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Subject: Points - scoring makes competitive or cooperative possible rss

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jon larsen
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Here's the short version, adding a scoring component to Tsuro makes you want to play it more.


Competitive: your score = the length of your path* + the lengths of the paths of other players you force from the board on your turn. *Score the length of your path twice if you remain on the board when the game ends.

Path length = the # of tiles your path crosses [count tiles each time the path crosses onto them...therefore, tiles may be counted tile more than once].


Okay, now the more long-winded part. Tsuro has only 2 mechanics. Random tile draw, adjacent placement restriction. Changing either definitely changes the game. Variants are naturally going to cluster around fiddling with those parameters. ADDING something to the game can be just as easy. Points are non-physical, so they don't require any components and seem like a natural fit for any abstract game. 'Take it Easy' is a great point game - Tsuro could be too. I'll probably get more long-winded in a moment but now for a cooperative version using nearly the exact rules as above.

Cooperative: the group's score = the length of all players path's* - the path length of any player forced off by another player. *Score paths twice whenever their player token remains on the board at game end.

When you stop and think about a key component of the FLOW of scoring games, it's that there's multiple rounds to buffer the score of each player relative to the vicissitudes of the game. While games feature proscribed numbers of rounds, a finish line pegged to a certain # of points, or [whenever lots of components are involved] dwindling resources - Tsuro [being component light and very variable] plays well with rounds. I'd recommend you play a # of rounds = 1/2 players (rounded up).

It's clear that the tension level of both the competitive and cooperative versions ratchets up dramatically by allowing play adjacent to any previously played tile.

With some betting tokens you can publically or secretly bet on winners and turn Tsuro into Colossal Arena...

You can arbitrarily assign points to each finisher in classic 'Eurogame set-collection mechanic' fashion instead of counting path length. You could replace the path length score mechanic with finish place values or supplement it. For at least the competitive version you could replace just your path length OR the opponents you "claim" with a finish place value - or you could even give an arbitrary value to claiming the lives of your opponents. That could be fixed or variable to the # of opponents claimed (that's much more attractive a concept of you allow placement of tiles anywhere!). You could score a # of points equal to your opponents rather than scoring 2x path length competitively and a # of points equal to the # of players rather than scoring 2x path length coorperatively.

You could allow "called shots" - betting on where you'll end up. That bet could either supplement any/all of the above or replace it. That's the Dragon Parade version 5 points if you hit it, 3 on the same tile, 1 on the same side of the board...nearly infinite other score values could be chosen.

I'd hate to see vendettas (please allow placement anywhere is assassination is your game), allies, teams...

There's the golf mechanic, where score is your penalty [although you'd probably need to deal out tiles beforehand and then penalize how many you didn't use]. You could introduce penalties of many types. Heck, this isn't QUITE a scoring centric idea - but a pentalty system could be created for a cooperative mechanic requiring any pawns who DO go off to go off in a certain order [randomly draw and hand out, record that order and duplicate it]. You could go Ameritrash and do it all - with extra cardboard bits too...

Rather than foam at the mouth with any other neat score based mechanics to transform this game, I'll wrap this post by saying that there's TONS of ways to score. Credit that to a very tight, simple, game design leaving lots of flexibility to tinker. I'd promote path length as the most brain-burning, but hey. I'd really like to hear what you think. Cook something up - try it - bring it back to the kitchen to share.
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David T
United States
Illinois
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I like the path length idea. With that, even if you don't win the battle you can still win the war. ninja
 
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Stuart
United Kingdom
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I played the game like this too. One point for each tile you move and one point for each tile you make your opponent move. The only difference was I didn't count the initial tile placed as it would be scoring for the sake of scoring as all players would score a point automatically with each tile laid. Makes it much more of a game.
 
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