Book 3 - Page 161

What a dish

Book 3 - Page 161
Comic - Book 3 - Page 161
Recent posts... (See full thread)
Glenn wrote:
They probably think if Charlie did invade, it would be a disaster for him. And they are probably right. We know Charlie is not planning to invade the MK, because he now knows, from the mass collide-a-scope spell they cast, that the Thinkamancers are powerful enough by themselves to mess up his invasion. We don't know what secrets the other factions in the MK have up their sleeves, but they don't seem too worried by this new power the Thinkamancers have just revealed, which suggests they may have some powerful weapons, which they could use if Charlie ever did invade.

Collide-o-scope can be defended against. Given enough time, Charlie could equip future assault forces with thinking caps, which would block Foolamancy and Thinkamancy attacks.

I'm sure the other disciplines have their tricks too, but caster links are the biggest proven game breakers.
oslecamo2 temp wrote:

So by destroying other sides and then either having one of your commanders start a new side with the ruined capital, or waiting until some wild barbarians claim it, you're producing value out of nowhere. The only requirement is for sides to be destroyed all the time so that you get a constant supply of abandoned capital sites for somebody else to claim, creating new fresh sites to be pillaged.

How much is a level one capital worth though? And does that require war and croaking units to do?
Unmaker wrote:
Parson, who is a very smart gamer with a bracer that does extremely complex calculations, and who has put some thought into it, believes the population of Erfworld could only be sustainable by "substantially depopulating the world" (http://archives.erfworld.com/Book+3/75). The story of the SoBeIt alliance agrees.

The difference between his sustainable world and the current one: war. Somehow, war makes shmuckers... or war reduces upkeep substantially. If war were a net loss for the system as a whole, then the average population over time would be lower than the sustainable population, the population would almost never go significantly higher than the sustainable population, and Parson wouldn't be agonizing over depopulating the world.

There is no known mechanism for this, as the current debate has shown. The economics as they are stating have a huge hole in them.

The mystery is deep enough, and unexplained enough, that I have entertained the idea that Rob wrote himself into a corner and is waiting for a really smart commenter to come up with a viable mechanism so that he can use it. I am not saying that's the case, just noting it as a possibility based on the evidence. I really, really hope that's not what is going on.

"One word, chickens"

Charlie has already broken the schmucker system albeit in a very small way. The real question is why hasn't Charlie expanded. He has the power and the wealth. I suspect being a Carny has limited him. He has always treated Parson as an equal. Sure he's messed with him but I think Charlie needs Parson for something else. Quite possibly Charlie has been unwilling to share with anyone (including the audience) that he either doesn't know or does know but doesn't have a solution. It could be as simple as "I've built myself to be the ultimate survivor, to never lose, but I'm unwilling to risk it to win. And so I continue.".
ManaCaster wrote:
oslecamo2 temp wrote:

So by destroying other sides and then either having one of your commanders start a new side with the ruined capital, or waiting until some wild barbarians claim it, you're producing value out of nowhere. The only requirement is for sides to be destroyed all the time so that you get a constant supply of abandoned capital sites for somebody else to claim, creating new fresh sites to be pillaged.

How much is a level one capital worth though?

Not sure about level 1, but a level 5 goes for over 273K smuckers. So I would guess a level 1 would net a solid 50-100K, not too shabby.

ManaCaster wrote:

And does that require war and croaking units to do?


Of course it demands war. A new side was created, and needs to be destroyed, and their ruler sure as hell won't go down without a fight.

You'll pretty much need to croak most of the defenders, maybe you lose a few of your own, but 50-100K should easily cover some dead cannon fodder.
Gaussrik wrote:
Count_to_10 wrote:
Gaussrik wrote:


The balance, as I understand, works thusly.

You have a cash flow into all sides in the form of Schmuckersfrom cities. (+money)
You have a cash flow out of all sides in the form of Schmuckers to pay upkeep. (-money)

Additionally, cities (which produce Schmuckers) also produce units, which require upkeep.

If the amount of free-floating money in the world is 0, then all sides can afford only enough units that they can pay upkeep for, but that's not the case. There are pools of money, and where these pools exist, the incentive is there to have a bigger military than your neighbors, and pay your upkeep by seizing theirs.

