Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BGG» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Victory Points: For or against rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric Pietrocupo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you like to use Victory points in your design or prefer to stay away from it.

Victory points makes the design of victory condition easy to implement, but the player motivation for these VP is lower and there is a lower sense of accomplishement when the game is finished because most of the time, you do not know exactly what made you win. While a game that has specific objectives to fulfill seems much more memorable.

On the other hand, victory points are very usefull in a game where it will ends as a draw most of the time, or if a game is so long that you allow the option to make it end sooner by using victory point to determine the progress of the players.

So do you prefer using VP in your design? if yes or no, explain why?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mads Fløe
Denmark
Aarhus C
DK
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Depends entirely on the game in question.

Some games would be much lesser games without them, and some simply don't need them.

It sounds like your own approach is tilting towards not using them, and for this reason alone, I guess this is what drives you to ask about it.

But there is no answer other than the first sentence of this reply.

Given how common it is that games have victory points, players will likely easier adapt and learn your design if using them. So there is also this positive side to consider.

Use them if it makes sense
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Los Gatos
CA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
I don't care what the game calls the point system. Money, prestige, little wood cubes, whatever: it is all just a simple number that is compared for victory determination.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Commons
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I like the idea of Victory Points. Sometimes they can seem useless add-ons, but most of the ways I have seen them implemented they are used in an important way to affect the game.

In my current design, I use VP's in a couple of ways.
1) One way to determine the final winner of the game (players can be eliminated, so it is not necessarily the only way to win)
2) To determine the turn order for the next round of the game. The order is determined by the following: the player that received the fewest number of VP's in the last round goes first at choosing thier turn position, then the next fewest player, etc. to the player with the most. I am using this to act as a way to balance the game and help not have a run away leader.
3) To encourage players to take certain actions within the game based upon different game strategies. Some items receive more VP's than others, but are harder to get. Depending on your strategy within the game, you may want to go for the low VP items, but several of them, rather than the high VP items that require more time and effort to gain.

In essence, there are many things that we use to determine position or winning that we don't call VP's (money, territories, levels of experience, score...even bowling has victory points )
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Filip W.
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Euros are better with dice!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm assuming that your question is a bit more specific than you state, namely containing the implied: "... and no other victory condition".

I'm all for victory points, but I think that they shine when used as part of a larger set of victory conditions, for example: the winner is the first player to reach X VP (race) or the player to build Z buildings (race for other resource) or the player who has the most VP at the end of round Y (tie breaker).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
United States
Berrien Springs
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like having points and multiple win conditions. I see a definite place for victory points. If for no other reason, to be able to score a game should you have to end it early.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Richard
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
It really depends on the game and how it's implemented. While a "Point Counter" can lead to a dull race for points... it doesn't need to be.

My first experience with VP in a game was the video game "LOTR: The Third Age" for GBA. While the gameplay was based around tactical RPGS they used a VP system for objectives.

It lead to this amazing experience of deciding whether I should sit back and play defense for my 1 VP kills or rush the enemy flag for a massive bonus. Victory points were used to create an asymmetric experience where each player had very different goals.

Also, rather than VP being compared at the end of the game, you can use them as a target. Player's can gather VP using their own paths... yet the game still ends under that condition. It doesn't NEED to be an end of the game comparison.

There is a time and a place for every mechanic. There is no "For or Against" in good game design but a "When and why".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
clearclaw wrote:
I don't care what the game calls the point system. Money, prestige, little wood cubes, whatever: it is all just a simple number that is compared for victory determination.
I think the idea was to compare point-based games to games with qualitative victory conditions, not to compare different names for the same concept.

For example, it makes no sense to describe the victory conditions of Chess in terms of victory points. (Yes, you could say that you get 1 victory point for checkmating the enemy king and the game is a race to 1 VP, but that's obviously a degenerate case.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Pietrocupo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do not favor one side or the other, still it seems to be easier to design a VP based game (which can have any name by the way), VP is like a currency for victory conditions. Which is an interesting concept.

Some designers hate VP and I can understand their point of view. It's like money based games (ex: monopoly) it's hard to know what made a player win when using VP. Which with a unique condition, it is easier to trace back what made the player win.

Now sure if a game should be more momorable when it's not VP based. One thing for sure, games that ends when a VP limit is reached seem to be more interesting due to tension for the end of the game rather than those who don't.

