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Subject: Screen is pointless? rss

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Chris
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For some reason I don't like player screens, and here they seem pretty pointless. You have a stack of cardboard coins of unknown value, and a few tiles face down in front of you. What does the screen really add to it apart from a touch less information, as neither "hidden" asset is really out in the open without the screen anyway
 
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Stefan Alexander
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The number of tiles remaining is important, and playtesters liked it better hidden. Also it's a useful player aid and helps other players remember your player color.
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I quickly dispensed with the screens and haven't looked back. I think it is a much better game with open information, and also avoids the problem of someone forgetting to end their turn with a tile.

I think the reasoning behind the screens is that some people get emotionally upset about seeing the king-making that occurs out in the open, but just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not happening. If anything it's worse, as your decisions become more arbitrary if you can't see people's scores. The challenge of the game is creating a situation where other players simply can't avoid helping you; winning by chance because someone simply didn't realize you were in the lead is much less interesting and satisfying in my view.
 
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Robert
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verandi wrote:

I think the reasoning behind the screens is that some people get emotionally upset about seeing the king-making that occurs out in the open, but just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not happening. If anything it's worse, as your decisions become more arbitrary if you can't see people's scores. The challenge of the game is creating a situation where other players simply can't avoid helping you; winning by chance because someone simply didn't realize you were in the lead is much less interesting and satisfying in my view.


It kind of blows my mind that you ignore the designer, whose opinion is just above yours, and the years of playtesting and re-tooling he put into the game.
 
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BankofDracula wrote:

It kind of blows my mind that you ignore the designer, whose opinion is just above yours, and the years of playtesting and re-tooling he put into the game.


I guess those years of playtesting and retooling explain why there's a glaring contradiction between the player aid and the rulebook? LOL

Actually I have followed the designer's comments in this forum with great interest, and have much admiration and enthusiasm for the game.

I'm sorry you are so offended that I question the merit of having hidden trackable information in the game. The audacity!

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Robert
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verandi wrote:
BankofDracula wrote:

It kind of blows my mind that you ignore the designer, whose opinion is just above yours, and the years of playtesting and re-tooling he put into the game.


I guess those years of playtesting and retooling explain why there's a glaring contradiction between the player aid and the rulebook? LOL

Actually I have followed the designer's comments in this forum with great interest, and have much admiration and enthusiasm for the game.

I'm sorry you are so offended that I question the merit of having hidden trackable information in the game. The audacity!



Stefan, were there reports from playtesters that king making was worse in the games in which the screens are used?
 
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Stefan Alexander
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BankofDracula wrote:


Stefan, were there reports from playtesters that king making was worse in the games in which the screens are used?


That wasn't exactly it - most players simply liked the game better with the screens. There's a variety of reasons for this, but mostly open info caused people to spend extra time counting others' money, or at least looking at it, which slowed the game down. And then they'd make their decisions based on this info. Whereas by hiding the information they tended to only have a vague impression of who was ahead, and therefore tended to choose a play that would simply benefit them the most. This rewarded gameplay that created situations where it was in others' best interest to give you points.

I did spent quite a while testing this, with various groups. I hope the existence of a rules ambiguity between the player aid and the rulebook (and the knowledge that the rulebook and player aid are done by the publisher, not the designer), would not give the impression that I made this decision lightly or arbitrarily.

Many players don't have an issue with hidden trackable information (in fact they often don't know what it is, or how it's different from hidden untrackable information - they just don't care).

Also, the game works just fine without player screens - I know because I've played dozens of games this way. I (and my test groups) didn't like it quite as much, but it's more of a gameplay feeling than anything else, it doesn't break anything and I definitely support those who want to play it that way. My decision could have gone either way depending on the feel I was going for - but as a designer I think it's important to make a call about what I think is best, and not have endless variations. But as far as house rules go, this is a good one and I'd recommend it to anyone who dislikes hidden trackable info or just wants a more analytical experience.
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Chris
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s2alexan wrote:
BankofDracula wrote:


Stefan, were there reports from playtesters that king making was worse in the games in which the screens are used?


That wasn't exactly it - most players simply liked the game better with the screens. There's a variety of reasons for this, but mostly open info caused people to spend extra time counting others' money, or at least looking at it, which slowed the game down. And then they'd make their decisions based on this info. Whereas by hiding the information they tended to only have a vague impression of who was ahead, and therefore tended to choose a play that would simply benefit them the most. This rewarded gameplay that created situations where it was in others' best interest to give you points.

I did spent quite a while testing this, with various groups. I hope the existence of a rules ambiguity between the player aid and the rulebook (and the knowledge that the rulebook and player aid are done by the publisher, not the designer), would not give the impression that I made this decision lightly or arbitrarily.

Many players don't have an issue with hidden trackable information (in fact they often don't know what it is, or how it's different from hidden untrackable information - they just don't care).

Also, the game works just fine without player screens - I know because I've played dozens of games this way. I (and my test groups) didn't like it quite as much, but it's more of a gameplay feeling than anything else, it doesn't break anything and I definitely support those who want to play it that way. My decision could have gone either way depending on the feel I was going for - but as a designer I think it's important to make a call about what I think is best, and not have endless variations. But as far as house rules go, this is a good one and I'd recommend it to anyone who dislikes hidden trackable info or just wants a more analytical experience.


Thanks for the balanced view on it Stefan. FWIW I really liked my first full game yesterday. Full as we had to abandon the first one of the evening at game night as it was far too complicated for one player to understand :s
 
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BankofDracula wrote:

It kind of blows my mind that you ignore the designer, whose opinion is just above yours, and the years of playtesting and re-tooling he put into the game.


Thinking it over, I can somewhat sympathize with your reaction as you thought that I read the designer's response and then decided to write my comment. But I'd like to point out that was not the case: I started writing my comment before Stefan's comment posted, so I didn't see it. As you can see my comment posted just 4 minutes after his. Perhaps clearing the air on this detail changes your POV a bit and is what I should've done to begin with rather than double down on the brouhaha.
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Robert
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verandi wrote:
BankofDracula wrote:

It kind of blows my mind that you ignore the designer, whose opinion is just above yours, and the years of playtesting and re-tooling he put into the game.


Thinking it over, I can somewhat sympathize with your reaction as you thought that I read the designer's response and then decided to write my comment. But I'd like to point out that was not the case: I started writing my comment before Stefan's comment posted, so I didn't see it. As you can see my comment posted just 4 minutes after his. Perhaps clearing the air on this detail changes your POV a bit and is what I should've done to begin with rather than double down on the brouhaha.


You are completely correct; I hadn't considered whether you had actually seen Stefan's comment. Sorry!

As for a brouhaha, don't worry about it--water off a duck's back and all that.

Thanks for being cool.
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