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Subject: On Scoring rss

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Pradyot
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Played Concordia for the first time the past weekend.

We all had a good time and enjoyed the game but a common refrain throughout the game was something along the lines of "well, I know what I'm doing and that it is as per rules but I don't know whether what I'm doing is getting me any closer to winning."

The absence of a victory point track that gives ongoing feedback so that you can change strategy or tactics during the game made it really hard for us to know how we were doing.

Admittedly, we didn't do the intermediate scoring but I believe that evne if we had, it would not have mattered much because it is done only the very first time someone plays their Tribune card and if I recall right, I played my Tribune card at least 7-8 times during the game so scoring the first time I played it may not have been a reliable indicator of my final score / position.

I know there are other games that tally the score only at the end (Five Tribes, Dominion, Seven Wonders) but this seems to be much heavier than the others and for the time it takes (2+ hours), we felt that we'd enjoy it a lot more had there been a way to know during the game how we are placed.

Does anyone else feel the same? Also, anyone who has played the game mulitple times and has some tips to share on how to estimate how well one is playing - please share!
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Jason
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Intermediate scoring will reveal the impact that each type of card has on the end game score, so it is worthwhile for beginners. The starting hand contains a representative sample, enough to cover almost everything. The Minerva cards can be explained as they arise.

With regard to strategic depth, the game rewards multiple plays with the same group.
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Richard Hills
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Concordia is my favourite game, and I have played it zillions of times. My experience has suggested that these are useful strategies:

1. Early on, try to get two or three trading posts in the same province, so as to efficiently gain resources when playing a Prefect card.
2. Later on, try to build trading posts in as many different provinces as possible, so as to maximise as many Saturn victory points as possible.
3. Unless you hold the Mason card, keep your building of Brick trading posts to a necessary minimum, as they do not earn Jupiter victory points.
4. When playing a Senator card, do not automatically choose the cheapest purchases. Instead buy cards which fit into your strategy. For example, I won a recent game by buying four Colonist (Mars) cards while arranging to place all six of my colonists on the map. The 60 Mars victory points were instrumental in my first place.
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Cole Munro-Chitty
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Richard James Hills wrote:
I won a recent game by buying four Colonist (Mars) cards


Also, try not to let your opponent get four of one type of cardarrrh
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alan beaumont
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Richard James Hills wrote:
1. Early on, try to get two or three trading posts in the same province, so as to efficiently gain resources when playing a Prefect card.
Wherever you spot opponents doing this try to build in there to get stuff on other player's Prefects. Don't overdo it or they will switch their choices.

As for scoring, early on go for good options in your deck e.g. A second Diplomat solves a lot of problems. Latterly try to accumulate cards which score heavily for your board position and be aware of your opponents best options and try to acquire them. e.g. 'Grail' Minervas. I generally find there is a point where the game shifts from board building to a stampede for cards. Try to anticipate this and have a well resourced warehouse for when it starts.
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Peter Hazlewood
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I completely agree that the scoring is a little opaque for first-time players. However, I personally enjoy the fact that you can't tell exactly how well everyone is doing during the game. There are far too many games out there when you already know that you're not going to win halfway through. Concordia isn't like that; a lot can happen towards the end and I find the scoring is exciting rather than irritating.
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Andrea Bampi
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ragnarokkr wrote:

Does anyone else feel the same? Also, anyone who has played the game mulitple times and has some tips to share on how to estimate how well one is playing - please share!


It's perfectly normal for newbies. You simply need to play more games, and you'll be able to estimate the amount of points pretty precisely (well, if you count your cards you can ALWAYS have a 100% accurate count).
Of course it's hard to keep count of other players - Concordia is a very "mathy" game, but I can't imagine it with a "live" public card counter...
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Pradyot, you were wrong to dismiss intermediate scoring. It works for its intended purpose, and should have eliminated, or at least reduced, the feeling of aimlessness.
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Luke Pommersheim
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sneakypete21 wrote:
I completely agree that the scoring is a little opaque for first-time players. However, I personally enjoy the fact that you can't tell exactly how well everyone is doing during the game. There are far too many games out there when you already know that you're not going to win halfway through. Concordia isn't like that; a lot can happen towards the end and I find the scoring is exciting rather than irritating.


I just want to second this. Also, I think my group relishes in the agony of not knowing whether their scrapped together, incomplete strategy (or strategies) was enough to squeak out a victory. What I like about it is there's never any confidence from anyone. No one ever thinks they've done enough because they inevitably got at least partially blocked from fully realizing their plan..

This mechanism is so well liked, it's something we've introduced when we play Ticket to Ride. Whenever we decide to play (which, admittedly, isn't often these days), we do scoring at the end and then count trains, routes, and longest all at once. Most people score their trains as they're placed, and then only routes/longest remain hidden until the end.

So, to answer the OP's question -- No, I don't feel the same. I can understand where you're coming from, but I and the groups I've played it with, actually love it.

