Re: Olympia

John Morrow (
14 Jul 1995 12:32:33 -0400 (Bill Viggers) writes:
> Firstly let me say, I began Olympia in turn 1. So I guess
> my post is going to be biased towards retaining power in
> the 'old guard', maybe.

I started on turn one, too. But I belonged to a much smaller alliance
(2 people, the second having ties with a larger alliance but they
did a good job of keeping their loyalties seperate) so my experience
is a bit different.

> I disagree that new players must remain subservient to established
> players. There are _vast_ tracks of land out there that have never
> been explored (look at the recent GM Summary) and I'm willing
> to bet that most of the 'explored' land is not claimed/garrisoned.

The problem is that certain large alliances have access to Fairy and
can move a large army to just about any place on the map in a matter
of weeks instead of months. This means that a new player can spend
months travelling to a far off unexplored land, build a castle, and
then have their castle taken away from them by an army with 500+
beasts from Faery. Since these armies, through Faery, have been
cleaning out internal locations and since the rules for controlled
units have changed, it is unlikely that any player will be able to
build a stack that can match up to a beast stack (5,30 or so vs 80,80
or more). And, worse, beasts move at riding speed so you can't even
run and hide.

My little aliance lost over 500 normal troops in a chance encounter in
Faery (admittedly we were the attackers so I'm not complaining about
that part) and put barely a scratch on the army that finished us off.
That was pretty much all our firepower -- AND some firepower donated
by another alliance. 500 troops at roughly 3 noble/days per unit
(pikeman = 4, crossbowman = 3, soldier = 2) gives you 1500 noble/days
or 10 MONTHS of effort for a 5 noble position *doing nothing else
during that time*. And, remember, that 500 man force LOST in a big
way. So what would it take? 20 months? 30 months? And what will
your opponent be doing in the meantime?

And the people in Faery don't have to attack right away. They can
just spy with magic or controlled units and then conveniently pop up
when the odds are best. Even if they don't, the simple fact that they
can, at any time, and can't be stopped isn't very fun for those on the
receiving end. Most people don't like to live or die on the whim of
others and that is pretty much what it is. You can't run (armies can
pop out of Faery and beast move at riding speed). You can't hide
(scrying and visions take care of that). You can only wait and hope
you aren't noticed.

> If you want to compete in Provincia then you are up against a large
> number of established players and of course you will be subservient,
> so go elsewhere.

I'm a big advocate of only 1 starting city. I like the idea of having
to pass through "civilized" lands to find a frontier. The problem is
that existing players, using their lands as a base, can pass large
armies directly out to the frontier (via Faery, etc.) where they find
relatively weak players who have had to spend all their resources
travelling. The effect is much like hiking up a mountain to "get away
from it all" only to find several hundred people already up there who
drove up the special road on the other side.

I'm sorry, but after seeing the really big armies and how organized
Faery is, I just don't buy the "you can get away in the frontiers"
line anymore. I wish that is how it is, but it isn't.

> Because Noble points can also be _lost_ by established factions.
> I am willing to bet a couple of thousand gold that few (well
> less than half) of the players who started on turn one, now
> have a 'full' allocation of noble points. Heck. I've never
> been involved in player combat, and I've still managed to
> lose a noble point.

Yes, but players with Necromancy or captured enemies can gain them
for all intents and purposes. In addition, new players had access
to captive nobles that were essentially worth 2 NP per pop (Oath-1).
How many established players GAINED noble points this way?

> I see noble points as being the reward you get for lasting
> a length of time in the game. By drip feeding them to players,
> Olympia forces a gradual expansion.

It could be improved.

> Starting players now get more wood, gold and I think peasants
> than the origional starters did a year ago. Combine this with
> the large amount of information publically available (the
> atlas for instance) and new players will be advancing faster
> than the origional players did anyway.

Yes. And they can be crushed in a turn or two -- something that
wasn't really a problem in the first few turns.

> Because noble points can _only_ be accumulated through time
> (or interactions with other nobles) I would be very reluctant
> to see an inflation of them.

Or Necromancy. Or finding captured nobles. Or by persuasion of
captives. Inflation isn't the answer. But there is a problem.

> What might be interesting, if Rich could manage it, would be to
> see a list of the number of noble points and factions in the game
> on a per turn basis. For instance my faction is now worth
> 20 noble points. After a years worth of carefuly playing I'm
> still only worth a third more than a starting player. Noble
> points is not what makes one position subservient to another.

Then why are the large alliances (who's primary benefit is effectively
NP) so much more powerful than the small ones and single players?
Noble points matter. People in large alliances might simply not see
that as clearly as those who tried to make due with less.

John Morrow