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Post 27 Jan 2013, 11:13 am

Brad, Neil, et al.,

I assume OTTO is broken and will remain so. It appears that this type of Diplomacy is doing very well at V-Dip. Therefore, even if OTTO is fixed, it probably won't displace what's going on over there anyway.

The way I see it, the future of this site is twofold:
1. Forum based games with human GM's. Quality is essential.
2. A continued high-level of political and other types of discourse.

Suggestion: Gather some willing GM's to run some games of all varieties and bulk advertise at VDip and other more active sites. A Redscape revival campaign, if you will. Once the bodies are here the hope is that many stay on to contribute via playing in more games, GM'ing games, and posting in forums. I am willing to host a standard game towards this goal. It has been suggested (G.Atkins, perhaps?) that email based games with weekly turnarounds are going the way of postal games. If true... ah well. If not, this could be what's needed.

What's my stake in Redscape since I don't play Dip anymore and don't really contribute to the discussion forums? First, this place is the home to most of my fantasy sports leagues and that foundation is part of why they are stable (or so I believe). Second, I'm quite sentimental about it and have met a great many friends here.

I know you two (Brad & Neil) care even more about this place than I or you would never have saved it in the first place. None of this is meant as criticism of your efforts but rather, I hope, the start of a discussion about the future.

Best,
Mike
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Post 27 Jan 2013, 12:36 pm

Not sure what happened to Redscape Games, which would be a good way to drum people up - several games of Standard with a competitive edge.

I'd quite happily GM a game of Standard, or perhaps a variant like Modern.
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Post 27 Jan 2013, 6:42 pm

I'd like to mirror the comments of SLOTerp and Danivon. Redscape's main focus has always been well-run GM-based games and that should be publicized wherever possible. Of course, I am not discounting the popularity of the argument-based forums that still carry on.

I, too, will volunteer to GM. Like Mike, I have a soft spot for Redscape, having played here most of the past 13 years of its existence. It may be that it is best to let the Otto portion of Redscape slide into retirement, since there are other, well-managed sites using the same software. Redscape has/had a membership in the 1000s, and we all know that there used to be plenty of games running here. There is always a lot of turnover in the Hobby, but I think we can attract a bunch of the old players back and maybe some new ones.

Frankly, I think the Make-Over may have turned many away. I admit it was a nice try to create a "steampunk" feel to the site, but it looks more sinister than merely historically edgy. I'd just as soon see you post the old pages again, if possible. If not, maybe you could at least drop a few of the images and change the main color scheme so it doesn't look like a site for a post-apocalypse convention. I've probably brought this point up before, so sorry for the repetition. As I recall, another issue with the new site was that it became impossible or difficult for GMs to start games on the site. I'm hoping that this has been resolved or can be resolved without a lot of effort.

So if you are looking at how to focus your resources, I'd say:
a. put Otto to sleep
b. get some of the good GMs back (and some new ones) and give them the ability to start games, create folders, assign player rights, etc.
c. clean up the web site's looks as well as you can
d. Publicize! Publicize! Publicize!
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Post 28 Jan 2013, 5:38 pm

Will answer this tomorrow... Busy Monday
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Post 29 Jan 2013, 7:57 am

I echo George's suggestion regarding the look and feel of the site. Punch http://www.redscape.net/forum into the Archive.org wayback machine and it's some good nostalgia. (And DUDE check out 2003, remember Redscape: The Magazine?)

As for Otto, I also hesitantly endorse his retirement. Quite Frankly, I'd rather play with Redscapers, even automated - in fact, we've gotten a couple of games of mostly Redscapers together on VDip before (a Modern game called Bloody Reunion lived up to its name bigtime). Otto's problem is threefold - 1) we're running old software; 2) nobody seems to know how to keep it running consistently (not a knock on Brad & Neal at all, Chad had the same issue); and the most important 3) lack of players -it's been dormant so long that everyone who had been playing on Otto migrated to VDip or WebDip (which use the same software).

