The two guys from the “Insert Quest Here” podcast recently played and recorded their game of Mars Colony. They’re from Australia, and so all the political parties are based on the Australian divisions, but getting a taste of foreign politics always makes it more interesting for me. Perhaps for you too?
I also found it interesting to hear them start off with two back-to-back Personal Scenes. I typically go for an Opposition or Progress Scene early on to get the action started, but I kind of like this slightly slower start as well. I’ve been slightly obsessed with the notion of pacing in roleplaying games, and so I tend to pay close attention to the ways in which people not only pace the game as a whole, but also in how they set expectations — even if only impliedly during the initial stages of the game. Personal Scenes in Mars Colony do not mean “slow,” but opening with two in a row can often signal a willingness of focus on some of the less action-packed details in the story. I like that.
One response to “Mars Colony in Australia”
I really enjoy learning about world-wide political parties and organizations, so this is a treat for me. I took their recommendation right away and did a little Wikipedia check, with the usual caveat that the source is vulnerable to spin:
My head-space for Tim's Mars games is mainly filled by 39 Dark for a number of reasons, soI had to review the Mars Colony rules to recall how you're supposed to use the real-life parties.
In this game, unlike the sister game, the correspondence is 1:1, i.e., a fictional party is more or less the SF-avatar of the real-world one, regardless of whether it has direct (fictional) historical roots in it.
Although the fictional versions are supposed to be given colors as names, which is common to many societies past and present, the direct correspondence can lead people to use the real-world party names in the fiction, as they do here. I remember this caused trouble in people learning or understanding the game during playtesting; apparently they got bent out of shape regarding whether the Martian party was "really" the future version of Labour or whatever. That and related confusions led Tim to shift to the color naming and to say that no explanation of the party was needed relative to our real-life inspiration for it.
Anyway, that particular conundrum didn't crop up for this instance of play, but it did jar me a little to hear the real-world names instead of the colors, just because I went through that round of discussion in the early days.
If you haven't seen it, check out my system diagram and discussion for Mars Colony over in Seminar, as I think it's useful to track their game.