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Subject: Hidden scoring goals question rss

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Kolby Reddish
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Hey guys,

I missed out on the KS for this game, but looking at it now, I'm considering preordering it.

My biggest question to those who've played the game, designer and published included, are about the end game scoring.

Maybe I can explain. Archipelago has hidden scoring objectives and I felt like every game end I participated in came down to essentially who lucked into more objectives than the other players.

I realize that in Argent, you can look at other scoring objectives, but to people who played the game, does this aspect work? Do you feel like you have enough control over your score at the endgame?
 
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Marc Bennett
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i have not played the game but i am a backer and have looked into it quite a bit. i have also played and enjoy archipelago.

a big difference in the two games is the distinction between competing for points and votes (which argent uses).

for example is arch. if you have the goal for churches, you might end up with the most churches and get the most points, but someone else totally by accident will get some points without even trying.

in argent if you know about the most mana goal, and work to get it, everyone else gets nothing. i dont recall offhand how many votes there are with different player counts but lets say you are playing a 3 player game with 10 votes max. you know 3 votes at the start of the game (2 are in every game and you get 1 you can look at) if you can peek at 1 more vote (4 total) and secure those 4, you have a pretty solid chance of winning. of course easier said than done because those 2 votes in every game will be fought over by everyone.

this is going to create quite a different experience, aside from the differing mechanics. if youd like you could try a game or two of arch. where you just award 1 point for first place on any goals and nothing for second and third and see how it changes the game.

it still wont be like argent exactly but it will give you an idea how the voter mechanic changes the scoring of the game.
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Charles Washington
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I have played a number of games of Argent, and I feel that the end game scoring is very manageable. In most of the games, the people who spent time looking at the hidden objectives generally either won or finished second.

A couple of objectives are public every game as well, so if you win both of those, you have 2 of the 7 votes needed to win. As for control over your score, yes it is there, but you need to fight the other players off to keep it.

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reddish22 wrote:
I realize that in Argent, you can look at other scoring objectives, but to people who played the game, does this aspect work? Do you feel like you have enough control over your score at the endgame?

I played the game twice at BGG.con and it seemed to work fine. That being said, one of the games I played did feel kind of surprising in the scoring round because there was a player who seemed to be doing very well (had powerful spells and was dominating the board) but didn't meet many criteria for scoring. I wouldn't necessarily call that a flaw in the game but rather evidence that you really need to pay attention to the objectives and not rely on luck.

Once you look at a hidden voter you put a mark on it and can look at it for the rest of the game, so there is no memory aspect. (And you can track what other people have peeked at by looking at their marks.) Marks are fairly easy to come by (they appear as effects on many rooms, spells, and supporters). And "Most Marks" is itself one of the potential objectives, so there is an incentive to get them beyond just knowing what's out there.

The game also includes several "scenarios", which basically boil down to "at the end of the round, do X". One of the scenarios is very mark-heavy. I didn't play with it though, so I can't speak from personal experience.
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Trey Chambers
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reddish22 wrote:

Maybe I can explain. Archipelago has hidden scoring objectives and I felt like every game end I participated in came down to essentially who lucked into more objectives than the other players.

I realize that in Argent, you can look at other scoring objectives, but to people who played the game, does this aspect work? Do you feel like you have enough control over your score at the endgame?


Hi Kolby, thanks for the excellent question. I am personally wary of hidden scoring objectives as a mechanic for a variety of reasons, but I think it works in Argent due to a few factors.

The most important difference between Argent and other hidden goal games is that in Argent they are common hidden goals, not private hidden goals. As long as you get Marks (which allow you to look at the hidden goals and are fairly easy to come by) you can have just as much information as other players.

Also, as has been mentioned, two of the goals are public in every game, so you start the game with some direction and aren't flailing aimlessly until you have discovered some of the goals.

You can also try to deduce goals by what other players are doing, but this is riskier because you can make some false assumptions this way (for example, maybe they were hoarding mana to cast a bunch of spells and not because the mana goal is in the game).

Despite the hidden goals, I haven't gotten complaints about players feeling like they had a lack of control. Players who spend the time to look at the goals will know exactly what they should be doing to try to win. Players who choose to ignore that information and try to "luck into" winning goals or try to deduce the goals by what others are doing are often disappointed when the goals are revealed.
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Lior Kiperman
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I like how hidden goals are implemented in Through the Ages. Players can add hidden goals (Impacts) that give bonus victory points depending on the goal. You start watching carefully what everyone else is doing - why is he adding so many happiness? Why is she adding more science rating?


Archipelago has hidden goals, but players cannot add any. Furthermore, most of the goals there are resources and they simply come and go during the game. You sell one cattle to get gold in one turn, and you unknowingly lost the game because there is a hidden goal for most cattle. On your next turn you bought 2 woods, and now you unknowingly made another opponent lose since he doesn't have the most wood anymore. I don't like it that much because there is no way to tell exactly when a game is about to end, and so you can't really plan ahead. When one of the secret end conditions are met (each player needs to track his own secret end condition), the game is over and you stop right there.


I'm not sure which goals are available in Argent, but I hope the game doesn't end with a big surprise like in Archipelago. I would prefer that players at least get to know when the game is over and have one last turn to prepare.
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Trey Chambers
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HealingAura wrote:
I'm not sure which goals are available in Argent, but I hope the game doesn't end with a big surprise like in Archipelago. I would prefer that players at least get to know when the game is over and have one last turn to prepare.


Argent has a wide variety of goals including, but not limited to, resource collection, set (card) collection, stat comparison (most intelligence and wisdom), and various other goals as well as additional goals added in the expansions.

Also some of the scenarios in the expansion change how these goals work, so you have even more freedom to play it how you want to if you have the scenarios. In one of the scenarios you can even make the goals worth VP and play it like a traditional VP game if that's your preference.

You will always know which round is the last round in Argent (5 in the normal game, 6 in the epic variant). So there's no surprise there, you'll have that entire final round to make your final preparation.

Each individual round does not have a set end, but instead ends when the last Bell Tower card is taken. However, it's fairly obvious when there's going to be a run on Bell Tower cards. Players typically don't start grabbing Bell Tower cards until they are out of workers to place, so you can anticipate the pace of the round with a good amount of certainty by watching your opponent's worker reserves.
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Kolby Reddish
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I appreciate you checking in to give some input, Trey. I think that because players can peek at the scoring goals this will bring an interesting dynamic to the game, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Now I'm just sad I missed the KS. I'll just have to wait for retail stores to open up preorders. (I know that Lvl 99 has preorders open, but it's $30 more than the KS price was once you factor in shipping).
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Lior Kiperman
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Thanks for clarifying that, Trey :)
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