Else for resolving ties, VP are perfect.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Doebler
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
The best thing with Victory Points is that there is a definite ending. Everyone knows who won as soon as someone plays a city for their tenth point in Settlers of Catan, ya know? You can sometimes argue against an objective or goal being reached, but there is no argument against a set number.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Nyberg
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One of my games has just 2 victory points as an objective, but it works really well.

Another of my games has 8 victory points as an objective. Another game is a war game where you just have to take over a capital.

Different things work for different games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's all flavor. Many economic games award victory to the person who has the most money. So money = victory points. In Chess, you could say you get a victory point if you checkmate the enemy king. So every game is either 1-0 or 0-0.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dillenbeck
United States
Deerfield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A mechanic should be selected to fit the mood of the game, and there is no "bad" mechanic per se.

Pandemic does not use Victory Points - the players either stop the 4 disease outbreaks that threaten to end the world or they all lose. Using Victory Points might be interesting in that game to have "variable levels of success" and challenge players to not only beat more difficult levels, but also have more "successful" victories (a game with fewer outbreaks, a game with more eradicated diseases, a game with fewer disease cubes on the board, etc all equal "more successful").

Star Trek: Fleet Captains uses only Victory Points. In this case it makes sense, since it allows different types of missions and actions to win the game (scan locations, destroy ships, build star bases, take damage, disrupt communications, succeed in encounters from exploration, etc). Also, since the board is randomly set up, it increases replay value (rather than having a set scenario where two sides compete, you randomly lay out hex tiles and take "generic" mission cards).

War of the Ring has a hybrid system. The Free Peoples can win by throwing the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom (sneak into the location) and Sauron can win by corrupting the ring bearers. Alternatively, the Sauron player can get 10 victory points by conquering Free People holdings (Strongholds for 2, cities for 1) and the Free People only need 4 victory points.

Basically, what is the intent and feel of your game, how long is it going to be played, and are there multiple paths to victory? These should influence what mechanisms you should place in your game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
VP are good for allowing multiple paths to victory that work in combination, as compared to multiple paths to victory where all but the one that takes you to victory were redundant; either hedging your bets or a waste of your efforts.

An example I really like is 7 Wonders. It neatly avoids the usual problem of VP ("you do not know exactly what made you win") by all the VP being scored at the end of the game AND giving you a categorised scoring pad so you can very easily keep track of what strategies worked where.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mario Lanza
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: EurogamerMicrobadge: A good night's sleep solves many problemsMicrobadge: ChristianMicrobadge: Less is moreMicrobadge: US Constitution
As far as I'm concerned VPs are a mechanic. It's the mechanic by which we measure our moves and ultimate outcome. There are countless games that uses some form of VPs that I love; but I do have to admit, that I am more intrigued when a game offers some alternate means of victory. It comes across as innovative because VPs are so prevalent in today's designs.

I think it stems from the fact that designing games is incredibly hard. It's very hard to tie mechanics together in meaningful and satisfying ways. I've tried game design and it was much harder than I would have imagined. It's easy to have ideas about what might be cool or fun but sometimes when you test those ideas you can struggle with finding what made a decision meaningful.

VPs in a way provides an easy way to balance a design and bring forth meaning. That is, in my opinion, it's much easier to come up with designs that rely on some form of scoring than it is to come up with designs that rank players in some other manner.

Honestly, I don't think it matters a lot whether or not VPs are part of a design. What matters is the game is fun and your decisions meaningful.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To me, there are three methods of using victory points:

1) When one player has X victory points, the game ends. The player with X victory points is the winner.

2) When one player has X victory points and is leading by a certain amount, the game ends. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

3) The game ends when some condition is met or when a certain number of turns pass. The player with the most victory points is the winner.



I like #3, but prefer #2. I hate #1 unless there's some kind of racing theme involved.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phoebe Wild
Australia
South Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
publisher
LudoCherry clothing, coming to KS in March!
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: Copper ReviewerMicrobadge: Geek of the WeekMicrobadge: Cardboard Vault fan
clearclaw wrote:
I don't care what the game calls the point system. Money, prestige, little wood cubes, whatever: it is all just a simple number that is compared for victory determination.
I agree. All games need some form of scoring system, and I don't think it makes a difference whether they're called VPs or not. Essentially, they're still points
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Rathsack
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
OVERTEXT AHHHHHHH!!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am against my opponent's victory points.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Game Mechanics Matter Theme Matters
msg tools
I am very late to the discussion and I see that everyone gives VP a positive, but I hate victory points so much.

