Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Game within the Game

One day I logged in to find that my total holdings had dropped by several hundred acres. This not being the usual sort of thing I saw, I immediately began a search through my lines, and I finally found who had left. I sent her (now former) liege a message that basically said "ouch! I see she left, is there anything I can do to help?"

When she replied, she said that the subject had left with no message or warning, and that she hadn't responded to an IM asking what was wrong. Then she added that she wasn't too surprised. The Duchess had come to her after getting into an argument with her SL boyfriend, who had aparently been her liege. But time passes, and either the rift had healed or she had found someone else she liked.

It merely underscored the words that Ellie had told me all of those months ago. Tiny Empires is a "game within the game". The things that happen in TE do not happen in a vacuum, or solely in relation to other things happening within TE. Quite the contrary. People form TE kingdoms most readily among groups of friends or people who are already associated with each other in SL. And the SL drama and events that happen can easily change what happens in TE.

No one seeking to observe the patterns and movements within TE can avoid this conclusion. TE is, at its core, a game of social networking, and its networks are mostly formed on existing SL networks. (Not that lots of new friendships aren't formed, which is always fun.)

As I view the Kingdom of Caledon, I see these groups, these networks, these parts of a Kingdom that make up the whole. If I want to find TE Caledon players, I know several places I can go to. The most obvious places would be:

The Dome in Caledon Cay
Red Palms
Cleopatra's (in particular if you're searching for our Queen)
Heart of Dragons
Insula Inferi
Caledon Cymru
Caledon Kintyre
--and our new 'HeadQuarters' in Caledon Cay!

...and this list is far from complete, it's just a highlight of some of the most common spots. But in each of those places, you'll find at least one person, and usually a group, of Tiny Empires players who are all Caledonians. The reason for these spots? Because they all know each other there! They're friends, they like to play together, they're probably all lieged under the same person, and that group is lieged within the kingdom of Caledon.

Thus, we find that our single kingdom is a variegated quilt, made up of many pieces, all interwoven together by a common thread of cooperation and understanding. If one part encounters the other, they know that the other person is a friend-- Caledon is where their friends are, so this must just be a friend they haven't met yet.

...and to the extent that is true, the Kingdom of Caledon is assured a good future.

Now, enough of my babbling about my kingdom... what about yours? What are the foundations it rests upon? What places, what groups, make up your kingdom? What methods of operations does it use? After all, Caledon is a rather small kingdom, one among nearly a hundred... how much more varied and interesting is the full Terra Aurean Empire!


Valentine Janus said...

Camelot is huge. I can't begin to list all the places we might gather. In general, any prince or princess that has actively built a big downline is likely to have a pet gathering-place.

It has been said, with some justice, that the kingdom of Camelot grew out of the fishing community. Several top Camelot players are very active Neo-Realms fishers. Queen FoxyKim Keegan runs Neo-Realms tournaments, as do Camelotians Deanna Gregoire, Rusty Opel, and Shannah Halberd. Coug and Suma Sleeper are both among the top all-time competitors. I've seen tourneys where half the players came from Camelot. (In fairness, other kingdoms are also well-represented there!)

My downline often gathers at Val's Recreation Center or Poets of Zarahemla next door, together taking up a third of the Zarahemla sim.


Vulpine Eldrich said...

Yes, when we were in Lothlorien, I found that the main hobby of the Queen and her immediate group of friends was fishing... I went to one of the 'wear what you catch' tournaments.

My personal opinion is that the same sort of patience and enjoyment you get from fishing also works well with Tiny Empires.

Valentine Janus said...

Fishing and Tiny Empires work well together; both are largely passive activities that can easily be done together and still leave space for socializing in chat or IM.

The En Garde community, not so large as the fishers, is also well represented in both our kingdoms. The top organizers in United En Garde are all in one Camelot line, and the top organizers in Champions League are concentrated in Caledon, with players in both groups scattered about. It is, however, somewhat harder to play TE and fence at the same time.

Vulpine Eldrich said...

A very good point... well, I've actually done it on more than one occasion. One nice thing that lets them mix is that you can count on scripts always being on in an En Garde arena....