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Subject: Do you keep a running points tally during a game? rss

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Russ Williams
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It depends on the game and how easy or cumbersome it is to keep track during play.

I don't know the game Dominare. If it's a typical sort of euro with points coming from various sources, then I'm less likely to try tracking current scores in detail on my own.

It also depends if the current score is calculable by looking at the current physical game state (e.g. "your score is the total number of cities you own") or more indirectly (e.g. you gain point tokens as time goes by for accomplishing things, and those point tokens are hidden but theoretically trackable info).
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Boaty McBoatface
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Ish, sometimes I do, but not that often.
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Graham Walker
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For me a good example where this issue comes up is A Few Acres of Snow.

The physical version does not have a scoring track but I have played it a lot more online where the scores are tracked. I have gotten quite used to score monitoring as it helps you to know if you settling out is an option or not.

Not the biggest problem in the world to have as one can easily count the points on the board. But, after playing online I do feel like the physical version should have had a track
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Richard Irving
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It depends on the game, unless there is some physical representation of the score (Counting up captured tokens or positions on the board at the end of the game) the score MUST be tracked.

You can count the score of Ticket to Ride at the end of the game because your score is based on all routes claimed +/- cards made/missed + longest route bonus.

Whereas in El Grande, each province is scored at least 3 fixed times in the game and sometimes at other variable times based on the occupation of the territory immediately when it is scored. Therefore, the players have to keep continuous count of the score in El Grande.
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Ian Taylor
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As far as I am concerned, if the game has perfect information, then point tallies should be visible to all. Any game that does otherwise (and there are some offenders that are otherwise very good games such as Dominion and Small World) just seems like a clumsy attempt to create some 'tension' at the end of the game where none should rightfully exist.

Edit: In answer to your question I will tend to keep track of scores as best I can, but in complex multi-player games I won't be able to remember everything so I just keep rough estimates.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I almost never tally scores. I have an incredibly rough (and often wrong) sense of how people are doing in the game.

If deriving the score is really easy, i.e. money is VP and is visible to everyone, then I might, especially if it is a pivotal moment at the end of the game and I have to decide which other player to ding.

If it is early or mid game, I probably won't bother at all. Usually my effort is better spent figuring out how to maximize my own position than worrying about who's got the lead at that point.

If someone is so far ahead, to the point where something needs to be done to stop them from running away with the game, then it's usually so obvious that you don't have to tally the score.
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Andy Holt
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russ wrote:

I don't know the game Dominare. …
Actually, because so much can change in the last two turns, there is little to be gained (other than much AP) by spending effort on such a tally.
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GeekInsight
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I almost never tally the scores. It simply isn't worth the effort - especially when those scores can swing fairly dramatically.

Besides, it's usually not that important. When I'm going to be taking an action (long term or short term) what matters is how much I improve relative to the other players.

I'd rather know that I'll go up 5 points more than my opponents (or lose 5 points less) than know what any of the totals are.
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MyParadox wrote:
I almost never tally the scores. It simply isn't worth the effort - especially when those scores can swing fairly dramatically.

Besides, it's usually not that important. When I'm going to be taking an action (long term or short term) what matters is how much I improve relative to the other players.

I'd rather know that I'll go up 5 points more than my opponents (or lose 5 points less) than know what any of the totals are.
Sure, but what if you have an action which doesn't affect all your opponents equally? If you can do something which (e.g.) raises your own score by 5 and reduces the score of a single opponent of your choice by 5, it is useful to know which opponent is your serious competitor instead of somewhat wasting your move by zapping an opponent whom you're going to beat anyway.
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John
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I mostly just play and don't bother with adding up as it takes away from the enjoyment of the game for me. In Race for the Galaxy I've calculated both players scores towards the end of the game when it's obviously very close (and checked my numbers with my opponent so we both knew what we needed for the win). In general I prefer games when I don't have to do too much maths.

In other games where you could plausibly do that I've never bothered (Carcassonne, Lost Cities, Indian Chief) I've never bothered, though I would estimate who is in the lead.
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Greg
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With most games I'll initially play in the way that the rules say, that's the way the game was playtested and presumably the best experience that the designer could eke out of the game. The rules to Small World say that the VP counters are hidden, so for me it's in the spirit of the rules not to track information such that they may as well be open.

