Because Strategic Primer, my strategy game began as the apparatus for my science fair project in eighth grade, in that first campaign I calculated a “score” for each player and used that to determine how well each player did compared to the other players. As the design evolved over the next decade or so, that was discarded more or less as a matter of course. Recently, however, I’ve begun to reconsider that decision.
Partly, I’ve had players ask, “How am I doing compared to the other players?” Without some sort of score to refer to, if I answer this I have to worry about telling too much about other players’ strength in any particular area. With a “score” combining military, economic, and technological progress, among other areas, I can just say, “All things considered, I think you’re about the third most advanced player, but other players may be focusing on different areas.”
Also, I read a number of game design blogs, and I’ve read a number of posts about “achievements” (in various systems) lately. That got me thinking about possible applications to Strategic Primer, especially as a replacement for the old highly subjective “strategy score.” (“Strategy score” was basically “points at the Judge’s discretion, to be rewarded for long-range planning and successful execution of those plans,” and were worth more than anything else in the total score to boot.) For instance, if I were a player it would be a useful but not-too-revealing tidbit to know that I was (or was not) the first player to discover, say, gunpowder. Or was the first to have an explorer circumnavigate the world (which is a lot easier in the main SP game-world, since its land/water proportions are approximately reversed from Earth’s.)
If I can come up with a sufficiently substantial list, I’ll add such “achievement notifications” to the list of changes to make in the next campaign (which I’ll start next year if I can get enough players). Any ideas for the list?