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How War Within RPG Evolved

War Within our new roleplaying game is coming to Kickstarter next week and we have the notify me page here if you are interested in being alerted when it goes live:

Firstly, What is War Within RPG?

War Within RPG is a roleplaying game set in a tense Cold War arena. It is not weighed down by complex rules and is designed so that you do not need to constantly refer to the rulebook. It is a game that involves reactive improvisation and feeds on imagination.

War Within RPG is based in the 1980s in an alternate reality, thirty years after a great war. A cold war now simmers, though, and the race is on to secure your country’s future; to either be the single controlling power in the world or to strive for world peace. Each player takes on the role of a country’s leader alongside a team of Trusted Aides, making decisions on behalf of their people. The Games Master (GM) controls the Non-Player Governments (NPG’s) as a sequence of events threaten to rock the fragile state of the world. Will the players’ countries survive?

Where Does War Within Come From?

War Within RPG derives from an unusual play arena. For a year we tested a version of the game in a school, across four different groups of fifteen to eighteen-year-olds. This was an early stage and one that was very inspirational. The teenagers engaged in all kinds of ways and threw up the possibility of the game evolving, and it has.

The students would take control of their country, the game being designed as an educational tool, and became heavily invested. It went beyond the actual game space, and they talked and discussed their progress in other lessons and actively sought the next session. In fact, it became quite addictive for some of them, and one player even spent days and nights plotting how his country would take control of the world. Yes, it sounds like we were encouraging megalomania!

Toby ran these sessions and is an experience GM as well as teacher so could cope with the pressures put upon him as the ‘leader’ of the game. This is what became apparent. There was a lot of pressure on the GM to come up with solutions to a situation such as global conflict. It was in a sense GM heavy. Of course, he found the students leading the sessions once the game, after say about ten minutes, and he would then simply manage the events as they unfolded. But there needed to be some kind of support structure for the GM and a way of keeping track of events.

The rules were taking form and now a solid Version 1.3 is in play. To support this early evolution Toby introduced a number of systems:

To sign post events and visually record them on the playing board the GM, amongst other rules, has been given two physical devices:

Incident Slips

These simple slips of paper are filled out by the GM and describe actual events that have happened somewhere in the world. They are connected to at least one country but often involve more. These slips are placed on or near the map so all players can see them and be reminded of the world’s state. These can later be removed, especially if the event is resolved. There are some examples of Incident Slips at the back of this book, as well as a template to write new ones.

Breaking News

These are news reports from a country or region, and they could be true or a version of the truth or propaganda. They may be manipulative or misleading but will probably give some indication as to what is happening there. There are some examples of Breaking News at the back of this book, as well as a template to write new ones.

In this way the players and GM can actually see the current world agenda directly in front of them and respond accordingly.

For more on the mechanics of War Within RPG don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter at the above link! We will be posting more on the blog about the game in the coming weeks.



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