The Game of Roses 5: A month of troublesome Tudors

But shall we wear these glories for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?

The Life and Death of Richard the Third (IV.2)

Poor form, really… We’ve had three meetings and not a blog post to record them.

I’ll get the current state of the game notes from Duncan and stick them up soonish. From memory, we’ve had the following to talk about…

  1. A game in five acts.
    We have a structure from which to hang the event. It’s maybe appropriately Shakespearean that we’re working in Acts, each demarked by an event.
  2. Troublesome Tudors.
    We had been seeing the Tudors as troublesome. They really only come into their own in Act Five. Last week, we saw that this is their opportunity too: their game is a set-up for the denouement. They need to be making everyone _else_ hate each other, so the stage is set for them.
  3. A big fight at the end
    We’re going to line-em up, figure the numbers. and then brief re-enactors to have it it and come to that result. We reckon that’s a dramatic finale worth the entrance, if you’ve not seen real steel fighting before…  Any faction member still standing represents a “force”, and then additional “forces” worth of power come in from foreign powers, and Londoners and whatever other sources we build into the game.
  4. Londoners
    Londoners will have their own victory criteria…
  5. Foreigners
    Still very much up in the air, this, although at the moment they look like NPCs.

Tonight, we’ve talked about…

Who are you again? 
In any game with a large cast, knowing who is who is a bit of a bother. We’re going abstract to solve this – well, and because it’s cheaper. Everyone will get a tabard in their faction colour, with a printed a badge for each political factions, based off of their leader, and their name on the front. This _also_ means that if you are talking to someone, you know who they are, because their name is written on their tabard. If you see someone over the field; well, you might or might not recognise them.

The trouble with team sports and how marriage helps
It’s a game about factions, and there’s only one throne. We need to build other threads into the world, so that every player who doesn’t have a Faction to run, has an Ambition to achieve. The essence of the game here is: I have something you want, you help me get what I want.

a) Marriages
So, a next bit of research is to identify suitable marriage candidates and add them to the levers people have to bargain with. Marriage is easy but Stillington gives us the lesson that a witness is a handy thing to have. So, that’s handy because we every deal might need a bishop to make it stick. Or not, if you’re happy to risk it…  There’s a league of it: foreign support with a royal marriage abroad, marriage to a higher ranked noble, down to the elevation of a commoner to the nobility. If you’ve “married up”, that’s an Ambition met. If you’re a Londoner, and you can marry anyone with any sort of title, then that’s a massive Ambition met. Historically – it’s the Great Chain of Being. How do we represent this? Well, maybe ribbons? We can get them printed, and people could wear them until they handed them over – it’s colourful, and instantly marks people who are married. Maybe we might have existing marriages marked by ribbons too? Might be a handy marker for split loyalties too… Marriages are made by two characters agreeing to marry off two of the ribbon names, and get a bishop to join them together. It’s easy to break off a child  marriage. There’s scandal if a marriage is way inappropriate – like the historical marriage of Edward IVth to Elizabeth Woodville… Maybe fifteen characters with marriage Ambitions?

b) Position
There’s also positions in – say – the Privy Council another, and we’ve bent history _slightly_ to make the Archbishopric of Canterbury the gift of its current holder. There’s a stack of Bishoprics too. Ten positions in the Privy Council, five bishoprics? Could be ten?

c) Parliament
Parliament has a budget, which can be spent on “some” “things” – each of these “things” fulfil “someone’s” ambition, or – say – provides a Force. Maybe ten of these? Could be 20?

Every faction has a number of victory conditions, every character an Ambition. At the end we rank the factions in order of condition achieved, and use the number of characters who have achieved their Ambition to break ties. We’ve got four victory conditions per faction. and the top one looks very tricky, which means that Ambition becomes more important, as it’s the tie breaker. We’re very happy about that.

Logistics and positions
Each character needs an wearable aide-memoire with their ambitions, their levers (Any marriages they can offer for example), their faction’s victory conditions, and a short bio – maybe just a date of birth, titles, and marriage status. None of that changes.

Anyone who has a marriageable relative, or is marriageable themselves, has a ribbon.

We’ll also have a number of positions which _can_ change, and they’re on cards or some other item we can move around which has the levers of the job on it. Bishops will have hats.

The game is set in the medieval world, and England was not in a vacuum. Scotland, France and Burgundy (and maybe others…) Some characters might be in the pockets of foreign powers – and will benefit from a “force” provided to them as an abstraction of all the delights such influence can bring. If those characters _don’t_ do what they are told, then they lose the force. Of course – others might know, and that information might be useful blackmail… We have toyed with the idea of making the foreign powers players, but it’s not looking on right now – if only because they provide more richness for others if they aren’t… We think. Lots to mull over.

The de-brief…

On the day, after each game – block the time out for a quick de-brief. Not least because they might think about how different to play it through next time- more cut-throat through the day. With a prounouncement of goals acheived. Maybe modify the scoring based on the interation? So each student has a score over the day

A “town crier” or historical equivalent.

In Cheapside, and recorded. (NB: In the end we had a bell…) to give out audible calls for  meetings of houses.

Next meeting…

  • Produce a first cut of the cast list
  • Chat to someone about faction badge art.

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