Watch the Skies 2 is go! I helped run this 50-person alien-fighting megagame last year, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Now we're trying to fix all the broken bits. Top of the list are a lot of quiet background changes to make sure your actions have a serious impact on the 51 other people in the room, but the big fancy eye-grabbing change is a new focus on conflict between nations.
I can't reveal the big secret underground sub-system that's going to spark this backstabbing, but I can reveal that a big new way to win that conflict will be a whole new room for Spies.
In the original Watch the Skies, the Diplomats go to the UN, the Scientists go to the Science Center, the General goes to the World Map, and the President... mostly just sits at their table and waits for everyone to come back. Sure, they can mingle and chat, but they don't really have a cool thing to do in the way the other roles do.
This time, my lovely colleague Melissa and I will be running the Spymaster's room. In that room are manilla TOP SECRET folders for every country. While everyone's off at their tables, the President can write secret orders for their spies and slip them into these folders. When they return next turn, they'll find a type-written report saying what the result was.
In the original, spies were controlled by the generals and map control (who are already a little overwhelmed). When you used a spy, you had to physically place it on the map in front of everyone and announce what they were doing. Map control had so much to do with actually adjudicating battles that they couldn't let you do anything outside the base rules with them.
Now we have two people dedicated to the spies, you will be able to use them to do anything that you can think of. The basic rules for them remain (Making countries into allies, and defending against alien infiltration) but you'll have the RPG freedom to just make up crazy ideas. You want your spy to dress up as the president of america and blow up a dam in russia, you can do it. Once you've submitted the order, we'll figure out the rules, roll the dice, and go out to make it happen - all with nothing to link it back to your country.
Oh - and the alien Infiltrators will be going through the exact same system. They'll have the same powers, same subterfuge. I can't wait to see the spy games that y'all are gonna come up with.