In such cases I think about making scoring open as a possible house rule. I do like house rules and think that a lot of the time a game that offers the best possible experience to the average player can still be modified to offer an even better experience if tailored to a particular group. I'd consider it rude to get out a paper and pencil and start jotting down numbers without the agreement of the group as a whole.

I think that estimation is a skill that's distinct from memorisation, but I think that both can have their place. There are plenty of studies in psychology involving multidimensional tasks in which it's demonstrated that performing one task makes another more difficult. Sometimes something simple like keeping track of who's doing well can nudge a game that wouldn't quite be challenging enough into interesting territoriy. The estimation task alone isn't interesting, but the dealing with the core strategic task of the game with diminished cognitive resources is pleasantly challenging. It's also possible to take deliberate steps to fool estimations, so that can add to the game too.

On the other hand, sometime's it's just annoying and a distraction from the things that are actually good about the game. In which case, implement a house rule and track away!

I think where that line is will vary from group to group.
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Russ Williams
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x_equals_speed wrote:
With most games I'll initially play in the way that the rules say, that's the way the game was playtested and presumably the best experience that the designer could eke out of the game. The rules to Small World say that the VP counters are hidden, so for me it's in the spirit of the rules not to track information such that they may as well be open.
The "spirit of the rules" is sometimes murky or ambiguous. Just because something is hidden but was publicly seen doesn't necessarily imply (for me) that it's "against the spirit" to track it.

E.g. in many trick-taking card games, the cards which have been already played are similarly hidden even though they were public information. But AFAIK it's certainly not against the spirit of trick-taking games to try to remember which cards have been played, but rather is considered part of the skill of playing the game well.
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russ wrote:
The "spirit of the rules" is sometimes murky or ambiguous. Just because something is hidden but was publicly seen doesn't necessarily imply (for me) that it's "against the spirit" to track it.

E.g. in many trick-taking card games, the cards which have been already played are similarly hidden even though they were public information. But AFAIK it's certainly not against the spirit of trick-taking games to try to remember which cards have been played, but rather is considered part of the skill of playing the game well.
I think there's a difference between keeping a mental and physical record of something. I think it's well within the spirit of a trick-taking game to try to remember which cards have been played, but I think I'd be annoyed by an opponent who pulled a pad and pencil and started writing down each card as it's being played.

If a game has the rule "Show the information publically then deliberately hide the physical record of it" in some form, then I consider the spirit of those rules that it's okay to try to remember what's happened but not to keep a physical tally.
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x_equals_speed wrote:
I think there's a difference between keeping a mental and physical record of something. I think it's well within the spirit of a trick-taking game to try to remember which cards have been played, but I think I'd be annoyed by an opponent who pulled a pad and pencil and started writing down each card as it's being played.
Aha, agreed. It wasn't clear to me that you were talking specifically of a physical tally as opposed to a mental tally.
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James Garcia
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I think not knowing is part of the fun. Small World comes to mind when I think of this subject. You tally your points at the end of the game with the point values hidden till then. I get a kick out of everybody flipping the coins over to count their final score. Just last night I was in a nail biter ending of Small World Underground. It was the end of a 3 person game (I got last due to a a stupid decision I made very early), and my brother was the last person counting his coins. As he was getting closer to flipping all the coins and getting the final end total we all realized he could get 1st. My group was making comments like "Almost there", "Please be ones", and "uh oh someones catching up". This helped in the atmosphere. Sure enough the very last coin my brother flipped over put him in the lead by 2 points and he won the game. This made a fun ending to the game.

Had we tallied points the whole way this melodramatic ending never would have happened, and it probably would have just ended with a simple I win game over. I just feel you are taking away some of your own fun.

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Greg
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russ wrote:
x_equals_speed wrote:
I think there's a difference between keeping a mental and physical record of something. I think it's well within the spirit of a trick-taking game to try to remember which cards have been played, but I think I'd be annoyed by an opponent who pulled a pad and pencil and started writing down each card as it's being played.
Aha, agreed. It wasn't clear to me that you were talking specifically of a physical tally as opposed to a mental tally.
No worries I thought that the original post was asking about a physical tally, but re-reading it I can see that it doesn't say one way or another.
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