Re: "Simultaneous execution" vs. phases-and-points

Thomas Hudson (
Sun, 25 Sep 1994 14:36:02 -0400 (EDT)

> My question is:
> Do you consider "simultaneous execution" to be a significant,
> desirable and/or essential feature?

Yes, all three, for the simulation of reality. It gives a significantly
more life-like feel to the game than phases do. I'm dealing with this
problem in a game I'm designing myself, where activity covers enough
different scales that both phases and time seem appropriate.

> Apparently many people think so, and I'm trying to figure out just
> what it is about simultaneous execution that's so great.
> (By "simultaneous execution", I am referring to the system where each
> Olympia order is rated for how long it takes, each turn has a number
> of days, and any order may begin on any day.
> Most other PBMs instead use "phases", and a system of points if
> necessary to limit some commands. So, as an example, the battle
> phase may always come before the movement phase, everyone gets so
> many movement points each turn, movement through different types
> of terrain incurs varying movement point costs.)
> Now I chose simultaneous execution because it seemed more realistic,
> and less game-like to me. But now it seems to me that atmosphere is
> its only advantage.
> Consider the advantages of phases-and-points:
> o Order failures don't cascade.

This is the only significant failure I see in simultaneous execution.
It really requires more care than a lot of us (I know me, for one)
tend to spend on orders. Writing a semantic checker for Olympia would
be nice, beyond just a syntax checker... It could lead to a false sense
of security in some cases, but having the computer double-check that your
units actually should be in the same location at the same time to execute
your GIVE and GET orders, etc. would be nice.

> o Since points may be allocated differently for different
> commands, it's easier to tune the system.

I don't see that this is true, since you can change the day

> o None of this confusing priority, who-goes-first,
> what's-the-timing-on-this-order-going-to-be-stuff.

On the contrary, there's always some question of timing of phases in
Atlantis, which is the game I compare Olympia most closely to. I
suppose as one gets more experienced with the game system, that becomes
more and more automatic - but that's just a function of the complexity.
Since Olympia is significantly richer than Atlantis, I expect it to take
more time to master (reduce resolution of the minor semantic/syntactic
interference to automatic).

> Consider STUDY. Instead of varying the amount of time a study order
> takes, let's say we charge study points for the various skills. A
> 1 week skill in Olympia would cost 1 point, etc. We give players 5
> study points to start with, and an extra point each turn.
> If a player misses a turn, and consequently misses his chance to study
> that turn, he hasn't really lost anything, since the study potential is
> tracked as points. Giving players five study points to start lets them
> start quickly, if they like, or they can hang onto the points until they
> get a better feel for the game.

This is a significant loss in realism. Which some people may not think
is necessary, but I'm partial to, especially in a game like Olympia that
has focuses that span what might normally be 3 games worth...

Windjammer [ur7] faction

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