Every now and again we are asked if we have a way of assigning points to goals so that our guests can keep score.
We have never done that, mainly because in our experience is not necessary. We believe you can have as much fun in one of our games if you fail all of your goals, and making it competitive might undermine that.
(I do suspect that the customers who ask this haven’t played out hosted one of our games, as if they had then they’d know not to ask. But that’s just a guess.)
But some people do ask if it can be done, and one of our customers in Japan is going to try it out. (They run a boardgame cafe, so maybe their customers do like a clear sense of keeping score.)
So if your want to try this as well, this is how I would do it.
Out of ten
First, I’d divide ten points among a character’s goals. Most of our characters have 3 to 5 goals, and I would divide the points pretty evenly.
Where I can’t give them all the same points, I would give the easier goals more points than the harder goals. Obviously that’s a judgement call, and possibly a tricky one to make if you’re not as familiar with the game as we are.
I would do this for two reasons:
- First, higher scores are more motivating. So giving more points for the easier goals means that your players will feel like they are getting somewhere.
- Second, some of the goals are verging on impossible (I’m thinking of the ones where you are told to try and keep something a secret – never easy when we have all those abilities). So give those goals fewest points so that the player isn’t penalised if they don’t succeed in them.
But apart from that, I would spread the points fairly evenly.
For example, for a character with four goals, I’d give the two easiest three points each, and the others two points each. You can just write this next to the goal.
Murderers usually have a goal saying something like “don’t get caught” which is a bit of a challenge given that we are playing on a murder mystery game in which solving the murder is a big part.
So the way I would treat that is to consider the goal successful if, when it comes to choosing who the murderer is (at the end of the party, before the solution is read out), most people choose someone else.
Other ways to score points
So that gives us 10 points if you achieve all of your goals. But I would also add other ways to score points:
- Use all of your abilities at least once
- Exhaust at least one of your abilities
- Complete both of your tips for beginners
- Talk to everyone in the game
- End the game with less money than you started with (for those that don’t need money).
- Reveal your secret to another characters
- Reveal your clue at at least three other characters
Everyone should have five of these, and I would score them two points each. So everyone would have a maximum score of 20.
I have two reasons for adding these extra points:
- First, they make it easy to score points. Unlike character goals, nobody will try to stop you from achieving these objectives.
- Second, these activities are all actions that we want to encourage in one of our games, and doing them will make the game flow better.
Scorecards, explanations, and prizes
I would prepare a scorecard for each player, listing their goals and their scores, and the additional actions. I would include the scorecard in the character packet.
At the start of the party, during the introductory briefing I would explain the scorecards so that everyone can keep their own score. (I would trust the players to do that themselves rather than rigorously police it .)
Of course, once players are keeping score your are going to need a prize for whoever has the highest score.
Let us know
If you do try this out, we’d love to hear what you did and how it worked.
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