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Subject: The 179th Edition of the TGIF Poll rss

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Ben Lott
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If you want updates on when new TGIF polls are posted, or want to look at the results of past polls go to The TGIF Poll Subscription Thread.

Well I haven't received any suggested topics, so this one comes straight from me...

Poll: The 179th TGIF Poll
Of the options listed, which would you prefer?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
A game where points are openly scored throughout the game (like Carcassonne)
23.5% 80
A game where points are hidden and then counted up at the end of the game (like Dominion)
16.2% 55
A game that has both open scoring and hidden scoring (like Ticket to Ride)
60.3% 205
Voters 340
When there is information that is trackable but the game rules don't specify whether it should be open info or hidden info, how would you usually handle it?

For example: The number of stocks remaining in Acquire, or the amount of money players have in Monopoly.
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Keep the information hidden
34.7% 118
Make it open information
65.3% 222
Voters 340
Which do you find more exciting?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
When you are racing to a certain number of points.
32.9% 110
When you count up points and everyone reveals their final score.
67.1% 224
Voters 334
This poll is now closed.   344 answers
Poll created by Blott
Closes: Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:00 am


4. What kind of scoring (if any) do your favorite games have? Why do you like the method(s) used in those games?

Any discussion is encouraged.
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Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
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I don't mind hidden points and hidden info. I don't like it when there are really convoluted methods of gaining victory points at the end of the game. Vlaada Chvátil seems to like doing this. He makes good games but that feature is a bit too random and unpredictable for me. I prefer the feeling of a race for VP's where you have a fairly good idea who is in the lead.
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Interesting. I'm probably a fan more of the mix of scoring...some hidden (via goals, etc) and some known. But in reality, it's all good.

With trackable info, in the specific case of Acquire, I was taught years ago that it was hidden. But, I have started playing where it can be asked about and known (as it saved time).

Again, not any huge preference. For Luna, even though we have the scoring tokens out where folk can see, we usually let it ride and you can get a feel for where people are. If someone asks, we count up. But it's not done continually.

We just played Samurai the other day and the three of us commented on the unique scoring of that game. With three, there is a very good chance that it will be a three way tie (with three equally skilled players). The scoring becomes who has the most pieces of the two types they do NOT have the majority in. We all agreed we like that.
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Is this the example you wanted to use here?
blott wrote:
A game where points are hidden and then counted up at the end of the game (like Dominion)
Seems to me that the scoring is NOT hidden in this game. Everyone sees exactly which scoring and other cards you pick up throughout the game... it's just a matter of remembering.

To me, the Ticket to Ride example is better for the hidden scoring element portion. Players don't know exactly which destination tickets the other players have so we can't know your score for sure.

I have a soft spot for scoring because I think it can make or break an otherwise well designed game. When I've played around with my own game designs, I often make scoring a central aspect of the game because it is, obviously, central to what players are trying to accomplish. There are some good games with very simple scoring methods, but I usually like the games where the scoring has a twist. A few games with good examples of scoring twists that can make it interesting are Ingenious, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and Last Will.
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I like to have most information known, except in bidding games, where an element of mystery adds to the thrill of the auction. I do like a blend of hidden and visible victory points, so that there is some scoring during the game, but you can never be quite sure who is going to win. If all the scoring is open, it can sometimes lead to either a screw-the-leader mentality or a sense that you know that you are defeated before the game is even over.
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bnordeng wrote:
Is this the example you wanted to use here?
blott wrote:
A game where points are hidden and then counted up at the end of the game (like Dominion)
Seems to me that the scoring is NOT hidden in this game. Everyone sees exactly which scoring and other cards you pick up throughout the game... it's just a matter of remembering.

To me, the Ticket to Ride example is better for the hidden scoring element portion. Players don't know exactly which destination tickets the other players have so we can't know your score for sure.

I have a soft spot for scoring because I think it can make or break an otherwise well designed game. When I've played around with my own game designs, I often make scoring a central aspect of the game because it is, obviously, central to what players are trying to accomplish. There are some good games with very simple scoring methods, but I usually like the games where the scoring has a twist. A few games with good examples of scoring twists that can make it interesting are Ingenious, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and Last Will.


I think when we say hidden scoring we are assuming that everyone at the table isn't remembering everyone else's scores.
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It does seem as if there is a third type of scoring, semi-hidden. That is, some games have true hidden scoring - like the Destination cards in TTR, as per the previous example. But some have scoring that it seems to me that is not intended to be tracked - by the average player, at least - but could be, if you wanted to slow things down and take notes, or if you had a photographic memory.

For games with semi-hidden scoring (or semi-hidden information in general), I know some folks prefer to play with the information open. I prefer to play as I think the game was intended, but don't like to play with anyone who would sacrifice a reasonable play time in order to track that info, or to allow note-taking. I guess I feel if the game designer meant for the info to be tracked, it would have obviously open tracking.


As for my preference, a small preference for games that have mixed, followed by all hidden, and then open - but not a strong preference. I like the excitement of uncertainty.

