Re: Game balance (2)

russell wallace (
Thu, 16 Jul 1992 05:25:23 GMT

In <> (Bruce Harper) writes:

>Although many interesting and useful ideas have come up in this discussion, I'm
>replying specifically to the game theory proposition that no two (or more)
>player game with different victory conditions and different strengths of
>players can be balanced (I think I have that right).

What exactly do you mean by this? I would normally take the word
"balanced" to mean that under normal circumstances each side has about
the same probability of winning. Given this, the proposition is clearly
false, so presumably you mean something different by it.

>In reply to the recent question of "why should larger empires be subject to
>more hardship?", the answer is that otherwise they just win and everyone gets
>bored (including the winner).

But if you clobber large empires, then the player who's built up a large
empire and gets clobbered is going to stop playing at that point,
because why should he bother rebuilding his empire only to get clobbered

This creates a dilemma which makes open-ended empire building games


there is an infinite amount of territory (either create more at the
start than anyone will ever need, or else generate more as required).
Then allow new players to start far enough away from the centre that by
the time the older empires at the core have expanded that far, the new
players will be strong enough to fight them. Thus, you have a
continually expanding world consisting of large, powerful core empires
continually fighting among themselves for scarce territory, and a
scattering of small empires at the fringe.

"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem"
Russell Wallace, Trinity College, Dublin