Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

David desJardins (
19 Jan 1995 15:52:23 -0500

Rich Skrenta <> writes:
> Completely remove NPs: no loyalty system, no terrorize, no
> faction growth.

From a game-power point of view, the current system encourages players
to make as many nobles as they possibly can, even though the game would
be more enjoyable to play with fewer. I think from a design point of
view, it's better to figure out what the most enjoyable size to play is,
fix each player at that size, and then give the player other sorts of
tradeoffs. You could still, for example, have players choose between
magical skills or combat bonuses or other advantages, with an NP-like
system. But I think it's wrong for playability to combine this with the
decision of whether to have more or fewer units.

> Players could play 1 or 2 factions.

I can't think of any possible justification for this except for making
more money for the GM. If there's one thing that should be avoided at
all costs, it's giving an advantage to players who spend more money.

> I think this will focus player interest in developing individual nobles,
> rather than treating them as a cheap commodity. It will foster more
> interplayer cooperation, as a single faction won't be able to be a
> jack-of-all-trades.

I thought that the present problem was that we have too much of this,
not too little. It's easy for a group of players to collaborate and
wipe out less organized or aggressive players. That's a bad thing, if
you have players who don't want to depend on joining and working with a
large group in order to survive.

I would agree with those who think a primary problem --- which the above
does nothing to address --- is the fragility of player positions. If
someone who is twice your size can come along, and step on you, at no
net cost or perhaps even a benefit to the attacker, then you can't
expect that it won't happen. (I would, of course, disagree with those
who think that the problem is not the game system, but the presence of
players who are willing to use it.)

And there are always going to be players twice your size, especially if
you allow players to freely combine their forces, so all you need is any
two players to gang up. In general I would like to see rules that limit
inter-player collaboration more strictly than in Olympia, but
unfortunately that seems to be inherently inconsistent with the notion
of allowing unrestricted trade between players.

David desJardins

Copyright 1995 David desJardins.  Unlimited permission is granted to quote
from this posting for non-commercial use as long as attribution is given.