Hi everyone! I'm a beginner designer who is working on a small game with a friend. Basically our game is card-based and every card has a amount of score. There are three rounds of game, and after each round players will have to calculate all the scores of the cards they've collected only in that round to determine bonuses and players' order. After a few rounds of playtesting, we've found out that it's very tiresome to calculate to count 3-4 times to see the final score. Is there any efficient way of doing this without changing the 3 rounds structure that we've decided ? Most score tracking options i've found online requires a board (which our game intends not to have). Thank you for any help : )

# A good option for keeping tracks of score

I think we might need some more context. Are you just trying to track how many points each player has after each round? Could you just use unique cards to do that? A lot of the more involved solutions will depend on how your game plays. For instance dominion has victory points on cards that go into your deck. It’s a pretty good solution for a number of reasons. But this approach only works in certain games.

Welcome!

Here are some options that popped up in mind:

- Dice that get adjusted with the play of each card.

- A card with points, and some coloured paperclips.

- Chips on the side.

From what you've written here, it seems like there are numbers on the cards collected, and the numbers can be different, so you end up spending a lot of time at the end of the round going through every single card to add up the sum of their values.

Depending on how many cards you end up with, yeah: that can be a pain.

Here are a couple suggestions for you, though as BlueRift notes above, we have no additional context on your game so Your Mileage May Vary.

I use the number 3 a lot in the examples below, but it's an arbitrary value. Change it to whatever works best for your game.

Can you do one or more of the following?

- Have cards that belong to different sets, so "piles" of collected cards are smaller and counting isn't so onerous. Compare the values of different sets to see who wins that set. The player with the most wins in sets wins that round.
- Remove the point values from cards and use some other criteria to determine that round's winner: the first to collect 3 of a certain type of card, for example.
- Players only count the 3 highest and 3 lowest of their cards for their round's score.
- Players line their collected cards up against one another, and the player with more cards wins that many points that round.
- Players select their 3 highest-value collected cards and line them face-down against their opponent's 3 highest-value cards. Flip the cards over and the player whose total is higher wins a point for that round.
- A set of three matching cards equals one point for that player in that round. At the end of the round, the player with the most complete sets wins the round, with ties being broken by the sum of the point values of remaining cards.
- Earn a rolling number of round points. As soon as a player earns 10+ points from cards, those cards are flipped into their own face-down stack and become 1 point for the round. The result is you're counting as you go instead of all at the end.

The general idea here is to find some way to either reduce the numbers the players must count at one time, or reduce the point value of each card to 1.

Hmm... I have a question for you(!?)

If scoring would be the Victory Goal for a ROUND... Players calculate their lion-share of the Points as the round unfolds ... But tracking and the calculating is done manually with things like BONUSES and PENALTIES that are a part of the computation.

My question is: **"Would you have a problem playing such a game?"**

Just curious ... Because Points seem to make it much TIGHTER of a game, where it's not PURE Luck but mostly determinism and obviously some card play (which is luck-based but driven by RPS-3 rules).

Well you could have a Players Mat. Like a Jumbo card which can track the amount of points using Acrylic or Wooden cubes (That's what I did with my own game TradeWorlds). Each player has a Players Mat and scoring is tracked on the mat during the entire game.

Just a thought...

Is this a mechanic with the goal of rubberbanding?

Perhaps you can adjust some other mechanics instead.

Then this whole counting isn't nessesary.

And a final counting to see who wins is a fun part of the game.

Personally, I too have several sorts of rubberbanding in my game. But if possible, I try to get rid of them all. Or at least make it a yes/no situation.

Hmm... Not sure about that. I think that in MOST situations ALL Players would like to know who is leading/trailing and by how much!? That was one FLAW with "Quest AC". Keeping track of score was ... DIFFICULT. And this was one aspect that I only realized AFTER the game was made (Yeah beginner's mistake).

Most games it's IMPORTANT to know where a player stands (in terms of scoring) as compare to the other players. Are you AHEAD or do you need to pick-things-up and go FULL FORCE because you are in LAST POSITION.

This can have a huge impact in making it SIMPLE to grasp scoring efficiently... Cheers!

