Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perfect planning

There are some good discussions underway about the potential for perfect-planning in the game, particularly with respect to the scoring system. Although some people like games with a high degree of analysis, perfect planning can bog a game down which can really extend its length. There are 3 aspects that I'm watching:

-- Because each scoring card requires you to meet a specific threshold of "whatevers", players may take a long time deciding which card to take, as they calculate out the exact number of "whatevers" they can get before the next scoring round.

-- Because there are 6 different scoring categories and 7 scoring cards, new players, who haven't locked in to a particular strategy, may spend a long time selecting choosing a card that best fits their empire and will give them the most points.

-- Because the scoring cards are held face up and are drawn before they are scored, player X could spend a long time perfect-planning a way to get player Y's holdings below the threshold of the card that Y holds so that Y can't score his points.

I think my plan at present is to monitor problem 1 for now to get more insight into whether it's very serious, and to address problem 2 by perhaps providing more strategic guidance to new players when teaching the game. For problem 3, a suggestion was made that would allow players to select Chronicles face-down in such a way that you'd know what category a person was going for but would not know the threshold or VP value of the card they've selected. This imperfect information might make the scoring rounds more exciting, in addition to (possibly) mitigating the third problem, so it might be worth a try.

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