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A Succession Game is a form of Meta Multiplayer gameplay where, instead of competing against one another, the players take turns controlling a single faction. It is most often found in Real Time and Turn-Based Strategy games, particularly 4X games.
Although some games (such as Super Mario Bros. 3) have this functionality built in, a Succession Game is usually started by a player posting a topic in a Message Board identifying the game and asking for other interested players. Once enough players have been recruited, the group will then decide on:
- The order of play (usually this is the same as the signup order, with the thread-starter going first).
- The length of each player's session. This is usually done either one of two ways:
- In games where the faction's leader is represented by a character, such as the Total War series, the character will continue playing for until his character dies or is otherwise removed; in other words, each player plays as if he were that leader.
- The other method is to agree on a certain predetermined length of gameplay, such as a number of turns or an in-game year.
- What, if any, Game Mods should be used.
- What, if any, Self Imposed Challenges all players should adhere to.
Once all this has been determined, the actual gameplay begins, with each player playing out his session and then handing off the save file to the next person on the list. Each player will also typically post a writeup of his turn in the game thread, thus turning it into a sort of collaborative After Action Report.
Succession Games are popular for a number of reasons. First, they allow players to compare techniques and tactics through a firsthand example of their results, thus allowing players to refine their own playing styles. Second, it can serve as a means of easing newer players into the game by giving them an essentially premade scenario to experiment with (and also the reassurance that whatever mistakes they may make can generally be corrected by a more experienced player later). Finally, working together with others to put something together can be fun in and of itself.
- As noted above, the phenomenon is most prevalent on gaming forums. Good examples can often be found by looking in the "Stories" section (if it has one).
- Civilization Fanatics Center and Apolyton Civilization Site - the Civilization games
- Paradox Interactive Forums maintains After Action Report sections for most of its games.
- The Dwarf Fortress forums
- A number of Let's Plays work this way, especially ones of the abovementioned Dwarf Fortress.
- In fact, the infamous Boatmurdered saga was a succession game.
- The Minecraft mod ChainWorld