Strategic Primer: Deadlines (RFC)

One of the most frustrating things about Strategic Primer for me is that in four and a half years, the current campaign has only finished eleven turns. While in retrospect my initial conception of a turn a day for that first month was a dreadful idea and it’s a good thing it didn’t pan out, this other extreme is nearly as bad, though I have to admit that many of the delays have been partly or largely as much my fault as that of my players.

In my various projects—development of the Strategic Primer “assistive programs,” my writing, even class assignments when I was in school—I’ve found that while it’s possible to get work done entirely on my own without any “incentive,” I have far more often just let things lapse. But when I had a definite date on which I was going to report my progress or lack thereof. In other words, deadlines focus the mind tremendously. This is why I try to write a development reports and a writing status updates every month.

Thus I suspect that if each turn of a campaign of Strategic Primer had a deadline, we might be able to get through turns at a somewhat faster and (more importantly) more consistent rate. So here’s my proposal, which I’d like to know current and potential players’ thoughts on:

Starting next turn, let’s set a deadline for strategies of, let’s say, two months after my “turn summary” blog post. That’ll be a somewhat “soft” deadline; in particular, if I haven’t finished with the “AI” players by two weeks before, the deadline will be postponed until at least two weeks after I do. And if an updated strategy comes in after the deadline but before I get to that player in my rotation, I’ll use it; I’ll probably even be willing to wait a few days if I know that a player has a strategy or strategy revision in progress at the last minute, and the player keeps me informed as to his or her progress. (Conversely, if I finish the “AI” strategies quickly, and all the players have given me at least presentable drafts, we might end the turn there, in the interests of getting to the next one.)

But if the deadline comes and goes, and I get to the point of running a player’s strategy and don’t have one from that player, I’ll run the turn as if the player had promised his or her subordinates instructions and hadn’t given them. What will happen depends on how experienced and skilled any administrators are, how firm a routine has been set from, and the like. It won’t be as bad as having all the workers sitting around consuming resources but doing no work with the crops rotting in the fields, but it won’t be as close to the player’s ideal as if the player had made his or her wishes explicit before the deadline.

Any thoughts?

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