Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

Christopher J Conley (
22 Jan 1995 08:59:08 GMT

In article <3fqami$>, (David desJardins) writes:


|> So what's left is interaction with other players. Interaction can
|> basically take two forms: cooperation and competition. In Olympia,
|> cooperation turns out to be fairly uninteresting, for a couple of
|> reasons. One is that a single player can basically do everything there
|> is to do (except fight other players, which we've ruled out), so there's
|> not much reason to cooperate. Another is that two players cooperating
|> work exactly like one big faction. By far the most efficient way to
|> cooperate is for one player to tell the other what to do with certain
|> units. But now we're back to playing solitaire, except with a bigger
|> faction.

This only occurs if both factions share the same goal, and if that
goal is achievable for a pair of factions.

For example, my goal might be total world domination by my own personal
faction. In this case, I'm certainly going to need to "cooperate" with
some sort of alliance, since it's highly unlikely that I'll be able to
muster the force to take over Olympia myself. My "cooperation" will be
self-serving, however; I'll encourage my allies to bear the brunt of
the combat casualties, leak information to my "enemies" to form future
allies or simply to weaken the rest of my neighbors, build up my own
private armies to keep hidden from the alliance members, and so on.
This is hardly "solitare", and (for most of us) hardly boring, either.

(Note to my allies: This isn't really what I plan to do. Honest. :)

|> That leaves competition. Competition can be either combat, or
|> nonviolent competition for resources. The problems with the noncombat
|> forms of competition are (1) that it's easier to just go find your own
|> resources, than compete with another player for them; and (2) that if
|> you do compete with another player for resources, combat dominates:
|> ultimately, if you aren't stronger militarily than the other player,
|> there's no way you can deny that player resources you might want. So
|> competition, sooner or later, engenders combat.

Again, there's no evidence that a weak faction can't best a stronger,
bigger faction. Play a bluff; send every man you've got to fend off the
intruder while claiming that a "real army" will arrive if he/she doesn't
depart immediately. Head to guerrila warfare, picking off small stacks
until the opponent either sues for peace or simply gives up and heads
elsewhere. Find someone who IS bigger than your oppressor, and enlist
their help. These do all involve (or at least threaten to involve) some
sort of combat, but that's realistic; there aren't too many historical
instances that I know of where a band of roving merchants has staved
off an invading army...

Don't get me wrong; I agree that the emphasis on combat is a bit much
for an open-ended game. I'm just saying that, as always, there's more
to combat than simply ammassing the biggest army or recruiting the most