Can't commit to being a GM at this point (too many little kids), but like Mike I love the Fantasy Sports scene and would potentially be up for a forum game.

Kal
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Post 29 Jan 2013, 2:26 pm

My take,
Redscape is about Diplomacy first. But not Diplomacy ONLY and even then other sites are doing this better so what is it that makes us unique? Human moderated games with human generated maps and human interaction. Unique variants have been a real strong part of Redscape in the past. My WWIV game started here but is now played on several sites (where I do not get credit for the games design fyi) We need more unique new games like that and NWO and Explore! and Minister X's crazy variants, New game Design seems to be extinct around here. What if we came up with some ideas and got a large group to tackle it? Getting a real grassroots everyone is a part of it kind of feel? You can find variants all over the place and (in my opinion) we should try to concentrate on those not offered elsewhere or rarely offered elsewhere? Other games that seem to fit also work to our benefit, Civilization and Game of Thrones were thriving at one point, heck, I was even working with someone here on a Central American/Caribbean Civ variant!
Fantasy sports ...cool!
We once did an online game of Kingmaker that was kind of fun, why not more of this type of thing?

I would also encourage a more thriving strategy discussion forum to discuss all things Dip (even if it means forcing a few subjects just to get the ball rolling).

I agree with the steam punk theme being a bit of a failure, the colors are fair but these avatars are not in keeping with Diplomacy while the older ones were pretty darned cool. How about a cool logo, maybe even a logo competition? sell hats and tee shirts to raise money. Get people interested and engaged, that is and has been lacking for some time now.

Oh, and while I appreciated Chad's rank status, it was never really embraced by many (if any?) and I look above and see Kal is ranked "Ambassador", George is a "Dignitary" what kind of ranks are these? How about Private, captain, major, General, Field Marshall sounds pretty cool!?
And dedication ranking is all well and good but people want ranks that mean something other than they can play nice with others.
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Post 29 Jan 2013, 6:06 pm

What? Me play nice with others?! Oh, you meant 'in general'...!

Otherwise, you have some great ideas, Tom. They are positive and encouraging. Yes, I also miss Minister X's variants, as well as your unique designs. I played Ray's Republic of Rome implementation, which was fun. But yes, I can get behind your notion of trying to offer additional games, as well as Dip Variants. And I'm on board with the logo idea, shirts & hats.

I don't know how many of the email addresses of the original membership list are still active, but it wouldn't hurt to use it as a way to help jump start some renewed interest.

I've signed on to the Dip World Cup at AQMN. (For the record, I am one of the many members of TeamUS, which means I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for non-US people to sign up so we can launch more games.) The point is, one thing I was struck by is a number of players who have no idea how to play a country (okay, people, no rude comments!) or develop a strategy. So more experienced players are providing links to the strategy articles on the Diplomatic Pouch, of course. So maybe one of our forums can start up a series of strategy articles, perhaps updated, if that's possible. I'm thinking of really experienced players around here. You know who you are, by the way. Let's face it: Most of those articles were written in the 70's and 80's. Are there no new ideas around? What about me? The last time I had a good idea, Heinz had only 23 varieties.

So, how do we proceed?
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Post 30 Jan 2013, 12:29 pm

Dip World Cup ...funny about that, I am "supposedly" part of the organizing committee but I have done nothing there after the first few days and that was maybe 2-3 years ago. You would think they would have noticed by now?

How to proceed is easier said than done
Here's an idea only, it's certainly not an "answer" but my thoughts only

I would assemble a group of assorted members who are loyal, take them from various Redscape avenues to assure you get as much wide opinion as possible. Send them a message asking for their input, let them know it is not a big time consuming project but one you feel is important and deserving of at least some "real" dedication, their input is valued to us all!

Take that group and start up a private forum here where they can easily post and view all others input (emails back and forth over time get so tedious and tiresome, also hard to follow). When that is in place, start some threads ...again, easier to follow unique topics rather than bulk emails all willy-nilly and it allows members to comment where they feel they have something to offer but ALL input is appreciated (I do not play any of the fantasy games here but I have played elsewhere over the years, I might have some input, I might not, nothing is limited to only a select few!)

