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Tracking score - different options

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kornelijepetak
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Joined: 11/14/2010

I am designing a game in which a player owns a certain number of ships (somewhat space-ish themed game), anywhere from 0 up to 100. Now, I am trying to find the good way to represent this number. Note that ships can be destroyed, but also constructed, so the number goes the both ways.

I can come up with several methods and I have included my own pro/con, but I'd like to hear your advices on the subject. Two important factors for this game are production costs and the process of tracking the score being simple and quick, so please comment on that.

- Score track - usually printed on the board itself or on a separate piece of the cardboard. This options seems OK for smaller number of scores, say up to 50. Seems a bit of an overhead to place 100 score spaces around a board that is a 4-spaces-wide hexagon (total of 37 hex spaces). Also, problem with the approach is that the table hit/shake can move the score token out of its appropriate position, making it hard to know where the token was. The only PRO I find for this solution is that it requires only a single token for each player.

- Coins - the pieces of cardboard/plastic with numbers on them. Lots of them. And that's their problem. When a player is attacked for, say, 6 ships, it's easy to take one 5 and one 1 coin and remove them. Since the player can have up to 100 ships, it seems reasonable to have coins that are worth 20. This leads to heavy coin exchanging when you have only high-value coins and you need to subtract a few. For example, if you have one coin of 20 and 3 of your ships get destroyed, you should get coins of 10 + 5 + 1 + 1. This process seems a bit messy and tedious, since the ship damage will occur pretty often (it's the central part of the game).

- Dice - Two 10-sided dice are enough, since the maximum number of ships is 99 (having 100 is a instant victory condition). This would require a basic math skill (add/subtract) and finding a number on a die. I've never held a 10-sided die in my hand so I have no idea how stable they are (table shaking/hitting), but judging by the pictures I've seen, they don't seem extremely stable (I may be completely wrong)... I'd like some insight on this from people who use them (any D&D players?)... Also, I don't know if they are hard to come by... Also, there is an idea to use somewhat more common 12-sided dice, and remove 11 and 12 from them.

- Pen&Paper - Just writing the thing down. This gives me chills, even though it may be the most convenient (fastest) way to keep track of the score. Seems a bit strange to provide a blank paper and a pen in a board game :) for something like score tracking?!? :)

- Some type of a slider - whether two rotatable circles with numbers on them (reminds me of birthday cards from my childhood), or an abacus-styled slider... This is simple for usage, but may increase production costs (perhaps)...

- Any other method?

I appreciate all advices and comments.

SiddGames
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Joined: 08/02/2008
Kramerleiste

The Kramerleiste (track around edge of board) is pretty standard and in my experience the scoring tokens don't get misplaced very often; if players are that careless with the board, they are just as likely to be misplacing other game components just as much as the scoring tokens, probably with more significant results. If you are concerned about 100 spaces being too small, you could do 50 spaces and make the scoring tokens two-sided, with "50+" on one side to indicate if they've lapped the board.

irdesigns510
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Monster menace america

In mma players each had a heavy card with an arrow slider on it's edge, this can probably be done in an abacus style at minimal cost, as the arrows were cheap bits.

This can also allow for more personal rules for each player, as the cards were printed items.

rcjames14
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Overall Components

Are we talking about a total of 100 ships on the whole board, or up to 99 per space?
Is the victory condition always cumulative (meaning you have to acquire 100 to win) or can there be a liquidation win condition (no ships remaining)?
Are the ships uniform and undifferentiated or do you have different types of ships?
Does the game have other components besides ships in it or is it only ships?

I think you have identified most of the ways to keep track of large numbers, as well as the drawbacks associated with each method. Other than the victory point (ship counter) track, none of them seem very ideal for gameplay. There could be a method you're missing that works perfectly, but I would also suggest thinking about how you might alter the victory points so that you do not need an exact count all the time.

If you make one count at the end, then it's fine. But, you don't want to require too much accounting or unnecessary tracking from your players. That is, of course, as long as what you have in mind is a tabletop game. As a PC, console or App, the count would be trivial.

ReneWiersma
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I'd go for the score track.

I'd go for the score track. Misplacing or accidently bumping markers doesn't happen too often, and the pro of having just one scoring marker per player is a huge pro for a publisher, especially if you already have a board anyway.

Koen Hendrix
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Joined: 11/24/2010
Game score or just fleet size?

Your post title says 'tracking score' while your post described tracking the owned number of spaceships.

