Imperium Offtopicum

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"I declare war. Good luck."
— Joecoolyo
"Jesus Christ, what the hell have you guys been doing?"
— choxorn

Imperium Offtopicum (abbreviated IOT, or less commonly IO) is a geopolitical scandal simulation that spawned out of the Altered Maps thread in Off-Topic. It is roughly comparable to NES[1] and the political scenarios played out within the DYOS series.[2].

The IOT concept is similar to other (past) forum games, e350tb's Island Game and War At CivFanatics, which was originally started by Swedishguy and lasted four incarnations, plus a Civ4 scenario.

Premise

"...some posters are taking this a LITTLE too seriously..."
—- Taniciusfox, Altered Maps participant, future Game Moderator

Participants roleplay as leaders of a country, claiming land, manipulating world politics to their liking, enjoying total imaginary power over their subjects and the resources of their nations, with the exception of nuclear weapons, which are banned.[3]

Perhaps For this reason, the game has attracted notable megalomaniacs DYOSers: taillesskangaru, CivGeneral, Taniciusfox, Perfection, e350tb, choxorn, Thorvald of Lym, Kan' Sharuminar, and Omega124.

Imperium Offtopicum I

"Seriously, I just lost track of it after the first one..."
Stylesrj

IOT unofficially began on March 13, 2010 as an exercise in the Altered Maps thread in Off-Topic, when taillesskangaru invited forumers to rename a country after themselves in an effort to revive the thread after weeks of inactivity. It backfired spectacularly, with those who made claims beginning to act like they are actually leaders of their own country, annexing more land, signing treaties, insulting other posters' countries and declaring wars. The situation very quickly got out of hand (in fact, at one point Mecca was nuked) and vehement protests by non-participating OT-ers led to the exercise being moved to Forum Games, where such spammish content belongs.[4]

"I like how this started out as "claim a country or two" which everyone promptly ignored and proceeded to claim a dozen countries at a time and turn it into some sort of NES anarchy."
SuperBeaverInc.

The game continued in a Forum Games thread called "OT Posters Empires". It was nominally managed by poster Lil Post count, but the messy diplomacy and war declarations quickly became unmanagable. In an attempt to restart the game, this time with some order and organization, Taniciusfox started the first official Imperium Offtopicum thread with himself as the game's first in a long line of suffering GMs.

The inaugural Imperium Offtopicum thread was launched March 15, 2010. The game took place in the modern age, with an empty world map; it is implied that all governments and states have for some reason ceased to exist, leaving people in need of arbitrary autocratic rule by violent gamers who have too much time on their hands guidance. The world was divided up, slice by slice, to the participants, who roughly stated their nations' stats and government policies within the confines of realistic possibilities [5]. The IOT world was assumed to be similar to that of Earth in 2010, except for the aforementioned ban on nuclear weapons, and choosing a particular starting location meant the player inherits its resources, people, economy and its problems. Due to the unrestrained nature of the games, posters massaged the statistics, which would later led to powergaming galore. All combat was determined by dice rolls in a vein similar to Roll to Dodge. A "United Nations Union of Nations" thread was created to oversee expansion and territorial disputes.

File:Clyde scared.png
Typical Game Moderator
"What I can't accept is you pulling crap out of your ass, having an army more than double the size of mine when I have 10 times more people than you do, making that army way more advanced than feasible, having an economy bigger than you can reasonably support, and pretending you can be completely self-sustainable and ignore everyone else. Stop powergaming, and stop making the Byzantines into a nation-sized Mary Sue."
choxorn on the powergame shenanigans in Imperium Offtopicum

Friction between players, spam, powergaming and the insane pace of diplomatic rows and war declarations soon got out of hand. Powergame plays by one forumer Mathalamus, leader of the Byzantines, caused particularly dismay among the other participants.[6] The friction with Mathalamus has been lampooned by CivGeneral and Thorvald of Lym within DRAW Your Own Story[7][8][9].

Taniciusfox played with the idea of launching a new IOT game ("Imperium Offtopicum II") but it did not eventuate. He would later say that becoming the game's GM was a "great mistake" and on March 31 passed the GMship to Mad Man. Mad Man would later state that he has "never failed so hard" as he tried to control and keep up with the unruly, quibbling, quarrelling, at times self-righteous posters[10].

