If you have been simming for very long, you might have bumped into an adventure that runs something like this...
Cpt Author : The USS Culture Shock is approaching the planet Vulcan to pick up diplomatic representatives for a major conference. Begin Sim
RAdm Data : Romulan decloaking off the port bow!
Cpt Author : ACTION : No Romulan!
VAdm Worf : Intruders in the engineering hull!
Cpt Author : ACTION : No Intruders!
Adm Scott : Captin. Deres sumtin wrong wida warp core. She gonna blue! Canna holda any longa.
Cpt Author : ACTION : No warp core problems!
FAdm Bones : I've got people coming into sickbay with high fevers. Some kind of plague.
Cpt Author : ACTION : NO NO NO NO NO!
Attached to this sort of all too common experience is an eternal argument. Is the captain suppressing creativity? Is he a tyrant not willing to allow players any freedom? Are the players selfish and undisciplined? Do the players not understand the concept of teamwork?
This paper explores another perspective. What we have is a clash of styles. The players may be familiar with small private room sims, action oriented, where everyone traditionally has the right to add plot elements. All players have 'action authority'. Perhaps captain comes from a story telling background, where the integrity of the story and plot must be respected by the players. Or perhaps the captain is accustomed to working on big ships. He might believe - perhaps due to bitter experience - that chaos results if 20 people try to exercise action authority at the same time.
Let's not discuss whether the captain or the players are right or wrong. This is not a question that can be answered. Let's not discuss which style is more fun. This is a question of taste. Different players enjoy different styles.
There is no One True Way. There is no style which is so clearly superior to all other styles as to render all alternatives extinct. There is a place for small crew action sims, and a place for large crew story telling sims.
This paper will sketch out four distinct styles of simming, and the style of ship and type of player that might be attracted to each. The styles are action - adventure, story telling, problem solving, and role playing. I shall give a brief and highly exaggerated example of each style, then sketch out the type of ship that might emphasize each style.