Beyond Protocol is a game focused on control, over an empire, over planets, and over solar systems, but the ultimate form of control here, is over the game itself. This power comes from the Galactic Senate. Players have the ability to add, subtract, and modify game mechanics through a complex, but engaging voting process.
While the Galactic Senate (GS) has been in operation for centuries within the Beyond Protocol universe, it has been without one of its key features, the Emperors Chambers (EC). In short, this special room within the senate is where the players control the mechanics, additions, and balancing of the game. The power this yields is not attained without effort and can not be achieved without some degree of risk.
Before delving into how the system works, a bit of what-is-now history is in order. The first EC was inaugurated on Thursday, January 22nd 2009, which equates in game to the year 4286 TE, or Terra Exeunt, translated “When they left Earth”. The seven emperors discussed many things pertaining to the game, but decided to make their first act a celebratory one. They commissioned the creation of a new building. A statue, more specifically of the first seven emperors, which will provide a moral bonus to any planet that this statue was constructed on and would also display the names of the first seven emperors whenever moused over. It was vain move, perhaps, but one that demonstrates the power given to these players. This system however is not without its checks and balances.
To fully explain what the EC is, it is important to understand what the title of Emperor entails and what those risks are. The known galaxy, as of the EC’s initial inauguration, was composed of over 40 star systems, each containing an average of 10-20 planets. Each one of these seven initial emperors controls every planet in at least one system. Theirs is the largest colony on every planet, they collect a tax paid on every mineral mined there, and they decide how that entire system votes in the GS. Should an emperor loose even a single planet in their system, through war or aggressive building, the rank is lost and research is crippled for a real world week, unless the title can be regained. That is the basic gist, there are many more subtleties but playing the game is more fun than reading about it! In light of that, here is a more detailed description of the EC and GS.
The EC is a private system, viewable only by players with the rank of emperor. Their job is to propose legislation for the GS to vote on. The proposals can range from adding a new building to the game, to requiring that more minerals go into the production of a certain component. Dark Sky Entertainment (DSE) has of course provided several rules to guide the emperors and holds the power to veto any changes that would harm the game. The three initial rules given were as follows: No changes to time, to geography, or that would seriously disadvantage new players. If within the rules and not obviously detrimental to Beyond Protocol, the proposal can be voted on inside the EC. A majority vote of emperors is required to move the proposal to the approval phase. DSE has stated that one properly endorsed proposal will be reviewed every weekday at 11 AM. The review ensures that the proposal is within the rules, assigns a time to completion if passed, and then puts the proposal up to a vote in the GS.
In contrast to the EC, the GS is a public system. Every player in the game can see what is being voted on, and how each player has voted. Votes are based on planetary control. Each planet is a single vote for or against the issue at hand. These votes are tallied, and can be changed through any means necessary, over the course of two weeks.
For the sake of an example, say that there are only two players in the game. The vote is to add a new class of battle tank to the game. Player A is in control of 6 planets while Player B is in control of 4 planets. Player A votes against the issue and Player B votes in favor of the issue. Player B has two weeks to either convince Player A to change stance, be it by flowery words, threats, or bribery, or take 2 planets by force and change the votes of those planets, otherwise this new battle tank will not make it to the game. In both the EC and the GS, players are allowed to make statements on issues which can be seen by anyone viewing that issue.
In the end, this system allows the players to mold the game in a democratic way; however they feel it is best played. While the power hungry players control the proposition process, the masses control the final approval process, including the potential to dethrone those that abuse their power. Any changes made can be reversed by another proposition and voting process, therefore changes made are in no way final. This feature is essentially DSE’s method of upgrading the game, a constant and player led process.
The power grab is on, and the chambers are waiting. Will you, or more accurately, can you assert your will on the Senate?