Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

Brent R. Johnson (
18 Jan 1995 19:27:41 GMT (John Sloan) writes:
|> (David desJardins) writes:
|> >John Sloan <> writes:
|> >> The second time I reckon I could easily have flattened the culprit
|> >> militarily, but it would have taken so many noble-days and orders of
|> >> training and making and equipping and marching down there to do it, I
|> >> couldn't be bothered.
|> >No doubt this will show how dense I am, but I thought that was called
|> >"playing the game." If you take that out, what's left?
|> Quite a lot, actually. Olympia isn't _only_ a wargame, despite some
|> people's efforts. I was there to explore the system, try to find out what
|> made the economy tick, and playtest the thing. Just because I don't play
|> the game the way _you_ would, doesn't mean I'm not playing.
|> Olympia, I think, was designed as something _more_ than just a wargame, but
|> the militarists don't seem to let the little guys do their own thing, and I
|> think that is a little bit unfortunate, to say the least. The attitude
|> that there is nothing else to do seems a little myopic.

To a large extent, a game is what the players make of it. If there are
enough players who believe that Olympia is _only_ a wargame, then for
all practical purposes that's all it will be.

I played Olympia for a few turns. However, I was handicapped by joining
the game a bit late (turn 12), and by the desire to do exploration,
character development, exploration, and research. When I signed up,
I was already concerned that the game seemed (to me) to give advantages
to a wargaming style of play; but I signed up anyway, just to see what
it was like (it was my first PBM experience) and to see how other
(especially more experienced) players played.

I had a really terrific time in the few turns I played, and I learned
what I wanted to learn. But I also concluded that there were too many
players treating Olympia as a wargame for me to have any realistic hope
of surviving if I played the way I wanted to play. I had a lot of fun
role-playing myself into an untenable situation (no, not deliberately,
but it was still fun), and then I dropped out.

I believe Olympia was indeed designed with the *potential* to be
something more than a wargame, but left it up to the players as a whole
to exploit that potential. I am pretty well convinced that in this
particular game (g1), the "militarists" as you call them are sufficiently
dominant in the player mix that anyone who wants to remain a "little guy"
will be very lucky not to get squashed before he gets to do his "own
thing". While I personally find that disappointing, I wouldn't call the
players who see Olympia as nothing but a wargame "myopic". They're
getting what *they* want out of the game, and after all why shouldn't

I am hugely impressed with Rich Skrenta's work on this game, especially
the game mechanics. I have read his hints about new games and new rules
with considerable interest. (Now if only he'd make some kind of commitment
instead of just saying things like "I've been thinking about...")

In my opinion, Olympia is a great game, with perhaps its biggest flaw
being that it has simply too *much* potential, leading some people to
expect more from it than is really reasonable.

<< Brent
/                                                                    \
)  "Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good."  I Thess. 5:21  (