Introduction to the Imperia
Master of Orion is more than a decade old. In video game standards, that means ancient. The graphics are low resolution. The music is simple when available at all. The tactical combat model is abstract and simple. The economy is abstract and simple. There are only four map sizes, only ten factions to play. Why bother with this game at all?
Video games are enhanced by graphics and sound, but the essence of any game boils down to the actions taken by the player. As hardware and software advances have increased options available to programmers, game designers have been lured down the path of increased detail: to flesh out their games, to focus the player's attention onto an ever smaller scale. This is what gamers have clamored for, "cool features", "more realism". However, strategy gaming is about the big picture. The more that player's attention is drawn to the small scale, the more impact the small scale choices have on the outcome, the less impact is had by making big picture decisions. The big picture decisions end up being dictated by the events taking place at the local level, rather than the other way around, turning games into puzzles where the player spends all his time piecing together the minutiae. Thus, strategy game designers have abandoned the concept of strategy.
We look back to Master of Orion not out of nostalgia, but with longing for strategy games that place the strategy above all else. Whether you have played and loved this classic for more than a decade or have never heard of it before, or anywhere between, we invite you to journey with us. Great games are a timeless commodity. Master of Orion is a rare gem worthy of continued devotion.
For each event, all participants will use the same map, pursue the same scenario objectives, and observe the same rules. After the game is closed, players will post reports of their games and compare notes. The catch? Absolutely NO spoilers, or any sort of discussion about the game (even by email) while it's in progress.
The Imperium Formula
Each game will have a Sponsor. Any player may sponsor an idea, and will be in charge of the particulars for a game: map size, settings, opponents, victory conditions, type of scoring, difficulty level, any variant rules or map customization, and length of time for the contest to remain open.
If the designer has foreknowledge of the map (because it's been customized) they must recuse from the competition. However, if they play cold from the start on a random map, they wouldn't necessarily have to take the first random start to come along. The sponsor may play far enough in to see that the starting neighborhood meets with their vision, just so long as they don't restart on same map or in any way offer spoilers to the field of players.
Because of the length of time required for playing, reporting on, and discussing each game, we anticipate that there will be more good ideas than available time to implement them. Therefore, each game would be subject to the approval of the Organizers, in order to garner an official place on the schedule. Organizers must approve the rules, any customizations (mods, etc), and will fit the game in with others, with an eye toward the integrity and balance of the series as a whole.
Games will be announced by an Organizer on the Master of Orion forum. Games may also be posted to our events calendar, and information will be available on the website. Once a game is announced, players will have until the closing date to complete the game and write their game report. Do not post any information about the game before the closing date. At the end of the closing date, each player will have 24 hours to post their report (hopefully this should be no problem, because the report will already have been written). Then, finally, it will be time for the discussion (and, depending upon the game, the scoring)! The discussion will be open to everyone who would like to contribute.
While we encourage players to post complete reports for Imperia, we understand that this is not always possible. In this case, players may post a brief summary of their achievements, including any information vital to the scoring, as well as data such as finish date, win/loss, and whatever details they can include in the available time. If the game itself is incomplete, the player should save their game no later than the game's closing date, and post a summary of the game by the end of the reporting period. These games will be included in the official results as "retired" games, and will be eligible for scoring based upon the status of the game at the end of the closing date. Completed games are eligible for full scoring so long as a sufficient summary is posted. Full reports can be added later, if the player elects to complete a detailed report. The community will be interested in full reports even if they are late, but both playing activity and game summaries need to be completed on time. Players are also welcome to complete their "retired" games after the closing date and write about the "overtime" results, but can only be scored through the portion completed before the play deadline.
Also, players who will be unavailable to post their reports or summaries in the reporting window may have someone else do it for them. One way is to email the game sponsor and/or RBO staff and ask them to hold the report to be posted on Closing Day.