Re: "Olympia" - any good?

John Morrow (
23 Sep 1995 13:29:54 -0400 (David desJardins) writes:
>This turns out not to be the case. When I found out about control
>artifacts I was expecting something like this. But as it actually
>worked out, the initial frequency of everything was high enough that all
>that was really important was getting on the growth curve as early as
>possible and then growing as rapidly as possible.

Getting on the "growth curve" early wouldn't have been the only
workable strategy if Olympia didn't have so many ways around its
movement restrictions. Another viable option would have been to
travel and then grow. The only problem is that those of us who
tried that quickly found the large alliances pulling in units all
around us from Faery and Hades, cleaning out the surrounding inner
locations that we *would* have time to exploit otherwise.

When a game has useful restrictions to an activity (e.g. movment
times, unit upkeep costs) but then provides tricks to totally get
around those restrictions (Faery, zero upkeep beasts), the players who
most quickly and effectively exploit the tricks win and a player who
can't or doesn't exploid them can't. While it isn't unreasonable to
give players an advanage for efficient play (e.g. the coastal crawl)
or for things they have developed over time (e.g. most magic, castle
defensive bonuses), it is unreasonable to provide advantages that
totally break restrictions that are important for balancing the game
(e.g. very rapid movment via Faery, teleportaion of 200 dragons to a
prowler in a catle, blasting a noble to death from afar, getting a
half-dozen controlled units from one lair [fixed]). In short, if
the game -- ANY game -- has restrictions to activities, care needs
to be taken to make sure that those restrictions can't be totally
circumvented by something else in the game. If so, the game quickly
becomes a situation of "haves" and "have nots".

>For players who came along later, I'm sure that luck was far more
>important, both in terms of finding useful stuff and just in terms of
>reaching unexplored territory.

Is there *really* any virgin territory out there? Having seen how
quickly little friends popped of of Faery all around us (we were about
as far from IC as you can get) when they wanted to (e.g. when we
attacked them first they had no trouble finding and sieging our
castle, when they thought there were empty castles on Torba Bacor for
them to take [RAZEd in time, thank you very much], when they wanted to
clean out lairs on lands around us [5 to 10 little armies with no
ships -- hmmmm], etc.), I'm dubious of any claims of "frontiers" in
Olympia any more. You would really need to explain to me how a large
alliance with control of much of Faery, with armies waiting there,
with the ability to Scry or Vision any noble they see start in IC, and
with the ability to either blast nobles from afar or teleport in
hundreds of dragons to a hiding prowler would have any problem wiping
out any new player they want to. Oh, joining up with another alliance
might prolong things but can anyone in a certain large alliance really
say, with a straight face, that if they wanted a particular faction
dead that they couldn't do it -- particularly a new one?

John Morrow