Counting little fingers and toes

All else aside the first problem is to define the scoring method. The game definition, mechanisms etc are a logical extension of the scoring system. The early posts below specify variable turn order and other mechanisms. That’s silly. Until the scoring is defined there’s no reason to define mechanisms.

As currently described this is a two sided game: the military against the patriarchs. Additionally the patriarchs compete to be the highest scoring patriarch. It is tempting to make the win-state a trinary and allow both the military player and the lead patriarch to both win together. The result would be novel and assymetric: The military player can win or lose against the patriarchs, the patriarchs can win or lose both against the other patriarchs and against the military player, and possibly both the military player and the a patriarch can win together against the other patriarchs. The key characteristic of that broad brush-stroke appears to be a mix of cooperative and competitive play.

The military player’s metrics are fairly clear: slaughter and injury rates versus escapee rate. The better he does at impeding the genetic survival of the families the better he scores. This suggests a simple linear scale with a zero centre point. The better the families do the more the military player’s score tends to the negative. The more mayhem the military player causes the more his score will tend positive. Add in a central zone of scoring where the military player has to share the win with the lead patriarch and the cooperative play elements are extended to include the military player. Simple enough modulo the exact numbers.

The patriarch’s scoring system is a little more interesting. They must cooperate with each other and value each other’s survival and escapee rate, while also valuing each other’s success less than their own. There’s already the concept of each player having another player’s family as their “relatives”. Given the cooperative focus this presents an opportunity for a pretty simple scoring model that emphasises the combination of cooperative and competitive play:

  • Players score for their own survivors
  • Players score half as much for their relative’s survival
  • Players lose score for their deaths by starvation? (probably not)
  • Players do not lose score for their deaths by military? (probably not)

The tempting model is to make each player’s relative the patriarch to their left. Thus a patriarch’s score is roughly:

(survivor_count * 2) + (left_hand_player’s_survivor_count)

Thus each patriarch is directly motivated to ensure the survival of their left hand neighbour, just not at the expense of their own family survival.