Strategic Primer: Delegation

In the current campaign of Strategic Primer, most players are nearing the point where giving orders to individual workers, or even groups of workers, is rather unwieldy. And since one of the distinctive features of the game is supposed to be competent subordinates, players are permitted and even (in theory) encouraged to delegate responsibility and authority to trustworthy and competent workers.

In fact, once players expand beyond a single fortress (their headquarters) each, communications lag (until they develop high-bandwidth instantaneous communication devices) will all but require them to trust their subordinates’ judgment; it’s hard to micromanage an operation when it takes more than a day for orders and reports to go back and forth.

I don’t yet have the assistive programs I want to help me run strategies involving delegation. And I also need to write a program to show a summary of results but let the player see more detailed results where he or she wishes. Because of these limitations, I’m not yet making a general recommendation that players start delegating at once. On the other hand, difficulty for me in running a player’s strategy shouldn’t keep the player from, in this case, making his or her job easier by delegating agriculture, or an industry, or what we moderns might call “human resources”, or something else to his or her subordinates.

It is, of course, possible to be too general—setting an untrained, inexperienced newbie to managing a complicated operation is a recipe for disaster, and any reasonably wise worker knows it—and at the beginning of the game, with only ten subordinates and more jobs to do than people, delegation of authority is simply inefficient. But by now, when managing masses of people (working on tasks that they probably know better than the player) has become a chore, delegating that responsibility is an entirely reasonable decision, and pretty soon (as populations continue to grow) will be inarguably good policy.

Once I have tool support in place, I expect to begin talking (in the summary version of the players’ results) about groups or “units” of workers, “such-and-such-number strong” (or something like that), with an indication of how many have how many levels in what Jobs, instead of (as now) reporting on them and their skill advancement individually.

What do you think?


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