If the number of spaceships owned is the game score, meaning that the player with the most ships wins at some point, I'd definitively track them around the edge of the board. It's the established convention, is low on additional materials, and a 'second lap' can fix space issues as mentioned.

However, if the number of spaceships owned is not what determines who wins, I'd suggest another method. A track around the edge of the board should always be a 'victory condition' track, in my opinion, because that's such a well-established convention. Maybe you can give each player a 'fleet' card with two tracks (numbered 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 and 00-10-20-30-40-50-60-70-80-90). It can track values 0-99 and needs only two counters. It could also contain or track other info besides the fleet size.

Hope that helps.

P.S. Hi everyone, I'm new. Been enjoying the BGDF for a while, thought it was time to get involved :)

kornelijepetak
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Joined: 11/14/2010
rcjames14 wrote:Are we

rcjames14 wrote:
Are we talking about a total of 100 ships on the whole board, or up to 99 per space? Is the victory condition always cumulative (meaning you have to acquire 100 to win) or can there be a liquidation win condition (no ships remaining)?

Player start with 50 ships, and if they reach 100, they win. If they reach 0, they lost. These ships are not used on the board (they simple represent the size of the fleet), so this will not cause any mess on the board itself. Something else is used on the board, but that's completely different. Reaching 100 is not a main goal of the game, but is an additional victory condition. Maybe there's a way to tweak it, but I have to think about it... More will be revealed when I finish some details and then try the game with friends...

rcjames14 wrote:
Are the ships uniform and undifferentiated or do you have different types of ships? Does the game have other components besides ships in it or is it only ships?

As stated previously, "ships" are only the size of the fleet, so they are not components at all. There will be some other componets used on the board, but they are not the problem.

rcjames14 wrote:
(...) but I would also suggest thinking about how you might alter the victory points so that you do not need an exact count all the time.

The game mechanics don't allow major changes, but I might be able to rebalance and tweak the game a bit, so they start at 25 and achieve victory at 50. This way, it would be easier to track this.

rcjames14 wrote:
If you make one count at the end, then it's fine. But, you don't want to require too much accounting or unnecessary tracking from your players. That is, of course, as long as what you have in mind is a tabletop game. As a PC, console or App, the count would be trivial.

I am a programmer, so when the game design is completed, I will implement the game as a program for testing and balancing purposes. However, the computer does some things in an instant (rolling dice, changing score, drawing card), while the player on the tabletop board game must spend time for these activities. I do wish to minimize the time player spend calculating the score, however, drastically reducing the calc time would require major mechanics change. Which is what may be neccessary in the end, we'll see..

Thanks for your input.

kornelijepetak
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Koen Hendrix wrote:However,

Koen Hendrix wrote:
However, if the number of spaceships owned is not what determines who wins, I'd suggest another method. A track around the edge of the board should always be a 'victory condition' track, in my opinion, because that's such a well-established convention. Maybe you can give each player a 'fleet' card with two tracks (numbered 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 and 00-10-20-30-40-50-60-70-80-90). It can track values 0-99 and needs only two counters. It could also contain or track other info besides the fleet size.

There are several victory conditions, so player can win by doing one of three things, one of them being the reaching of 100 ships. In another scenario, where all of the phases of the game pass, this fleet size will be used in scoring (not being the only scoring factor). The third victory condition has almost nothing to do with these ships.

The method you described is simple and functional, and with nice artwork, it might just work. I was gonna use that in prototyping, so I'll see how easy to use this is.

The problem with the score track is really what you mentioned. It is not the sole victory condition and does not represent the total score, so it's kind of misleading. Also, each player has a starting side of the board, so it is kinda strange for a player to have a fleet marker on the opposite side of the board, only because the number is there. It's not a big problem, but breaks the theme.

rcjames14
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Civilization

Although you have not posted the mechanics, I sense that there are civilization building elements to you game. With multiple different victory conditions and the capacity to increase your ship 'rating' from 0 to 100, it sounds like the players are balancing a number of different objectives at once.

As you have described it, I think that Hendrix's suggestion to use cards sounds the best. Unless I am mistaken, you're not actually tracking real ships on the board, or using those ships in any substantially independent and tactical way. So, as a result, they either represent a resource or a rating... which can fluctuate up and down and may be used (or required) to acquire other things. In this case, having a personal card that keeps track of your rating sounds good to me.

However, 100 is still a very high number. Unless you have a good reason for doing so, you might think about reducing your range to 0 to 20. If you want your players to start at 10, there will be less incremental changes but they will be much easier to intuit.

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