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Delegates, the Delegation Game and the fantasy booking of the Paris Peace Conference

  In this Delegation Game, we don’t visit a fantasy realm unknown to us, but an alternative version of the Paris Peace Conference, which will be filled with avatars of characters that you design and develop yourself, with a view towards making your mark there, whatever that might look like! The different paths we can go down are represented quite handily by the arrows, but there’s nothing handy about what we’re going to do in our alternative version of 1919!

In this Delegation Game, we don’t visit a fantasy realm unknown to us, but an alternative version of the Paris Peace Conference, which will be filled with avatars of characters that you design and develop yourself, with a view towards making your mark there, whatever that might look like! The different paths we can go down are represented quite handily by the arrows, but there’s nothing handy about what we’re going to do in our alternative version of 1919!

Have you ever wondered if you could make a difference to the course of history? So often I make the note that in order to understand what happened all those years ago, we must place ourselves in the shoes of those that acted. What better way to do that, then to engage with this era like never before, by playing the Delegation Game?

The Delegation Game is a Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy-football style game, where for a bit over six months (18 January-28 June 2019) we will be tracing the development of a very different kind of Paris Peace Conference. In this iteration of the Paris Peace Conference, you choose the delegate to send, and you walk in the footsteps of those that tried to change the world. Can you do a better job? Let’s find out!

Here’s what you need to know…

First of all, you develop yourself a name and a character – he or she should be well-rounded and have ambitions, loves, hatreds, fears and certain biases. You could alternatively role-play as an actual historical figure who was present at Paris, so long as you don’t choose any of the Big Three!

Second, sign up on Patreon for the Delegate ($6 per month) level. If you are a pre-existing patron above this level, then skip this step, and instead just let me know that you want to take part, and the details about your avatar!

Third, send me the details of your character which you’ve developed, and I will add you to the growing bank of delegates we have in stock. The more information you can give the more fleshed out your avatar will be, and the more interesting his/her behaviour.

Interesting, tell me more…

  How would YOU deal with the Big Three? Would you work around them, work with them, attempt to eliminate them, or try all these options? Checks and balances will of course exist, but if you can find other delegates of a similar mind, then there are very few limits to what you can actually do in the  Delegation Game …

How would YOU deal with the Big Three? Would you work around them, work with them, attempt to eliminate them, or try all these options? Checks and balances will of course exist, but if you can find other delegates of a similar mind, then there are very few limits to what you can actually do in the Delegation Game

When the Paris Peace Conference begins on 18th January, your avatar will be playing a role that the information you gave me will help to define. If you don’t want to give me much information, if you want to keep things mysterious and let me imagine things, then by all means do that too! Our game will be structured by the events which occurred in that week a century before. I’ll be presenting the challenges which have emerged from that week, and giving you all options to vote on. This is how you’ll change history, but it is FAR from the only way. At any time you can suggest a time-fabric-reality altering idea yourself, and have others vote on it, giving you real freedom to shape the dynamic world which I will be forced to narrate!

The best time to sign up is the November-December-early January time, because it gives me the opportunity to add your avatar into the mix with a bit of preparation, and to make mental notes on your character. The first 20 delegates that sign up will be weighted as more influential, and this influence will be factored in with votes/potential dice rolls etc. It should go without saying that you can sign up to be a Delegate at any time after 18th January, and that you won’t be inconsequential if you happen to be late to the party. However, just as would have been the case in real life, if you arrive late to Paris, you shouldn’t expect to jump the queue of precedence, and you should be careful not to step on any virtual toes…

Wait a minute, tell me again about structure?

As I said, we will be taking as our guide the timeline of events which those present at Paris in 1919 100 years actually faced. These take the form of challenges, and how everyone responds to them will be governed by the available options. However, that is to say, this will form our guide - if certain things happen to delay or prevent events from happening which happened in the real world timeline, then we can adapt to these eventualities accordingly! The point is that we aren’t rudderless, and the game has direction, but it also isn’t constrained by issues and debates where there is no need to be. All being well, this approach should ensure that our journey is framed by the most important problems, debates, decisions etc. which those at Paris faced. The question is of course, how will you and your peers respond? Will you take advantage, or will certain events blindside you and hamper your freedom of action? Will you cooperate with others in anticipation of the potential dangers to come, or will you face it all alone, confident in your ability to improvise on the fly?

