Comparison of FactionRPG to Other Systems
Comparison to Diplomacy
- Unit movement is simultaneous, not turn-based: all players secretly [submit orders for their assets] after a negotiation period, and then all moves are revealed and put into effect simultaneously.
- Social interaction and interpersonal skills make up an essential part of the game's play.
- The rules that simulate combat are strategic, abstract, and simple, not tactical, realistic, or complex: this is a diplomatic simulation game, not a military one.
- Combat resolution contains no element of randomness: no dice are rolled, no cards are shuffled, etc.
The description given of the Negotiation Phase applies perfectly to FactionRPG:
In the negotiation phase, players use any verbal means necessary amongst each other to form alliances, or some other form of arrangement, with one another. Such arrangements may be made public knowledge or kept secret. Since players are not bound to anything they say during this period, and thus no agreements of any sort are enforceable, communication and trust are unusually important for a strategy game; players must forge alliances with opponents and observe them to ensure their trustworthiness; at the same time, they must convince others of their own trustworthiness while making plans to turn on their allies when others least expect it.
Another important similarity is that when two players ally, even temporarily, they can accomplish a great deal more compared to attempting the same task independently from each other. However, in FactionRPG one cannot "nullify support" by attacking an asset that was collaborating on an action; orders are always attempted, even if the asset carrying them out is successfully destroyed or seized on the same turn.
Despite how much they have in common, an important distinction must be made between the two games. In Diplomacy, the single goal of every nation is to conquer Europe. In FactionRPG, every faction has its own goals, and in most cases those goals will not revolve around merely amassing influence. Instead of trying to "play the board", players in FactionRPG use their influence to participate in the story.
Comparison to Primacy
The spirit behind a FactionRPG game is extremely well defined by the description given of a Vampire: The Requiem game using the Primacy rules in the Damnation City source book published by White Wolf.
The rivalries and competitions that go on between characters at this level of play shouldn't be confused for competition between players. Despite rising and falling values of [assets]... The goal, as always, is to tell a compelling, dramatic... story... Reaching maximum [influence] is not the goal and it's not a victory. Influence is a means to an end, and that end may never come... Power is what [those in power] use to get what they really want - objects, affection, revenge, answers, security... Those who pursue power find that even when it's been caught, the running never ends.
That's the damnable thing about power, isn't it? You're either fighting to get it or fighting to keep it.
—Damnation City, Pages 232 and 233