Strategic Primer: Twelfth Turn Summary

The current campaign of Strategic Primer recently finished its twelfth turn. Today’s post summarizes the turn, to the extent one can without revealing the players’ secrets.

It’s been a little over a year since the end of the last turn. But after that turn took almost half again as long, I consider this a slight improvement.

In the summary of last turn, I warned that I intend to start doing accounting on more constraints on population than just food, starting with living space, in the near-to-mid-term future. Now I’ll say that I expect that to be not this coming turn, but the next. During this turn, several players considered this requirement and either decided they had enough living space for the foreseeable future or began to take steps to get more.

I also recently described a system for determining the results of a mining operation in a less ad-hoc fashion than I had been using before. I plan to begin using this system in this coming turn, except perhaps for cases where what is being mined is the dominant rock, rather than something found within that rock.

And I proposed modeling food spoilage using something like a half-life mechanic. That’s still my best thought yet, so maybe this turn or next. I also proposed something like an Olympics or World’s Fair, which probably won’t appear in this campaign unless more players express support.

This turn, I made extensive use of the worker management app I developed last year (and other apps, which I continued developing) in both determining the actions taken by “AI players” and “running” the strategies submitted by human players. In particular, every player’s known-world map contain all of that player’s workers in units representing what they did over the course of the past turn, and a new unit containing any newcomers wishing to join the player’s cause who need to be assigned any tasks in the new turn.

I improved the possible results of hunting, gathering, and the like by making the program to suggest possible encounters take possibilities from more than just one tile at a time. Hunting, fishing, or food gathering in a highly populated tile will still produce inferior results to going farther afield, other things being equal, but there’s now some “going afield” (or animal movement going beyond one tile) built into the model.

During the course of this turn, I added two advances to the Starting Package and every player’s list of known advances: the “herd” Suggested Unit Configuration and the shortbow. Longbows and crossbows will be removed from the Starting Package in future campaigns.

During this period I also started turning one player’s old strategies and results into a log similar to that I produced in the first campaign, which I posted with annotations over the course of nearly two years.

And I started writing quasi-quarterly NEWS posts, summarizing recent items of note, which see (starting with the most recent, as each links to the previous).

While running the turn, I found and corrected some arithmetic errors in previous turns; I believe players have been notified of such changes pertaining to them.

In the middle of the turn, after contacting one potential player who had expressed interest in the game in the past but had declined to join due to her hectic schedule and finding that her “spare time” had if anything decreased so she again declined to join, I dropped from the campaign a “player” that I was running as an “AI” but for which I had been creating a full strategy and results (rather than combining them into one simpler document) each turn—a process that took as long as two or three of the simpler “AI” players combined. This “player” had not encountered any other player, nor been sighted by any other player, and so could be removed without affecting the game. I mention this only because it explains an obvious discrepancy in the comparison statistics below.

Now, turning to what happened in the game-world this turn:

Populations continued to increase, though rates of increase are in most cases no longer hampered by the “cap” that a fortress can grow to no more than half again its size in one turn.

Several players have gained workers with mostly-untrained talent for one variety of “applied metaphysics”. With experience (self-training), those workers will eventually enable the players to “discover” metaphysical “advances” that will allow the player to train others and use applied metaphysics to their advantage.

Over the past few turns, I’ve been granting players Crop advances based on plants their explorers and food gatherers encounter. This was initially a flood, but is now slowing somewhat as most crops encountered are now already known.

Players continue to show ingenuity in proposing new technological advances to share with their scientists, but the directions of their research continue to diverge (though what one player thinks of two, three, or more turns ago another is likely to come up with next turn).

Last turn, in response to player demand, I gave statistics to suggest where players stand in relation to each other. First, population: The highest population (not counting those who requested to join in this past turn’s results) is 136, and the lowest is 15. (Last turn I said the lowest was 22; that was almost certainly in error.) The average (i.e. mean) is about 59, the median is 57, and the standard deviation is about 35.

And next number of advances discovered: There are 46 advances in the Starting Package that every player starts with. At present the player with the fewest number of advances discovered has 96, and the player with the most has over 230. The average and the median are just under 100, and the standard deviation is about 46.

While I’m not sure that this past turn was more exciting than any turn previous, I’m always looking forward to see what the players come up with next, no matter the challenges they pose to my job of determining the results of their actions. If you’d like to join the campaign, please get in touch with me.

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