However, the diminishing returns rule means that after eight cities this strategy becomes less and less effective, long-term crippling your ability to defend yourself.

So, the world is caught on a constant ebb and flow, with nations growing and then being devoured by their more efficient neighbors, depending on how well people are able to stay at a low militarized state (which creates a positive flow of money but leaves you vulnerable to attack) versus a high militarized state (which lets you seize neighbors' money but ultimately leads to you over-reaching and then being taken down by smaller, more efficient neighbors).

Don't get detracted by the individual sides. Consider the system as a whole, all sides at once, with war just being a an operation on the units, cities, and shmuckers. It's an open thermodynamic like system with with sources and sinks of shmuckers. A state of war anywhere in the system reduces the amount of shmuckers available for unit upkeep in the system as a whole.


I'm not convinced that war reduces the amount of shmuckers. Creating units does not cost shmuckers, as far as I can tell- cities just automatically produce units. Additionally, having units in the field, regardless of distance from your cities, seems to cost about the same.

The only real "cost" of war, as opposed to having a strong defensive standing army, as far as I can tell, is that your commander units could be boosting the city's production instead- which I imagine is marginal.

Honestly, it seems to me that -not- waging war is the more expensive option, since you pay just as much but you don't get any loot.

I wouldn't be surprised if smaller sides could upgrade cities cheaper than larger ones, either- but that's just guesswork on my part.


Ultimately, this does not matter.
If we take the thermodynamics metaphor, it doesn't matter that apex predators lose a lot of energy that gets filtered up to them. Pound for pound, there could be more deers than wolves. This does not matter to the wolf though, it still profits individually by its predatory nature.

To take a simplistic model. If Transylvito earns 3 units of income to Carpool's 2 unit of income, but they attack and take 0.5 units and destroy another 0.5, Transylvito is still up 0.5 units. Carpool has to make do with 1 unit.

The only reason that Transylvito doesn't simply absorb Carpool's territory is that they would make less total income because of the way cities work. That is, they'd earn less than 3 units of income.

Carpool doesn't die off because Transylvito either doesn't want other Big Fish in their neck of the woods and/or that 1 unit of income allows Carpool to fend off wild predators or other Smaller Fish sides -- just barely trading water while Translyvito prospers. Leaving Carpool crippled like this benefits Transylvito, at least for as long as Carpool doesn't manage to turn the tables. (And one can only imagine the hatred Carpudlians have for Transylvitans.)

Again, the evidence is pretty well established. War does not produce net income. You have to participate in it because people are quite willing to throw you under the boss if you refuse to play.

If everybody just doesn't fight and remains relatively demilitarized, then it is possible for all Sides to be self-sustainable.
Arrangements like this do work in theory: Such as with Homebody or with Seaworld and her colonies and the So-Be-It Coalition. In practice you have problems with ideological stuff like Royalism or just opportunistic rats like King Dickie. As an example, Faq -- either by accident or design -- attempted to keep a huge court of Casters around.

But as somebody else pointed out, depopulating Erf is not a palatable option for Parson, as this would require Decrypting or somehow disbanding/killing quite a lot of people.

In a way, this explains the behavior of characters like Don and Olive. Don wants Jillian as a Queen on the notion that Royals should hold together. Olive had some rather twisted notions of peace, but she had these ideals nonetheless and attempted to secure herself against attack using Flower Power with a rather bluntly utilitarian idea that some few must die so that many may live.
oslecamo2 temp wrote:
ManaCaster wrote:
oslecamo2 temp wrote:

So by destroying other sides and then either having one of your commanders start a new side with the ruined capital, or waiting until some wild barbarians claim it, you're producing value out of nowhere. The only requirement is for sides to be destroyed all the time so that you get a constant supply of abandoned capital sites for somebody else to claim, creating new fresh sites to be pillaged.

How much is a level one capital worth though?

Not sure about level 1, but a level 5 goes for over 273K smuckers. So I would guess a level 1 would net a solid 50-100K, not too shabby.

ManaCaster wrote:

And does that require war and croaking units to do?