What will it look like?

  Europe was dealing with some debilitating issues by the time the Paris Peace Conference opened on 18th January 1919. How would you traverse these issues; how would deal with the infamous starvation of so many German citizens? Do you allow the country to fall to the Bolsheviks, or do you commit to ending the blockade? How would you go about doing that?

Europe was dealing with some debilitating issues by the time the Paris Peace Conference opened on 18th January 1919. How would you traverse these issues; how would deal with the infamous starvation of so many German citizens? Do you allow the country to fall to the Bolsheviks, or do you commit to ending the blockade? How would you go about doing that?

How will this whole thing develop? That depends very much on how much participation and engagement I see. Once we reach (or if we reach…) 20 delegates, be that from old patrons or newer ones, then that’ll be enough, I feel, to release a dedicated episode each week and build a proper community. This weekly dedicated episode option is thus the goal, since I can then plan each week accordingly. We can discuss the latest events in the Facebook group or on Patreon, and groups can band together (strength in numbers!) to affect change on the ground in our virtual Paris Peace Conference. Want to march through the streets of Berlin at the head of an Anglo-French army? Find some other delegates who agree with you, and form a lobby group! At the moment, I am not overtly concerned with issues such as dice rolls etc., but if we get enough participation that we have rival groups springing up – for example, a group that wishes to block this action of marching through the streets of Berlin, then maybe such mechanisms will have to be used. If we get to that point, then this means you guys really did engage eagerly with the concept of the Delegation Game, and that means you’ve made me very happy indeed!

What are we playing for?

Above all, we’re playing for fun! This is the best way to involve ourselves with the Paris Peace Conference, without actually being there in real life, and you can attempt to work some diplomatic magic of your own, lobbying among your fellow delegates to right the wrongs of the Conference, and have things your way. Or you can stand on the sidelines, preparing your weapon, and attempt to assassinate a leading figure at a critical moment. Should your assassination attempt land you in prison, then perhaps a sympathetic group will decide to bust you out, or maybe you will be killed in the attempt, and have to choose a different avatar and start from scratch?

How things go is up to you. That said, we are playing for pride as well as for fun – ideally, I would like to be able to grant a prize for the most active or influential delegate by the end of this game’s cycle. Perhaps this prize will take the form of some kind of merch care package? I haven’t quite decided, but I’m open to suggestions! The earlier you take part and the more active you are, the more likely you’ll be to receive this prize, but there will be other prizes too – most unfortunate death, most untimely arrival of another delegate, most guided by hatred for a particular person or idea, most selfless. Of course, I want to have fun with this, but I also want to encourage participation and engagement too, both within and without the usual channels.

  You are a delegate, and a very valued one at that, but the beauty of the  Delegation Game  is that you do not have to go it alone. There’s strength in numbers, as those assembled at Paris in 1919 realised. Knowing what we know about how the Paris Peace Conference went down, who would you cooperate with among your fellow delegates to get things done, and do any likeminded fellows exist among these peers that you can identify with?

You are a delegate, and a very valued one at that, but the beauty of the Delegation Game is that you do not have to go it alone. There’s strength in numbers, as those assembled at Paris in 1919 realised. Knowing what we know about how the Paris Peace Conference went down, who would you cooperate with among your fellow delegates to get things done, and do any likeminded fellows exist among these peers that you can identify with?

Want to team up with your fellow delegate? Then why not contact them and try and work out a deal? Any mutual deal reached is valid and will be treated as such, so long as you let me know about it before it is time to record each Friday - I’m planning to make the cut off point be Wednesday 9PM GMT or something to that effect.

Maybe you and ten others want to form your own lobby group? Can you imagine yourself leading them all, and to what end? So long as I am informed of what goes down in the public or private domain, we will factor it into the fantasy world which we’ll all soon be populating. The decisions you make will play themselves out over the episodic format, and it should become the closest thing to an interactive audio game that history podcasting has!

