Some people make distinctions between mass tribes and elite tribes. I think none of the tribes I played in or play in currently are elite. I do not play to be “elite”. I play to win, in many ways. Part of what makes me feel a winner is that I enjoy myself in the game. Another part is that I can hunt for best practices patterns by trying and experiencing effects.
Best practices I found so far include a tribe having an excellent theme that speaks to the imagination, some serious humor, emphasis on social talk on forum and by mail, (fun) updates from tribe leadership, a regular account sitting check for activity and troop building by experienced players in the early stages of tribe forming, regular forum checks to discover who really reads the forum often enough to be able to respond in time for coordinated attack and defense tribe efforts later, … the tribes that came out on top in many worlds, used (at least) the above best practices. And used a clear structure that works for the context and purpose of the game.
Preferably the chosen structure aligns with the theme that the tribe uses. But that’s often just a matter of syntax and some humor. More important for success is the semantics of a chosen structure. Possibilities are:
An autocratic crew?
Autocratic crews are governed by their Cap’ns, who alone can promote Pirates to Senior Officers. The Cap’n can change the profile and otherwise order matters. Autocracies are popular as they are efficient, orderly, and allow for swift decision-making. But, autocracies need a Very Strong Leader, some decisions may not be in the interest of everyone, and too much power all too often leads to corruption. Autocracy may make the tribe fast for a while, but in the long run, such tribes tend to fall apart because too many members build up resentment from each occasion a decision wasn’t in their best interest, or even to their disadvantage. And if on top of that the Very Strong Leader shows signs of corruption, like gaining too much personal power, an increasing number of people will feel he is getting that at their expense, and start to walk way or revolt or start a mutiny. Makes you wonder what is meant by “strong”, doesn’t it? Perhaps it means “to have the personal power as a leader to not let yerself sink away in a self-gratification spin”? How hard can that be? Really?
A democratic crew?
Democratic crews appoint their Cap’n and take other major decisions by the free vote of every member of rank pirate and above. Consensus is considered important. This structure is perhaps the hardest, messiest, and most time consuming to manage.
Because these crews and tribes are democratic, everyone has a say, and any member of Pirate rank and above can post an issue. This makes corruption more difficult, but it can diffuse power too much.
Decision making in democratic crews or tribes usually requires a majority vote of the membership or, the proposal will fail after three days. Making all votes obligatory “by law” and using the voting procedure as forum check also, can help decrease some time and effort spent on management. But the larger your tribe or crew, the harder it becomes to make difficult decisions. And if not all tribe members are experienced and educated players, that can become a major problem and the tribe goes nowhere and everywhere fast. It simply dissolves as the experienced players walk off while faster tribes start feeding on what’s left in the tribe.
An oligarchic crew?
Oligarchic crews are governed by the votes of the Senior Officers. Most decisions, such as to promote another pirate to Officer, for example, can be made directly without vote by the Senior Officers. The Captain’s status and other key issues, such as joining a flag (negotiating an alliance), however, must be changed by a vote of the Senior Officers. Senior Officers can propose issues for a vote, but ordinary pirates cannot. Usually, as with a democracy, if the issue lasts for three days without reaching a majority verdict the issue will time out and not pass. If a majority of Senior Officers vote in favor of such a resolution then it passes immediately.
In this structure, corruption can not roam free and spin out of control. The tribe responds fast to changes. And when only experienced players can become Senior Officers, experienced enough for making the extraordinary ordinary, the result is a crew or tribe in which players that are less experienced can focus on making the ordinary ordinary (learning the controls and tactics of the game) without slowing the tribe down too much. And those that can do quickly become impeccable pirates in a crew (warriors in a tribe).
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