Allow GIVE/BUY/etc. across zero time routes?

David desJardins (
Sat, 20 Aug 94 13:14:24 EDT

I don't think "mistakes" are a relevant consideration and I would give
no particular weight to the argument of allowing such orders simply
because people might not understand the current rules. Any set of rules
is subject to misunderstanding, and the current situation is not
especially complicated.

I believe that the argument for BUY/SELL/GIVE/GET etc. is as follows.
Currently one can accomplish almost everything that one might want to
do, one way or another. If you want to sell your fish, you can give
them to another noble on your boat, who gets off, sells them, and gets
back on. Or you can write a sequence of WAIT statements which allows
you to get off the boat, promoting someone else to captain, get
back on, and have the new captain re-promote you. And so on. You
aren't preventing people from doing anything, you are just making it
more onerous. (They have to have multiple nobles, or whatever.)

Frankly, I think the whole idea that I have to get off my boat in order
to sell my fish, and that if someone in the city decides to do WAIT UNIT
x1y; MOVE ab12; SAIL SOUTH, because they know that I might be appearing
in town at some point during the month and that I'm the only noble on my
boat, makes little sense. I'm trying to visualize a city so organized
that it has fraud-proof markets where everyone always gets the full
price for their wares, but so disorganized that there is no place for
the fisherman to put their boats when they arrive where anyone in town
who feels like it can't just sail off with them. I'm having a tough

I have an equally tough time imagining that I am the ruler of a castle,
and that when a wandering merchant shows up at the gates, I have the
choice of (1) going out to meet him with my entire army, in which case
he might decide to slip past us, walk into the castle, and bar the gates
behind him; (2) giving him a "gate pass" which allows him to enter the
castle at any time during the following month, with any number of armed
men that he chooses; or (3) not being able to buy a load of wood from
him, because I am unwilling to do (1) or (2).

In both of these cases, I am having a hard time understanding the
motivation for introducing commands which allow players to interact with
one another, and then throwing obstacles in the way of using them. For
example, why introduce markets at all? Why not just make players work
out all exchanges between themselves? If the goal is to make mutually
beneficial interactions between players as difficult as possible, rather
than as easy as possible, then it seems that one should force them to
figure out how to ensure payment between themselves.

I take it for granted that I'm not going to admit a player that I don't
completely trust into my castle, nor am I going to walk out while he is
around. So, the result of these kinds of constraints, to the extent
that they have an effect, is that players tend to work in small groups
within which they trust one another implicitly. Essentially, meta-
factions of several players. And outside such groups they tend to avoid
interaction with one another. Is that a better game than one in which
players have ways to interact with one another at arms length? I
thought that the whole idea of having markets, and so forth, was to
encourage players to interact with one another even if they are not
bosom buddies, or best friends.

David desJardins

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