Dominion is a good example for me of the good and bad in "hidden" (really semi-hidden) scoring - I am largely unable to recall what more than one player has gotten in the way of VPs. It can be fun to have a surprise ending, and it can be nice to not have given up hope, and to concentrate on the satisfaction of optimizing your chosen strategy for the hand, without knowing that you've already been crushed. On the flip side, it can be frustrating to think you have run away with a game, only to be handily defeated.
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Chanfan wrote:
It does seem as if there is a third type of scoring, semi-hidden. That is, some games have true hidden scoring - like the Destination cards in TTR, as per the previous example. But some have scoring that it seems to me that is not intended to be tracked - by the average player, at least - but could be, if you wanted to slow things down and take notes, or if you had a photographic memory.

For games with semi-hidden scoring (or semi-hidden information in general), I know some folks prefer to play with the information open. I prefer to play as I think the game was intended, but don't like to play with anyone who would sacrifice a reasonable play time in order to track that info, or to allow note-taking. I guess I feel if the game designer meant for the info to be tracked, it would have obviously open tracking.


As for my preference, a small preference for games that have mixed, followed by all hidden, and then open - but not a strong preference. I like the excitement of uncertainty.

Dominion is a good example for me of the good and bad in "hidden" (really semi-hidden) scoring - I am largely unable to recall what more than one player has gotten in the way of VPs. It can be fun to have a surprise ending, and it can be nice to not have given up hope, and to concentrate on the satisfaction of optimizing your chosen strategy for the hand, without knowing that you've already been crushed. On the flip side, it can be frustrating to think you have run away with a game, only to be handily defeated.

Good point
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I couldn't answer questions one or three because they are just mechanical questions, and the answer is always, whatever is the best mechanic for the impact the game is hoping to achieve. However, that being said, many open information games put players in the position where the rules tell them, your goal is to win the game which you do by having the most points, but then put players in a situation where they are expected to continue playing even though they can see that it is impossible to win.

Games that expect you to make decisions without giving you a meaningful way to make the decisions, are, to me, broken.
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I don't mind games with hidden scoring, but I prefer it to be open. It's nice knowing if you have a lead or need to pick up the slack and get more points.
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1 - I think the mix sounds the best because you can see who is leading, but there is still that mystery which allows for a come-from-behind victory.

2 - I generally prefer to keep it hidden. Allowing players to count up this info can greatly increase analysis-paralysis which I never want to do.

3 - I answered racing to a score because in theory it should be more exciting. The flaw that sometimes crops up in these games, though, is the runaway leader. This can destroy all excitement, where hidden scoring would allow players the hope that perhaps they mustered enough to win.

4 - Well if I don't count the cooperative games which are simple win-loss, I find that I like a variety. Dominion has this semi-hidden scoring we're discussing, Vegas Showdown is 100% open, Time's Up adds up scores round by round, and Colosseum has the odd idea of only your best round counts. So I guess I don't have one preference, but a desire for variety.
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1. I found this question really hard, but decided that it's the hidden and counted at the end type of scoring that I like best - I don't mind if some scoring is done during the game, but I don't really like games where you know everyone's exact score at all times.

2. It depends how trackable, but as a rule unless the game says it should be hidden we play that it's open.

3. There are games that I like when you're racing to a final score, but as a rule I don't like this type of scoring, and much prefer it when you count up at end game.

4. Thinking about it almost all my favourite games have a mixture of in-game and end-game scoring - for instance Vegas Showdown, Princes of Florence, Through the Ages and Stone Age. Others, like Agricola, Dominion and Race for the Galaxy, you count up at end-game. Very few games I enjoy are scored totally as you go along - Outpost being the main exception. I think it's the uncertainty I like - you might know a particular person is doing well, but until that final count you don't know if they definitely have won, or if in fact you've just beat them by one point. And I really enjoy games where you have "hidden goals", such as in Egizia, and you need to satisfy certain conditions to do them - I find those sort of games often have more variety between games, as the cards force players to play difference strategies, while other games a player can play the exact same strategy every game, and if you always play with the same group it can get a bit stale sometimes.
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My top rated game, Air Baron has a scoring track and things are semi-hidden. You can openly see where everyone's market share is, but since money is hidden - a player's score is not quite known. Air Baron gives you a point destination, whereas I think I enjoy the counting of points at the end of a game more. A lot of my favorite games - like Cuba, Vegas Showdown, and Stone Age have open scoring tracks that allow you to count final points at the end of the game. I like that.
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d10-1 Interesting - my personal preference would be for the mix, but I actually chose hidden, because that's what works best for the people I game with. A few too many friends who get down when it's obvious they are in last place, even if it's just "points on the board."

d10-2 If there was a 3rd choice of "it depends" that would get my vote. I find it is really about that specific game. In Acquire, we choose to make the # of remaining stocks open information. But in Monopoly I've always played that money totals can be hidden. This probably really becomes a house rule situation if the rules don't explicitly state how to handle it.

d10-3 Definitely reveal at the end. It's fun to figure out why you might have thought you were doing poorly, only to find out you got 2nd place, for example.

d10-4 Setting aside co-ops, with my top 10 it is a mixed bag. A few that are all open (Carcassonne, Vegas Showdown), one that is all hidden (Modern Art), and a few that are a mix (TtR, Puerto Rico).
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Most of the games I enjoy have open scoring, or at the least you can count the number of points/vp's a player has control of on the board (i.e. wargames). I like the castillo in El Grande as it adds some unpredictability to the control of various regions and therefore scoring.
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#1 I like a mix of open and hidden points.. that way you can see who is generally doing better, but it could still be anyone's game at the end.