As for tips, I just try and keep an idea of the kinds of cards people have bought and what strategy they're going for. But I don't try and do the actual math of their score v mine.
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Bryan Thunkd
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When you were taught the game they went over how scoring works, right? So you should have had an idea of what types of things gave you points. And you can always count how many cards you have of what type (especially after tribuning) and how many cities of a type/in a region/etc you have. So you should have a good idea how many points you have, or are likely to get.

And while you can't see your opponents decks all at one glance, you should have a rough idea what cards they've been collecting and thus be able to estimate how well they're doing.

Evaluating how people are doing and who's winning is a board gaming skill you might want to practice. It comes in handy in any number of games.
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Mark L
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Carthoris wrote:
Pradyot, you were wrong to dismiss intermediate scoring. It works for its intended purpose, and should have eliminated, or at least reduced, the feeling of aimlessness.

I agree with this.

It's true that since you use your Tribune multiple times, intermediate scoring won't tell you how people are doing late in the game.

But it's recommended for first-time players for a reason. Without it, it's difficult to see how your choices translate into points.

It's probably not necessary in your second game, as you will by then have a much clearer idea of how the scoring works. But if you have even one new player, I strongly recommend using it.

And as Bryan says, you can (at least roughly) keep track of how many cards of each type each player has. It's not ever going to be a game where the relative scores are really obvious during the game, but it is possible to have a good idea of them. It just takes a bit of experience.
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Richard Hills
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misteralan wrote:
Richard James Hills wrote:
1. Early on, try to get two or three trading posts in the same province, so as to efficiently gain resources when playing a Prefect card.
Wherever you spot opponents doing this try to build in there to get stuff on other player's Prefects. Don't overdo it or they will switch their choices.

As for scoring, early on go for good options in your deck e.g. A second Diplomat solves a lot of problems. Latterly try to accumulate cards which score heavily for your board position and be aware of your opponents best options and try to acquire them. e.g. 'Grail' Minervas. I generally find there is a point where the game shifts from board building to a stampede for cards. Try to anticipate this and have a well resourced warehouse for when it starts.

Yes, I agree that leeching off other players' Prefect cards is a useful strategy.

I also agree that purchasing Diplomat cards can be a cunning plan. However, it is important to note that Diplomats are not generic, as different Diplomats serve different gods. For example, if you have or about to have trading posts in five different varieties of cities, then purchasing the Diplomat loyal to Mercurius is valuable not only for its Diplomat power, but also for victory points.
 
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Greg Infi
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The scoring mechanism is my least favorite part in this otherwise great game. The scores are at 0 for the entire time and on top of that all scoring is based on cards that multiply the points! In general I really hate point multipliers because they lead to some actions making huge swings and often are too random. Concordia requires planning and executing a certain strategy from the start, and if the strategy needs to change mid-game you are a toast.

The "point multipliers" driving the entire scoring system is already bad but what makes it even worse is that they are variable and not public knowledge (unless you are able to track all cards everyone buys in a 4-5 player game on top of following your own score which is already not the easiest thing to do).

I like heavy euro games but the scoring in Concordia almost ruins the game for me.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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infi01 wrote:
It requires planning and executing a certain strategy from the start, and if the strategy needs to change mid-game you are a toast.

That has not been my experience. I've been successful at following strategies as "read" from a) resource distribution on the board, and b) cards as I acquire them.

"Planning and executing a certain strategy from the start" regardless of the emerging features of the board and the personality tableau may indeed lead you to being toasted, but it's not the only way to play this game.
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alan beaumont
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Keep b%&&#$!@g on
infi01 wrote:
I like this game a lot but the scoring mechanism is my least favorite part. The scores are at 0 for the entire game...
Err no. As noted by others you will soon develop a rough feel for how your opponents are doing and you can easily calculate your own if you are at all numerate.
Quote:
In general I really dislike point multipliers because they lead to some actions making huge swings. It requires planning and executing a certain strategy from the start, and if the strategy needs to change mid-game you are a toast.
I've had at least one game where I abandoned a plan before the end of the first round because of my opponents' moves. In general I now don't have a master plan, simply because of the unpredictability of events unfolding in the game. I have an excellent win ratio despite hanging loose on the journey.
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Greg Infi
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misteralan wrote:
Err no. As noted by others you will soon develop a rough feel for how your opponents are doing and you can easily calculate your own if you are at all numerate.

I edited my post with a few more thoughts on this. To have a rough feel how everyone is doing you'd need to analyze everyone's layout on the map along with what cards they have which may be doable in a 2-player game but it's nearly impossible in a 4-5 player game. You'd basically need to tally the score for everyone in your head, and remember exactly what cards each person acquired throughout the entire game.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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It's not so hard to track the contents of other players' hands as you seem to think. When those cards are bought, they don't just go down a black hole until the end of the game: they get played repeatedly. (Note: The cards that enforce certain scoring strategies are the ones most likely to be played in executing those strategies.) And again, all that's needed is a rough awareness of the other players' strategies, while keeping your own effective.
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alan beaumont
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English as she is spoke
infi01 wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Err no. As noted by others you will soon develop a rough feel for how your opponents are doing and you can easily calculate your own if you are at all numerate.