My question is: **"Would you have a problem playing such a game?"**

There are games where there's a lot of counting involved. To go "way back," **Power Grid** comes to mind. You count at the end of each round to determine if you've powered every node or whatever in your grid, then you count up the money you earn. Finally, at the end of the game you count all your leftover money and find out who wins.

There are games where it's more than counting. I remember Knizia's **Kingdoms** sticking out in this regard (maybe his 2nd edition?). At the end of a round, you would score points earned in each column and row, and if there was a castle in that vector you would multiply the results. That adds a layer of complexity which reaches my "personal satisfaction limit."

One of the games whose scoring system annoys me the least is Knizia's **Samurai**. Throughout the game you are collecting symbols of three different types, and concealing your collection from your opponents. At the end of the game, your collections are revealed, and the player with the majority totals of the three individual categories wins the game (with a few other criteria if there are ties in one or more categories).

If I wanted to test my math calculation skills, I'd visit Khan Academy again. If I want to play a game, however, I spend my time critically thinking or pushing my luck, not doing math problems. That's just me.

///

My earlier post title was just my attempt at a pithy lead-in. For the record, I personally enjoy a lot of math problems and I find myself naturally curious about engineering and complex mathematics beyond the algebra and geometry I was taught in school.

Unfortunately, in attempting to figure out how lots of stuff works in real life I realized I am woefully under-educated and have had to learn more stuff - my baseline understanding of trig and calculus included - on my own. I'm not very intelligent, and certainly not as educated as I should be at my age, but I am quite curious (which helps to a point, I suppose).

Actually that all made SENSE to me. So you've got me thinking that SCORING a ROUND would require tracking points and bonuses and/or penalties ... But in the END all you are doing is WINNING ONE (1) Victory Point. First player to get FIVE (5) Victory Points is the WINNER of the GAME!

So you don't need to keep track of the score between rounds. Each round ends in either +1 or 0 depending on if you win or lose the round.

This GREATLY simplifies the MATH overall... And allows player to easily keep track of score in-between rounds and until the game is WON.

Is this FORMAT (which is btw requires LESS math) more appealing to a player such as yourself??? Meaning that the ROUND has some mathematics in determining the winner and scoring within the round. But in the end you either win a Victory Point or gain nothing (for a loss).

The idea of having a SIMPLE "Scoring" Mechanic in-between rounds just makes a lot of sense. I mean knowing you're at 3 and I'm at 4 ... Means that the next round is crucial because if I win it... I win the game.

Obvious things like that are very important. It's hard to keep track of points if you need to carry-over all the points from one round to the next.

It also means that the Complexity of Scoring DURING the round can be VERY deep, strategic and complex. Relying on "Abilities", Time of Day (Noon or Midnight) and ensuring that each and every card COUNTS on the Battlefield (not a board but simple Play Area — Maybe I can design a Playmat!)

(Sorry for the digression ... Back to the OP which is Mathematic and Scoring...)

**TL; DR:**If you want it to sell, know your audience and give them what they want. The rest will likely fall into place.

**MORE DETAILS:**

I suppose what I am trying to articulate is the idea that for me to enjoy the game, the last thing I want to do is a math problem.

I'll extend on this hypothetical. So imagine I'm a guy who sucks at math. If a game requires arithmetic for not only score-keeping but to do well in the game, then I suck at the game. The only way I can become better is if I study math - which I likely don't like to do. Therefore it's very likely will be turned off by the game.

Imagine I'm a guy who sucks at math in a different scenario. I would likely seek out games that access my other strengths: critical thinking, spatial relationships, logic, dexterity, diplomacy/dialogue, vocabulary, trivia knowledge, etc. In this instance, I look to a broad market with a variety of games and usually find several, and can even look for a specific designer whose games I've previously enjoyed.

An alternative is a game system that does the math for me, so all I need to see is the end result of all the calculations. Board Game Arena is pretty awesome at this (since it's on a computerized platform) and provides pretty much all the mathematical assistance one could ask for.

I hypothesize that if you have the facility to utilize a computer to develop the end-result display, you broaden your audience to include people who suck at math while they enjoy tabletop games and other opportunities to flex their strengths in other areas. Learning and using math skills is secondary, and while a true fan may learn more math because they want to play your game, that's not the end goal.

