AOO-bashing aside, I'd like to discuss this.
First of all, let me say that I love playing Olympia and I think it is
a hell of a game. But early on in the game David commented that in
the long-term there wasn't much to do in Olympia besides attacking the
other players, and I'm inclined to agree with him. I don't see much
that will hold a player's long-term interest other than attacking
* Exploration is obviously limited, and before you've explored a
substantial portion of the map you're likely to have seen all the
terrain types and sublocations.
* Becoming a "skill king" doesn't seem to hold much interest. The
list of skills is readily available, so there's no real joy of
discovery. Furthermore, a dedicated player can probably pick up
every skill available in 20 turns or so. It takes longer to get all
the magic and researchable skills, but is that really so interesting?
* I don't find trade routes very interesting. The economic model is
too simple and static to hold my interest. The one trade route I am
exploiting simply requires cutting and pasting unchanging orders
depending upon where my trader is. Not much interest in that.
Other ways of making money suffer much the same problem as trade
routes. They're static and as ends in themselves not interesting.
* Building a castle and garrisoning lands is straightforward and will
inevitably bring you into conflict with other players.
Even if you find these things initially interesting, I think it is
clear that most players will eventually become bored with these things
and turn towards conflict with the other players, or drop out of the
Conflict with other players (and to a certain extent fighting
monsters) is more interesting because it is both uncertain and
challenging. The Olympia universe is a predictable, deterministic
model. The challenge in Olympia comes from competing with and
conflicting with the other players. So I think you should expect
other players to be "power-hungry warmongers", rather than be
surprised by it.
I think that there are ways in which the Olympia universe can be made
more intrinsicly interesting (mainly by creating more depth and
content to the universe) but that's a topic for another discussion.
-- Scott T.