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

Mark W. Oosterveld (
Fri, 23 Sep 1994 17:51:31 +0000

> This is more of a personal survey than a design topic, which is why
> I've set Reply-To: to myself instead of the list. Please don't let
> this interfere with the ongoing combat system discussion.
> My question is:
> Do you consider "simultaneous execution" to be a significant,
> desirable and/or essential feature?
> And if so, why?

Yes, I consider this a desireable feature. I like the feel of it. I know this
is a fantasy, but it gives it a more "realistic" feel, at least to me.

> Apparently many people think so, and I'm trying to figure out just
> what it is about simultaneous execution that's so great.
> (By "simultaneous execution", I am referring to the system where each
> Olympia order is rated for how long it takes, each turn has a number
> of days, and any order may begin on any day.
> 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.)
> 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.
> Consider the advantages of phases-and-points:
> o Order failures don't cascade.

I really think that all the whinning about screwing up orders, and messing
up your turn, should just be ignored. Unless the documentation is obviously
wrong, it's the players own fault. I've made a couple mistakes myself, and
lost the use of several units for half a turn or so, but it's only because
I didn't pause to re-read part of the rules.

> o Since points may be allocated differently for different
> commands, it's easier to tune the system.
> o None of this confusing priority, who-goes-first,
> what's-the-timing-on-this-order-going-to-be-stuff.
> 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.
> 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.

This is why I always send in enough orders for two or three turns each time.
One thing I would like to see added, is a default order. (As implemented in
Russel Wallace's Atlantis). If you have no workable orders, your default
would kick in. It would also work during a wait (ie: My default might be
to Make Pots, or Use SwordPlay)

> Confusing issues such as "what happens to my study orders while I've
> moving, or on a ship?" go away.
> So phases-and-points is easier to tune, makes player turns more robust,
> 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
> thing -- nobles. I used only time and gold in Oly I, and I couldn't
> tune it.)
> What's so great about modeling time?
> --
> Rich Skrenta <>

Overall, I am very pleased with the game thus far. This game reminds me just
enough of T'Nyc, the first PBM I ever play'd, and the reason I have been
following the PBM industry.


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