Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

John Morrow (
20 Jan 1995 16:47:45 -0500 (Carl Edman) writes:
>In my opinion, the best, easiest and most realistic (at least partial)
>fix for the problem is to drastically reduce visibility of small

"Spotting" has been discussed before. I think it came up in the Oly I
design list. The objection Rich had to it (correct me if I'm wrong)
was that he feared that, especially in the beginning of the game,
players wouldn't see anyone else in the game with them and get antsy.
This is a valid concern, since a large part of the game is generally
interacting with other players and NPC units.

Another concern is whether or not units who can't spot one another can
interact in other, non-military, ways. For instance, do I need to
issue a flag or issue a "JUMP-UP-AND-DOWN" command so that someone can
GIVE me something? If so, that adds another level of complexity to the
game and yet another area where people can screw up their orders in
an environment where people are asking that it be made EASIER to GIVE
and GET things across zero-time links. If I can do some things (like
GIVE) but can't do others (like ATTACK), do they appear on my turn
report and, if so, how useful is being "hidden" if one can actually
be seen?

In short, can you provide a full, yet simple implementation?

>For example, two stacks of half a dozen men in a forest
>province should only have a few percent chance of showing up in each
>others location reports (or triggering hostile settings).

I'm not really excited about the idea of there being odds of being
seen. I'd rather it be an absolute instead of based on "luck" (e.g.
BtA is frolicking alone in the woods and just happens to be spotted
by Oleg's hunting band on a 1 in 100 shot). If such a plan is
implemented, it should be "absolute" so the players know where they

>The number
>of men in the spotting unit should slightly (let's say
>logarithmically) increase the chance of spotting. The size of the
>to-be-spotted unit should strongly (linearly ?) increase the chance
>of spotting.

You can make "reality" arguments on all sides of this based on
assumptions about what hirelings are doing. I think the only really
important factor is the size of the unit being spotted. I'd rather
not encourage players to build up large stacks simply for the purpose
of spotting others. It might be logical, though, to provide bonuses
for the owner of a garrison.

>The remaining important factor is the location inside
>which the spotted unit is. In provinces chances should be small,
>while inside buildings spotting should always be automatic.
>Sublocations and cities should fall somewhere in between. One may
>even want to adjust the spotting chances based on the province type.
>Stacks in forests or mountains should be harder to see than stacks in
>plains or at sea. Also some actions which inherently attract
>attention (like recruitment) should greatly increase the chance that a
>stack is spotted.

Yes. This is all interesting.

But I'd still argue that whether or not a unit is spotted should
depend *only* on the size of the unit being spotted and the type of
location they are in. This will allow players to select whether or
not they want to be seen and you won't have players complaining that
they thought they were safe and were "cheated".

>On the whole this allows "role players" to go about their business in
>the wilderness with relative impunity while allowing wargamers to
>contend with each other but without resorting to phony, unrealistic
>hacks like "wimpy" statuses.

"Relative" is a key word up there. I don't think that even a 1%
chance of spotting is satisfactory for a player moving a lone noble
around who has no combat skills. Remember, some people don't want to
be involved in combat at all. And why would an army attack a lone
inn builder and some workers?

As for the "wimpy" idea, since I suggested it, let me defend it.

The idea behind it is to enforce a form of "common sense" on the
players that is lacking because of artificial constructs in the game.

Why would an army attack a single noble with 10 workers? Because the
player doing the attacking *knows* that noble is player controlled and
might have goodies. In "reality", is that noble and 10 workers or a
noble and some entertainers (Olympia I) that much different than the
throngs of peasants and other people roaming Olympia that you can't
see? Not really. What makes them interesting is that they are
specifically listed on the turn report as a player controlled unit.
They become a target *because* they are player controlled which is a
characteristic of the unit outside of the game.

What "wimpy" mode does is to say that a noble won't attack unarmed
units *because they have no reason to within the game setting*. They
aren't military. But it keeps them listed on the turn reports,
anyway, so players don't see an "empty world". Yes, not perfect. But
spotting rules have their own problems, too. Think of wimpy in terms
of "not-spotted for attacks but still visible on a turn report"
because a non-military unit won't get the notice of an army, if this
makes the idea more palitable to you.

>Other things in Olympia need to be changed to allow greater personal
>growth of "heroic" nobles, but this would be a start.

Yes. I've suggested that Rich implement *and enforce* space limits on
internal locations such as hills and graveyards and such. That way, a
noble and a large army couldn't enter, only a small band of nobles and
maybe some fighting men. This would let Rich better tune monsters to
require certain types of forces to defeat.

John Morrow