Imperium Offtopicum III

Under Mad Man's GMship, the game restarted with much the same rules of IOT I in place. While it suffered from much the same problems which plagued IOT I, it nevertheless lasted until May 17 when Mad Man passed the GMship to Thorvald of Lym. Joecoolyo described it as a "mini-developmental thread", and the complaints in this thread were addressed in the improvements that went into IOT IV.

Imperium Offtopicum IV

"Just to give you an idea of how bad the spam has become: Methos contacted me back and said he wouldn't take the time to investigate all the flags I raised."
— Thorvald of Lym

With the crash and burn of Mad Man's Imperium Offtopicum III, the community voted to start over. Thorvald of Lym volunteered to host the game, and soon set out trying to bring order to IOT, Consul-style. IOT was fortified with new rules, including limits on territorial expansions, and an overhaul of the battle system (Thorvald started simulating battles with Operation Flashpoint).

As the game progressed, nations in Europe, Asia and North America formed themselves into power blocs and proceeded to lob accusations of imperialism left, right and centre in the hope of provoking a world war without actually firing the first shot. This caused a few players to headdesk. Posting quality declined rapidly and the thread became cluttered with spam. In deciding battle results, Thorvald went from simulating military engagements to using dice rolls to flipping a coin, due to the ridiculously massive amount of activity in the thread. In the middle of all this, Taniciusfox lampooned the conflict between Math and Omega124[11] in a DYOS comic.

After a brief suspension as the IOT development thread went to air (see below), Thorvald of Lym reopened the thread in a reduced fashion, but now gave each player 8 nuclear weapons to use on each other in MAD shenanigans, in an attempt to at least allow IOT IV to come to a complete finish by tying these nukes to prestige and reputation, with a winner being declared based on the highest of these amounts.[12] True to his promise, he reinstated OFP simulations for select battles. On August 27, and after 28 updates, Thorvald announced the conclusion of the game. Sometime later, the game officially ended with an epic epilogue written by Thorvald.[13]

The poster Reiser has expressed interest in running a "story-driven" sequel, though he seemed to have been taken by Teh Alienz. In January of the following year, Thorvald announced tentative plans for a relaunch in late Spring.[14]

War of Imperian Succession

"Really, they should rename Imperium Offtopicum to something World War II related with all these world wars cropping up!"
CivGeneral

On June 20, 2010 Thorvald froze Imperium Offtopicum IV, due to massive spamming. Former GM Taniciusfox launched "Operation: Usurpation," an attempt to take back IOT by keeping his promise of an official sequel and citing how it appeared IOT IV would not be updated due to the insane amount of new posts flowing in and Thorvald's time constraints. Adding to these shenanigans was the fact taillesskangaru claimed to be the rightful heir himself. Some posters thought a three-way power struggle between TF, TK, and ToL (the Triple Ts) was imminent.

Attempting to resolve the issues in the game, Joecoolyo began an "IOT Developmental Thread" for suggestions which, he planned, would ultimately lead to a workable, collaboratively-designed version of the game. However, Taniciusfox insisted on starting his own game, to keep his promise of delivering an "official" sequel made at the end of the first IOT thread, and claimed exclusive use of the "Imperium Offtopicum" brand. Nevertheless, Joe persisted in the collaborative "Imperium Offtopicum V". This is in contrast to Taniciusfox's "autocratic" version of IOT.

Imperium Offtopicum II

"Cool story bro"
Zack

T-Fox launched IOT II after getting impatient on June 21. He hoped his rule changes (the 20 Amendments) would make the game higher quality. The logic was that since hiatus translates into English as "dead but not wanting to crush fans' hopes," there was no longer a need to get mod approval.

Only several turns in, a large war had already broken out focused on the Americas, with several European nations choosing sides. One nation- wait make that two- has dropped out due to the headache the war has caused, TF has begun to enforce anti-spam rules - indeed, warning the war's initiator, Domination3000 - and many players have taken it upon themselves to define IOT as a diplomacy, rather than war game. TF says that it is both, with a focus on diplomacy as in the real world, but with war being a possibility at the same time, rather than just threats of it.

