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Should Victory Points have Meaning?

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Jet
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I have recently read a similar thread regarding VP and the question was never really answered. We know VP as number which determines a players value over competing players but "should VP have meaning?".

Furthermore, could VP be considered a resource which players can overcome an obstacle that may otherwise eliminate them, or even be used for things like movement and power?

let-off studios
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VP = Precious Cargo

Personally, I like to think of Victory Points as a measure of success, regardless of the theme or environment of the "game-space." The more you have, the "better" you are doing in the game. Most of the time, the goal is to do better than all the other players, in which case you become the winner.

Should VP have meaning? I suppose your intent was something like whether or not VP should have some sort of thematic connection. An obvious, easy answer would be "Yes, of course!" However, you'll find exceptions to this principle, whether it's a abstract game, a long or short game, a card game or board game, or whatever.

If your game works without an obvious thematic connection to the VP, then you don't necessarily need to tack it on. Like in Settlers of Catan, which is downright infamous, you don't necessarily need to have meaning behind the points themselves, other than the fact they are a reward/incentive for performing specific actions. In other words, if you (as the designer) want players to do certain things in the game, then reward them for doing so. VP are but one form of reward. I perceive this as basic positive reinforcement.

Can VP be considered a resource? Certainly. Why not? Personally, I also like the idea of VP as currency in certain situations. As long as the option is worth considering at some point - providing proportional gain for the risk - then it could significantly add to the game.

Generally, relinquishing VP can be seen as an always-sub-optimal move, but it doesn't have to be. Depending on the timing, it can be beneficial. The interesting choice for the player can be, "Is it worth moving myself away from winning by spending my precious Victory Points in this transaction? What are my chances that taking a step back now benefit me later - but not too late?"

questccg
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More thoughts about Victory Points (VPs)

I too have been reflecting that thought... however in a different way.

Let's say that "cards" have an inherent value (maybe from 1 to 9). And then my game could allow players to SCORE point per card played. I call those point "Victory Points" (VPs).

However since the game in question had "resources" too (6 to be exact), I felt like part of the goal would ALSO be to accumulate "Resource Points" (RPs)!

So for now you need 50 VPs and 50 RPs to WIN.

If I took out the RPs... Players would simply PLAY their cards ONCE and then leave them on the table. And the Engine Building part would be broken. In the same vein, if I took out the VPs, players would merely accumulate RPs and try to win by an easy victory.

And so those VPs and RPs all have an importance (in the game). And RPs have as you seem to indicate a DUAL purpose. VPs do not ... but at the same time, they are affected by the cards you play into the play area... Things like multipliers (2x) or the ability to steal a card, etc.

Therefore my conclusion is that your POINTS (VPs or RPs) may have an inherent "value" which could be dual natured (as in my case with RPs). However for pure scoring, VPs, those points may only serve as a progress indicator...

Drion22
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But what are VP's?

If you want to think about it in a more general way, you can approach it from the perspective that since all games are about reaching a goal, that goal has to be quantifiable. This could be the quantity of anything, like health points reaching zero, having the highest vp when the "time tracker" reaches 10, or anything else that can be counted becoming specific value (number of players, king figures in a specific position, cards in hand, anything!)

Victory points are usually used when we want to quantify something that you usually can't, like who made the best art, who is the greatest leader and other more vague and hard to define things. For instance, you could define the greatest city by the on that has the most buildings, but once you say that how many people does it have or how much money it makes also matters, you have to weight those values against each other (so you can compare if the city with 5 buildings and 10 people or the one with 3 buildings and 20 people is greater), so you assign a weight to each of those values, that's where it helps to have a combined value (so city 1 is 5*3+10*1=25 and city 2 is 3*3+20*1=29 greatness points). So VP's are great for measuring abstract things or when several measures have to be combined!

Answering the actual question (sorry for the lengthy write), VP's are good when you want to measure abstract things (like greatest civilization, best vampire), so if your thematic requires an abstract end goal, you can use VP's for it (calling it best vampire or culture points), but since it is an abstraction in itself, you can keep it abstract, it's a question of your thematic taste and if you feel the game requires that heavy thematics or not.

Have a great day and best of luck!

questccg
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Another quick comment

Jet wrote:
Furthermore, could VP be considered a resource ... or even be used for things like movement and power?

I thought about using my six (6) "Resources" (Strength, Endurance, Reflexes, Intelligence, Attraction, and Luck) to impact the game even further. Aside from each "Resource" having a cap (like a Fighter's Strength can be at most 9 or the maximum) but also impact the game too.

