# How best to score points

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questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011

"Monster Keep" (MK), the current design that I have been working on has a bit of a mechanics issue. It has to do with SCORING.

Right now a 2 Player duel is played in a 5 x 5 area (square cards). This is much like Tile Laying in Carcassone or Classic Checkers with something akin to King-ing certain cards known as "Command" cards.

The ONLY cards that allow you to score are "Command" cards. In your Micro Deck of 12 cards, you get ONLY three (3) "Command" cards. They tend to be unique too... but it's not impossible to have duplicates of Command cards also.

In the ROW AND COLUMN that a "Command" card is placed (in the play area), the player tallies up the various cards and scores "Tribute" points (VPs).

So here is the REAL issue at hand:

1. Do I score based on the three (3) resources a Single Point to the winner of the each position. Therefore the score would vary from -3 to +3.

OR

2. Do I still use the three (3) resources and VARY the scoring based on the various differences. For example: 3 food vs. 5 food. In the previous method, the First Player would score +1 VPs because his Hunger requirement is less than his opponent.

However in this second method, the First Player would score +2 VPs (5 - 3 = +2).

I'm not sure if IDEA #2 is "too complicated". Idea #1 is simple and makes for scores to relatively easy to compute. But Idea #2 makes abilities and each bonus or penalty that much more "VALUABLE". It adds much more depth in strategic terms.

For now, I think I will TRY to use method #2 and see how it goes. In the event that things are HARD to score, I can always revert back to the original idea (#1) with the static scoring.

But if anyone has an opinion or cares to leave some feedback... Feel free to comment and ask any questions if I have not been clear enough.

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Single Point Victories

I'm unsure about how resources are acquired, but if you allow bonus points for the surplus resources a player collects, then they'll likely prioritize resource collection at the start of the game, leading to a "min-maxing" of their resource pools.

They'll blow up with a specific resource and work to have much more of it than their opponent; a second resource will be the "give or take" resource which will have the most competition (and likely be the difference-maker in the end-game scoring), and then a "junk" resource they don't focus on as much. This third would naturally be the resource their opponent maximizes in since there's a least path of resistance to collecting it. I'm not sure if this is what you want.

I suggest a simple majority be what you try, and reward a single victory point towards the win for the player with more. I suspect with tighter scores and swing-y majorities, the game will be much more tense. Furthermore, the strategy of min-maxing isn't as effective, since too large of a majority has diminishing returns (you're not going to win more points if you have twice as many food as your opponent, for example).

So I suggest you try the single-point rewards and simple majority calculations, and see if that's the feeling you want to bring across. I suspect this is closer to your scoring method #1, as above.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I think I used the WRONG term

let-off studios wrote:
I'm unsure about how resources are acquired, but if you allow bonus points for the surplus resources a player collects, then they'll likely prioritize resource collection at the start of the game, leading to a "min-maxing" of their resource pools...

Not exactly what I meant. Maybe instead of "resources", I should have used the term "stats"... Let me explain:

There are three (3) stats in the game: Hunger, Bloodlust and Greed. Each card (or tile if you prefer) has ALL three (3) of these stats and they are different values for each card. Have a look:

What happens when you play a card into "The Keep" (5 x 5 area) it scores points based on the stats of the card. Now let me "re-explain" the SCORING and the two (2) option...

1. Stats are compared to each other based on card position. Suffice to say that "Hunger" must be LOWER than the opponent's card to SCORE (more on that later).

2. "Bloodlust" must be IDENTICAL to the opponent's card to SCORE.

3. "Greed" must be HIGHER that the opponent's card to SCORE.

Having explained in more depth, here is the conundrum:

Let's say you scored a "3" in Hunger and your opponent a "5". Method #1 would simply be a "You Win" so +1 Victory Points (VPs). If both cards had a "4" in Bloodlust, you would earn another +1 VPs. And let's say your Greed was "5" and your opponent had a "2", you would yet again earn a +1 VPs. The tally of this matching is +3 VPs... The MOST you can get using Method #1.

