has to do something to overcome his fear before venturing into it (or find a light).



THRUST AND PARRY

This is used when the players are divided in two teams. Instead of all arguments resolved at the same time, they are divided so on the first turn one team acts, then on the next turn the other team, and so on.

During their turn players can use counter-arguments to cancel or modify the arguments that the other team made in their turn.



FLEXIBLE TIMEFRAME

The time that each turns represents can be expanded or contracted depending on what is happening in the story. This is decided by the Gamemaster.

It's also possible to make arguments about things that happened in the past.



WRAPPING UP

If there's no time to finish the game, it can be speeded up by using this mechanic:

Everyone makes an argument about how the story ends. They are rated as usual, and rolled. They are all competing, so only one will happen.

The winning argument is how the story ended.

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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:58 pm

*** SETTINGS AND GAMES ***


Matrix Games can be played in many different ways.


COMPETITIVE

The game is suited for comptetive strategy games. In this type of game, the players are competing with each other. Alliances are allowed, but at the end only one can win.

Examples:

-Politics: win the elections.
-Civilization.
-Gang Wars.
-Social Warfare: climb the social ladder and tear down your enemies to be more succesful than everyone else.
-Business Warfare.



QUEST

The characters go out there to accomplish a great task, or on an adventure, RPG style.

The difference between this and a RPG is that the players themselves are the ones who create the troubles and adventures for their characters to overcome.



MYSTERY

The players have to solve a mystery, a murder, or a crime. Or maybe they are trapped somewhere where something bad is happening, and they must find out what's going on and escape.

In order to solve the mystery, the players themselves have to "create" the clues that they find by using arguments. The solution is not known before the game starts, and it's actually created on the fly while it's played.

At the end, hopefully all the clues will fit together somehow and the mystery will be "uncovered".



YOU ARE THERE

Take a historical situation (a battle, a famous event, etc.), and the characters are there.

In this game the GM is more active, describing what happens by following the timeline of what happened in reality, and the players have to deal with it with their arguments, and try to make their characters survive.



COLLABORATIVE

Create a story or a world together using arguments.



CONFRONTATION

There are two teams of players competing with each other, and only one will win.

Usually uses the thrust and parry rule.

Any of the above games can be played this way, even for the quest or collaborative games: one of the teams can be played as the bad guys or create the trouble for the other team (the main characters).

For example in a Run to 2012 style game one team can play a civilization and the other all the others, and all the troubles and events that affect it.

Other ideas for confrontation games:

-Courtroom drama.
-Tactical (Terrorists vs Counters, etc.)
-Colonization (Colons vs Nature+Natives).
-Police vs Gangs.
-Espionage (infiltrate your enemy and steal their secrets).
-Wargame (there are special rules for wargames and they are quite fun, but they require a map, miniatures, and so on, and can be complicated to do here.)
-Survival Horror (Victims vs Zombies/Aliens/whatever).
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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:59 pm

*** TIPS ***


ACTION MATRIX

Arguments can be used for anything, but most usually for:

-Recruit/Steal/Add an entity/character.
-Create/Remove/Cross a barrier.
-Change/Add/Modify a status or several.
-Make someone do something.
-Make something happen.
-Create new trouble for the characters.
-Add an element to the story (for example: a clue).
-Add color to the story.
-Modify some rule or restriction (for example, allow a certain character to move extra).



GAMEMASTER'S ROLE

In a Matrix Game the Gamemaster doesn't seem to do much, since the players are the ones who make the arguments and who make things happen, and the GM only decides the strenght of those arguments.

Still the GM is responsible for creating the world and the map, defining the winning conditions, and managing the game, the conflicts, etc., as well as describing how the consequences of the arguments change the world.

In certain games the GM can have a more active role and even describe the things that happen in the background.



PROJECTS

An argument has more chances to succeed if it's supported by strong reasons. For this, if something is hard to do it is better to prepare in advance by doing some easier arguments first that give you the edge you need.

Example: there's an upcoming battle, so instead of jumping into it you use one or two arguments to train your troops, upgrade equipment, etc.

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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:00 pm

*** CONCLUSIONS ***

That's it, what do you think of it?

Also if you guys are interested I can run a demo game or something to get it started. The rules look quite long, but actually the game is very simple. We can just get started and easily grasp all the rules.

Anyway thanks for reading so far and hope we can play it sometime!
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Post  Davinelulinvega on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:01 pm

fuck, that looks complicated. could you provide us with an examplery turn or even a short game?
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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:04 pm

Davinelulinvega wrote:fuck, that looks complicated. could you provide us with an examplery turn or even a short game?

LOL, it looks like it, but when you get started it's easy Very Happy

I'll write an example turn, hold on...
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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:18 pm

*** EXAMPLE TURN ***

Let's say in this example we were playing a game similar to Run to 2012. There's two players:

Player 1 plays the civilization.
Player 2 plays the hostile world that wants the civilization to fail.


TURN

PLAYER 1

Argument: My people discover agriculture. They can now grow food and establish themselves in a place, instead of having to travel from place to place harvesting and hunting.

Reasons:

1- They have arrived to a very fertile valley, in which stuff grows easily everywhere.

2- The valley provides them with quite enough food for a while, so they don't need to travel so much and can understand better how plants grow.

3- My tribe has lived peacefully for years, so they get bored and discover things.


PLAYER 2

Argument: A tribe of wandering barbarians reach the valley. They look aggressive.

Reasons:

1- There are nomad tribes all around.

2- The tribe has not explored the area yet, and there could be unknown people inhabiting the nearby forests.

3- Because I hate Player 1's civilization.



GAMEMASTER

For player one, he decides arguments are +2, +2, +1 = 5.
For player two, +1, +2, 0 = 3.

Rolls two dice, results are:

Player 1: 5 (<= 5) -> Success.
Player 2: 4 (> 3) -> Fails.

Consequences: The tribe finds out how to grow food by themselves and establishes on the fertile valley. So far no other tribes have been seen, and they can keep living peacefully for a few years.
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Post  Davinelulinvega on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:22 pm

okay, do you want to try that with me?

a short game maybe and then we can maybe get more people tomorrow.
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Post  Mastermind on Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:27 pm

Davinelulinvega wrote:okay, do you want to try that with me?

a short game maybe and then we can maybe get more people tomorrow.

Sure Smile Can you get in chat and we decide what kind of game and what about? Then we can start it in a new thread.
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Post  The Ghost on Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:31 pm

I'd also like to try this out for the heck of it if i get the time.

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Post  Dessert on Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:16 pm

I think I would like to give this a try. Smile

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Post  Phantom on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:25 pm

I'm in also.
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Post  SovietRussian on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:55 pm

Sounds sweet, im in
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Post  nornbear on Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:05 pm

I'd be down
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Post  Smarty on Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:57 pm

where do we chat?
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Post  Assassine on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:15 pm

id be in too i guess Very Happy
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