So I was going to LIMIT the amount of "cards" you can have in your hand and let it be defined by the Player's STRENGTH. At the lowest scale, you would have four (4) Strength and at its peak nine (9).

But then I felt like it could be too "swingy"! Like even if your strength could be at most nine (9), if that "Resource" drops to SIX (6) does this mean that you are now only allowed six cards (in hand)!?

While I think using your POINTS for purposes other than intentional, if they VARY too much, the mechanics may prove to be TOO variable. Just an example where the "Resource" takes on a physical meaning in the game.

Again it depends on the game, how easy the "Resources" change... If they ONLY progress (and there is no regression) well then maybe that could be a viable solution (having alternate meanings). However in my own case, I think while COOL they simply would be too variable to make sense. Just the "Hand Limit" example is proof that the "Resource" is too volatile.

But it may be different for your game. So feel free to explore and try this out too... Cheers!

Mosker
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Perspective[s]

Jet wrote:
I have recently read a similar thread regarding VP and the question was never really answered. We know VP as number which determines a players value over competing players but "should VP have meaning?".?

Of course they should. (And there will be concrete advice after the following paragraph).

I think of them as the great semi-definable concept in economics, utility. Effectively you're trying to come up with a quantifiable value that takes in a large number of mushy (not the formal term) factors.

So to find an answer to the question, "How should VP be meaningful in my game design and how do I assign them accordingly?" look to your theme. What defines victory not for the player, but for the role the player is taking.

Example: (pre- or low industrial) empire building games. Think about who is the best shape to survive x years (or y turns) after the game's end. If a player accumulates giant armies, so many that the VP formulas yield victory, but the empire has no food, no money to trade for food, no means to conquer food within a few turns, the victory, the design should feel hollow, regardless of brilliant innovations, art, miniatures, and glowing reviews.

Example 2: Boxing. Win lose draw. Let's throw out draw. If your players are taking the roles of fighters at the beginning of their careers, consider how a serious concussion might be worse than a loss. Or if your style is not terribly engaging, you need something else to get that big payday. (Not everyone can be Lennox Lewis, who took his chess quite seriously)
Late career? Last fight? Your brain is mush anyway, let the refs scorecards say it all. Get the big payday, spend it on drugs and private medical care.

Hope this helps.
Hop.

let-off studios
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Goal of Simulation

Mosker wrote:
Example: (pre- or low industrial) empire building games. Think about who is the best shape to survive x years (or y turns) after the game's end. If a player accumulates giant armies, so many that the VP formulas yield victory, but the empire has no food, no money to trade for food, no means to conquer food within a few turns, the victory, the design should feel hollow, regardless of brilliant innovations, art, miniatures, and glowing reviews. [...]
I love the examples you provide here. in both cases, the the game's design is paramount in determining the player's level of success. Your example of a grand strategic/economic simulator emphasizes much more than just military conquest. Meanwhile a lighter wargame that emphasizes tactics over strategy may provide success based almost exclusively on military might.

Your boxing example, again, points out a long-term-strategy versus short-term tactics balance, this one being based on timeline and is highly-thematic. It reminds me of the difference between the main characters in the original Rocky or Vision Quest, versus The Wrestler.

lewpuls
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Salad

Without "meaning" (which I presume means connection to the model you've created), you have a "points salad" game, where there's no obvious reason for the VP other than the designer made it work somehow. Points salad is almost as bad as mechanics salad in my book. YMMV

questccg
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Guilty as charged

lewpuls wrote:
Without "meaning" (which I presume means connection to the model you've created), you have a "points salad" game, where there's no obvious reason for the VP other than the designer made it work somehow...

I guess this makes me "guilty" when it comes to determining points in my game "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)"! The points are a bit about how I felt each card should score. There was no "precise" model to follow... Just this cards is 5 Points and this card is 3 Points, etc.

In the Second Edition of this game, I have TRIED to take into account the resources spent to earn a card. But the Engine Building makes it much too difficult to make accurate calculations. As such I fear that it will be a "Points Salad" again (something approximate).

It doesn't bother me that scoring is not 100% connected to the model!

ceethreepio
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Yes, VP should definitely

Yes, VP should definitely have meaning and be directly related to the game. But see if there's actually a better way to illustrate the relative performances of each player. I mean, imagine Chess with Victory Points...

Jet
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I appreciate the thorough

I appreciate the thorough responses. I will definitely take this information in consideration for my future developments.
Thank you.

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