A megagame is a form of large-scale simulation that can incorporate features of vocation games, tabletop games, live-action role-playing games (LARPs), and wargames. The term “megagame” is occasionally capitalized as “Megagame” or “MegaGame.”
Megagames often involve 30–100 participants competing against one another over a whole day. Participants are frequently organized into a hierarchy of teams that either work together or compete against one another to achieve various goals.
The first megagames were really military games, and they didn’t become popular in the United Kingdom until the 1970s. Megagames have their origins in war games. Paddy Griffiths and Jim Wallman, two designers of wargames, are credited with being the creators of the megagame format. They were known for designing wargames that comprised small teams competing for individual goals. Since then, Wallman has built more than 80 other megagames.
The board game site Stop Talking & Sit Down released a film in 2014 that documented the players’ experiences while participating in a megagame. This video is widely credited with reviving interest in the creation of megagames as well as participation in existing megagames.
Wallman claims that his company of regular gamers increased from the hundreds to the thousands when the video gained widespread attention and went viral. The New York MegaGame Society was the first organization located outside of the UK to operate a Megagame after the video was released.
The usual gameplay structure of the megagame is one where hundreds of people engage in either competitive or cooperative play within a collection of role-playing games and tabletop games. Participating players, who are often members of relatively small teams, are required to engage in conversation not just with one another but also with the various gaming systems.
Individual players will never have access to all of the information there is about the current state of the game. Instead, they must frequently rely on hierarchies and reports to comprehend the greater picture of the game or what the other teams have been doing.
This is because of the large scale that is involved. Megagames normally comprise 30–100 participants, however, a few have been played without dozens of people, and they often run for the entirety of an entire day.
Megagames are capable of including a diverse assortment of settings, scenarios, and rules, such as those about war, historical intrigue, and extraterrestrial invasions. The creator of Watch the Skies, Jim Wallman, likens the rules of megagames to a “framework,” which allows the game’s creators and referees (also known as “control members”) to make decisions on the fly, similar to how a Dungeon Master might.
The referees can have to provide rule clarifications or declare new events while the game is in progress. Additionally, they frequently have to make up new regulations to accommodate player preferences. In other megagames, there is a higher emphasis placed on precise rules, and control members are required to make fewer adjudications.
Although the vast majority of megagames take place in a solitary site, some of them, like the 2017 Urban Disaster: State of Chaos megagame, have been played in several different places.