By Failbetter, October 5, 2014 · Anything Nice

You’re a high-ranking Nazi or Soviet officer in the waning years of WWII. You propose plans to Hitler or Stalin, who may reject them. If your dictator accepts a plan and does badly, your stock will fall; if he accepts and succeeds, you win favour; if he rejects and then fails, you escape blame.

Meanwhile, you can be a good Party member and support atrocities, or you can maintain as much distance as possible. Why – from a strategic, not a role-playing point of view – maintain distance, when that would lose you favour? Because you don’t know who’s going to win the war. You have some idea. You even have some influence. But if your last offensive fails unexpectedly, you’re going to be explaining your actions to an enemy court. Of course if you win, you want to be as closely associated with your ruler as possible.

What I like about STAVKA-OKH is that it not only presents a real game decision alongside a moral choice, but that it constantly reconfigures the parameters of that choice. It’s like HIIT for your moral instincts.

‘Anything Nice’ is is a series of very short posts highlighting things I liked about the treatment of narrative in other people’s games. It’s a deliberately magpie, grab-bag approach. Some of these games I adore, some I don’t even like, but I learnt from all of them.

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