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The value of XP in any game?

5 replies [Last post]
X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

I am bothered with the speed on which XP is gained and spend in my game. The system is balanced on itself. But slow in general.

XP spending is a rather unique event. And right now, the ration is killing 6 opponents to effectively double in worth. I prefer to see this as +1 for a -6.

My mistake in the beginning was to see this as a *2 / 6.

I am considering speeding XP gain up. Because of mechanics. I am forced to simply multiply the XP gain by a factor.

I am wondering what the ratio's are in other games. Who likes to share?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Graduated Scale, Cost Inflation

I've seen a graduated scale of XP use for games, which means that the first gain is small compared to the next, and the next gain is less than the third, and so on.

In the deck-builder Thunderstone which I used to play a tremendous deal, upgrading heroes was based on a simplified, streamlined scale. It would cost 2xp to raise a level 1 hero to level 2, and then 3xp to raise a level 2 hero to level 3. You could only raise a hero one level in one turn (so no jumping from level 1 to level 3 in a single turn).

Additionally, there were "average townspeople" that had minimal abilities that could be converted into level 1 heroes for 3xp. This was costly, but it enabled the player to have some more flexibility with an additional hero, as well as trash a low-powered card from their deck.

The only way a player gained XP was through combating and defeating monsters. So if you never fought, your heroes would always stay at level 1 and you would rarely do well enough to be victorious in the game - particularly so in the solo game.

In a different thread here at BGDF, someone else asked about XP and skill tree advancement. I mentioned unit production in the Age of Wonders/AoW turn-based strategy PC game. In AoW the player could accelerate production of units by sacrificing extra gold and some population (both being resources that the player would gain over time, based on the strength of their settlements). It's a simple resource cost model that simply makes it more expensive to create any given unit quicker.

To make a high-powered unit, the player would have to invest in their city and its buildings to make sure the powerful unit was available, then begin production on that unit. If they choose to hasten production of that powerful unit, then depending on the resources they'd collected and the production capacity of that city, the cost could be inflated considerably.

This would result in the player gaining the unit immediately, but at the cost of reducing production and resource gain for a few turns into the future.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
PYL "expansion"

I have (still in concept stages) and PYL "expansion" for "TradeWorlds". The way it works is that each time you destroy an opposing "Mercenary" starship there would be a SIMPLE formula to compute XP (or credits):

(2 x bounty) + opponent's Bounty.

Bounty grows as you become more "infamous" as a Privateer, but in the process you RISK your existing bounty to be captured by an enemy starship. Mercenary starships carry a "bounty" on their heads.

Meanwhile all OTHER starships, only have a starting bounty of 5 credits.

So you start with a bounty of 5 credits once you reach the 100 credits. That's when the expansion really begins. Because your goal is to be the first player to collect 500 credits.

And the point is this: when do you reach the tipping point where it would be DANGEROUS to lose all the "bounty" you have collected?! At that point, you use the Chancellor to "de-commission" the Merc starship and BANK all the credits accumulated.

That's what I've got that is close enough to XP... Vast amounts of credits players need to collect to be victorious! Aaarggh! (Like a Pirate)...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Thank you both for responding

My main problem is that when the game is played. Everything "dies" after an average of 6 rounds.

Sure there is rebuild and stuff. And the actual game takes longer. But please take note of that number 6.

1 squad is worth 3600 in units.
In 1 round, you kill off 1200 units and gain 1200 XP.
1200 XP spend on units health and damage, is worth 200 in units.

I need a whooping 18 rounds to get 1 squad "back" in the form of XP.
Since dividing XP costs is not an option at this point. I am thinking of multiplying the XP gain by 3 instead.

Killing of 1200 units will gain the player 3600 XP.
This is worth 600 in units.


I have started adjusting the Event Cards as well. That are based on XP. Their previous versions where way to weak in comparison to the current XP system. And relatively speaking, not fair.

It got me new wall o text cards. But these cards will have to follow the new trend as well.


Need to sleep.

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
This is parallel to your

This is parallel to your original request, but have you ever thought about using milestones to level up instead of XP?

Instead of getting a certain amount of points for killing one enemy, you could have milestones/achievements like "kill 5 skeletons, gain a lvl/ability" and things along those lines. You could use this system to guide players to do certain things.

This system also gets away from grinding or feeling like it's necessary to succeed.

But as far as XP in games, "Massive Darkness " has an interesting system in that if you're playing the campaign, leveling happens slowly, but if you're doing a one-off scenario, leveling happens quickly.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Which parralel topic?

This one?
There I sought balance between the big 4. Which I achieved.
What that topic lacked was the ratio in which the XP happened.
A war game with large armies, actually needs a better ratio.

Right now, I have played with 1:6 for the past 2 years.
1:3 was my goal in the bigger picture.

I did some testing this morning:
- Double or triple XP gain.
Leaves a nasty calculating job for players.
- Triple XP gain is too fast. For the smaller games.
- I said earlier that dividing XP costs was not an option. I am awake right now, and it actually is feasible when dividing by 2.


Regarding your milestone suggestion.

That too is a rather good suggestion.
But I don't know if I should. I feel like that the bigger units need their fractured levelling.

Something to say goodbye to?
Not the suggestion. I mean the fracture levelling.
Bye bye, fractured levelling.

A positive side would be nice round numbers. After being divided by 2.

But the negative side would be that a lot of event cards become rather, obsolete. Yug!


Free levelling, or quicker as how you have put it. So no need to return to base. I have this in the form of Event Cards.

I am planning to have these to be roughly equal to the actual XP gain. Since I am going to divide costs by 2. These cards are automatically twice as effective.

And the ratio will be 1:3. And that is how I originally saw the bigger picture.

During combat, you loose 1/3th of your army. But you undo 1/3th by gaining XP. 9 rounds, and you have 1 "free" squad.

I need to play test this for several types of games. At various sizes.

Single/Multi/Co-op, players.

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