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Averaging: too much math?

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/03/2008

As some of you will recall, I workshopped a game a while back called "the 12 Disciples" in which players play Disciples, following Jesus around Palestine. One element of the game involved calling upon Jesus to perform actions and collecting "Gospel" tokens. Scoring these "Gospel tokens" is the subject of this post.

Originally, the Gospel tokens gave a flat payout to the player with the most. But, I think I'd like something that scales a bit more, so I'd like to make a change that works like this: your VPs for Gospel tokens is the average of the # of tokens collected by you and the player with the next-lower total. So, if I had 7 tokens and you had 3, I'd get 5 VPs; if I had 8 and you had 5, I'd get 6 (assuming rounding-down, for a start).

The question I have is, is this kind of simple averaging too much math? I want the mechanism to depend not only on your own tally, but also on what other players have done. This is in keeping with the general philosophy of the game, in which many scoring opportunities are related to helping others to score in addition to yourself. So, the idea here is that to maximize your payout, you want to make sure the person with the next-lowest tally is close to yours. I haven't been able to think of another great way to do this, although I have considered a straight "you get as many points as the number of tokens held by the next lower player" or something comparable.

So, any thoughts? Is a simple two-point average too much math for a game? Can functions other than simple addition and subtraction ever be tolerated?

thanks for any input,


Averaging: too much math?

It shouldn't be too much math, but depending on how high the values in your game go you could put in a small table for the mathematically challenged. As long as the values arent higher than like 20 a side a table should not be TOO cluttered up...

IngredientX's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Re: Averaging: too much math?

Hey Jeff...

I do this averaging in Acquire and Alhambra all the time. I don't find it to be a big deal. And anyway, from my experience when a bunch of gamers gather around a table, at least one is usually okay with doing quick two-number mean averages in his/her head. :)

Joined: 07/27/2008
Re: Averaging: too much math?

jwarrend wrote:

So, any thoughts? Is a simple two-point average too much math for a game? Can functions other than simple addition and subtraction ever be tolerated?

Of course, the other possibility would be to have the score being the sum of your tokens and the next players tokens, but having the gospel tokens only being worth half a VP each (or scaling up all other VPs by two). Much simpler than all this average business ;).

Joined: 10/02/2008
Averaging: too much math?

One of my most recent games deals with players having to add their VP at the end of the game, and a player can gain more VP by helping other players take their items. In a way, this seems close to what you want to do as well.

I don't think it's too much of a big deal to have players do a little adding, if it's not too tedious or if it doesn't take a long time (more than 15 seconds hopefully) In Carcassonne, at the end of the game, you have to add up all of your points, and that never bother anyone I played with. (I'm sure there's many more games I could have put here, but that's the first that came to mind.)

I think the idea Sebastian said would work better than the averages. Maybe make your own Gospel tokens worth a VP and the next player's an 1/2 VP (round down) or even the way he said, have them all worth a 1/2 VP then round down.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your game!


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