The current campaign of Strategic Primer, my strategy game, recently finished its seventh turn. If enough players are interested, I’ll start a new campaign early next year, with substantial improvements to the design.
Harvest for nearly every crop ended last turn or before; for some crops planting is in full swing. Some players are focusing their efforts on large-scale “brute-force” agriculture, while others continue to focus on industrialization (though often to get agricultural labor-saving improvements in place), but a few are now increasingly feeling the pinch of space from a suboptimal fortress plan: the “default” plan I offered for players with their headquarters in forest only included three acres cleared for fields, which was plenty for harvesting in the first turns (with only ten mouths to feed) but can pose a challenging problem now (with more than four times that number of people to feed and to set to planting). The only way to clear more space so far is to cut down trees.
While the nature of the map (mostly land, with a few large bodies of water, rather than the other way around) makes pedestrian or mounted exploration practical, the “lakes” can prove to be major obstacles, as some players’ explorers have been finding the last few turns. For nearly all players, exploration is still limited to sending a worker to wander over the world to fill in the blank spaces on the map and perhaps stumble across something interesting; few have investigated those interesting sites in more detail.
Most players are now dedicating substantial labor to scientific research (largely domestication); this takes longer to show results than I’d expected when I designed the rules, even though in this campaign it ignores several factors that the game should have modeled. (More about that in a later post, perhaps.) On the other hand, all players’ workers are showing good improvement to their skills, and some may start “leveling up” in about four or five turns.
Player-sparked scientific discovery, in contrast, still varies from player to player. A couple of players made discoveries out of necessity (a solution to the too-few-cleared-acres problem I mentioned above), but one (at least temporarily) resumed the explosive pace of the first turns. And, as usual, this mechanic is taking the game in directions I hadn’t even thought of.
Even the solitary-player element of this campaign is becoming somewhat exciting; I’m looking forward to what the players will come up with next. If you’d like to join this campaign, or the possible next campaign, please let me know.