Re: Another combat factor

Steve Chapin (
Tue, 20 Sep 1994 16:24:08 -0400

Rich said:
>> "Oleg's horde of beggars"

I think it was Scott who coined this, actually (along with many other
catchy phrases about Oleg).

>> I would suggest that the number of hand-to-hand opponents be limited to
>> three times the number of front-rank enemies.

I held my tongue earlier, but I see that we're quickly heading down
the slippery slope that leads to Oly I combat. We had warmounts
adding bonuses in battle, we had N-to-1 limits, we had intelligent
fleeing, we had attacking for booty, capture, or kill, and on and on,
all at player request.

The result was a combat system that I poured tremendous energy into.
It was balanced, so that there was no "one true way" to fight combat,
just like the players reqeusted. (Oleg's horde of beggars and a few
highly trained nobles would battle to a standstill, whereas in Oly II
you're a fool if you don't have tons of cannon fodder). It had a
simple interface, but oodles of hidden complexity, just like the
players requested.

The players hated it.

I learned that there is one thing players DEMAND of a combat system:
that it be predictable. Anything else is gravy. Every request that
Rich sees should be subjected to the test, "Will this make the combat
system unpredictable?" The current combat system is an excellent
example of a system that includes random factors but is still

I speak from experience when I say: forget intelligent fleeing.
Players will complain that they ran to the wrong province. For battle
magic, make it a single skill that works just like ranged combat, and
that players can improve modestly through study. Anything more
complicated will cause complaints ("Why didn't Merlin cast Big Juju
instead of Fireball?"). Forget N-to-1 attack limits; you'll always
manage to pick the wrong set of guys to be involved in the attack ("I
would never have sent in three giant birds to beat up one rat; it's
not fair that he got in a lucky shot and killed one of my birds.
Sending in a noble and three soldiers is obviously a better choice.").



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