"You have so badly raped my attempt to regain my honor that I want to cry . . . ."
— Lighthearter

As the thread dragged on, Domination began to play Pot-Kettle-Black, targeting Mathalamus for powergaming and declaring war on Mexico, then peace, no wait war again, then split into four nations in a civil war. Facepalms ensued. Hours later, Domination ragequit, and the entire IOT rejoiced! ..or would have, but he promptly rejoined as La Plata. Not long after, choxorn lampooned this in DYOS.[15]

Shortly after the OMGWTFBBQ events, T-Fox was forced to declare a temporary pause in the game due to Internet troubles. During that pause, a powergaming fest ensued as a result of Domination claiming to have killed the Emperor of Byzantium while he was on a 6-month world cruise. This later caused the entire thread to begin doing the same to him, denying Argentina's existence and then saying he had died of plague. It culminated in choxorn (who wasn't even playing the game) claiming to have staged a coup and become the Socialist Leader of Argentina, which was met with much approval from all. Domination was unavailable for comment on this alarming turn of events, as he was banned at the time.

Eventually, the 8-member European alliance dogpiled the lone nation under the control of link16, who promptly quitted(possibly out of rage, but most likely out of the knowledge it was futile), but unlike Dommy or Math, stayed out of the game for good. Aysee also ragequit and turned his nation into an NPC, so all of Domination's former allies had now rage-quit or stopped supporting him. Shortly after, TF did the usual role: as benevolent dictator, he vowed to correct the imbalances in the game, introducing superpowers.

Composed of massive NPC-human alliances, the tripolar world and the many "nuke" devices that TF introduced help pump energy back into IOT, with some complimenting this change as having saved the game. (Even if link16 continued to complain about superpower NPCs despite not being knocked out by an NPC... )

...it promptly went to Hell though, as Mad Man, true to his name, declared war on the Chinese(or Koreans as they call themselves now), and in the superweapon interchange, 4% of the world's population was killed. As war and battle after battle mounted as a result of this, TF was headdesking; MAD is based on the principle nukes are never used... le sigh. The other major war, caused between Omega124 and an NPC, killed 90+ million and promptly ended when Omega flung accusations at TF of rigging the game against him and then quit.

The game soon triggered a power-measuring contest, as TF's nation created a device that could better interface cybernetics and one's brain. In response, Mathalamus relapsed into powergaming, creating an army of zombies that couldn't be destroyed even if you destroyed their nervous system, defying all logic. Math eventually recovered from his bout of powergaming, destroying the zombies. While all this was going on, yet ANOTHER nuclear war that claimed over one billion lives ended(even Mecca was nuked, a nod to IOT I's predecessors).

It became even worse when, true a Civ 3 wonder cascade, TF decided to erect a monument in a new capital. True to their nature, Mathalamus and west_india_man - known for being as "strong as possible within the rules" - planned to create their own monuments. Math explicitly wanted to rival TF out of his personal inadequacy issues, while WIM announced a rain forest over 2000 feet tall and as large as a major city.

After a long time away, Domination announced his return as Texas, triggering a new American War. The world breathed a sigh of relief, however, as he was banned just hours after declaring war, making the conflict null and void. ...Scratch that. He soon returned, but brought new posters who promptly took over the most powerful NPCs and promptly started a world war. Hundreds of millions were killed. Dommy's tyrannical reputation was firmly entrenched.

Eventually, after much non-updating, random nuclear wars, and general chaos, everyone got tired of the game and decided it should end. Stealing Working from Thorvald's precedent, Tanicius crafted an epilogue a month later detailing the political fates of the major players.[16]

Imperium Offtopicum V

Meanwhile, following over a month of deliberation in the development thread, the rules for the community IOT were finalized, and IOT V aired August 1. Many changes were made to the game rules based upon the experience of the past four IOT threads and the Europe's Burning thread, including a new combat system, an economy and research system and a casus belli system. The thread is co-GMed by a Council of Five, led by Joecoolyo, each with different roles and responsibilities. A couple of turns in, and spam, friction between players and confusion and criticism over the new rules caused Joecoolyo to freeze the thread for review.