I edited my post with a few more thoughts on this. To have a rough feel how everyone is doing you'd need to analyze everyone's layout on the map along with what cards they have which may be doable in a 2-player game but it's nearly impossible in a 4-5 player game. You'd basically need to tally the score for everyone in your head, and remember exactly what cards each person acquired throughout the entire game.
We clearly have a different understanding of the word 'rough'.

I don't attempt to run totals in my head, but I try to stay aware of who is buying most cards and which god is going to score heavily for an opponent. Assuming it will score well for me too I make sure I buy my fair share so as not to be crushed by a monopoly (not that keen on Mars though).
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Bryan Thunkd
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infi01 wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Err no. As noted by others you will soon develop a rough feel for how your opponents are doing and you can easily calculate your own if you are at all numerate.

I edited my post with a few more thoughts on this. To have a rough feel how everyone is doing you'd need to analyze everyone's layout on the map along with what cards they have which may be doable in a 2-player game but it's nearly impossible in a 4-5 player game. You'd basically need to tally the score for everyone in your head, and remember exactly what cards each person acquired throughout the entire game.
You don't need an exact tally, just a general feel for how people are doing in the game. Mostly, you just want to know who you need to try and shut down and who isn't really a threat.

If you've noticed that Bob has been taking a lot of yellow cards and is in a lot of different provinces then you know he's doing well. If Dave has take a lot of blue cards, but doesn't have much of a board presence, and what he has is mostly cheap brick cities, then you could guess he's not doing well. So if you're prefecting, you should avoid helping Bob and not worry about giving Dave free stuff so much.

You don't need to know that Bob has 80 points and Dave has 69. That level of detail isn't important. Just pay attention to what colors people are accumulating and a rough idea if they have a lot of a color or not. That's good enough to give you a sense of who you need to block/hurt/not-favor.
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Greg Infi
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Carthoris wrote:
It's not so hard to track the contents of other players' hands as you seem to think.

In my last 4 player game a total of 25 cards were bought throughout the game. I really don't understand why players have to go through the mental exercise of memorizing that many cards just to get an idea of the score (and it takes only a couple of missed cards to underestimate someone's score by a large margin).

misteralan wrote:
I don't attempt to run totals in my head, but I try to stay aware of who is buying most cards and which god is going to score heavily for an opponent.

Thunkd wrote:
You don't need an exact tally, just a general feel for how people are doing in the game.

In my experience I do need to tally up the exact score to know how close the game is. In my last game the 1st and 2nd player ended up with a tie (which I won), whereas my second to last game was won by just 1 point.

Not trying to argue here. If you guys like the vague scoring that's great but for me it simply doesn't work, even though I am good with numbers. I think the game would hugely benefit from an app or a spreadsheet that tracks everyone's score on the fly, so players know where they are and how many points they get for each action as soon as it's executed.

It seems the only reason why the designer chose hidden score is that it's too difficult for an average player to keep track of it on the fly, hence the grand counting at the end.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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As I recall, there are several attempts in the BGG Forums here (and maybe in the files area) to create a "running score" variant for people that prefer to know a moment-to-moment horse race. I don't think it would improve the game.
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Jake Waltier
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I think about 9 times out of 10 I find not knowing other players' scores makes for a better game. I would rather have uncertainty and tension and general self-promoting instead of deliberate leader-bashing and king-making and knowing I can't win 70% of the way into the game. Concordia does a great job of obscuring scores while not totally preventing you from having an idea of how well other players are doing.
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Richard Hills
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TwentySides wrote:
I think about 9 times out of 10 I find not knowing other players' scores makes for a better game. I would rather have uncertainty and tension and general self-promoting instead of deliberate leader-bashing and king-making and knowing I can't win 70% of the way into the game. Concordia does a great job of obscuring scores while not totally preventing you from having an idea of how well other players are doing.

I also prefer uncertainty and tension.

On the other hand, those people who would prefer to play Concordia with a precise running tally of victory points can log on to the Boiteajeux website.
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bort
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I like the uncertainty - I just make moves that increase my score and the end of the game can look after itself.
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Pradyot
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

We were aware (theoretically) of how the scoring works, just that we chose not to do intermediate scoring and that nobody put in the effort to calculate their scores during the game and that left us completely blind. I see the merits of keeping some opacity till end-game as it prevents leader bashing. There are other games we've played that have this feature - just that they are all 1 hour or shorter.

I think once we play Concordia a few more times, we'll be able to get a better sense of how much our final score is likely to be and how well we are doing.

Thankfully, everyone has a good time so the scoring opacity is not a dealbreaker! :-)
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