New membership category
A new category, primarily aimed at kids, but (since that would be hard to control, among other issues), no specific rule against older folks.
It would be mostly designed so that parents can play their kids or let their kids play other kids while learning the game in a tamer, easier way than now exists. Rules for farming and collusions, etc would be elminated, but points would be also -- limiting the basic reason for those abuses.
This would be a "starter" or perhaps even "junior learner" category (name DEFINITELY changable!!! used those mostly to better give people the idea for now). It would be geared toward kids, particularly kids of us older players who want to bring our "young ones" in.
***Each would be limited to 1 game at a time, perhaps even a limit to the overall number of games (or number that can be played on each map) or a time limit to the length of time one can hold this type of membership.
**** Consider limiting the number of players in each game -- either to just 1 vs 1 or no more than 4 players. Maps could be limited if technical issues arise.
***No points (I realize most of those suggestions have been been rejected previously, but this would be a very limited and part of an overall concept). This is necessary to eliminate farming and various other trainee problems, but other limitations will keep this option from being abused. In fact, if it seems to be an issue, then you could even just automatically dock regular players a point for playing these games. (that would go a long way to make sure its just parents and the like, not most trouble makers who play --- this might be waived for those who help monitor the site, ensuring that some will actually take that role. )
***G/PG rated dialogue required, "strictly" enforced by special volunteer/monitors (primarily parents of the kids playing). There will be no limit to monitors, but they will have to be regular members --either freemium of premium.
*** A regular player may play in these games, but perhaps with some restrictions. (restrictions could range from limits to the number of games to needing approval from a specific mentor board, etc. -- again, the idea is that parents might be able to play their kids and kids might be able to play each other with some help).
**** NO access to forums, at least not any regular forums.. maybe a special help forum, but that would be it.
**** Serious limits to the numbers of players.. perhaps only 1 vs 1, but since the play in those types does differ a lot, maybe 3 and 4 player games could be allowed. (that would also allow families to play together).
How this will benefit the site and/or other comments:
My youngest son has expressed interest in learning, but at age 6, is not really ready to play a "real" game. I could just get him a membership and play against him, but that sort of seems like cheating. That son is a bit young to play even this type of game, for now, but not for long! (maybe by the time this would be implemented ). I have talked to other parents who would also like to have their kids play but are reluctant to just let them get a regular membership for a variety of reasons. The current "training ground" is not really geared toward this group. Adults and older kids there are unlikely to have the patience to deal with someone who might not even really get the ideas of how the dice throws work, conquering, etc. Also, the time involved is extensive. Some of these kids have never played any board games or consider ANY such to be "boring". An online game like this is a more modern family fun version. Kids need to be able to sit down with an adult/older child who can "walk them" through the plays, leave when they feel like it and be able to play again when they are ready. I can foresee a lot of "dropped" games and other issues that would frustrate any regular player immensely.
How it would work, more specifically:
A kid (or rather, their parent, on their behalf) would sign up and be allowed to play one game. The parent and child could play on the same computer (parent would sign in on his/her membership, child in his/her). It would basically operate like any regular game, other than the above restrictions. The parent could help as little or as much as is needed, take the child through each step without worrying about holding up regular players or any other issues. It would definitely not replace the training grounds, it would be a "junior" or "starter" version.
Though I am envisioning this mostly as a means of bringing in kids who, someday, may become regular players, it will be hard to make sure that adults don't join. That is one reason for the heavier monitoring (describe below), but at the same time, it could be a way for some adults, also to try their hand at the game without what they might perceive to be a heavy time investment. Like the "no points" bit, this has been discussed before in many versions, but I think this very restricted idea could meet most of the objections raised and help bring in a few more people to the site.
Since current mods are very busy, this would have to be done by a separate group and with very clear and specific rules that apply just to this forum. 1-2 warnings, then consequence (banning for a time period to outright bans from this particular group, only). Breaking rules would oust someone from this particular type of game, but not the overall club. Monitors would have to be regular players, and perhaps would have to have been playing here for a certain amount of time. They would not get free membership or any other normal "mod" perks.. in fact, they should maybe even have a different name so as not to confuse anyone. (gatekeeprs? -- something better?) However, if there is any point deduction for regular members playing in these games that could be waived.
Ideally, the chat in these games should be editable, so that profanity can be deleted. Or, maybe these games should just have no chat, with the idea that any explanations are going to happen elsewhere, either in person or via pm, etc.).
Again, the primary goal would be to allow parents to play their kids or to have kids play together without worrying about being "pounced" on by adults", though some adults may enjoy this mode of learning/trying as well. I suspect many who start in this way would go on to join as regular members. The limitations on time, etc could help ensure this doesn't become abusive. If nothing else, CC can always "pull the plug" if it doesn't wind up working out.
Numbers of maps -- I see no reason to limit the maps, unless there are "technical" issues. If so, then I would suggest keeping a mixture of maps.. the classic, of course, but also Arms race, AOR2, Monsters, maybe a couple of the other newer ones. A map maker might even want to create a special map or two specifically for kids. (even just changing one of the "regular" maps to a "kid friendly" theme).
I will add things as brought up