Re: Brave New Olympia

John Morrow (
Thu, 13 Aug 92 18:12:34 EDT

I just wanted to reply to Rich's observations about the hired hands
system. I will leave comments on the other system up to others
(since I am not terribly fond of it for the reasons Rich stated...). (Rich Skrenta) writes:
>Hired Hands

>Players could hire groups of men contained in units into their service.

>I am useasy with other methods of bringing these units into existence,
>such as allowing the player to FORM/RECRUIT them. Letting the player
>pull helpers out of thin air seems to subvert the essence of this plan.

I included other methods because of past objections that it might be
too hard to hire the help you need when you need it. I don't think
such ideas would necessarily damage the idea of giving players less
control over large groups of employees. Remember, part of my idea
was to make units expensive to keep. Expense without the work command
to pad the payroll makes it tough to keep units around who aren't
doing anything. The idea was to make players hold onto large units
only so long as they were using them. If you don't make it reasonably
easy for them to hire new units when they need them, they will
unnecessarily hold onto units the don't otherwise need in fear of not
being able to hire new ones in the future. They we are back to
players building up facilitated by paranoia of others doing the same.

>To build a ship, for example, one would first need to find a group
>of laborers looking for work and hire them. They would help the heroic
>character build his ship, and be released from service (they would
>return to seeking work).

>The character would then need to find out a crew for his ship and hire them.

This would not be necessary in the plan I had in mind. The men would
be hired and they would assist or travel wherever they were carried.
That means the same group of men who helped you build the ship could
be carried over as the crew. Before you complain about this, consider
that the crew would be more skilled at shipbuilding (since they
practiced it via assist) so if a combat trained group (workers who
had been taken into combat) were available, it might make sense to
hire them instead. Of course, you could keep the same group around
doing all sorts of task so you know exactly what they can do instead
of hiring. I envision groups up for hire giving some indication of
how skilled they are in various tasks. And remember, as these units
get better, they will start asking for more money or loyalty/morale
will start dropping.

>These units could not be ordered directly, but would automatically
>assist tasks which they were hired for (sailing, combat, construction).
>They can't STUDY, but they will learn by doing, so some units will
>become better than others.

As above, they wouldn't so much assist "tasks which they were hired
for" but in ANY task the employer was using. They would be general
helpers. If the employer was shipbuilding, they would assist. If
the employer was cutting timber, they would assist in that. If he
gets in combat, they assist in that. What it all boils down to is
they are hired to help and they do. Some players might specialize
their work forces so specific work teams get better at specific task
while others might diversify so their work crew will be good help for
any task so they only need one or two general work teams.

>I love the feel of this idea. But there are many unspecified issues:

> if you GIVE stuff to a group, it can be seen as equiping
> them. But they would probably keep anything you give them
> and not return it.

Yes. I think this is a good thing. When you give items, it would
probably help loyalty/morale. On the other hand, if this is seen
as a problem, you could set up dual inventories, one for GIVE and
one for LEND from which you could TAKE the items back. This would
take on new meaning if you required equipment to perform certain

> how does the number of men in a group fluctuate? What if
> one dies? Is a replacement automatically hired? Does
> the player have any control over this?

I had envisioned the group dwindling until it disbanded. An option
I suggested was to merge two work forces together which may or may
not work. Other options include recruiting men into the work force.
What do people think? What are your concerns here.

> What of the mechanics of the association between a hired
> unit and the character? Are they simply stacked together?
> What if they get unstacked? What if you leave an elite
> sailing crew abandoned on a desert island?

I suggested that they always need a "boss" character stacked with them
or they would wander off. This is similar to generals in the game
Conquest of the Empire. I think it is good to require a commander to
be stacked with hired units. Perhaps if the "boss" character issues
an UNSTACK, any units in the stack with him will also unstack and
stack with him. That would make sense if this is a "monkey see --
monkey do" relationship.

> Can you hire as many units as you want?

Approaches to this question include:

A) You can hire as many units as you can afford but they must be
stacked with a "boss" character.
B) You can hire only one work unit per "boss" character.
C) Boss characters may each hire a number of units based on
leadership, reputation, loyalty, or some other factor.

> Who gets to name these units?

The player who hires the unit gets to name it. Unhired units' names
default to "Available Unit" or some such name or perhaps names stick
until changed by a new boss. This allows people to have theme hired
hands and helps game feel.

> What algorithm keeps locations stocked with useful groups
> ready-for-hire?

The idea would be to combine the populations of region, how many
player units are in a region, and how many people were hired in
each region last turn into a weighted value for each region. You
next figure on a number of units to add to the game for that turn
(this can be fudged or done via algorythym). You then allocate the
number of units available into each region depending on the value
of each region.

> What if you get into a battle with men you hired to do
> shipbuilding for you?

They fight. If you decide to use forestry, they help you cut wood.
They are in a constant state of assist. This gives you some control
over what they learn but not absolutely.

That is how I see it working, anyway.

John Morrow - Varian [856]

Main Index  |  Olympia  |  Arena  |  PBM FAQ  |  Links