Re: Work and other $ related issues
Thu, 23 Jul 92 22:21:45 EDT

Rich Skrenta <> writes:
>Yes. I don't think targeting WORK exclusively will solve the problem.
>Next you'll have to make Prenola's slaves in the mines start to rebel
>also. Before you know it, no one's units will want to work for them.

>I can imagine the Times articles about Olympia being on strike...

Since Oleg made it obvious he is looking for comments on his "work
effects loyalty" proposal, I will toss this one out. The nature of
the WORK command is "unskilled labor". For that reason, should a
system be implemented that effects the loyalty of WORKING units, it
should only effect SKILLED units. Unskilled units are meant for
unskilled labor. Think of it as working for a temp agency.

[Stuff Deleted]

>John proposes a Legends-style system where money can't be turned
>directly into units. Instead, characters have to be hired or
>persuaded from the ranks of the independents.

Actually, that comment about turning money directly into units,
intentionally or not, is EXACTLY why I don't like the current system.
The feel of "Oh, I think I want another unit <500 gold drops into the
cash register -- a bell rings as the drawer closes> now what will I
call it." really bother me. I don't think that "simulates" anything
"real" at all. Is this something that came from T'Nyc?

>(I've actually heard this idea before. Scott?? Was it you?)

I never claimed it was original... :-)

>This would so radically change the flavor of the game that I have
>a hard time imagining it.

> o Game would change more for the empire builders than for others.

> o You wouldn't be able to tailor your units as much.
> Instead of starting with clay and making YOUR GUYS out
> of them, with their own skills that you chose, you would
> be much more likely to be reusing units that already have
> skills and a history.

> This can be seen as a good or a bad thing, but in any case,
> it is very different than the way things are now in Olympia.

A lot depends on how it is implemented. Yes, it would be different
but isn't "different" what we are looking for?

>From looking at your comments and those from
(O.Goss.), however, I think I didn't explain the dynamics of the
concept (as I see it) well enough.

First, the system I suggested need not remove the "starting with clay"
feel. If you hire one man with no skills and a name like "worker", it
is not MUCH different from FORMing "New entity" with 1 man and no skills
and renaming it EXCEPT that everyone gets to see the unit before you
hire it and it isn't a sure thing. At this point, you can use where you
hired the unit and how as part of the history or toss it and wing it.

Second, yes it DOES allow for units to be recycled but I also intended
that new unskilled single man units get tossed in each turn, no different
from the "New entity" you get via FORM. This would allow a supply of
"clay" for those who desired it but not at the drop of 500 gold.

Third, this system need not benefit the rich and powerful. Yes it is
true that they CAN pay higher prices for new units but it is also true
that they WILL be paying higher prices for new units if they choose that
tactic. In other words, they might be spending more money to get new
units than perhaps they are worth. I think this is a good thing.
If a rich player wants to burn a lot of cash getting hold of every unit
he can see, LET HIM burn large amounts of cash this way.

Forth, this system allows you to hire already skilled units and/or units
that already have some men. I think that is a good thing. Right now,
you have to waste large amounts of time "getting up to speed". This
will allow newbies to become competative more quickly.

Fifth, this system would promote a certain amount of travel. If you
want to build up your faction, it wouldn't make sense to stay in the
same town with other players bidding against them. This would make
people seek out the far reaches of Olympia looking for a "few good
men" that no one else has stumbled upon yet.

Sixth, this system could be retro-impemented without severely damaging
the current mileu. It would slow down the growth without necessarily
jeapordizing everyone's current positions.

Finally, the hire system allows you to adjust exactly how many new units
he wants available in the game by month, region, skills, men, cost, etc.
on a turn by turn basis. You can automate this or adjust it if necessary
without having to adjust a whole lot of other things. You can simply say
"this turn X units will be avialable with Y of them being skilled. They
will be sprinkled around this area and maybe concentrated in that new
town where the newbies were tossed."

What I would like to know is what is so wonderful about he current
system? I know it lets you "do what you want if you have the money"
but is the freedom to pull units out of the air at whim if you are
rich enough really a good thing? If you make new units simply cost
money (via FORM), then you must limit money to limit units and then
you have thrust the matter well into the realm of economics where it
starts to screw up everything.

>What about having both:

> o Indep units may hang out waiting to be HIREd

> o Indep units may hang out waiting to be PERSUADEd

Actually, I had intended there to be both types of independants. And
perhaps unhired units might switch status from time to time.

> o FORM is still available, but costs a fortune. Newbies get
> five free FORMs.

I think newbies need some way to get new units in the first turn. With
that I agree. Perhaps you should get X free FORMs and that is the only
time you get the untouched clay. You can save your FORMs or use them
right away.

[Rich's next message...]

> It should be hard to put together a large faction, especially in
> terms of units.

> Unit and men growth should be limited to 5-10% per turn
> for large factions.

> Players who don't want to worry about money too much
> shouldn't need to play an economic game. So unit growth
> must not be limited by taking everyone's money away.

>Here are all the ideas I can think of. Please think about these ideas
>and discuss them. Please don't send me hate mail. I promise I won't
>run off and implement these for next turn. I PROMISE!

> Limit each faction to two FORMs per turn.

This is kind of artificial. Also, there are turns when you might want
to form five units and others when you don't want any. I don't like
the flavor of this. Of course I wish this was really a problem for
me... :-)

> Make FORM be very expensive. Give newbies some free FORMs.

Newbies having free FORMs is a good idea. But I don't know if an expensive
FORMs is. A problematic side effect of FORM being prohibitively expensive
is that players will start using persuade if it becomes more economical
than FORMing and will prey an the poorer players. Then there is the Dr.
Pain option. Do you want to open that can of worms?

> Scatter indeps around to be HIREd or PERSUADEd. Get rid of FORM.

(I think you already know how I feel about this...) :-)

> Require Leadership skill to FORM. PC starts with high Leadership.
> Recruit and form be subskills of leadership? the PC FORMs all the units instead of letting other units do it. I
don't see how this helps. I see the same problem with faction trees.

> Make FORM take longer.

This is an interesting idea but it would make newbies even more vulnerable.
If they have to spend their whole first turn forming and not working,
travelling, or recruiting, they will be even better sitting ducks.

> Faction trees with restricted fan-out.
> Restrict based on leadership skill?

If you have the money to pound out units, you can pound out leaders.
How many units did [899] have?

> Exponential maintenance costs for large factions.

Perhaps -- but then you are tying things to economics not only unneccesarily
but also unrealistically. Realistically, larger units might actually be
cheaper to maintain (buying in bulk, etc. -- the supermarket concept).

>BTW, I realize some of these ideas are turkeys. I'm trying to list
>everything I can think of. If there's an idea I missed, please post it.

>I want to limit unit growth; that is a given. Right now the old players
>can expand easily, and it is hard for the new ones. It should be the
>other way around.

I don't know if it should be too easy to expand as a new player although
the hire idea could certainly be adjusted that way by clustering units
for hire around new players if you want.

I admit the above is mostly an advocacy piece for the hire idea but I really
do think it is pretty solid, highly adjustable, and would help balance the
game. I really would like to know why people are so stuck on FORM or is
it simply tradition? Or does the "hire" idea have some major flaw that
is annoying people that I can't see?

John Morrow - Varian [856]

Main Index  |  Olympia  |  Arena  |  PBM FAQ  |  Links