Watch the Skies 3: introduction

On Saturday 25 July, a few friends and I converged on the Camden Centre to play in the ‘Watch the Skies 3‘ megagame. If you are unclear what a megagame is, a good starting point is this video of ‘Watch the Skies 1’ produced by the team at Shut Up and Sit Down. Indeed, I think this video was the starting point for many, and is the main reason why WTS2 and WTS3 were on a much larger scale and featured many more participants. We were playing a megagame for the first time and were allocated control of the great nation of Brazil.

In my next post I ill give a short account of the game from my perspective as one of Brazil’s two Senior Ambassadors. It is a hallmark of these games that it is impossible to keep track of all events, and one’s appreciation of events is incredibly subjective. Coupled with the fact that many of the other players are likely actively trying to deceive you, the result is that this account is likely wildly inaccurate.

After the game our team had a few quiet pints and tried to sift through what had happened. I think we all really enjoyed the day and found it to be a great experience, albeit somewhat flawed. For me personally, I think the flaws were sufficiently great that I wouldn’t be rushing to play in WTS4 (although I certainly wouldn’t rule it out). I would be keen to try more megagames, but I would be more interested in trying one that is on a smaller scale in terms of number of players.  Following my account I will attempt to describe the key flaws I found in WTS3, and will suggested possible ways they could be overcome in future iterations of the game. Again, this is entirely subjective and much of what I say here might be flat-out wrong. I also have no experience of designing games, although I think I’ve played enough to know good design when I see it. I should emphasise that my criticisms are designed to be constructive, and I have the utmost respect and gratitude for both the designers, who pulled off something special, despite my perceived flaws, and the control team, who made their vital and generous contribution to the success of the event.

Anyway, that’s enough caveats, let’s crack on!


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