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Point based win conditions

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mongoosedog's picture
Joined: 05/02/2012

I have a pretty well fledged out game as of right now. My races are pretty balanced and play testing has went well. My win condition was to destroy the command ship but that was sort of taking to much time and was making some people feel like what they did the entire game could be offset by a late game play.

Now I am shifting to a point based system. Each ship will have a value and when destroyed the points go to whoever destroyed it. The only problem is it doesn't feel right.

The theme is 2 player armada battles. I think a Krosmaster type of points system seems like it could really capture the ebb and flow of an epic space battle.

Also making the ships have a value will really change up the tactics and give them more importance.

What do you people think is more functional in terms of points based victory.

Joined: 07/03/2013

Well, I toyed with a "kill the mothership" game for a while, and I ran into a similar problem. So, at least you're not alone!

Keeping track of kills for points may become cumbersome though. Perhaps capturing objectives is a better move? There are a lot of ways to go with it, depending on theme.

Now, with a 2-player armada-esque battle, maybe we should look at Stratego. Could there be a number of available paths, with the objective to sneak to the back of their troops and capture a point? Shoot down the supply ships? Are there ways to manipulate the enemy to create diversions to allow fast, little ships in?

mongoosedog's picture
Joined: 05/02/2012
keeping track of points is a nooooo

The krosmaster method gives both teams a set number of points. Each piece has a value. When a piece is destroyed the player that won the combat takes the points from the other team. First one to zero looses.

I will not be doing the keep trak of kill points thing. This game is not ment to be a war game. More of a stratigic card game. The rule book will be thin with more work going into stratagy.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Number of players and interesting choices

The type of victory condition depends to a large extent on the number of players.

In a strictly two player game, I'd go with a specific event (e.g. 'kill the flagship') victory condition. Chess and Stratego, amongst others, follow this path and have been very successful. Note thought that in both these games the king/flag has no combat value; if the flagship is also a super-dreadnought then it devolves into last man standing. "Kill the flagship" gives the dominant player an advantage, but also gives the losing player a chance to steal the win if the dominant player is careless or over-extends. Even in a two player game, I would avoid "last man standing" because the result is generally obvious by about half way through the game, so the end game lacks excitement. In a two-player game I generally avoid points-based victory for the same reason as last man standing, unless it involves either secret points or secret missions to keep the end game engaging.

In a multi-player game, I would not go with a specific event, nor would I go with "last man standing". Both of these victory conditions tend to reward turtling and other boring strategies, unless it was carefully designed.

For example, I playtested an early version of Dragon Blast (a martial arts board/card game). The victory condition was last man standing. Invariably the winner was the person who hid in the corner while the other players duked it out. The designer later changed the victory condition to earn points per opponent knocked out and added secret missions too, and the game was much better for it in my opinion.

So that comes full circle back to points for the space armada. The most obvious (and common) method is to give points based on ship strength (e.g. Battleship=3, Cruiser=2, Destroyer=1). While functional, in my opinion this is not the ideal because it encourages predicatable gameplay. That is, destroying your opponent's biggest ship not only grants you the most VP but also weakens them the most and reduces their ability to destroy your ships, so it is a no-brainer as to what you are going to do.

Instead, I would consider if there were ways to use the victory condition to encourage creative tactics and meaningful decisions. Some random ideas follow, which may or may not work depending on the rest of your game.

- VP for transports. Transports are weak, unarmed ships. The catch is that you *must* deploy a number of transports equal to the size of your capital ships (Battleship=3, Cruiser=2, Destroyer=1). This means you need to divide your forces between defending your transports and attacking the enemy transports. It also means you have a valid choice between targeting the enemy combat ships (to reduce their ability to counter-attack) vs targeting the enemy transports (to get points).

- VP for Officers. Similar to the transports idea above, except that during deployment you must secretly allocate Officers to your various ships. When you destroy an enemy ship you get VP equal to the number of Officers which were on it. The results may be similar to the transports idea, except that it would introduce a bluffing element. Officers might also give some bonus (extra attacks, or such), but of course to claim the bonus you must reveal the Officer -- thus making that ship a priority target for your opponents.

- Secret missions. In addition to (or instead of) the basic points for destroying ships, have secret missions which are only revealed at the end. Example missions:
- +2 VP per enemy Cruiser you destroy.
- +1 VP per enemy Cruiser destroyed (by anybody).
- +5 VP if you have more Cruisers remaining in play than any other player.

The overarching principle is to design the victory condition / missions / victory points in such a way as to create interesting choices. For example, players will have to choose between the best action to gain VP vs the best action to damage the enemy. If the best action to damage the enemy also gains the most VP then there is no choice.

I don't know if any of the ideas above would work for your game, but hopefully it sparks a creative idea.


Joined: 04/30/2013
you could put a turn limit

you could put a turn limit and allow both win conditions to exist together

A player wins if:

- The player kills the opponent's command ship within X turns

- The player has a higher kill count of ships than the opponent, while both player's command ships are still alive by the end of X turns

mongoosedog's picture
Joined: 05/02/2012
wow that was a lot :D

Thanks a ton for the responces. It gives me a lot to think about. We are testing the krosmaster style one this weekend with the new added event cards. Since any destroyed ship goes to the other team as resources the ability to keep up with KPs would get cumbersome.

As of right now each ship has a set value bases on how awesome it is. This ranges from 1-5.

I really am trying to keep the game really light in the gameplay. Most people I have played with tend to get tired of a 2 player after about an hour or so. This is why the stealing each others points seemed like something that could keep it interesting and at the same time fit the theme.

Also at some point it will be expandable to 4 players. I thought the stealy format would keep players from turtling due to the fact that players could win at a certaun point level so if they hold back the game could be over before they do anything.

Thanks again everyone. This really gets my juices going.

mongoosedog's picture
Joined: 05/02/2012
after a reread of the loooong

I took a secong to wake up and reread that post. I quite like the secret mission card. I would imagine a mission deck and each player draws a card pregame and what ever it says is a condition they must meet to win.

Time to start making mission cards

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