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Bryan Thunkd
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It's a point salad game... it doesn't matter what you choose, you'll get points whatever you do!
I hear this kind of refrain from all the time... but never from the person who wins the point salad game. It's always from someone who managed to get fewer points than the winner.

TLDR: Apparently it does matter what you do!

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maf man
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whenever I hear this my mind always flashes to playing mario with points for coins, time, guys jumped on and so on. Sorry you thought getting through the level was good enough, I'm here to win.
Sure you get points for everything but the better plays are still getting more points
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Pete
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You get points if you play ART and SIR in Scrabble, but that doesn't mean you're competitive.

Pete (wonders why so many people stink at math)
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Steve B
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Never heard the term used outside of this forum.
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Paul DeStefano
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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I like when you get points no matter what. That way, even if you have no clue what the hell to do, you feel something positive.
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Chris
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I think it's a somewhat dog-whistle-y term in that different people parse it in different ways.

The criticism isn't that there's no difference in how they fill their salad bowl; it's that simply competing over maximizing their salad isn't very fun or interesting.

Where I think the term does get interesting is in what it describes. Both Castles of Burgundy and Trajan (many Felds, actually) are described as 'point salad' games, but to me only Trajan is. Castles of Burgundy has mechanisms that interlink and feed back on each other in non-linear ways, allowing you to set up massive combos (in fact, the game's often decided by who set off the biggest combo, or the most). Trajan ... doesn't. Not really, anyway. You go over here and get six points; you go over there and get four. That's a real salad buffet.

I think it's a useful term inasmuch as it describes the connectedness, or lack thereof, of the separate point-generating mechanisms. I don't think it's particularly useful as simply a synonym for saying "there are multiple actions you can take to get to a points victory".

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Greg
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I hear this too, but I think it's because you get points even for suboptimal moves. It's easy to assume that the moves don't matter that much. I've always wondered if that perception would be different if those games started you at a negative score.

For example, I'm pretty sure in The Castles of Burgundy you could probably get a good 100 points just making random moves. If the game started you at -100, then that is kind of the game telling you, "You are going to get 100 points in this game for free at some point, so don't feel like you earned them. How much more can you make though? That's what you are working for."
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chris thatcher
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Quote:
It's a point salad game... it doesn't matter what you choose, you'll get points whatever you do!

I hear this kind of refrain from all the time... but never from the person who wins the point salad game. It's always from someone who managed to get fewer points than the winner.

TLDR: Apparently it does matter what you do!


Nowhere in this statement does it mention most points or winning. It merely states that in a point salad game you get points for doing everything...which is true, and kind of the point of the design, no?
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patrick mullen
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I don't know if it's a valid criticism. But think of an early Euro like Carcassone. You only get points when you actually complete a feature - it feels like an accomplishment, especially if you are trying to set up a big one. Even on your first play when you barely understand the game! Other games (don't know any offhand not having played the ones in this thread) may not be as intuitive: you have to know the game well enough to understand when you have actually made a good move or earned something. So I can see where people might be coming from.
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Keith B
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Geosphere wrote:
I like when you get points no matter what. That way, even if you have no clue what the hell to do, you feel something positive.


Everybody gets a trophy!





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Martin Bell
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texascpa wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
I like when you get points no matter what. That way, even if you have no clue what the hell to do, you feel something positive.


Everybody gets a trophy!


Mine's bigger
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Sam Hillier
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Exactly! Everytime I hear this offered as a complaint, it makes me think that the person doesn't see the difference between different amounts of points. Sure, you and I both got points on everything we did, but I got *more*. There's a big difference there.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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saluk wrote:
I don't know if it's a valid criticism. But think of an early Euro like Carcassone. You only get points when you actually complete a feature - it feels like an accomplishment, especially if you are trying to set up a big one. Even on your first play when you barely understand the game! Other games (don't know any offhand not having played the ones in this thread) may not be as intuitive: you have to know the game well enough to understand when you have actually made a good move or earned something. So I can see where people might be coming from.


