It all began when I started to read Book 1 of the KU universe on CBT, and though I am a FedCom supporter, and unreconstructed Davionista (though that is changing, having run the Steiners this time round..hell, in ALL of the Strategic CBT games I’ve played, I’ve been the Lyrans!), I was seriously impressed as to the level of the writing and the effort Matt put in, so when I heard he was looking for players, I signed up, and got the Lyrans again. No worries. I ran them for a while and tried my best to run Lyran policy as “We’re a civilized industrial nation looking for peaceful markets in a really unstable universe”. Happily, I had found not only the Davions, and proceeded to introduce them to real capitalism, but Oberon, whom I was ensnaring in my web of mercantile bliss, much to the cha-ching of cash registers throughout the Commonwealth.
Then Matt started to get overwhelmed, and believe me, even with the sheets? It’s not hard. Lots of units moving around, people launching offensives left and right, and that was BEFORE the actual outbreak of hostilities. Something had do be done…so I stepped up and did it. I volunteered to be Co-GM. I do confess I have some ulterior motives, as I do want to run a 3050 version of this game sometime….
So, what is it like working with Matt? He’s not SO married to his vision that he derails what could be a great story in it’s own right. There’s a lot of sub-plots floating around this little project and most of them are from players and former players and stitching them all together in a coherent narrative is going to take things called work and time. I give Matt a lot of credit he’s willing to do both.
I’ve been spending most of my time with the grunt work, combat resolution, which is fun trying to figure out how to make a narrative fit the results (even with my military history background, it’s harder than you might think). And does the combat system have holes? Yes. I tell players sometimes, “It’s a playtest, and we’re the guinea pigs”. (Cue to vision of Matt in a labcoat in a castle by the Australian coast in a thunderstorm cackling madly as he screams, “MY VISION! MY VISION! Bwahahahahah! I’ll show Coleman, Bills, and Beas, they called me MAD!” as he throws the switch on the Van De Graff generator.)
But it’s a vision, a solid one. And one that frankly, makes a lot more sense than canon at times than the total white and black hats we saw in the Warrior Trilogy. (The rehab of Frederick Steiner begins now!) and just plain stupid pills I’ve seen throughout canon. Now I admit, we’ve had some stupid pills of our own (The Dragoon raid on Robinson) but they made sense in that the attack was a surprise. But I will give Matt a LOT of credit. He lets the chips for the most part, fall where they may. The same Dragoons just got an unpleasant surprise on Deshler.
What’s it like to to work with him? I will say a mixture of fun and head scratching. While I know he has a vision, sometimes, it’s hard to follow, and being the “voice of reason and calm dissent”, I can imagine Matt is sometimes saying to himself: “Why can’t he just see it my way?” It happens in any collaboration. The best collaborations are the ones that say “screw it” and get the job done anyhow.
Some players, on the other hand, I’d like to strangle with an inner tube. Some I’d love to clone. Special recognition should go out here to the player of Oberon, Bruce Jensen, who has really taken a small state and has punched above it’s weight in a manner that’s not only convincing, but something of a neat life-affirming outcome for the Periphery that may seem out of place for Battletech, but honestly, it can’t be all about the big stompy robots? No, it has to be all about the big stompy robots? But what about the warships? Oh, that’s ok? Ok, and speaking about the warships, the other player I want to single out is Dan Waugh of the Capellan Confederation. He has surprised me, and has given gunboat diplomacy a whole new meaning.
But all of these things are the expected life of the GM, we’re unsung, and often not talked to by the players until either we screwed up, or the players THINK we screwed up. But as I said, it comes with the job.
I’ll be posting more I am sure with the coming weeks, but I thought it would be useful to hear from one of the unsung fellas in this little adventure.