Game variants seem to be popular with long-time MEPBM players. They give players the chance to experience a different feel for the game. The all-neutral games (1650, 2950 Great War, and KS) filled quickly, in a matter of days. Other variants have proven to be just as popular. In that spirit, here is a proposed variant like no other. First, a quick notice: Clint (GM at MEPBM) has not voiced his support (He won’t help us “promote” it) for the following variant. But I think if we fill the game first and request to have this game run, it will be done.
The basics: 2950 scenario, 1-player per nation maximum, and NO COMMUNICATION or diplo-only communication (75-word message every 5 turns to others in your same allegiance). Potential problem with zero communication route: how do you “recruit” neutrals without communication, but if you DO allow diplos, who gets them? just neutrals, just nations in your allegiance? or all other nations? This is an issue we’d have to come agreement on before the game starts.
This 2950 game would consist of all 2950 FP nations, all 10 DS, and among the neutrals, the Corsairs, the Dunlendings, the White Wizard, and the Khand Easterlings. The Rhun Easterlings (neutral) would be removed from play. The neutrals will play as true neutrals, able to change allegiance but not forced to do so.
Normal victory conditions would apply. Alternatively, the game could end at turn 52 with victory awarded to the top Victory Points earner if no other victor emerges by the final turn.
Why is this variant proposed? In a “normal” team game, players are expected to communicate, cooperate, and share resources to maximize their chance of victory. For example, the Dwarves are expected to transfer their agent artifacts to allied nations (usually one of the Elves) so that the FP can maximize the effectiveness of their agents. And in a GB game, the Woodmen-Dwarves-Noldor represent one of the trio of nations available. Well, in such a scenario, the Dwarves don’t feel very Dwarven-like. The entire trio of nations feels like just one big nation: normally, the Dwarves hand off their agent artifacts to the Noldor so that the trio of nations under 1 player becomes stronger. What gets lost in such a scenario is the unique, specifically “Dwarven” flavor of the nation. This scenario would remedy that and allow the imaginative aspects of the various nations in the game to shine through. Dwarves will be Dwarves!
The same kernel of truth would apply to EVERY NATION in this 1-nation 2950 GB game. Consider the neutral White Wizard. In a normal 2950 GB game, he’s just another FP nation battling the DS. But in this scenario, he would maintain a very interesting position. Good, or evil, or playing a dangerous game as a neutral among the neutral Dunlendings and FP nations.
The 1-nation Gunboat aspect of the game would also mean additional staying power for the traditional punching bags on the DS side: the Witch-king of Angmar and the Dragon Lord in Dol Guldur. Since their enemies can not coordinate often via GB rules, these Nazgul nations have some breathing room to fend off enemies and forge a way for themselves.
My hope is that we fill the game by August 1, run a turn every week, and by next summer we will have enjoyed a unique, truly nation-flavored game. To get started, I suggest you consider your top 5 FP nation choices, top 5 DS nations, and top 3 neutral ones. That kind of list would basically guarantee you get one nation of your choice to play. Reply or message here if you have an interest in such a game, and I’ll also keep tabs of interest through the mepbm Discord channel.