Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

John Morrow (
4 Jan 1995 22:37:17 -0500 (Scott Turner) writes:
>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
>other players.

I think part of the problem here is that people who wanted to simply
get on with attacking other players pestered Rich about how difficult
it was to build up or move around to the point where it isn't
difficult to build up or move at all. Everyone who wants other goals
in Olympia is going to have to realize that this translates into
making other parts of the game more complex and difficult to blow off.
Either that or segments of the game will have to be forcibly isolated.

>* 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.

Yes and no. I still want a &#$*! Scrying book... :-)

(And no, I don't want to send a lone noble over to Atnos to pick one up... :-)

>* 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?

Yes. The skills were flattened out and sped up to speed up faction
development in the game. There is a fine line to walk between
challenge and frustation. But I think Olympia errs on the side of
over-simplicity at this point to avoid frustration and has long since
killed challenge in this department...

>* 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.

Yes. I still like that wagon idea from the design list... :-)

>* Building a castle and garrisoning lands is straightforward and will
> inevitably bring you into conflict with other players.

Yes. I think building a castle quickly IS still quite a
challenge but you can only do it so many times...

Keep this one in mind below...

>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

Yes. And I think this is happening.

>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.

Yes. I think the distinction that Oleg makes is between those who
attack once they've run out of places to expand or who attack due to
clearly stated political or diplomatic intent vs. those who simply go
out an pick off people in surprise attacks, with deception, or without
any possible cause.

You know as well as I do that surprise attacks and deception provide
an advantage over stating your intent up front (as Dr. Pain did in Oly
1) but you should hardly be surprised that such actions cause people
to call you a "power-hungry warmonger" or be wary of you. Yes, the
attack on Pearl Harbor was brilliant and it is a real shame that
Admiral Yamamoto isn't more highly regarded for his strategy (perhaps
the only one that could have worked as well as it did against the US)
but the simple fact is that such actions don't go over well with the
spectators unless they are among the winners and get to write the
history books. That day won't "live in infamy" for no reason...

(BTW, I personally thin "you guys" invite having reputations cross
over between games by having character names cross over between games
but that might just be me...)

>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.

Care to start it here, in public, so we can maybe get some outside
commentary instead of hiding all our terrible--err--wonderful ideas
on an internal design list again? :-)

John Morrow
The Seekers [ad9]