If I recall questccg, you were on this track for one of your designs not too long ago. The player would input the variables into a mobile app, and the combat results were displayed at the other end.

Varied game design does strongly appeal to individual preferences. I mean, why do you think Chess has been around for so long? You could make an argument for D&D being an outgrowth of Chess because someone wanted to play the game but with math challenges (and a love of Tolkien) layered on top. So it can go both ways... Or any number of ways, I suppose.

Perhaps this simply boils down to determining your audience and catering strictly to them and not trying to lasso every possible consumer. This is like rule #1.

**TL; DR:**If you want it to sell, know your audience and give them what they want. The rest will likely fall into place...

**MORE DETAILS:**

...Perhaps this simply boils down to determining your audience and catering strictly to them and not trying to lasso every possible consumer. This is like rule #1.

Indeed this does make a lot of SENSE. And it got me thinking... I've recently done a few "small-ish" games that are two (2) Card Games. One was either 2 Players or 4 Players so I figure this one is marketable and the other one was ONLY 2 Players and a duel. But with "Archon: Circlet of the Heavens (ARCH) ... It's two (2) Players with a "deeper feel" when it will come to the ROUND Battles.

And the game is clearly DIVIDED into two (2) DISTINCT Factions: Light and Darkness. Where as "Monster Keep" (MK) was a mathematical small and light game with plenty of Deck Customization but is very simple in terms of what the players are trying to do.

ARCH is better than MK for certain. And that's why I'm working more on ARCH and discussing with you mathematics and scoring. I'm not saying the game is for EVERYONE... But it is BROADER than MK and has some more interesting Mechanics that most people love to experience...

Anyways I just wanted to know is ARCH had more appeal since the math is in the ROUND and not when determining a Victor. That's a Victory Point (VPs) mechanic that is very simple to understand and compute. +1 VPs or +0 VPs is about as simple math for a game as possible...

@letoffstudios - how do you feel about games where the premise of the game is to be first player to accomplish a certain number of goals? I am thinking of games like euphoria where you can accomplish different goals or Istanbul where you have accomplish the same goal several times, but in different ways.

I took a look at Istanbul and the GOAL is pretty simple: Be the FIRST to collect 6 rubies. How you go about doing this is your option... But you don't have to "do it in different ways..." You do it as you see fit with the board layout presented to you. And obviously RANDOM layout is also one of the options too.

This sounds more in-line with my: **"Be FIRST to collect 5 VPs."**

I also had heard of Euphoria (Stonemaier Games) but never took a look at it. Again the GOAL is pretty simple: Be the FIRST to rid yourself of 10 stars. I agree that HOW you get rid of your stars is different and is the gist of the game.

But again, it's a SIMPLE "Goal". And this is making me think that INSTEAD of talking about "Victory Points" (VPs) ... Maybe I should use something like:

**"Be FIRST to win five (5) Battles."**

Although the ROUND is won or lost ... How this happens is more or less the SAME but RELIES HEAVILY on the three (3) out of five (5) cards/units that you play. You're actually making me FEEL more "confident" about ARCH because the strategy to winning a ROUND may VARY according to the cards that you have in your HAND. Sometimes a ROUND can be OBVIOUS and other times, very challenging in TRYING to win the round...

So I think generally speaking the GOAL to most games is something SIMPLE.

There are Heavy Euros where your GOAL is to SCORE POINTS and obviously the winner is the one with the most POINTS. Often there is a TRACK around the board that you can use to keep score of everyone's point amount. But Heavy Euros are NOT for me (I don't like them)!

Even regular or lite Euros like "Portals & Prophets" (Which I backed on Kickstarter — Andrew Harmon's game @harmon89) are okay... They have manageable goals and the games are a bit less "crowded". But nothing more complex because I just think there is too much going on.

And to that note I wanted to wrap up with: I think "Euphoria" would be just too much for me... Like Tom Vasal says: "You need one playthru to figure out HOW to play..." And then more attempts to figure out how to play BETTER. I don't want to need a degree in a board game, I want to have FUN playing...

Anyhow I think with the exception of Heavy Euros (and some regular to lite ones...) I think most games have a SIMPLE goal. Again having the MOST amount of POINTS sounds simple... But is too BROAD of a generalization and can actually mean something VERY, VERY complex as seen in some heavier Euros (like for example: Lorenzo il Magnifico, etc.)

