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Subject: Different scoring system? rss

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Ben
United States
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cmarques1982 wrote:
I was wondering if it would be possible to have a different scoring system, more specifically one that doesn't force you to diversify.

Any thoughts on this?

I think it would be quite easy to create. The simplest idea is to implement triangular scoring for the current scoring thresholds.

I wouldn't want to punish those who diversify, however, so I would begin the triangular scoring at the second step. In other words:

0 sheep: -1 point.
1-3 sheep: 1 point.
4-5 sheep: 2 points.
6-7 sheep: 4 points.
8-? sheep: 7 points.

If you overvalue specialization, you run the risk of having a lack of competition among players, making the game even more of a solitary exercise. I think a scoring system similar to the one above would at least create a meaningful decision-point for when to specialize and when to diversify.
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Derakon Derakon
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You can also just have unbounded scores, e.g. -1 point for 0 sheep, 0 points for 1 sheep, and 1 point per 2 sheep after that.

The difficulty is in setting up a system where both diversification and (some degree of) specializing are reasonable strategies. Specialization is comparatively easy: it's easier to grow only grain, it's easier to ranch only sheep, etc. If specialization can pull similar scores as diversification without requiring similar numbers of actions, then it'll beat out diversification every time, and you just end up with a bunch of specialized farms that aren't really competing with each other for much.

Of course, ranching populations are fairly strictly limited by time and number of animals; if you managed to grab every single sheep in the game you'd still top out at only 20 (assuming a round 1 sheep action and no 5P zoo), which under the scoring rules I suggested would get you a whopping 10 points. Crops are less bounded; we had one player last week give up on ranching entirely and fill his farm with fields; he had at one point something like 15 grain and 8 veggies and could easily have gotten more if he'd wanted to.
 
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Jason Gische
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Derakon wrote:
You can also just have unbounded scores, e.g. -1 point for 0 sheep, 0 points for 1 sheep, and 1 point per 2 sheep after that.

Not sure this would have much effect, since it's pretty rare for someone to get more than the "max" in any category other than grain/veggies. And you'd need to get 2 more specialized points to make up for a -1 in any single category, so I don't think this slight alteration would change gameplay much at all.

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The difficulty is in setting up a system where both diversification and (some degree of) specializing are reasonable strategies. Specialization is comparatively easy: it's easier to grow only grain, it's easier to ranch only sheep, etc. If specialization can pull similar scores as diversification without requiring similar numbers of actions, then it'll beat out diversification every time, and you just end up with a bunch of specialized farms that aren't really competing with each other for much.

Definitely good points. I think if you go with something like pyramidal scoring, you need to have bigger punishments for completely ignoring an aspect. Maybe -2 for all categories you ignore rather than -1 is enough.

Keep in mind that a player might also take a couple of sheep (or whatever) because it denies a specialist big points. Of course, that's a much bigger threat in a 2p (zero-sum) game than it is in multi-player. But that's not all that different than the way the cards make action spaces more valuable to some players than others.
 
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James Huang
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The unbounded system really skews the game in flavor of having fields + grain / veggies.

With the right cards, you can get some ridiculous score. Just take a few of the following cards: Gardener + Field Warden + Plow Maker + Market Woman + Land Agent + Potato Scoop + Potato Dibber + Scythe.

End the game with a 3 person home, 11 points from fields, and 40 points from veggies and another 40 from grain.
 
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Derakon Derakon
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You'd have difficulty pulling that off. Let's say you managed to get 3 wheat fields by the first harvest, 8 by the second (counting the 3 still sowed), and 11 by the third (ditto). That means you take 3 grain before the first harvest by whatever means, which becomes 9. Before the second harvest, you have 3 off the fields and 5 fields to fill, so you grab two more and sow, giving you 5 * 3 + 3 * 2 = 21 grain. Before the third harvest 3 of those get re-sown, giving you 27 grain. Before the fourth, your original 3 fields have emptied so you can re-sow them => 33 grain. Before the fifth, you re-sow your second batch of 5 fields => 43 grain. In the last round you re-sow your final three fields for a grand total of 49 grain.

Assuming you never ate any of your grain and every 2 grain is worth 1 point, that gets you 24 points, or 25 if you spend one more action on the "Take 1 grain" action. Assuming you rely on baking to feed your family, burning 1 grain for all but the first harvest and scrounging for the rest, you end up with 22 points in grain. For such a hyper-focused game I actually think that's rather weak.

Now, veggies are a different matter, since each is worth a point in the base scoring rules. If you have a strong early veggie engine (undergardner + potato dibber would be entirely sufficient) then the same strategy would get you 44 points...though you'd have more trouble feeding.
 
