MegaGames (Part 1/2)

A Megagame is a game played with at least 20 people that lasts a few hours at minimum. The actual content of the game can vary, from a large scale RPG to a more standard tabletop boardgame with a high player count.

Recently I played my second Megagame but before I dissect that experience, I’d like to discuss the first one I played several years ago.

I had just watched the Shut Up and Sit Down review of Watch the Skies and my MegaGame interest was piqued. Directly after the video ended I saw that there was one taking place locally.I immediately snapped up a ticket and begun to count down the days…

The Megagame was Mirror State: Dark Phase which is heavily influenced by the X-files, which  further piqued the pique of my interest.

Buying a ticket opened up a drop-down menu allowing you to select which government agency you wanted to work for. Naturally, I chose the FBI as I have always wanted to be Fox Mulder, but you could also play as members of the cabinet, corporations, the media and the President.

At the start of each round the cabinet would meet and the president would allocate a budget, which would then filter down to the agencies who had price lists of the operations they could run. You inform one of the GM’s what operation you were running by submitting a request along with the payment. Then, sometime later the GM would come over and tell you the result.

The high point for me was definitely the FBI arresting the president for reckless spending and overt bribing of the media.

The cabinet and the people revealed to play the bad guys (vampires in this case) seemed to have had an excellent day, but most of the other players seemed ambivalent by the end.

Throughout the game it was hard to shake the feeling that these 10 players were having a really good time at the cost of the rest of our enjoyment.

Most people were having an ‘OK’ time but didn’t really feel like they had enough to do. As the FBI, we were in the middle camp. Some friends I knew that were playing as NASA found themselves  in the ’Minimal Amounts of Fun Allowed’ group, but that’s what you get for not trying to be Dana Scully.

It wasn’t clear how spending different amounts of money changed the outcome of your operations. It didn’t help that money was incredibly hard to come across for almost all of the game. At one point we spent a few grueling turns scraping together the funds for a more expensive investigation, only to find out the same amount of information that we had gotten in another turn for a 6th of the cost.

Later, it came out that the president was funneling off vast sums of money to the press for positive stories. Fun for the players involved but ruinous for almost everyone else considering money was how you did anything in the game similar to the function of ‘Action Points’ or ‘Mana’.

They had effectively taken away our ability to play the game, a common mechanical theme in MegaGames.

I chalked it up as high expectations on my part but it was hard bit to view the day as a bit of a waste. £30 and a whole Saturday is a fair commitment to make to one game.

So, after that day when seeing an ad for a MegaGame, I stayed away. Not feeling any need to repeat the experience.

That is, until the other day…

[Part 2 coming soon]

Filed under: Blog, Boardgames, MegaGames

1 Comment

  1. […] my first experience playing a megagame wasn’t amazing, but the adage holds true that Tragedy + Time + Expensive Counselling = Comedy.   All that time […]

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