I think this is important from an accessibility perspective. If the game rewards certain behaviors, it's a clear signal that you should be doing them. Carcassonne gives you points for completing features, so get out there and make some features. (Then, eventually, you come to understand the relative value of big vs small features and short-term goals vs farming.)

When a game gives you some measure of points for most actions, it's much less clear to a new player what they should be doing. They can flail around without an effective strategy and still get some baseline of points, but the game isn't doing a good job of teaching them a basic strategy.

This is a bit counterintuitive, in that at first glance you might think that the game that gives you points no matter what is more newbie-friendly. However, it's the game that sends a clear signal to new players as to how to proceed that gives better guidance and which leads to greater feelings of accomplishment via meeting discrete goals. The difference between zero and one point is much easier to grasp than the difference between two and three points.
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Mike
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I don't see a point salad as a problem. To me, it just means there are multiple ways you can win the game. You still have to pick which strategy you want to use.
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Pete Goch
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But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.
 
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Garth Tams
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I do not mind so much the point salad idea, but what I hate is when it is point salad, and there is no tension in the moves that I make. Some worker placements have this problem to me. In Village, I can kinda just do what I want to do, and really have little to worry about. I just go through the motions.

However, I much prefer games that punish you for making bad moves rather than giving you 1 point instead of 5 for a good move.
 
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Sam Hillier
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.


That's kind of underselling the whole point of the game, though. Something like Aquasphere or any Feld game really is all about action efficiency.
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Pete Goch
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Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.


That's kind of underselling the whole point of the game, though. Something like Aquasphere or any Feld game really is all about action efficiency.


I know. That's why I tend to wither a bit when I hear these sorts of games referred to as having "multiple paths to victory".

No, there aren't multiple paths there's only one - be the most efficient resource to points converter. That's it. The so called "paths" don't make any difference in and of themselves.

If you like that sort of thing, then, well that's great. With a handful of exceptions I've gotten seriously burnt out on the genre.
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Mike Pranno
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saluk wrote:
I don't know if it's a valid criticism. But think of an early Euro like Carcassone. You only get points when you actually complete a feature - it feels like an accomplishment, especially if you are trying to set up a big one. Even on your first play when you barely understand the game! Other games (don't know any offhand not having played the ones in this thread) may not be as intuitive: you have to know the game well enough to understand when you have actually made a good move or earned something. So I can see where people might be coming from.

I dunno. I wouldn't call it a point salad, but you are still banking some points every time you extend that road/cloister/building even if it is officially scored upon completion. The only unknown scoring is the (in)complete cities and the farms.
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Sam Hillier
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.


That's kind of underselling the whole point of the game, though. Something like Aquasphere or any Feld game really is all about action efficiency.


I know. That's why I tend to wither a bit when I hear these sorts of games referred to as having "multiple paths to victory".

No, there aren't multiple paths there's only one - be the most efficient resource to points converter. That's it. The so called "paths" don't make any difference in and of themselves.

If you like that sort of thing, then, well that's great. With a handful of exceptions I've gotten seriously burnt out on the genre.


Interesting thought, though I do disagree that "action efficiency" constitutes a single path to victory. It sounds dangerously close to "being good" as a single path to victory. I think the different paths in these games really do feel differently, as they give you different priorities, and different advantages.
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Chris Williams

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Triboluminous wrote:
I think it's a somewhat dog-whistle-y term in that different people parse it in different ways.

The criticism isn't that there's no difference in how they fill their salad bowl; it's that simply competing over maximizing their salad isn't very fun or interesting.

Where I think the term does get interesting is in what it describes. Both Castles of Burgundy and Trajan (many Felds, actually) are described as 'point salad' games, but to me only Trajan is. Castles of Burgundy has mechanisms that interlink and feed back on each other in non-linear ways, allowing you to set up massive combos (in fact, the game's often decided by who set off the biggest combo, or the most). Trajan ... doesn't. Not really, anyway. You go over here and get six points; you go over there and get four. That's a real salad buffet.

I think it's a useful term inasmuch as it describes the connectedness, or lack thereof, of the separate point-generating mechanisms. I don't think it's particularly useful as simply a synonym for saying "there are multiple actions you can take to get to a points victory".