Of course it demands war. A new side was created, and needs to be destroyed, and their ruler sure as hell won't go down without a fight.

You'll pretty much need to croak most of the defenders, maybe you lose a few of your own, but 50-100K should easily cover some dead cannon fodder.


Not even close to 50-100k. As noted carpool gets ransomed for 40k regularly and we've seen 2 level 3's razed, one for 40k, one for 20k. And 5 cities plus a lot of units was only worth 221k to replace. Which bearing in mind how many of GK's cities are well upgraded at that time looks reasonable with the above.

GK itself is an absolutely monstrously valuable city by most standards.

As for why sides can't raze their own cities for shmuckers. I'm pretty sure one of the books has a side do just that. There's probably still some rule that makes it not worth it normally. But that may either not apply to captured cities or not apply in a variety of special circumstances that aren't normally fulfilled.

Also the diminishing shmuckers factor with cities likely means the difference in value of cities and difference in treasury size between 2 sides is likely much smaller than the difference in actual size, so gobbling up a side and it's treasury is more valuable than owning the cities beyond a certain point.
You're probably thinking of the Digdoug update with Homebody. They're not actually razing their own cities, they're just choosing to keep most of them level 1 and making them cost more to take in unit losses than you'd win from razing it. If that level 1 was originally somebody else's level 5, then so much the better.

Again, it really doesn't matter if it costs 100k to build that level-whatever city. If you raze it for 50k, somebody else is footing that bill.
Carl wrote:
oslecamo2 temp wrote:
So I would guess a level 1 would net a solid 50-100K, not too shabby.


Not even close to 50-100k. As noted carpool gets ransomed for 40k regularly and we've seen 2 level 3's razed, one for 40k, one for 20k. And 5 cities plus a lot of units was only worth 221k to replace. Which bearing in mind how many of GK's cities are well upgraded at that time looks reasonable with the above.

The same order of magnitude is pretty close by Erfworld standards. Tens of thousands of smuckers vs tens of thousands of smuckers instead of, say, millions of smuckers.

Carl wrote:

As for why sides can't raze their own cities for shmuckers. I'm pretty sure one of the books has a side do just that. There's probably still some rule that makes it not worth it normally. But that may either not apply to captured cities or not apply in a variety of special circumstances that aren't normally fulfilled.

I never said that sides can't raze their own cities.

However they need to pay to rebuild them.

Whereas starting a new side gets you a fresh city upgrade from ruins. Nobody is footing that bill. It's free smuckers.
DVL wrote:

Again, the evidence is pretty well established. War does not produce net income. You have to participate in it because people are quite willing to throw you under the boss if you refuse to play...

Arrangements like this do work in theory: Such as with Homebody or with Seaworld and her colonies and the So-Be-It Coalition. In practice you have problems with ideological stuff like Royalism or just opportunistic rats like King Dickie. As an example, Faq -- either by accident or design -- attempted to keep a huge court of Casters around.

Originally, I also assumed this was why Erfworld was stuck in war. I figured that mechanics were probably designed to make peaceful sides especially vulnerable to attack and destruction.

But this update outright states that even if every side has been forced into a binding alliance, for whatever reason, a perpetual motion machine is needed to sustain the population:
Quote:

How do you sustain a side without battles? If it were possible to, for example, force every side in the world to sign a binding alliance, what would happen?... It was like trying to come up with a perpetual motion machine.

He continues on to describe it the way one would a math problem, not a cultural one. And he still cannot come up with a solution.
wakko wrote:

Commanders seem to have sense of the treasury. Charlie has an enormous treasury and seeks to make it bigger and bigger.
...
We also know that Parson DOES NOT have treasury sense (due to be an alien to Erfworld) and Charlie knows this and due to past experiences probably knows that aliens like Parson doesn't have treasury sense.
...

Lets also not forget: Charlie did not have a sense of treasury; he had to ask the dish for data.

It is very, very reasonable to deduce from this that Charlie is probably not native to erfworld, even if he is not from StupidWorld.

Hmm ... So where else might Charlie be from? TunaWorld? ComicWorld? Some Zelazny-inspired shadow realm?