Re: Olympia: Disasters

Chris Conley (
9 Aug 1995 20:31:57 GMT

In article <40843k$>,
Robert Christopher Butchko <> wrote:
> [deletia...]
> As some evil mage once wrote, this is not a utopian agrarian simulation,
>but a fantasy wargame. Some people have gotten blitzed out of their
>positions without really having gotten to start. Well, it's scary out
>here. I _do_ feel bad for everyone who has had their money sucked up,
>but that's a _customer_service_ issue, not game balance. The solution
>is to give them a restart and a few free turns, not prohibit brain-eating
>of newbies by BtA.

I don't entirely agree with this, especially under the current start-up
situation. Basically, with some (but not a huge amount of) effort, BtA
and friends could probably effect a complete blockade of the IC; with a
watcher inside, they could simply update their HOSTILE flags and capture
almost every single new noble that tries to leave the city.

I agree that "hunting" should be possible; however, it should be much
more difficult than it is under the current system. Enlarging the safe
zone around the IC would be a start, since it would create many more
"exits" to use.

>[And now, my actual point]
>[But first, another digression]
> The only person I wouldn't team up with in g2 would be someone who
>cheated the game, not someone who lied to me. If there's a sociopath
>out there who plays the game well, but lives to betray, well, that
>just means I'll play the same drama twice. If a player betrays me in
>g1, I'd still play with him in g2 if I admired his playing style. That's
>gameplaying. I hope that I'd protect myself better against all treachery
>after being burned once, but I would not shun him. That's crossgaming.
> If I found that some faction was in cahoots with a faction or alliance
>where someone would do something like repeatedly restart to lose battles
>and NPs to the older factions to give them an advantage, I would not
>play wityh them. I might even crossgame and declare a jihad against
>them. Some things transcend the game; some don't.
>[Let me mention that I've almost completely forgotten my point]
> Okay, you should not know, from your experience in g1, that player X
>can be trusted in g2. I would like to see all identification of players
>stripped out of e-mail diplomatic forwarding, and out of the game.
>I know this cannot work, as there are ways to hook up with your friends,
>but the possibility of relationships carrying into the game (and
>recriminations carrying out of the game) are offenses against the
>reality of the game. And the very image cited (betrayed by x in g1,
>refuse to ally with x in g2) is an offense against g2.

Yes, it's a long quote, but I think it definitely bears repeating.
This is *exactly* my position on PB(e)M games. I have never borne
the same name, same character or same strategy into two games (well,
I've tried not to; I've played enough that my "personas" probably
aren't entirely unique, but they're certainly not carbon copies of
each other...). I generally find my allies on the first turn; it
doesn't seem consistent with the "fantasy world" - as I see it - to
enter a game with a whole bunch of pre-defined allies. I certainly
don't have any predefined enemies; some players seem to fall into
that category somewhat frequently, but they do that *during* the
game, not before it starts.

I think that stripping e-mail addresses out of diplomatic contact is
a reasonable start - while it's still entirely possible to contact
previous friends, it's much harder to identify opponents/traitors/
whatever from previous game. Carl Edman could dump BtA for another
mage with an identical character, and no one would target him until
it was too late...

> Would there be more betrayals if they were (hypothetically only,
>sadly) without recrimination? If I didn't know that it was X, the
>player, whose ffaction ad4 betrayed me, would player X betray me
>more often, or would the game police itself better, since such out-of-game
>consideratons such a pre-existing friendships would not spur people
>to defend X just because they know them? Would X's best friend Y
>help me to track them down and kill them? I dunno; it'd be interesting.

This would be very interesting. I'd like to see a game which really
encouraged back-stabbing (in fact, if I ever get around to it, I may
even try to design one) as a feasible alternative. I'd say that this
has affected my gameplay to some extent - even my devious personas
generally shy away from really betraying their friends (limiting me to
hiding information or disguising my alliance to the enemy), and that
is in no small part due to the fear of cross-game reprisals.

(Note to my allies - my current persona may be a bit lazy, but he is
definitely not deceitful in the least. Really... :)

Anyhow, I agree with the basic point - identifying a faction with the
player behind it violates my ideas of PBM gaming. Let the actions
taken in the game speak for themselves...

- Chris