I agree with the above, but there's also the aspect that one likes to think that a game designer has put some amount of effort into a design. Taking a half dozen popular mechanisms and plopping them down on a board, without any connection to theme nor way in which they truly interact, is a bit lazy. Regardless of whether that still ends up enjoyable, it's not something that should really be respected that much.

I could spend an hour or two and throw together something where you have an auction, a rondel, worker placement, and a turn order track. Throw in a few currencies and make sure that all the ways of converting one into another are equal and that the interactions between these elements are all additive - not multiplicative - and I'll have a completely competent euro-style game ready for you. It will basically impossible for any player to pull ahead of the others except via the auction since everything else will give equal payout at the end of the day, regardless of what you do. Everything else would, effectively, be an elaborate activity masquerading as a strategy game.

And I can already tell you that the game is best with 3-5 players and if played for 2 hours, is a 2 hour game. (I'd guess that this would be about 14 rounds.)

w00t
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Andy Szymas
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I'm American. Call me when you have a point-cheeseburger game.
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Pete Goch
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Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.


That's kind of underselling the whole point of the game, though. Something like Aquasphere or any Feld game really is all about action efficiency.


I know. That's why I tend to wither a bit when I hear these sorts of games referred to as having "multiple paths to victory".

No, there aren't multiple paths there's only one - be the most efficient resource to points converter. That's it. The so called "paths" don't make any difference in and of themselves.

If you like that sort of thing, then, well that's great. With a handful of exceptions I've gotten seriously burnt out on the genre.


Interesting thought, though I do disagree that "action efficiency" constitutes a single path to victory. It sounds dangerously close to "being good" as a single path to victory. I think the different paths in these games really do feel differently, as they give you different priorities, and different advantages.


But they're all fundamentally the same thing - maximizing efficiency over a set amount of time.

I'll give you a counter point (and one I've even heard being called a point salad) Hansa Teutonica. There are fundamentally different strategies in the game even though all of them involve action/point efficiency because players have control over the game clock. Figuring out what the other players are playing for - a long or a short game - and how they are pushing the levers becomes an integral part of the game. If you can't anticipate how and when the game will end you won't win.

Your typical point salad doesn't give player's any control over those aspects of the game.
 
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Jeff Wood
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I call it 'riding the VP wave'. Either you keep up on your board, or you have to drop out because someone is riding that wave better.
 
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Stephen Miller
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Daybreak wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
But it doesn't really matter what you choose if everything is equally good. Shall I collect the blue resources or the green ones? Hmmm...maybe I'll do aquamarine this time!

The only real differences in these sorts of games are in action efficiency.


That's kind of underselling the whole point of the game, though. Something like Aquasphere or any Feld game really is all about action efficiency.


I know. That's why I tend to wither a bit when I hear these sorts of games referred to as having "multiple paths to victory".

No, there aren't multiple paths there's only one - be the most efficient resource to points converter. That's it. The so called "paths" don't make any difference in and of themselves.

If you like that sort of thing, then, well that's great. With a handful of exceptions I've gotten seriously burnt out on the genre.


Interesting thought, though I do disagree that "action efficiency" constitutes a single path to victory. It sounds dangerously close to "being good" as a single path to victory. I think the different paths in these games really do feel differently, as they give you different priorities, and different advantages.


But they're all fundamentally the same thing - maximizing efficiency over a set amount of time.


That's... Basically true of every game without multiple victory conditions. And even then, in most competitive games, maximal efficiency is how you win. Just, sometimes that maximal efficiency is via building up a tableu, and other times that maximal efficiency is about crushing your enemies beneath your feet. (And sometimes you're trying to be more efficient at doing one thing than your opponent is at doing another, unrelated thing. It's still the player who's most efficient that'll win, even if the goals are vastly different)

The term 'multiple paths' doesn't imply multiple destinations, it implies that you can go through the forest trail, the mountain path, or the desert road and they'll all lead you to the same destination, and they might be better in some situations, and have different hazards that can distract you from your efficient walking, but none of them are dead ends; if played well by good players all can get to the destination of Most Efficient with about the same frequency as each other.
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