The application process is open now, and we are currently calling all delegates to take part! To pick up your passport and join the Delegation Game, head over to our Patreon page and sign up as a Delegate for $6 a month. A virtual world of engagement, scheming, intrigue, fun and of course historical nerdiness awaits, and I hope to see you (or whatever version of you that you decide to send as a delegate) there soon!

STILL Confused?

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions…

Q. I already support the podcast on Patreon, can I take part as a delegate?

A. Yes! So long as you are supporting at the $6 level or above, you are eligible, just make sure to let me know about your avatar so that I can properly plug you in.

Q. When will the episodes be released?

A. Once we launch on 18th January 2019, a dedicated episode on the Delegation Game will be released every Friday, for 24 weeks, until we wrap things up in a nice little bundle on 5th July.

Q. Can I just use a pre-existing historical character as my avatar?

A. Absolutely! I would encourage this if you don’t know where to start and are looking for some inspiration. The only qualification is that you can’t choose to role-play as either of the Big Three, Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau or David Lloyd George. Other than that, so long as you let me know who from history you’re choosing, the sky’s the limit!

Q. This seems really complex – where do I start?

A. Start with the kind of character you would like to play. What kind of person do you think the Paris Peace Conference needed? Do you want to make a better Treaty of Versailles a reality, or do you want to simply tear it all down and watch it burn? There’s a place for everyone here, just make sure you’re ready for the consequences!

Q. How will you determine the structure?

A. Every week, I will make you aware of the challenges which would have faced those at the Peace Conference a century before. These challenges normally take the form of the decisions which were made or passed during the Conference, and I will be presenting you guys will several options to help you alter what takes places. As I said though, this is just to ensure we have a broad structure - with it being likely that messes will be made that change the conventional timeline, we’ll be adapting accordingly depending on what you crazy delegates decide to do!

Q. I didn’t get to join before the Paris Peace Conference opened [18 January 2019], is it still worthwhile me taking part?

A. Absolutely! No matter at what stage during the Paris Peace Conference your avatar joins in, there will be a place for them, that place is determined by your character’s traits, which you will be deciding (or which you can leave to me if you prefer!)

Q. What kind of tips would you give for starting out in this process?

A. Find some allies! In a process akin to the board game Diplomacy, your ability to arrange deals with other delegates can increase your power and influence within this fantasy world, and you can find these deals wherever it suits you, be it on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else – just make sure to let me know when a deal is struck, so that I can factor in that deal when I sit down to record!

Q. What character will you be choosing Zack?

A. As of now, I don’t believe I will be choosing one – in line with Dungeon Master role in Dungeons and Dragons, it will be up to me organise you crazy delegates, and make sure everything goes smoothly even if someone decides to murder everyone to death a few days into it (don’t do this!)

Q. How long will this process take?

A. The Delegation Game will run for a total of 24 weeks, and it will be over when the Versailles Anniversary Project ends, provisionally on 28th June 2019 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, with a conclusion episode the following week (5 July) to tie everything together and reflect on the mess we all made together.

Q. What do we do afterwards – do all the delegates say goodbye?

A. I don’t see why we should! You may or may not know that we’ll be tackling the Thirty Years War from October 2019. I don’t see why we couldn’t apply the delegation game concept to that pivotal conflict, especially if this iteration of the game takes off.

Q. This whole thing is freakin’ insane, how did you come up with it you big nerd?

A. It was a combination of things – spitballing ways to increase engagement with the podcast, wanting to make something new, dynamic and fun that nobody else has done before, and of course, looking for some way for us to all nerd out historically together without judgement. Inspired by that feeling you get when a game of Diplomacy facilitates a series of backstabbing agreements or sneaky dealings among your so-called friends, the delegation game is designed to mirror this experience, but with the added benefit of having yours truly tracing and narrating everything that goes down.

Q. What if it all falls apart and fails epically?

A. At least we’ll be able to laugh about it later! No seriously, I have a good feeling about this, but if we get far too tangled for our own good, if it starts to feel like too much work or if *gasp* nobody signs up, then I will refund you all and just say ‘hey, I tried!’

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For more information about this concept, make sure to keep up with the latest episodes of the Versailles Anniversary Project for any developments, or contact me through the usual channels if you have any pertinent questions. Thankssss!