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Benjamin Kerenza
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Derakon wrote:
Now, veggies are a different matter, since each is worth a point in the base scoring rules. If you have a strong early veggie engine (undergardner + potato dibber would be entirely sufficient) then the same strategy would get you 44 points...though you'd have more trouble feeding.


Not if you throw in schnapps distiller and scrounge the remaining as you suggested with grain. Heck you wouldn't even need a cooking improvement then!
 
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Matt Shields
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cmarques1982 wrote:
I was wondering if it would be possible to have a different scoring system, more specifically one that doesn't force you to diversify.

Any thoughts on this?


The real problem with this general idea is that the game is play-tested and balanced with the scoring rules we have.

If you change the scoring rules, you are inevitably going to end up with some cards that are unbalanced/broken since they weren't designed to be played in this system. Take Grain Cart, for example. In a normal game, you could easily use that to take 30+ grain off the board if you felt like it. The reason you don't do it in a normal game is because the points cap, so those extra grain aren't worth anything. (Sure, someone could block it if they wanted, but since 1 grain is a pretty weak first action for most players most of the time, it's not that profitable to do so.)

There are just a ton of cards out there. I suspect if you played with different scoring rules you'd find dozens of cards that would be much better or much worse that we never even though of.
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Derakon Derakon
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bjwells wrote:
Derakon wrote:
Now, veggies are a different matter, since each is worth a point in the base scoring rules. If you have a strong early veggie engine (undergardner + potato dibber would be entirely sufficient) then the same strategy would get you 44 points...though you'd have more trouble feeding.


Not if you throw in schnapps distiller and scrounge the remaining as you suggested with grain. Heck you wouldn't even need a cooking improvement then!
Yeah, well, Undergardner + Schnapps Distiller is a broken combination anyway. Anything that gives you 7 food for one action is. (even if you can only get 5 of that food once per harvest)
 
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James Huang
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I don't see how it would that difficult to pull off. I pulled the number 40 out of thin air, but it was just a guesstimate, although I definitely agree that you can abuse veggies a lot more than grain.

Here's a sample game I just thought of to show:

Round 1
3W
Potato Dibber

Round 2
RSF
PF

Round 3
Hobby Farmer (1 field -- 3V)
Irrigation Canal (Cost 1S/1W, every time you plow a field, you can move a crop over from an adjacent one and sow it, but you put one less)

Round 4
Schapps Distiller
Plow Field (2 fields -- 2V 2V) -- after harvest 1V 1V + 1 in supply, (1 eaten).

Round 5
Gardener
Plow Field (3 fields -- 1V 2V + 1 in supply)

Round 6
Field Warden
Plow Field (4 fields -- 1V 1V 2V + 1 in supply)

Round 7
Sow 1V (4 fields -- 1V 1V 2V 3V)
Plow Field (5 fields -- 1V 1V 1V 2V 3V) - after harvest 4 in supply, 1 eaten.

Round 8
RSF
Plow Field (6 fields -- 1V 1V 2V 2V 2V 2V -- 4 in supply)

Round 9
Scythe
Plow Field (7 fields -- 1V 1V 1V 2V 2V 2V 2V -- 4 in supply), after harvest 10 in supply

Round 10
Planter Box (3 fields are adjacent to house -- doesn't really matter which ones)
Plow Field (8 fields -- 1V 1V 1V 1V 2V 2V 2V 2V -- 10 in supply)

Round 11
Plow Field (9 fields -- 1V 1V 1V 1V 1V 2V 2V 2V 2V -- 10 in supply)
Sow 9 fields (9 fields -- 4V 4V 4V 4V 4V 5V 6V 6V 6V -- 3 in supply) -- 11 After Harvest.

Round 12
Plow Field (10 fields -- 4V 4V 4V 4V 4V 5V 5V 6V 2V -- 3 in supply)
Plow & Sow (11 fields -- 7V 7V 7V 4V 4V 5V 5V 5V 2V 2V -- 0 in supply)

Round 13
Harvest Feast (11 fields -- 48V in supply)
Plow & Sow (12 fields -- 4V x 3 + 3V x 9 + 36 V in supply). After Harvest 47 in supply.

Round 14
Plow & Sow (13 fields -- 8V x 3 + 6V x 8 + 5V x2 + 34 in supply)
Turnip Field (14 fields (13 count for points) -- 12V x 3 + 9V x8 + 8V x2 + 3V + 20 in supply) After harvest 33 in supply.

That's a total of 160 vegetables, and 13 fields, for a total score of somewhere around 165 points (6 points from family, and I think 5 negatives?). Worst of all, since Field Warden is in play, most of the turns aren't even deniable, making it just a complicated game of solitaire. Also with you not taking any resources off the board, I'm sure everyone else would have boosted score, but I don't think it'll reach the point of over 100.
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