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Subject: Removing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points rss

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Derek Carver
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I really like the game mechanics in Stone Age but our games have shown that the excessive bonus points that can be achieved at game end as a result of Civilisation Card collecting can completely overshadow the game play. It is a tail that very much wags the dog. Our group - including the winners - so disliked what this had done to the game that nobody wanted to play it again and I reluctantly decided to sell it.

However, I decided to first try a variant that so far has been extremely successful and has resulted in very close final scores. This variant is that NO INDIVIDUAL BONUS FROM THE CIVILISATION CARDS CAN EXCEED 50% OF THE VPs SCORED DURING THE COURSE OF PLAY.
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
If you are THE Derek Carver, I dare to reply now - you should know best meeple

Nevertheless, my 2 cents here:

We play this game quite often, and we never had a problem with the card scoring - in fact, there are only two ways of scoring in the game: huts and cards, all other locations are necessary to acquire these two items.

If you want to acquire huts, you have to plan carefully - you have to gather three specific resources and watch your fellow players.

If you focus on acquiring specific cards, you have to pay 3 or 4 resources for it, because the two with only 1 or 2 goods to pay are quickly taken - these are cheap points and a bonus! Especially later in the game, the first two cards are claimed before a new tool or a new field is claimed. Cards are much easier to acquire than huts, therefore everyone grabs a card if he's able to. At least in my games. And therefore, everyone scores a fair share of points with the cards - sometimes you have runaways here, but more often the score is close.

We never had an issue with the cards (or with scoring); although I will bring your variant to the attention of my group - eventually we will try calculate end game points both ways next time, just to see how it plays out.
meeple

PS: My last 3 player game showed 113, 117 and 123 points; unfortunately I didn't record the scores of my other games ...
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Andy Holt
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
I'm surprised that you find this necessary - if you actually let a player buy cards scoring over 70 in a set I would suggest she deserves such a score.
You are cutting-down the range of possible strategies by, in effect, saying that a player must score at least, say, 70 from huts (tho' that doesn't seem that difficult anyhow)
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Tomello Visello
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Carver wrote:
...the excessive bonus points that can be achieved at game end as a result of Civilisation Card collecting can completely overshadow the game play.
They are a surprise becuse they are hidden until the end. I don't know that that makes them excessive.


Carver wrote:
This variant is that NO INDIVIDUAL BONUS FROM THE CIVILISATION CARDS CAN EXCEED 50% OF THE VPs SCORED DURING THE COURSE OF PLAY.
You can score with Huts or you can score with Civ Cards. The printed rules allow you to choose your own balance - including focus exclusively on one or the other. How is it useful that your rule now tries to force everyone to do some of both?

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Justin Moore
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Got to add my voice to the "why?" camp. It often takes a lot of materials to get all 8 symbols, or to claim as many of the tool bonuses as I can, then you penalize me just because you've let some people run away with a game in the past?

You do have to pay attention to the bonuses your opponents are collecting...
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norman rule
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
End of game bonuses alone will never win the game for you by themselves. If you have a crappy score going in to end game, you're not going to win. Period.

If you have a player who completely runs away with multiple bonuses... well, you just need to improve your game. There's no reason to allow that to happen.
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Kevin Bourrillion
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
mrorwell wrote:
End of game bonuses alone will never win the game for you by themselves. If you have a crappy score going in to end game, you're not going to win. Period.

What? That's not true. Perhaps if everyone at the table is playing optimally (except, of course, you), then you'll lose, but then, that's a tautology.
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Andy Andersen
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
What is a "normal" score at the end of the game? We played our first last night and it was 145-123. My wife did win with the Civilization cards because she outplayed me. I like the rule the way it is.
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AJ Newhausen
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
I've only played four-player, but in the two games I remember, the winning scores were 183 (this one actually went down to a tiebreaker) and somewhere in the low 200's.
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Rejigger the Civ points chart so that the points are scored as the cards are acquired. That doesn't change the amount of points earned but it does give the players a better sense of who is winning...

Brian
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Orangemoose wrote:
What is a "normal" score at the end of the game? We played our first last night and it was 145-123. My wife did win with the Civilization cards because she outplayed me. I like the rule the way it is.

