Apr. 2nd, 2013

sobrique: (bubble tree)
The short summary: The weather was a bit grim. Offical 'ground temperature' did drop to -6 on some nights. But despite that, the event was fun.

The event started with us pulling up on site at about 17:00 Thursday. And being rather shocked at the incredible number of tents in place - as far as we could tell, around 1000 people were on site, which is already larger than Maelstrom.

The IC field was also looking quite busy - the Profound Decisions (PD) crew had been putting up copious quantities of tents, and a few 'permanent-ish' buildings, in the form of the senate and the tavern. We ended up putting our tent in the OC field, simply because of available space. Which given that wasn't a small field, is another sign of just how many people were there and keen to be involved.

There had been mud, which threatened to make things difficult - vehicles weren't being allowed on site. The massive pile of wood chips went a long way to making a servicable road.

Time in was earlier than 'usual' on Friday - there were many players who hadn't caught the start time of 13:00. (Maelstrom always started at 18:00). But given just how many things needed doing over the weekend - the daisy chain of electing - it was necessary. As a consequence of sorts, there wasn't really much room for politicking and campaigning - senators in particularly, were primarily elected right off the back of ... well, how many voters they turned up with in the first place. On one hand, it's slightly annoying but ... also largely inevitable. There will be time enough over the next year for campaigning to happen.
This, I think, was a pattern repeated over the festival - no one really knew anyone else, so it turned into a massive nepotism exercise. But then, I guess the 'cover story' of the collapse of the existing structures of the Empire is also .... well, going to trigger exactly that result too, so it's all to the good.

I like how the elections were structured, and think they'll be giving plenty of room for ongoing shenanigans - each of the areas of politics worked subtly differently. From the 'mercantile' elections being offered by auction, to the more standard 'popular vote' mechanisms.

I also heard plenty of enthusiastic reports on the battles - I didn't go myself, but by all accounts there were around 600 participants on each 'side' - and the combats were suitably tactical, and - in many ways - unforgiving of errors. (A few groups got isolated, surrounded and torn torn to shreds).

However I think what really made the event for me - there were clear guidelines on what each nation was 'all about' - including traditions, views and costuming. And at the event this really did create camps with very different 'feels' to them - colours, themes, styles - made it easy to believe you were visiting different nations within the Empire. There was a feel of a festival or fair, which meant wandering around the camps to socialize, trade and scheme felt... well, less like a hazardous operation, and altogether more like the 'done thing'. Or at least, if it weren't for drag of squelching though mud to get there.

I was also quite well impressed with the cohesion with the ref team - as far as I can tell, there are 'field refs' who primarily act as point of contact, and can radio back to get more detail - and can therefore do anything that's needed, rather than needing separate teams. Having an 'egregore' for each nation (basically a personified spirit of the nation) also helped have a focal point - (who also had a radio, so could pass on information about what was going on).

So yes - broadly speaking, the first event was far less chaotic than it really could have been. The weather wasn't anyone's friend, but it also was handled very well by the site crew, making it an inconvenience, not a disaster. And I never had to queue up in GOD, which was almost a shame given how toasty and warm it was in there....

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sobrique

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