Peace.

**Note #1: **@let-off studios please feel free to share your OWN thoughts on the two (2) games that @Fri mentioned. I didn't want to give the impression that I was answering on your behalf...

BUT I know now for CERTAIN that "Monster Keep" (MK) would NOT be for Stephen... Why? Because you roll 4 dice which becomes your SCORING GOAL. Like for example: 3 + 4 + 2 + 4 = 13. The goal is to be the player CLOSEST to 13 points. That's the easy math ... Then you PLAY CARDS/UNITS with points (like 3 points, 2 points, 6 points, etc.) and you do so in ROUNDS but you also CONTROL the OPERATOR (+, -, /, x) and so you are tweaking your POINTS to TRY to score EXACTLY 13 points using five (5) cards/units...

And then there is a BATTLE ROUND where you may "knock-out" a card/unit breaking your SCORE (13 points) and forcing you to play another card/unit in its place to obtain a final score... It's ALL about MATH.

I'm sure "let-off studios" would HATE this kind of game...

I personally find it ENTERTAINING and FUN... And you can build your own Micro Deck of twelve (12) cards... But it's all about computation...

Is this a mechanic with the goal of rubberbanding?

Perhaps you can adjust some other mechanics instead.

Then this whole counting isn't nessesary.

And a final counting to see who wins is a fun part of the game.

Personally, I too have several sorts of rubberbanding in my game. But if possible, I try to get rid of them all. Or at least make it a yes/no situation.

Totally agree with you. Looks like i have to change the scoring again.

A yes/No situation would be fine.

That reminds me, is there a way to place pieces in such a way that you can see at first glance who has the bigger party?

I know it is a bit abstract. But WHAT IS possible for your game to see at first glance when putting things in a certain position on the table? Either cards, tokens, chips, pieces or whatever you need to compare.

Example from my wargame:

We always move our combatants (stack) from the map, to a battlefield. And put them in position. A front, middle and backline. We use a squared grid. And simply place bigger units further down the lane. This way we easily can see if our front lines are bigger than our backlines. AND, we can add up only 3 lines each, to see how much forces are left for our bonus damage and if needed bonus range.

**Euphoria** looks fiddly and opaque to me at first blush, and on the surface I'm not really into a game with so many moving parts. **Istanbul** seems quicker to engage with, and I'd probably go for that. Tom Vasel mentions in his review that turns are quick and there's little down time, while the "Euphoria in three minutes" review mentions that if one player is plodding and slow, then the entire game slows down. I imagine a game of **Euphoria** with 2 to 6 first-timers must be an excruciating experience.

Personally speaking, I like "race" games where you try to be the first to finish a to-do list. They tend to be simpler, more direct games that lack complexity. The good news is that they hardly ever tread into micromanagement and/or "spreadsheet exercise" territory, which I do enough at my day job.

I'm not paid to play games anymore (my past history with a video game studio aside). These days it's the other way around. In fact, I am paying someone else - with my own time - every time I play a game. If you're young (or feel like it), you likely don't feel that pressure or anxiety. I don't necessarily have that luxury.

If I can't pick up, play, and then put down a game in at most 60 - 90 minutes, there should be a damn good reason. If a game expects me to come back for repeated plays, it should be accessible and compelling, with surprises and/or interesting decisions.

Meanwhile... I'm not sure how this somehow morphed into the "let-off studios fireside chat," but at least I hope my comments are turning out to be useful for someone. :)

Another interesting scoring thing I've seen is with incentivizing the end of the game by awarding points to the player who triggers it. A mention on the message boards here, for the game-in-development **Para Bellum**, is a recent example.

Players are arranging regiments of soldiers of five different types, earning small numbers of points for different actions they take during the game. The players mark their progress with banners that match the five different colours. The player who first collects their fifth banner wins 5VP and triggers the end of the game.

They also use six-sided dice sitting in the play area as point-tracking/resource-tracking devices, which I think is a nice touch.

Yes. Every round the score will be calculated from the cards each player took to determine the player's order next round. Finally after three round, the score will be calculated again. I see your point about dominion, and ill keep that in my mind