Megagames, the MMO of Table Top Gaming

(Massively Multiplayer.... Offline?)

I recently came across a video on the youtube channel Shut Up & Sit Down that piqued my interest. It's the first time I've come across the concept of a "megagame" or a board game that plays 50 or more people. Here's the video:


If you haven't the time to watch the whole video I'll give you a short synopsis. About 60 players have gathered to play "Watch The Skies". Players are broken in to small teams of 4 or 5 players, each team representing a country on a world map and each team member has a designated role in that country. Political Leader, Military Leader, Science Researcher, and Ambassador. There's one more large group of players who are playing an alien race that have their own goals. There is also a small group of game masters coordinating things in the background.

I'm not sure on the EXACT rules of the game the general concept is each player has some influence on the direction the country and unique aspects of play. For example all of the Ambassadors attend a meeting each round (at the UN) where they can negotiate policies and relations with one another. There are also open elements more like a D&D game where you declare your intent to one of the game organizers and they weigh the difficulty and then roll dice to dictate the outcome. There is also a "journalist team" who wanders around interviewing each team every round. They then type up a single page news paper that is published and delivered to each team for the next round, giving players a chance to make press releases and sow little seeds of disinformation into the games narrative.

Each round is 30 minutes long and represents a quarter of a year, and the game masters introduce new crises that need to be dealt with. The overall effect is a large social experience with an emphasis on hidden information and diplomacy.

Unfortunately our current crisis makes such a gathering unconscionable but the scope and social aspects of a mega game have me really excited to both try one, and then maybe design one myself.

Has anyone heard of this style of game before, or better yet, played a megagame? What do you guys think about the concept?
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Closest I can think of would be Larp. I like the premise of the game and I think you could learn a lot from doing these types of social experiences, especially when there are groups of people with different roles. In the National Guard we would play different games where we would work as a group to find out the best solution: Like: 'you are stranded in a desert with such and such items of your disposal' - What would be the best approach for surviving? A lot of the times in life we tend to do things that are quite irrational, so every once in awhile thoughts experiments like what you described can be quite helpful.
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