I'm not sure there is a "normal" score. In a two player game I've won with anywhere from 100 to 300+ points.
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Andy Andersen
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Thanks.
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
Perhaps if you knew the value of each card available each round and their varying value to a specific player that might help (i.e. the player going for sets already has the flute symbol so they likely won't pay 3 resources for a 2nd flute, etc.). We recently played a 3p game where all cards acquired were faceup (making sure to track the "one time" use tools).

I was concerned about possible AP issues, but it played fine and one could take a card knowing for sure it was a blocking move, rather than relying on memory. We did this because one of the players dislikes "hidden trackable" info in a game.
 
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Steve Duff
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
I guess I never feel that these are end game points, since I get them *during* the game. I just don't record them until the end of the game.

But it's never a surprise to me when I see Mr. Love Shack repeatedly taking cards with meeple multipliers on them that he does well there, or that Miss Green Card scored well in those cards she was grabbing repeatedly.
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Re: Remvoing the play distortion due to excessive end-of-game bonus points
kevinb9n wrote:
That's not true. Perhaps if everyone at the table is playing optimally (except, of course, you), then you'll lose, but then, that's a tautology.

If your opponents are competent enough to prevent you from getting several large bonuses, it is true.

A crappy in game score with one bonus won't win you the game if the people you are playing against have any basic understanding of strategy.

If everyone is within 20-30 points, then the bonuses are certainly going to determine the winner.
 
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Derek Carver
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I was interested to read that the problem (and we felt that it was a problem and we are all very experienced gamers) we encountered isn't experienced by everybody, which is what one would imagine anyway..

But what I did note is that many who replied were referring to 2-player games. With 2 players it is far easier to apply checks.

But we were - and are always - 4 players. So if we, for example, see that John is collecting tool-maker multipliers we can attempt to thwart him even though we don't want them ourselves. But the player who does this puts himself (and hopefully John) at a disadvantage whilst the other two get on with their own game.

Anyway, as I said, this is a a varient that we felt improved our games. If others find it unnecessary that's fine. They'll ignore my posting.
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Tomello Visello
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Carver wrote:
But what I did note is that many who replied were referring to 2-player games.
Ummm. I have puzzlement. I see almost nothing of that when I review the prior messages.

Someone mentioned it to present an "average" score, but not about a style of play.

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Tomello Visello
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Carver wrote:
But we were - and are always - 4 players. So if we, for example, see that John is collecting tool-maker multipliers we can attempt to thwart him even though we don't want them ourselves. But the player who does this puts himself (and hopefully John) at a disadvantage whilst the other two get on with their own game..
But this is not just taking a hit for the group. Every card has two meanings - the end-game value and an immediate value. Does no one else ever find the immediate value attractive? There should be competition for the card.

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TwistedAries
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How are you counting your CIV cards?

I can understand if, for example, you collect 5 civ cards = 25 and also collected 5 duplicates of the same which you then added an additional 25 points to equal 50 points, then yes the bonuses can get out of hand.

It is my understanding and correct me if i'm wrong, that if you collect 5 civ cards = 25 and you collect 5 duplicates of the same, is it not just 5 more points you are adding for a total of 30?

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Chris Berger
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Have people already considered and rejected the idea of just keeping your cards face up? That seems to make the most sense to me in regards to reducing end of game "surprise" points. I mean, I never understood the point of having hidden trackable information in a game in the first place - it just slows things down while you try to remember what they "might" have and calculate what the points are worth.

Why not take the cards face up and immediately score the points that it's currently worth on the scoring track? For example:

a) When you buy a civ card with a different symbol than any you already have, it's worth 2n - 1, where n is the number of different civ cards you have in play including this one. The first symbol is worth 1. The second is worth 3, the third is worth 5, etc. This translates exactly to your total number of points from a set of civ cards equaling n * n. I still don't know if people agree on the second set of civ cards being scored the same as the first or just as 1 point per card, so score that however you would score that...

b) When you buy a multiplier, immediately score points for how much that multiplier is currently worth.

c) When you get another tool, person, field, or hut, gain points equal to the multipliers for that type on all of your civ cards.

I dunno, I guess maybe some people like hidden trackable information for some reason, but at least it would be better than changing the actual scoring for the game by limiting the worth of a particular card.
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This thread smells of a variant borne from insufficient play to mitigate a somewhat faulty strategy. I like the surprise aspect of final scoring (surprise in that I don't bother even tracking the cards - I simply pay attention and get a feel for what people are collecting in general.)