Though interestingly, in Ticket to Ride we actually score all points at the end... it saves us from forgetting to put points on for connections during the game.

#2 I am a believer in keeping it hidden... especially if it's something like Money (e.g. in Power Grid)... I would actually keep money secret in Vegas Showdown, if it didn't explicitly say to keep it open.

#3 I like the suspense of adding up the points at the end and seeing how well everyone did.... although in some games e.g. Guillotine, it's nice to know how everyone is doing at the time so you can pick on the leader...

#4 Most of my favourite games are co-op or team games, so generally just win/lose (some allow you to 'score' your victory)... Others, like Hacienda or Race for the Galaxy are partly_obscured open scoring... where it is technically open, but unless you add everything on the fly it's hard to see until the final scoring what the points are.
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2. Even though things like money should be hidden in a game like Power Grid and the like, usually, as the banker I keep my funds open and available to mitigiate any accusations of cheating.

3. Although I answered that I prefer games where you race to a certain number of victory points, I know my partner gets very discouraged if she can see that she is way behind on points.

4. As for scoring methods, I quite like periodic scoring as in Alhambra and Gen More.
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Quote:
4. What kind of scoring (if any) do your favorite games have? Why do you like the method(s) used in those games?

I tend to like games where the most money at the end of the game wins.
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My favorite game, Twilight Struggle, has tug-of-war scoring - every time I score points, it moves the scoring marker in my direction and vice versa and whoever gets to the 20 on their end first wins.

That system is of course only good in two-player (or two-team) games.
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d10-1 I like having a mix of the two where most of the information may be known but there's still some extra uncertainty.

d10-2 If it's not specified we generally keep it known. In fact, in many games (Power Grid, Small World, etc.) where it's technically supposed to be hidden we'll keep it visible too, simply because it's quicker and easier to deal with that way. Granted, that only works because no one in my usual group(s) are the kinds of players that would painstakingly count every single point or dollar that the other players had before making a move.

d10-3 This really depends on the game since many have ways to earn points that are not easily tracked after the fact so you have no choice but to keep the running tally. With games where every point can be recalculated at the end (Ticket to Ride, for example) we've found it more enjoyable to not keep the running tally and then add up everything at the end. It's a little harder to determine who is "winning" at any point during the game, but it avoids the issues of someone giving up because they're too far behind or people wasting time trying to optimize things and squeeze out that extra point or two just to get ahead of someone else in the final turns.

d10-4 I really like how Merchants & Marauders handles the points on the glory track. The points you've earned for accomplishing things during the game (missions, rumors, winning battles, etc.) are visible to everyone, but each player also gets secret points based on the gold they've put in their stash (10 gold = 1 point) which can add up to become as much as half of their final glory point count.

The really interesting part is how the game weights the visible points higher than stashed points, and how anything in the stash that goes beyond 10 points doesn't matter except as a secondary tiebreaker. If one player has 7 points on the board and at least 3 stashed (10 total), they'd win over a player with 6 on the board and 4 (or more) stashed. Anything that goes beyond 10 only matters if all of the players have the same amount of visible points on the board. It sounds a little odd written out here, but it makes sense thematically - when it comes to fame and glory, your deeds are worth more than your wealth.
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leroy43 wrote:
That system is of course only good in two-player (or two-team) games.
Actually... reading this made me think of a new scoring idea that I just might try out. Tug-of-war scoring with more than 2 players/teams. It could be done and might be pretty darn interesting.
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Question 2 needs an "it depends" answer. There are games I won't play with the information public (No Thanks, High Society), games where I won't play with it hidden (Acquire), and games where I'll play either way (Goa, Power Grid).
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I don't mind some hidden scoring, but I prefer open scoring in general.

What I don't like is the scoring in 7 Wonders and Agricola where you finish the game and then you get out a pencil and pad and spend the next 10 minutes totalling up everyone's score.

I want to know who won right after the game so I can forget about it and move on to the next game.

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Blott wrote:
4. What kind of scoring (if any) do your favorite games have? Why do you like the method(s) used in those games?

I like games where you are forced to give points/advantages to other players in order to advance your own position.
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Blott wrote:
4. What kind of scoring (if any) do your favorite games have? Why do you like the method(s) used in those games?


I prefer a scoring system where most of the scoring is known and public throughout the game, but where there's enough hidden scoring to tip the balance. For an ideal example, Louis XIV - most of the scoring is in the missions, and some in the shields, but the bonus shields are a surprise at the end.

I _hate_ when the scoring is fully trackable, but rather than just tracking it some work-around is used to confuse those not keeping track. This often, in my experience, has the effect of sending folks after the wrong person, and making what should be a close game a blow-out instead.
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