Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Crusaders - better end game scoring?

One of the niggling things that I would like to clean up in Crusaders is the end game scoring. Currently it does what I want it to do, and I think it's interesting and good, but it's definitely cumbersome and I'm sure people will get confused by it.

So far, every alternative suggested by players or thought of by myself to make it simpler has also had the effect of removing some of the interesting bits about the system that I liked... until now?

Yesterday I thought of an alternative that might maintain some of the interesting bits I like about the scoring, but make counting up points a whole lot easier to do and understand:

For each building type (and knights), award a majority bonus like I do for the Slav and Prussian enemy tokens. For symmetry, I might as well start with 9vp for 1st majority, 4vp for 2nd (4vp if tied for 1st - no 2nd in that case, 2vp if tied for 2nd).

To compare that to the current system, consider a player who builds all 4 of their Churches, each one at a different range. With the old rule, that player will get 6 bonus points just from their own Churches, and likely a few more for other players' Churches as well. Under the new rule, a player building all 4 Churches will likely win this new bonus for Churches, scoring 9 points. 9 points doesn't seem too different from the 6+some points they'd be getting now.

For this to work correctly though, I think the hexes need to be labeled differently. I'm going to assign the term Land Value for this - the Land Value (number printed in the hex) should probably range from 2 to 4 rather than from 1 to 5, otherwise building 1 Church at the ends of the board (range 5) would overpower several churches built elsewhere. I'd prefer if 1 church on the edge of the board were more on par with 2 Churches built near Paris.

So my plan is to change the "ranges" as follows:
Paris and Ranges 1 and 2 = Land Value 2
Ranges 3 and 4 = Land Value 3
Range 5 = Land Value 4

I might consider keeping Paris and the 4 starting locations as Land Value 1, but I'm not sure if that would create too much disincentive to build there. With the discount I think the obvious first turn is probably still to build something.

Another thought would be to do 3/4/5 rather than 2/3/4 - to devalue the single late game building a little more. Leave a comment below if you have a feeling one way or another about any of these values.

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