It's acually one of the more fun aspects of S.A. when someone bangs out a big score using the set collection strategy. You usually get reactions like shake and angry and cry, followed by thumbsup.

The game is not broken from it.
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Todd McCorkle
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TwistedAries wrote:
It is my understanding and correct me if i'm wrong, that if you collect 5 civ cards = 25 and you collect 5 duplicates of the same, is it not just 5 more points you are adding for a total of 30?

The original rules and example were a bit ambiguous. The game designer clarified things one way (duplicates are also squared). Jay of RGG clarified it the other way (duplicates are only 1 pt each) and changed the english rules to reflect that.

IMO game designer trumps publisher, but I've yet to see a game where it would make much difference. Collecting a 2nd set doesn't seem worth it. Of course, I'm biased against the green cards anyway and only reluctantly collect a first set.
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arkayn wrote:

Have people already considered and rejected the idea of just keeping your cards face up? That seems to make the most sense to me in regards to reducing end of game "surprise" points. I mean, I never understood the point of having hidden trackable information in a game in the first place - it just slows things down while you try to remember what they "might" have and calculate what the points are worth.

Why not take the cards face up and immediately score the points that it's currently worth on the scoring track? For example:

a) When you buy a civ card with a different symbol than any you already have, it's worth 2n - 1, where n is the number of different civ cards you have in play including this one. The first symbol is worth 1. The second is worth 3, the third is worth 5, etc. This translates exactly to your total number of points from a set of civ cards equaling n * n. I still don't know if people agree on the second set of civ cards being scored the same as the first or just as 1 point per card, so score that however you would score that...

b) When you buy a multiplier, immediately score points for how much that multiplier is currently worth.

c) When you get another tool, person, field, or hut, gain points equal to the multipliers for that type on all of your civ cards.

I dunno, I guess maybe some people like hidden trackable information for some reason, but at least it would be better than changing the actual scoring for the game by limiting the worth of a particular card.

People run away from Dominant Species with their hair on fire because they think calculating Domination on a hex is "too much work". Apparently basic, simple math escapes the BGG crowd.

Now you want them to go and do Algebra nearly every turn playing Stone Age?

You're insane, dude. Hidden cards is a big part of the fun, and don't hide behind that old saw "tracking hidden information is so trivial and easy for our group we simply play with that information open to speed up the game" B.S. You're not foolin' anybody...Big Brother is watching...whistle
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Chris Berger
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markgravitygood wrote:
People run away from Dominant Species with their hair on fire because they think calculating Domination on a hex is "too much work". Apparently basic, simple math escapes the BGG crowd.

Now you want them to go and do Algebra nearly every turn playing Stone Age?

2n - 1 isn't "doing algebra", it's simple arithmetic. Even simpler than n * n. If it's a problem, use a chart.

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You're insane, dude.
I know that being hostile and insulting in every post is your schtick, but really it's getting old.

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Hidden cards is a big part of the fun
About half the reviews I've read of Stone Age would say differently. I was just offering an alternative to the original post that suggested changing the scoring, for people that find the hidden information tedious rather than "big fun", and wondering if anyone had suggested it before.
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arkayn wrote:
markgravitygood wrote:
People run away from Dominant Species with their hair on fire because they think calculating Domination on a hex is "too much work". Apparently basic, simple math escapes the BGG crowd.

Now you want them to go and do Algebra nearly every turn playing Stone Age?

2n - 1 isn't "doing algebra", it's simple arithmetic. Even simpler than n * n. If it's a problem, use a chart.

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You're insane, dude.
I know that being hostile and insulting in every post is your schtick, but really it's getting old.

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Hidden cards is a big part of the fun
About half the reviews I've read of Stone Age would say differently. I was just offering an alternative to the original post that suggested changing the scoring, for people that find the hidden information tedious rather than "big fun", and wondering if anyone had suggested it before.

Apparently the whistling emoticon went unoticed to you. I was trying to be facetious. Sorry you didn't "get it".shake I was not being hostile.

2n - 1 IS an algebraic expression. It might be basic algebra, but it's algebra nonetheless. Maybe you should design a chart for the math-challenged and submit it to the files section? I think that's a great idea.

And given that 'about half the reviews' you've read would say differently, as you put it, then it follows 'about half the reviews would agree'.

Seems more trouble than it's worth. My opinion of course, as is yours.

 
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