Strategic Primer Distinctive: Story

A few weeks ago I described a third distinctive feature of Strategic Primer, my strategy game. Today I’ll talk about a fourth “distinctive feature,” one that came about by player demand: a story to explore.

I’ve mentioned before that Strategic Primer began as the apparatus for my eighth grade science fair project, hastily prepared; the thought of adding a story hadn’t entered my mind, particularly since the similar game I was most familiar with was a Civilization offshoot. When I tried (unsuccessfully) to start a campaign in high school, it was to be a simulation of one of the more complicated wars in my fantasy series-in-preparation, but the awkward union of concepts is in retrospect likely part of why the campaign failed to even get off the ground.

In the intervening years, I dropped the idea of having a story from the design, and kept trying to improve it as a “fun simulation,” with a rather open world and “the only story is the one you create.” But in the current campaign, players kept asking questions about the backstory of the game-world.

So, by popular demand, I’m adding a story. I’m (slowly, awkwardly) coming up with something for the current campaign, and if a new campaign gets enough players to go forward, it’ll have the story designed in from the beginning rather than tacked on later.

The story won’t be like my previous attempt, where it significantly constrained the players’ actions and had a predetermined direction. Nor will it be like other strategy games I’ve played that included a story, which set challenges and goals for each scenario based on the story, with no player input beyond how to solve each scenario. Instead, the story consists of backstory to be discovered, and perhaps some unexpected actions by the “AI” players. And perhaps the occasional “scripted” sequence of events in a location. But the game is still a basically open world, with the story the players create being the primary story.

If you have a thought, e.g. an idea of something to put in the story, or would like to join a campaign of Strategic Primer, please let me know.

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