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Fast enough scoring mechanic?

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I have designed recently a scoring mechanic but I am scared that it takes too much time and slow down the game. Here how it works:

Each turn, there are 1 Vp awarded for 3 different contest.

For each contest, players count the value of a certain number of elements on the board. The player with the highest value gain the victory point.

Values range from 2 - 4.
Some special abilities or situation can give +1 to the values of all counted elements.

The problem is that at the end of the turn you need to count 3 times the value of each player to know who is the winner. On the other hand, you do not need to count all the players, you only count the players which are in a good position enough to have a chance to score.

Still, do you think it would be too slow for a 21 turn game?

The other solution is that elements can either worth 1-2 and gainning bonus set to all maximum value to 2 instead of +1 to the base value. So bonus cannot stack.

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
My gut reaction

My gut reaction is that, yes, counting out the score for three contests *every* turn will probably slow down the game too much. Not only that, I think it will not be immediately obvious to the players what a good play is during their turn.

For example, when it's Sarah's turn she might think about competing in competition A, but she knows Joey has a lot invested in competition A, so she counts all of Joey elements. She discovers Joey is actually doing pretty well and will be hard to defeat in A. Instead, she thinks competing in B might be better, but Eric has a lot of B's. She counts them and finds that Eric is doing even better in B than Joey is doing in A, so she perhaps she should compete in C?

You get my drift. Players will not only be counting their holdings during scoring, they will also want to have a good idea where they stand during their own their turn, to make an informed decision. If this is easy to see in one glance, then perhaps it is OK.

One idea might be to not score every holding every turn, but perhaps score them every three turns or so, like in El Grande. This could have some interesting side-effects to your game too.

Darkehorse's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Possible solution

Another possible solution is to keep a mini scoring mechanism that shows at any given moment exactly what each players total is for each competition. This is would be especially helpful if the 'scores' don't get reset every turn.

For example, if this were a game about knights, and you had competitions for jousting, sword fighting and archery you could have three mini scoring tracks (or anything that works really). If Jason gains 3 points on his turn in jousting, you just increment his jousting score by three. If William loses 2 points in archery, then you would just drop him two points on the archery track during his turn. After everyone is done with their turns, it only takes an instant to determine who is winning.

Of course, I may be misunderstanding what you're proposing. If so I apologize.

Hope this helps,

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
That's something I was

That's something I was thinking about, too, Horse. However, Larienna said that the score was determined by elements on the board, as well as specific abilities and situations affecting the total score. So, while I think that keeping track of the current score of each player in each competition on a seperate track does make it easier to see in one glance how every one is doing, it adds another layer of fiddliness. It solves one problem, but adds another.

SiddGames's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008

It does sound too slow/tedious to me, too. Another idea is to not score all three each round. Perhaps only one category is scored each round, so players might focus their efforts on a given turn and then you only have to do 1/3 the scoring each time.

You might even combine this with some way for players to influence which category is scored, rather than making it random, like three influence tracks. So players would have to split their attention between setting themselves up for points and actually making sure that category is going to score. Maybe have a rotating bonus marker that moves from category to category each round, so it is more likely (but not guaranteed) that a different one scores. If you went with this idea, though, I think you'd have to award points for more than just 1st place; this would allow coalitions to form around choosing the scoring category.

Just a thought.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I need to explain more

I seems that I need to explain a bit more. Still the feedback is good right now. I really like the idea of a scoring track that you could update when other players are playing to prevent them from calculating.

There is a reason why there is no scoring phase, it's because it breaks my game. In my game there are various factions/civilisation that comes in to play and eventually dies. Each faction has it's moment of glory and downfall. This could be illustrated with the following graphic:

(I can't embeed the image in the post, so here is the kink)

Which mean that if for example, I place a scoring phase between turn 5 and 6, the glory moments of faction A and D won't be recorded and faction B would be strongly advantaged. So it's not fair. I really need a scoring each turn.

The reason why the scoring use an "all or nothing" system (1VP to the strongest) is to force competition. In previous game version you accumulated the values as points. The problem is that it's hard to catch up somebody, or to see the direct effects of doing some action. You need to score more points each turn to eventually catch up the leader. That's boring. The other way, making a simple attack or move can make a player score nothing or everything. So players has more control over the game and it's easier to negotiate with other players.

Right now, players score the number of cities controled, the special building in each cities (1 per city, and they can be destroyed)) and the actifacts which are located in cities (these can be moved or traded). In the early version of the game, I just scored cities with a value of 1 each. Since I game various values to buildings and artifact, I thought I could do the same with cities. The other reason was to make sure a +1 bonus did not double the value of a city too easily.

If you faction is a kingdom, it gains +1 to all elements scored. Some one time use abilities allow giving a +1 to one of the 3 scores.

So to make scoring easier, I thought that the stuff are either worth 1 or 2 points. Kingdoms and special abilities does not stack over each other and simply makes stuff worth it's maximum, which mean 2. The only drawback, is that stuff that are worth 2 points would be less valuable since it's easier to get it with a kingdom or ability. So they could be used for tie breaking.

So I have just tought that kingdom could give a static 1-3 points in each elements score to make sure it can be combined with the special abilities that makes all stuff score at 2. Since it's now time use, it won't happen often and stuff that scores 2 points would be more valuable because it scores 2 pts. every turn.

So what do you think?


Other game development info

I decided to put more effort recently on this game since we have a designer meeting on november 16 ( which don't happen really often) and it's the game which is the closest to being completed. The new version I am designing seems pretty neat and closer to completion. The fact that is now alive could give me an opportunity to publish my game (publish there first, then on other site). But I don't put my hopes to high, since problems could always occur ... as always.

If the game works well, do you think I should place it on the GDW. I never used the GDW, so I really don't know how it works and if it's worth it. I know it's a "give and take" stuff and in my case, it would mean "don't give and take".

Joined: 08/20/2008
What about storing a number

What about storing a number of point chips on each space of the board, which are collected by the players as they are earned (and returned if lost)?

The chips could even be space-specific, and represent the thing that needs to be played in order to score them, such as a dotted outline of a building.

On the downside, it's a lot of extra stuff to create for the game.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
LIke city cards

So you mean like a card for each city on the board. You identify each city as unique. When the ownership changes, you trade the card with that player. That could be another solution to think about.

But right now I am more thinking about lowering value and giving a scoring track as a tool to speed up the game, but it's not required to play.

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