The game went back onto the drawing board for another month, as the GMs debated changes to the rules. Finally, a "beta" version of the game with revised rules premiered on September 6, including innovations such as a tech tree, industrialization, national focus, a completely reworked combat system, and a separate thread for claims and income orders so they can be more easily managed (later used in Imperium Offtopicum VI and Revolution IOT) It restarted on a high note, but finally died after the sixth update due to crippling inactivity and loss of interest.

Imperium Offtopicum VI

Following the conclusion of Ab Antiquo, taillesskangaru unveiled a highly anticipated "back to basics" iteration featuring a revised RNG combat system, espionage missions and nuclear development. A slow update schedule is countered by rapid-fire diplomacy such that within less than a decade, the world has seen the rise and fall of a pan-fascist alliance, a hilarious Asian political witch-hunt, two veritable world wars, and more recently an outbreak of zombie Hitlers. While successful in rekindling the old school atmosphere, the return of certain problem posters has led to bouts of excessive spam and inevitable GM frustration.

Taillesskangaru suddenly quit as GM on January 15, 2011, for reasons unknown (if you think he will say it here, sorry). He was succeeded by ZeletDude. A fortnight later, Toteone took over as the game's third GM. It's now de facto dead.

The Future

After this, there was no immediate release of an "Imperium Offtopicum VII," but instead a large number of IOT games appearing at about the same time, spin-offs of the original. It ceased to become a series of games, and evolved into a type of game, much like NES and Lazy-NES, although the main "numbered" series did eventually continue, and currently stands at 18 games. In the next few months, IOT became one of the most numerous game types played in Forum Games, perhaps second only to Roll to Dodge.[17]

Meanwhile, change was afoot. For more than a year, many forum gamers had been itching for a reorganization of the Other Games section that housed them, wanting varying things, but the most common things wanted were for the Forum to become a direct Subforum, rather than a subsubforum, and/or for the more serious games, particularly Mafia and Night of the Werewolves, to be given their own forum. It hadn't gotten anywhere, with several threads in Site Feedback talking about the issue, and the CFC Staff giving it much discussion themselves over this time. [18] Finally, on June 19, 2011, Mafia and NOTW were lifted out of the spamfest of Forum Games and given their own forum. While they were there, the staff figured IOT deserved the same treatment, and it was given its own subforum as well.[19]

Spin-offs

Imperium Offtopicum has inspired several spin-offs. This is due less to the success of IOT threads than the simple appeal of the IOT concept, and in some cases dissent among IOT players.

Amendment: since this last paragraph was written, "several" is no longer a good description of the number of spin-offs which Imperium Offtopium spawned. The list below is only a partial list and, unless you are prepared to spend extra hours looking through the Imperium Offtopicum forum, read the hundreds of pages of "discussion" and "role-playing" and then summarize them here, it shall remain so.

Europe's Burning

"Europe's Burning: Ye Olde Imperium Offtopicum" takes place in Napoleonic Era Europe, GMed by Island Game GM and another DYOS veteran e350tb. Launched on July 15, it is essentially the same as IOT, flavored for the 1800s, with the addition of a new combat system where armies are represented as physical entities on the map.

This one managed not to get crushed under powergaming quickly, mainly for the reason that Domination3000 was banned shortly after he joined at the beginning, was never able to claim anything, and eventually ragequit and gave all his land to Omega. Mathalamus didn't even show up for a while, and was unable to claim the Byzantine Empire (Domination beat him to the that, and everyone claimed Turkey to piss Dommy off while he couldn't do anything), and thus only recently took over a nation in Eastern Europe after the original player of the nation left. He never even actually did anything with this new nation, and eventually joined the "Quit and give my land to choxorn" bandwagon (see below).

The minor source of strife, ironically, seems to have been around Omega124 not being around- after creating a nation in France, he disappeared for a while after. So, 3 nations on the British Isles appeared and started claiming everything in France and Belgium, starting a massive war in France when Omega returned, unhappy about all of his surroundings being claimed. Some other nearby continental powers also got involved, on both sides.