I reserve the right to be wrong, inexperienced, stupid, ect - and to change my mind later and it's just my opinion, but, that being said - I HATE "VICTORY POINTS"

I can't stand it when there are victory points of any name involved. I like clear objectives.

I hate the victory points concept.
I hate the glory points concept.
I hate the "first to "x" victory points/glory points/gold/whatever" wins concept.

It's boring, unimaginative, uninspiring, unrealistic, unmotivating, tedious, unthematic, asinine, petty, nit-picky, dull, ARBITRARY and dare I say it... pointless?

This is just my opinion of course and you could tell me how I am wrong and how they are useful ect and that's fine and I understand all that and maybe I am wrong but it's not about that - it's just how I personally feel and have always felt.

Victory points, under any name or system, turn me off from a game immediately. Maybe I am too primitive, but I NEED something more definite and reason-able and less abstract.





 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very broadly, I generally prefer not to use VPs.

It depends on how you define a VP though - I tend to see them as an inert thing that you can get through diverse means and sum to determine if you win. Once you start doing other things with them (such as games that let you spend VPs to achieve something) they stop feeling like VPs to me and become something else. Conversely a game where you win by getting the most money but that doesn't allow you to spend the money on anything but winning feels like a game that has VPs but not currency.

Basically what you call the thing is less important to me than what it does

I like mechanics to be integrated and have lots of lovely interactions and forced difficult choices. VPs (as I see them) tend not to contribute as much to that as some alternatives.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jan Åke Hansson
Sweden
Malmö
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
PYR8 wrote:

Victory points, under any name or system, turn me off from a game immediately. Maybe I am too primitive, but I NEED something more definite and reason-able and less abstract.

What victory conditions do you think are good enough then?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adrian Pillai
France
Paris
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Graphic DesignerMicrobadge: You've been CakedMicrobadge: I've played games in MalaysiaMicrobadge: 2018 Silver Supporter
I'm with the camp that's not a big fan of VP. It's not the mechanic in of itself, but at the end of the game, I don't wanna spend 5-10 minutes of everybody adding up 6 or 7 categories to see how badly I lost by.

I like the absolute definitive winner you get in games like Clue or Uno! as opposed to the 'let's add everything up' you get in Scrabble. I'm not saying that I prefer those games, just when it comes to winning I prefer the path of least math.

My wife doesn't mind VP's though - her favorite games Quadropolis and 7 Wonders use VP to determine winners.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Game Mechanics Matter Theme Matters
msg tools
For quick examples:

Risk revised edition 2008 = the main game objective is clear - wipe off the board the other players = win, get wiped out by them = lose. The sub-mission games I don't play so can't comment on.

Pandemic = defeat the diseases within the games preset parameters = win, fail to do so = loss I could do more but I make this now as a timely reply.

I love a good game, but VP games just feel all wrong. For me I want it to be like a good book, with theme, narrative, a story, a way to get into the world that it can create, intuitively understandable (to my mind / opinion that is) and VP feel so clinical, accounting-esque, cold, without interest or motivation, too abstract, arbitrary ect.

This is just my personal opinion of course - I realise that everyone is different.


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here's an earlier post where I talk about some of the reasons victory points can be useful from a design perspective:
Re: Why are victory points so popular in thematic games?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Quentin N.
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I usually stand against them.
VPs are useful when:
-the game is complex, and has to defines very peculiar goals. Like in wargames when you get a point for routing aspecific unit, 2 for destroying that bridge and 3 for holding the airport for 3 turns. Without them, the game and its goals would be obsucre to the players, and severly lower its strategic interest as it would be nothing more than a melee.
-the VPs are truly part of the game. I can imagine abstract games where you play during the whole game around points you can get, and how ahead or behind you are. Like in Yahtzee.

But most of the time, games have clear goals, that come by themselves, or goals that are somewhat set by the players. In that case strangling the feel of loosing or winning with VPs is a bad idea, especially if it first looked not so important to the players in the concept.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   |