When you think you have things in order, then pull the trigger!
I would also suggest you then revamp the whole "GM" assignments. Keep those you want to keep, bring in those who were most supportive during this process ...a sort of reward to those who helped you most. (hell, I have been absent for how long and am still a GM, what's that all about? Keep it active!)

I do think it best to keep the forum private for various reasons.
Possible topics to discuss have been mentioned above but we could add new ones as well, I think this would be a nice kick start.
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Post 30 Jan 2013, 12:31 pm

FYI, new is good.
new ideas, new looks, new games, new variants, if we come out with a stream of "new", then over time it will pay back handsomely! Right now things just feel "old" and tired.
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Post 30 Jan 2013, 1:37 pm

GMTom wrote:Right now things just feel "old" and tired.

That's probably because most of us around are old and tired!

A few more thoughts about OTTO: I think it should be demolished.

If you look at the websites offering automated judge games, they don't engender a sense of community. I may just talking out my ass here, but... I think part of that is the 'drive-by' nature of the sites. You go, play games, you leave. Since a machine is basically running the game for you, a sense of service and/or dedication to the site never materializes on a large scale. However, if you are playing a game with a human GM, you see all the effort that goes into it. It instills in you a sense of obligation to what others are obviously dedicated to. If you go to the site that Kal linked to and look at one of those old pages, you see a ton of games alongside Patriot Games wherein you have upward of thirty volunteer GM's contributing their time and effort. And once you actually run a game it provides a sense of ownership of the site. You develop relationships and belong to a community.

I am not suggesting we'll ever go back to that kind of popularity - we cannot compete with the auto judges when it comes to running fast games, something players obviously want. I am suggesting, however, that we don't even try to compete against those sites, i.e. no OTTO. As Tom suggests above... variants, other games, discussion, whatever... but it should not include a poorly working auto-judge that may do more harm than good.

Also, as Tom so wisely recommends, do not invite guests over until the house is in order. Have some games ready to go that people can join, including standard (the only one I'm competent in running), give the site a facelift, and get rid of OTTO!
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Post 30 Jan 2013, 3:02 pm

This is my take...

OTTO? Gonzo!
Steampunk? A little too weird for my tastes. I would like something more historical.
Logo and clothing? All for it! Cody and I ordered T-shirts that have the Redscape logo.
GMs and games? PLEASE! LETS GET THE SITE BACK ONTO DIP!
Log on issues? We are trying to get the web guy going on this. Phone meeting after the new month starts. My business is slammed with end of month issues (nature of the beast...).
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Post 30 Jan 2013, 8:03 pm

Tom's idea about forming a core group to is a good one. I, for one, would be happy to be part of it. Brad or Neal will probably have to do the hands-on stuff to make the private forum happen. I see that Christine has lately been running the Game of Thrones, so she might be willing to get involved. There are others still lurking around the Facebook page, too, who might be induced to join in and see what we can put together. And there must be a player or two who know enough about PhP who could help out Brad and Neal with the programming issues.
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Post 31 Jan 2013, 7:04 am

I do know a private forum is possible, we have had them in the past and they seem to work well. Unfortunately I have no idea how to set that sort of stuff up however.

All this talk about changing things is all well and good and can get us going in the right direction, I like it! But all is not bad here either, we have a good core group of people, the site itself is well suited to Diplomacy and other similar games. I have been on other sites that are just nowhere near as user friendly as this one! Changes should be made to "enhance" the site, but the foundation is solid! (I would also be willing to help any way I can)
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Post 31 Jan 2013, 9:31 am

Is there anyone who knows PHPbb?
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Post 31 Jan 2013, 11:30 am

Slappy used Phpbb to design his Monkey Cage site. He may know something about it. Haven't seen him around in ages though (I think his handle changed to Heck Tate).