However, what has been bringing it down is lack of GM's. e350tb GM'ed it initially, then left after 2 updates. Mango Elephant took over for a week or so, then he, too, was unable to GM, and left it to fdgsgds and Reiser.

A bit after that, due to a combination of RL, IOT V starting, mediocre GMing, and people just plain getting tired of the game, people started leaving the game, and giving all their land to existing nations. This eventually led to people just leaving for the hell of it, most of them giving their territory to choxorn because hey, why not? At the end, choxorn got around 300 territories in total, and as it had obviously become just plain silly at this point, the game was pretty much declared to be over. Methos eventually struck the thread closing it permanently.

History Rewritten

Essentially an attempt at an IOT-inspired Rise from Medieval Kingdoms, set in AD600. Proposed by Domination3000's pal Ilduce349 because, quote, he "dislike the way the new IOT is being run". Most of the ideas for the rules including the map were stolen borrowed from the IOT Developmental Thread. A beta thread was launched on August 23. Like many spin-offs, it died very early to lack of interest.

Star Wars

"Star Wars: Galactic Empires" is an IOT-inspired game taking place in the Star Wars universe, GMed by Lighthearter and launched on July 5. It is de facto dead.

Mini-IOT I: The Cradle of Civilization

Run by civplayah since September 10, this is basically a smaller, shorter, more relaxed version of IOT based in Ancient Mesopotamia. It proved to be one of the more successful spin-offs. Eventually, the GM lost interest and retired, and a winner was decided by a vote.

Ab Antiquo

An experimental "IOT-inspired" forum game run by taillesskangaru, set in the ancient and classical eras. It premiered in early October and caused a small controversy when the GM banned Mathalamus and Domination3000 from the game. It was infamous for constantly-altered rules and inconsistent updates, but lingered on for about ten updates before the GM ended it, citing "flaws" and "real life issues".

Revolution IOT

A new IOT, based on a modification of Imperium Offtopicum VI rules, GMed by Sonereal, premiering on January 10, 2011. A much more complicated sequel is in the works. Notable occurrences are the early war between Egypt/Maryland and the fundamental Israelis, which was ended by Spanish and Yugolsavia in favor of Israel; the invasion of Egypt by the USSR and Khitans in response for Egypt's justified attack on Spain; and the mass nuking of Egypt, aka the weakest country in the Communist Union and perhaps the world, by the Hegemony for reasons unknown.

Enlightenment

An IOT-like game set in the 1720s with a heavy focus on naval combat, managed by Lightheater.

Iron and Blood

Iron and Blood is an IOT game starting in the 1800's and now in the 1900's. In it, players start in a province, expand into other provinces, build factories to boost the economy of the nation, and of course, fight tons of wars. It started out being GM'ed by taillesskangaru, but he later found himself unable to continue GM'ing and gave the game to kiwitt. As is usual for IOT threads, it rapidly saw the creation of a couple of polarized alliances- one in the Americas and Oceania, one in East Asia, and one in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Russia. Imperialist accusations have, of course, been abound, although they have fallen by approximately 8790919.23% since the destruction of Domination3000's country. Even so, they remain, with nations sending pictures of diplomacy group discussions to neutral nations to leak, shady diplomatic moves, counter-moves, and counter-counter-moves, abuse of the declaration of war rules, certain players claiming random territories all over the map and refusing to negotiate, nations leaving and people rushing to claim their land, and, of course, accusations of Imperialism. Luckily, so far, only one World War has been declared, and it was fought entirely in Canada in a couple of turns, because it turned out both sides wanted the same thing out of the war anyway. Even so, tensions remain high, and will likely remain so.

Scratch that, the second world war has just started, between most of the world and the Grande Entente of three nations who, according to their opposition, got way too big and letting them go on would lead to a quick loss. It started out like any old world war, but then came the bad part when everyone realized how unbelievably overpowered the espionage rules were in some instances, allowing a couple of nations to cause huge areas to revolt against them without ever firing a shot and instantly destabilizing a formerly stable nation down to "Collapsing Apart." Because of that, the Entente gained a big advantage, despite the fact that the total combined strength of everyone fighting against them is much higher than their total combined strength. Eventually, everyone got annoyed at either the espionage rules, other problems with the game, or everyone else raqequitting due to those problems, and ragequit.

