General Questions

Watch the Skies is a megagame that simulates a global crisis involving aliens from another planet. It is a collaborative board game that involves multiple teams working together to handle various tasks and challenges.
Watch the Skies can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 40 players, depending on the size of the event and the number of teams involved.
The game typically lasts for a full day, with participants arriving early in the morning and playing until late at night.
The objectives of the game are to manage the crisis caused by the alien invasion, gather intelligence about the aliens, negotiate with other countries, and ultimately, to save humanity from the alien threat.
The teams in the game are typically divided into different roles, such as the government, the military, the media, and the scientists. Each team has its own responsibilities and objectives that contribute to the overall game objectives.
The game is facilitated by a team of moderators who oversee the different teams and guide the game play. They provide updates on the alien threat, handle negotiations, and manage the game mechanics.
No prior knowledge or experience is necessary to play the game. However, participants should be prepared to think creatively, work collaboratively, and be flexible in responding to unexpected situations.
Participants may face challenges such as managing limited resources, navigating diplomatic tensions with other countries, responding to unexpected events, and gathering intelligence about the alien threat.
Watch the Skies is generally suitable for adults and older teenagers, as it involves complex problem-solving, negotiation, and strategy. It may not be appropriate for younger children.
You can look for local gaming events or conventions that may be hosting "Watch the Skies" megagames, or consider organizing one yourself with a group of friends or community members.

Game Play Questions

Its the same as 'Issue 5' of the 'UN Issues' handout document: If the situation is not resolved: • the Terror Track will increase by 5. • the OUTBREAK will spread to one neighbouring country per turn. If all neighbours have been infected, then it will spread to countries adjacent to those. Each new country infected will require the same help as the initial outbreak (see above). • Any played country infected by the virus will drop 1 PR immediately.
The abduction card may be more useful/necessary in certain contexts. For example they may wish to be subtle in the terror effects they want to create, but note that there are a limited number of both missions. Also, terror missions must happen at a city, whereas abduction missions can happen anywhere, and there may be political reasons why the aliens may choose not to launch a mission against a city.
The science sub-game is an opportunity for role-playing, and not merely a mechanistic process. Science players get a lot of fun out of this usually, as it involves quite a lot of opportunity for creativity. The science players usually become very invested in who is top scientist at the end of the game. The science credits are a rewards for successfully completing projects which means that the science players are pressuring the others players in the team to collect resources that they need to 'do science' (ie completing the research sheets), which feeds into the main game.
Yes you are correct that any modifications to the game will require it to be renamed as a completely new game, and therefore as a new game would not have any licencing implications. We would welcome some acknowledgement though!
Megagame Assembly The Megagame Assembly website has great pool of resources, including links to other worldwide groups which you might find useful. This group is young and enthusiastic and putting a lot of energy into gaming. Many of these members started out playing and running Watch the Skies. Megagame Makers The Megagame Makers is the original megagame group with some of the first ever megagamers as their members. This facebook page should offer a vast collection of experience to draw from.
We expect most groups to charge players a fee to cover costs as you have mentioned, and this does indeed fall under reasonable cost, a small surplice would also be fine. Commercial purposes are for companies planning to use our games to accrue a substantial profit for their business. I hope this helps clarify the distinction between the two!
I would suggest going with six teams instead of 8 (interestingly the first WTS only had six teams), but not less than 6 if possible. I would make the Team Leader/Diplomat one role, with Science and Military, with 3 players per team. This means that the Leader/Diplomat player will need to do some of their diplomacy in the UN rather than while the UN is in session, but that isn't a bad thing. The alien team doesn't need to be more than 3, and a press of 1 or 2 (and you could even replace press by announcements from game control). I think this works fine for 25 players.
Income changes with variation in PR - see the table printed on the team sheets and the main map.
Yes - see the Chief of Defence Staff Briefing.
See the Alien Science card for red mercury. its a thing that is good for the aliens. Think of it as a victory condition.
See the alien science card It causes outbreaks which act as if they were permanent Terror Raids every turn. If you want to make it more challenging, you can spread the outbreak to neighboring counties each turn.
Because the world has cities? Seemed a bit dull not to mark cities.
Basically yes, the pages are laminated A3 sheets, and it is designed to fold for ease postage / transportation.
If you look at the main map you will see the tracks that link PR to income. As PR moves up or down that track, the income shown next to the PR level alters.
To move an Army overseas is a massive task - very few countries can afford to do that in real life. So that is why you need a Navy and a lot of money to move it to fight overseas.
As in real life, It's very unlikely that an adjacent army will be destroyed within the scope of the game. And this isn't a game about conquest or armies fighting each other, really. If an army invades another country, both armies are in that country until the combat is resolved one way or another. Don't worry overmuch about destroying armies - it has never happened in 5 years of running the game (though I guess its possible).
Yes - I can't see why they'd need ships to move inland myself. BUT. Moving to a so-called 'empty' country is an attack on that country. All countries, played or un-played are sovereign (as in real life). Doing so without GOOD REASON would incur the PR penalty. Many countries also have their own forces which would resist if attacked. (See 'WTSL Military Balance'].
Movement within your own country (Western China and Central China being part of the same country) is always free.
How this works is largely up to you - as is much of this game. There is deliberately a lot of room for you to get creative with the game. Megagames are about emerging gameplay and creativity and aren't like board games where every detail is (and has to be) spelt out - that is far too restrictive. If in doubt I'd go with what I suggested in an earlier email. None of this is set in tablets of stone, so don't worry about having precisely spelt out definitive rules. You don't need them in this sort of game, so long as you and your Control Team are agreed how you want the game to go.
No. The number of armies / navies is fixed as in reality. Because an Army or Navy represents a massive organisation and vast resources, in real life it would take decades for a country to create a new army or navy - far longer than the period of this game.
We would suggest that you create a waiting list in the event that you should have more sign ups than the games maximum capacity. Over filling any of the teams runs the risk of players not having enough to do and thereby experiencing an unenjoyable game.
The only official version of Watch the Skies is our current version. It used to be called Watch the Skies Lite when we first revised the original game in 2016 to differentiate it, and this is now the only version available. The current version, in our view, much better than the original. It was extensively reworked to reflect ear-ly feedback on the original design and is much more accessible, especially to first time megagame organisers and participants. All other variants take our version as the baseline and make modifications. Technically under the li-cence agreement small tweaks to the game are usually fine (ie the Gothemburg add-on) however any major changes to the core game require their creator to change the name of the game, so that if its called Watch the Skies it is fundamentally our game. You will have had a separate reply from John Mizon on his version Watch the Skies: Second Sight, which hopefully answers your questions about that version. As you will see, John has made some minor changes to allow him to run the game more frequently with his local audience. We have ourselves produced an Alien Add-on pack which includes ten brand new scenarios to also aid that repeatability. The Megagame Society version is unlicensed and we cannot endorse it, and what they call Watch the Skies is not actually anything like the original game.

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