Re: "Simultaneous execution" vs. phases-and-points

Dan Corrin (
Fri, 23 Sep 94 17:10:57 EDT

on Sep 23 16:13:41 Rich Skrenta <> said:
> My question is:
> Do you consider "simultaneous execution" to be a significant,
> desirable and/or essential feature?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Simulateous execution is not just a "more realistic"
way of doing things, it is more flexible.

> Most other PBMs instead use "phases", and a system of points if
> necessary to limit some commands. So, as an example, the battle
> phase may always come before the movement phase, everyone gets so
> many movement points each turn, movement through different types
> of terrain incurs varying movement point costs.)

This is fine as long as each turn is quite short. Weekly turns
could allow you to do that, as movement is about that time scale.

> Now I chose simultaneous execution because it seemed more realistic,
> and less game-like to me. But now it seems to me that atmosphere is
> its only advantage.

I'll list the opposite, disadvantages of phased turns.
- All movement takes the same time. (i.e. one movemnet phase
to move one location, swap, plains or into your castle). Otherwise
your phases get out of sequence. Movement points are unworkable
in this system? If it takes 7 mp to move to the plains, then
there would have to be 7 combat phases, in case someone was out
of phase with you. If you are moving, and someone can attack you
when you can't attack them, then it isn't really phase based...
Also one can think of olympia as phased, but on a daily basis.
As you said, nothing actually occurs simultansously.
- At one move per turn, it'd take forever to move in olympia.
- Things are harder to tune. You couldn't, for instance, have
reduced learning over the month, if you use a point system.
> Consider the advantages of phases-and-points:
> o Order failures don't cascade.

Sure they do. If I say move n (to the forest) and then "produce wood"
and the move fails, then the produce wood fails as well.
> o Since points may be allocated differently for different
> commands, it's easier to tune the system.

I'm not certain on this one. If one has 30 action points, and a move
to mountains takes 10, recuriting a peasant 1, and studying 7, how does
this differ from days for the commands? I think it would again limit
you to the number of complete phases in the turn. If you have a 2 ap
command and 20 ap per turn, then one person could be doing somehing
10 times, and another only once. Thus you would need 10 phase sets, and
we're almost back to olympia.

> o None of this confusing priority, who-goes-first,
> what's-the-timing-on-this-order-going-to-be-stuff.

Sure you do. Consider this: Player A attacks player B, Player B attacks
player C, player C attacks player A. Who is on who's side in the combat?
Unless you want to write code for 3-way, 4-way, n-way interaction,
whose attack is resolved first? Even if you do write 3-way code
if player B is attacked by player A, does palyer B counter-attack A, or
do they attack C?

Another example. Someone dies, or otherwise leaves tower ni! undefended
at the end of a turn. The next turn two players who were gathering
shrubbery outside of the tower, decide to take possession of said tower.
it is the movement phase, both player's units have orders to move in
and take possession, who goes first? It isn't the combat phase, so
one can't even program a battle to see who moves in.
> Consider STUDY. Instead of varying the amount of time a study order
> takes, let's say we charge study points for the various skills. A
> 1 week skill in Olympia would cost 1 point, etc. We give players 5
> study points to start with, and an extra point each turn.

There is nothing wrong with this in principle. It does penalize people
from forming large factions, as one couldn't train more than a
couple of mages or priests. If this is a per-character limit, then
all the characters will know all the skills, as they will feel obliged
to spend their skill points.
> If a player misses a turn, and consequently misses his chance to study
> that turn, he hasn't really lost anything, since the study potential is
> tracked as points. Giving players five study points to start lets them
> start quickly, if they like, or they can hang onto the points until they
> get a better feel for the game.

If you miss your turn? The only way you should miss your turn is
if your orders fail due to a cascade. The game is slow enough that
people should be able to put in an extra turns worth of orders if
they are going away.

This is the reason why some of us want some amount of programmability
to the system. If one could have a few clauses to test conditions and
then execute a finite amount of differenent actions (I think I proposed
2 last time), then the chance of errors is fewer. So you want to
make sure your characters study?:
If day 23 do-alternate

alt: study 160
> Confusing issues such as "what happens to my study orders while I've
> moving, or on a ship?" go away.

Many of these things are artifacts of things like stacking, not of how
the orders are processed.
> So phases-and-points is easier to tune, makes player turns more robust,

Tuning? I don't follow.
More robust? Perhaps, but they can still easily fail.

> and is generally more flexible to work with than basing everything on
> time (note that even in Oly II we had to resort to "points" for one

Less flexible, I believe.

> thing -- nobles. I used only time and gold in Oly I, and I couldn't
> tune it.)

> What's so great about modeling time?

I obviously don't understand something here. Take atlantis, they
don't model time there. One month equals one move (regarless of terrain)
or one action. It takes the same to train a horse as to produce
one unit of wood, or one unit of iron. Therefore the value of a
horse and iron and wood are almost identical.


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