But the 1 2/3 points don't actually happen unless you get the three in a row. The two sorts of victory are not commensurate.
Well, not to belabor the obvious, but no points happen until they actually happen. The point you get for checkmating a king doesn't happen until it is checkmated. The points you get at the end of a game but not before are only tallied when they happen (for example, points for having the most of something at the end of a game). In some games you get points for each resource you have, but can also get additional points at the end of the game if you have the most of that resource. So those latter don't happen unless you have the most. Yes, you can differentiate points that are accumulated gradually vs. those that are scored at the end. Just as you can differentiate points that you cannot lose in the course of the game (most Euros), vs. ones that you can (points for leading certain categories in Settlers). I do not see the problem.
Points only exist to record activity that is part of a victory (or end of game) condition. Conversely, most if not all game victory conditions can be expressed in points.
I think that the distinctions being made between games where points are accumulated and kept, where points can be stolen and where points are tallied at the end are useful ones.
I continue to worry about whether games which call for an absolute state (like achieving checkmate) can be meaningfully described in terms of points.
Consider Condottiere. One might be faced with an end of game situation where the Red player controls five states. It can readily be explained that the five states equate to five points. Or put simply one state equals one point. In a second game blue might have achieved a three-in-a-row victory. The casual observer might object i thought states were worth one point. Ah ha, we reply, that is because in this instance they are worth 1 2/3 points each. Why is that? Because they are three in a row!
If the allocation of points can only be descibed in terms of the very victory conditions they seek to describe, doesn't the whole enterprise become rather circular.
It would be my contention that certain forms of victory conditions are quantifiable (the points accumulating games already discussed) but there are other games which offer multiple victory conditions where the victory conditions are qualitatively different one from another. In these games, if you can reduce the game to a meaningful linear points structure you have effectively broken the game. But not all games can be broken in this way.
Surely some games have more ways to score points than just one. So you explain both ways to score points (in Condot.) to begin with. There are several different ways to score points in Britannia, for example (may as well use one of my own games as an example).
Originally Posted by shallowgrave
Can you give some examples of games and victory conditions that can be broken by quantification? There may be some, I just cannot think of any.
Of course it's "circular" if VP and victory conditions are synonymous. Yet how could they not be? When would VPs not represent a way to win (that's the whole point of Victory Points, no?)? Up to you to describe games where a way to win cannot be described in VP terms. Maybe there are a few.
War ot the Ring has two sets of victory conditions. Good can win either by capturing 3 Evil citadels or by destroying The Ring. Evil wins by capturing 5 Good citadels or by capturing The Ring. Now I fully concur that one could set numeric values to these states and indeed one would need to if one were éxplaining this game to a computer. However these values are fairly arbitrary. One could, for example, say that victory is achieved by winning 15 points. Evil citadels are worth 5 points to Good; Good citadels are worth 3 points to Evil. Ring capture/destruction is worth 15 points. If one goes a little further one can see that some kind of relationship is being asserted within these numeric values. Let V= victory threshold, x=value of good citadels, y=value of evil citadels, z=value of the ring
5x= any number equal to or greater than V
4x= any number less than V
3y= any number equal to or greater than V
2y= any number less than V
This does indeed assert something. The problem is the value we give to Z
z= any number equal to or greater than V
And it really doesn't matter what value you assign to z beyond that.
I fully agree that the situation is very different in a game like Britannia. In Britannia wildly different kinds of motivation (Boudicca's desire for revenge, Saxon desire for land, the emergence of the concept of kingship) are given numeric values. This works extremely well both in producing an interesting game and something that feels historically accurate. The attention to historical detail and the necessity to keep players on some kind of rough track does however produce a scoring system which is different through time (Irish priorities moving away from wales and towards NW England for example) and very different for the different peoples within the game (York is a major priority for some and of very little value to others). In short in order to achieve what it does the game has to have a complex scoring system. One of the upshot of this is that a VP is a very variable commodity in terms of what it represents-a sort of wide ranging set of priorities both cultural and economic. This neatly captures the fluidity of history. I would suggest that at the heart of many good games there is some kind of ambiguity of this sort. The numeric values that one assigns to victory never quite capture what is really going on.
Then perhaps we have a distinction worth making, between games where expression in VP is unhelpful and so unnecessary (as in WOTR), and games where anything other than expression of victory conditions in victory points would be too complex for the players, and VP are both helpful and practically necessary.
I would certainly agree with that. It would seem to be all about analysis. In VP games if it is found that one faction or indeed one strategy is rewarded disproportionately than that will feed back into the game design and clearly inform changes that are made. If on the other hand the numbers merely describe a victory state then they don't feed back into the design process. One can imagine a situation in the development of WOTR where it was found that, say, a Ring Destruction Victory was occuring much more frequently than any other kind. The game would need to be fine tuned but the numbers formulated with respect to victory don't help you do this-at least I can't see any way they could, which might not be quite the same thing.
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