The Email Bidding Game
There was one lesson last year where one of my students (hey Joe) was trying to work out the details for a multiplayer game which he was planning a website around. We managed to mock up a way to play in real time in the classroom.
The idea was that everyone started off with a token amount of money. There were to be three rounds of voting after which whoever had the most votes cast for them would split the £100 up for grabs (or 100 points, I wasn't actually gambling with my students you understand). However all deals made up to that point would be binding.
Before each round of voting, each player would secretly draw a random number from 1 to 10 and that would be how many votes that player would be able to cast that round. After picking the number, the players could communicate in private messages with one another, offering deals. For instance you could offer £3 per vote they throw your way, or 20% of what you win for all their votes that round or so on. Long and complicated deals with a whole lot of IF statements were encouraged. We were all using the college email system to haggle with each other.
Then, when everyone was happy then the votes were cast. Let's say you sold two of your five votes to one player for £20 and you cast the other three for yourself. You also bought in three votes for 8% of your winnings, but only if you actually win the pot at the end of round three.
The votes were publicly announced, as were the deals and then another two rounds of drawing new voting numbers, making deals and then voting happened. The whole game became a wonderful mess of trade embargoes and the like. The market value of each vote crept up as the market self adjusted and people who were far behind in the votes in later rounds started forming voting packs. It had a lot of the gameplay of Diplomacy with a heavy dose of Poleconomy thrown in, while dispensing with the distracting board part of the game and cutting it down to its pure form.
I throw this out to you as a game in its infancy which has some interesting gameplay. The details of play don't really matter, but if you have at least three people with the ability to text each other then I'd be interested to hear about what sort of strategies dominated in your game.