Now using the SAME stats, let's show the difference using Method #2.

So Hunger was a "3" vs. "5". Method #2 would score you +2 VPs (5 - 3). Bloodlust has to be identical a "4" vs. "4". Method #2 would score you +4 VPs. Lastly Greed would be "5" vs. "2", using Method #2 add +3 VPs. Using Method #2 you would score in total +9 VPs...

This means again A HIGH success rate but +3 versus +9 (Method #1 compared to Method #2). Like I said in BOTH cases this is a VERY successful placing of a card in the Keep. But Method #2 goes a bit further with the mathematics and will make for HIGHER scores.

My only concern is the problem with a LOT of scoring is A> Tracking an B> Tallying may be overly complicated (at the end).

So maybe it was WRONG to use the TERM "Resources" but instead correctly use the term "Stats"... Does this sound more reasonable??? I agree Method #1 is simpler. But Method #2 opens up the board to even higher grades of SCORING and the opportunity to cause more havoc in the game...

Also look at this "Fighter" card ability: it grants you +1 Tribute. That's +1 VPs if the condition is met. In this case THIS card must be placed NEXT TO (left or right) another "Fighter" card to score +1 VPs.

But much like King-ing in Checkers, ONLY the "Command" cards can SCORE. And each player has three (3) "Command" cards. So you've got to decide when and where you want to PLAY your "Command" cards in relation to your other cards...

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Comprendo

questccg wrote:
My only concern is the problem with a LOT of scoring is A> Tracking an B> Tallying may be overly complicated (at the end).
I think your concern is valid, and I still support option 1 as you describe it. But I can understand the desire to want to use option 2 so you can have blowout, swing-y scores and "master strokes" that lay the smackdown on an opponent... Totally valid dilemma! :)

However, if you as a designer are concerned that scoring will take too much time and/or take away from the game, then go for the simpler option unless you really, really have to.

If you have playtesters available, have them play the game a few times with one option, and a few times with the other. You may be able to observe all you need, but you can also ask the testers for their feedback on the scoring system. Maybe option 2 is just what the doctor ordered. But I think speculating without playtesting is a lost opportunity.

Also, one last suggestion: If Hunger is supposed to be lower and Greed higher, then switch their positions on the character card. It's a more effective way to communicate that one must be higher to earn points, and one must be lower to earn points.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I will TRY both when I get the cards from TGC

let-off studios wrote:
I think your concern is valid, and I still support option 1 as you describe it. But I can understand the desire to want to use option 2 so you can have blowout, swing-y scores and "master strokes" that lay the smackdown on an opponent... Totally valid dilemma! :)

Yes indeed ... that's my dilemma. Since it's simple "tile placement" ... I feel like the "blowout, master move and total smack-down" of a card ... Adds a LOT of "excitement". Hey I'm competing with Magic: the Gathering Arena!

Well not really(!) But I suppose it would make the game more "swing-y" and therefore most masterful in play adding more tension and excitement.

Remember you are playing OTHER players (1 or 3). So even if you have crafted the ultimate layout... you opponents will get in your way inevitably. And upset even the best plans you might have for all kinds of bonus scoring...

I'll continue to design and when I get the cards from The Game Crafter (TGC) hopefully I will have designed all the cards for the starter kits. And then I can actually sit down and PLAY a couple rounds and see how the scoring in Method #2 works as opposed to Method #1.

I, personally TBH, LIKE the bonus points. Because it makes the stats and abilities MORE relevant. So what you get a -1 Hunger from the "Mike Operetta"... Well -1 means "2 Hunger" vs. a "4 Hunger" cards and you score +2 VPs (Tribute). Otherwise it just lowers the score IN THE EVENT that the opponent has a much CLOSER card. I can picture BOTH methods of play ... and yes Method #1 is also relevant too...

But as per observation, Method #2 makes EACH POINT count!