Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice

Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice! is a podcast by Roger Bell_West and Michael Cule, in which we pontificate on role-playing games.

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Random Political Shenanigans Generation Table 01 March 2016

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This month, Mike and Roger look at politics, and particularly how to bring political elements into games.

We mentioned Thirsty Meeples, 1960: The Making of a President, ViewScream, Ken and Robin talking about US presidential elections, GURPS Social Engineering, Reign, Burning Empires), Ars Magica, Sorcerer to the Crown, Roger's Atlantis game and the relationships map, GURPS Reign of Steel, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Music from the Library of Congress Band Music of the Civil War Era collection, compositions prior to the twentieth century, performances exempt from copyright as a work of the US Government.


  1. Posted by Shimmin at 08:29pm on 17 March 2016

    Another interesting episode. It's made me quite keen to try developing the aforesaid table - although I think with rare self-restraint I'll avoid starting it this evening.

    In your two-stage election game, I wonder if the events of the first cycle could set up each character's situation for the second? Well, of course it would, that's unhelpfully vague. I was thinking of two main things.

    The first is determining what strings the character has available to pull, favours owed and owing, and attitudes of NPCs and other factions towards them. In this case, the character whose candidate won isn't necessarily the best positioned to deal with people. In fact, they may well be weak because they already called in their favours, or didn't support a special interest group, or walked all over somebody on the way to victory.

    The other would be more general traits. An obvious one is visibility: the campaign manager who won the candidacy is going to get a lot more media and political attention. That means the one who backed an obscure outsider who faded quietly away is far better positioned when you don't want anyone to notice. That might be actual skullduggery, or pumping people for information without them realising who you are, or just brokering sensitive deals that might go sour if the media get involved.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 10:49pm on 17 March 2016

    I see this as a balancing act: a player in the first stage might not want his candidate to win, because then he has more resources left, but the less of a showing his guy made the worse the position he'll be in for starting stage two (nobody wants Bobby Jindal's campaign manager on his staff). (It's a tragedy of the commons, really: if everyone agreed to hold back their resources they'd all go into stage two stronger.)

    But this may be because that's the sort of choice I enjoy in boardgames generally.

  3. Posted by Shimmin at 11:38pm on 27 March 2016

    That makes sense to me.

    I'm trying to remember whether Totopoly played that way, but it's been a long time. Strange game, that.

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