What the fans are saying

^%#&*$ this. i quit. im obviously dealing with total idiots who cannot grasp that im simply more powerful than the rest of you EXCEPT the superpowers i listed above!
— Mathalamus ragequitting Imperium Offtopicum
thats it. im quitting. its apparent no one respects what i ahve to say at all even if i make valid points. shows how nice you all are.
— Mathalamus ragequitting Imperium Offtopicum, the second time
I also was in TAPPS once, but I quit when the Colombian NPC was made, and it was initially quite fun. Domination, stop being so extreme and let us all have fun - You've already stolen the position of 'Most Hated Person on Forum Games' from Mathalamus.
— west india man
I've had it with your insults, challenges and generally abrasive attitude. I am going to KILL you, Domination! Mark my words! Mark. My. Words. You can't make it all better just by saying "JK lol". I declare war between the Commonwealth and ALL the parties in the UUTSFR Civil War, except the Galactic Empire IF Zack rejoins. I declare a blood vendetta between you and I, Dommy. If you EVER post in ANY of my threads or PM me EVER again then I call the mods. I'm done putting up with you calling me Fascist and worse. You have insulted my honor and I cannot accept that.
— Lighthearter
Our imperialism, Domination? Your hilarity slays me, it really does. Also, I'd like to see you even try to eliminate all of Europe. Your arrogance astounds me.
— Arakhor
I can't even tell what the map looks like any more, too many screwy things have happened (I'm looking at you, Domination) since TF's last update two days ago.
— choxorn
YES. STOP PM'ING ME.
— e350tb, answering Domination's question if he had gotten his fifth PM about claims
I don't want to sound drastic, but it's starting to sound like people are getting turned off to the game thanks to the whims of a megalomaniac, and I'd rather not have that happen.
— Owen Glyndwr
You felt like messing around in our game without even asking us first. You then even accused Tanicius of cheating when he forbade any new sign-ups. Get off your high horse already.
— Arakhor
Muahahaha you thought HITLER was bad!
— Domination3000
With all this bullcrap going on. I'm surprised I have ANY interest in IOT anymore. With planet busters that turn territories neutral, territorial reclaiming rush after a planet buster strike, and certain people who just want to be a big jerk and bully everyone including me. Screw you IOT, I'm going back to my virtual nation
— CivGeneral
...and you wonder why you get accused of powergaming.
— e350tb
Old IO Ts: Have large war, GM ragequits.Middle IO Ts: Have large war, everyone ragequits.New IO Ts: Have large war, everyone nukes the hell out of each other.
— Double A

Threads

Auxiliary Threads

Notes

  1. True NESers would be horrified
  2. Except even more chaotic and messy. Yeah I didn't think that is possible, too
  3. A prohibition not always recognized, just like in real life!
  4. Only outright spam is considered acceptable by OTers
  5. An attempt by one powergamer to set up Byzantine colonies in other star systems was not well-received
  6. There was much rejoicing when Mathalamus ragequit soon after e350tb declared war on the Byzantines. He came back, however, and it turned out to be only the first in a series of ragequits
  7. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9000667#post9000667
  8. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9009359#post9009359
  9. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9031659#post9031659
  10. Though both GMs' efforts have been applauded by the IOT posters
  11. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9299758#post9299758
  12. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9331969#post9331969
  13. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9671563#post9671563
  14. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=10092861#post10092861
  15. The original post where this was found on CFC seems to have been deleted, however the comic has since been reuploaded at http://choxorn.deviantart.com/art/DYOS-11-The-Lost-Episode-About-IOT-2-557776346
  16. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9983355#post9983355
  17. It was, at the time, estimated that over 9000 games of Roll to Dodge were being simultaneously played in Forum Games. Since, the number has died down a bit, and the spot of "Most played gametype" was taken by Elimination Games for a few years, which was then itself replaced by
  18. "Discussion" in this case means "Yeah, okay, whatever, we have other things we care more about, but we'll get to you eventually"
  19. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=10604853#post10604853