The Great Indoors started out as an annual board game event held in Worcestershire. GI2018, 28th - 29th July 2018 in Bromsgrove, will be our third annual event. However, we are now thrilled to announce an entirely new kind of event.
Fraying Threads: The Epidemic on Saturday 3rd February 2018
Designed by Paul Howarth of Storyliving Games and Pennine Megagames, and run in partnership with The Great Indoors, Fraying Threads: The Epidemic is a new crisis megagame focused on the impact of a viral epidemic in the West Midlands in the near future. As the name suggests, this game is only partly about an epidemic which hits the United Kingdom in the non-too-distant future. Whilst it may have a massive impact on the victims and their families, what is likely to have a far greater impact on society is how people respond to the situation and manage the disruption. The game will cater for between 30 and 50 players so allows for a good deal of interaction and information gathering before decisions are made. In some cases it may come to choosing the lesser of two evils. Players will have limited resources so need to plan accordingly.
The game will run for around six hours and represent around one month of real time with early turns of a week each (to allow for planning and preparations) before they go to 2-3 day turns. It will be set in the county of Worcester, which for the purposes of the game will be split into between 4 and 6 districts, depending on numbers. These are Worcester, The Malverns (may be folded in with Worcester), Wyre Forest, Bromsgrove (May be folded in with Redditch), Redditch, Wychavon.
The setting is the near future so expect recognisable settings and realistic situations and interactions. You may be able to apply your own knowledge of the locality to situations when thinking creatively. Teams will be provided with maps and have boards, cards, tokens and counters appropriate to their role, but are encouraged to see the rules are as a starting point – this is a megagame. Some information will be openly available to relevant teams (e.g. people visiting hospitals, location of riots), some will be kept by the Control team (e.g. number of people affected). The Control team will also play the part of non-played characters, including senior government figures, introduce incidents as the situation develops and adjudicate when players ‘get creative’.
County council leaders, representatives from the government, emergency services and armed forces. This team will have access to resources to aid districts but their key role will be in deciding when to escalate the situation, as there will be consequences. They will need to be ready to justify their decisions to the press and their superiors if and when the crisis is passed.
Each district team will consist of councillors, emergency services and possibly MPs. Their job will be ascertain the situation on the ground, respond as best they can and ensure that Gold command. As the situation deteriorates they will have to be creative in their approach. The team will have to allocate resources and pieces on boards and maps, resolving their effectiveness with a member of Control team, whilst also trying to plan further ahead and anticipate needs as supplies dwindle and fatigue and illness take their toll on personnel.
Private health providers (optional)
Have access to additional resources with more freedom than state services and different priorities. They are able to provide additional agency staff and hospital capacity, but this will come at a financial and political cost. The Silver commands will have to consider at what point they request help, conscious of how this will be perceived.
World Health Organisation and Pharmaceutical Corporations
Along with medical personnel in the Gold and Silver commands, they will be endeavouring to identify the best way to tackle the epidemic itself. They will be less concerned with the wider situation in Worcestershire and have priorities beyond the county. Ethical research and testing need to be considered, even in a crisis and for the medical teams in the commands, there will be conflict between taking specialists out of frontline response to focus on research.
Representing local media agencies they will be pro-active in their efforts to document and report events. As well as asking questions at press conferences they will be encouraged to visit affected regions and produce reports for distribution and providing a record of the event. Social media will inflame the situation far more than it informs and the press will need to balance the need to avoid panicking the population whilst reporting accurately, all the while conscious of competing ratings in a world of falling advertising budgets.
The Wider Picture
Obviously this game has a very limited focus on a part of the United Kingdom, but there will be events outside the played situation which impact on Worcestershire. The needs of other localities may be prioritised and players must remember that they are not operating in a vacuum. Ultimately they may have to make the best of what they have and the only thing preventing Worcestershire from being reduced to a handful of survivors, eking out a living in an agrarian society is a Thin Blue Line and dedicate medical staff.