Author Topic: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring  (Read 1096 times)

Offline Meepledrone

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Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« on: January 19, 2021, 10:05:06 AM »
The question about farmers, barns and watchtowers here reminded me of the issues watchtowers scoring per neighboring meeples pose when they overlap.  >:D

When scoring these two cities, the scoring may differ depending which city is scored first... since some meeples may be removed before the watchtower in the other is evaluated...  :o



In this case, it would seem reasonable to evaluate both watchtowers before both cities so no meeples are removed; otherwise you would get into trouble regarding who makes a decision in case of conflict. This would mean to break the loop where each feature and their bonuses are scored together.

Moreover, we saw in the Advent Quiz an example with castles and robbers (see Question #17) where features were evaluated in an order different than the one used for scoring the points in order to address castle dependencies and to minimize the impact of robbers. I think this principle should be applied in a generic way...

The scoring of a complex scenario combining castles, (meeple) watchtowers and robbers may not resolved in a step based on one loop as suggested in the basic rules. Instead, several steps with one loop each may be required.

The following summary shows the key actions to handle a complex scoring:

1) Identify the features to be scored: completed features, castles completed by them and fields scored due to a barn:
    - This is step to decide which features to score and their order of evaluation
    - It is important for castles which may have even chained dependencies

2) Evaluate points each feature is worth, considering bonuses for features and figures/tokens involved:
    - No points are scored yet
    - No meeples are removed yet

3) Decide the order of scoring:
    - Robbers and opportunities for messages are taken into consideration
    - The decisions made are communicated to the other players so everyone defines their scoring plan

4) Points are scored on the scoreboard
    - The scoring figures are moved
    - Robbers steal points accordingly

5) Meeples are removed if not moved (wagons only)

In the end, players should work with a snapshot of the playing area in order to plan and perform the scoring. After scoring all the required meeples and figures can be removed. Note: So far there is only one documented scoring that happens after all meeples are removed: the big top.

Of course, this would have an impact on the Order of Play so complex cases are reflected properly... This would mean slicing Step 3B in several loops for starters.

Any thoughts?


Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=4998.0
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:08:21 AM by Meepledrone »
Questions about rules? Check WICA: wikicarpedia.com

Offline Meepledrone

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2021, 10:06:47 AM »
Here you are another scenario that keeps me thinking:

A city shared by Red and Blue, robbers and the fairy...



In a regular scoring, both Red and Blue would score 8 points for the city and then Red would score 3 points for the fairy. Both the Red Robber and the Blue Robber would steal 4 points from their opponent's scoring meeple.

What if Red would like to score he fairy bonus first to minimize the points stolen by the Blue Robber?
- Red would score 3 points for the fairy as first scoring, so the Blue Robber would steal only 2 points
- Blue would score 8 points for the city as first scoring, so the Red Robber would steal 4 points.
- Then Red would score 4 points for the city.

In this case, we are decoupling again evaluation from scoring in order to handle robbers properly...  >:D
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:17:30 AM by Meepledrone »

Offline corinthiens13

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2021, 11:00:10 AM »
Working with a snapshot of the game in order to make every evaluations seems nice and easier to understand and apply. That's a really good idea.

But I think it has to be applied either to every scoring in step 3,or to none of them. Applying one scoring mechanic for complex scoring only and not for others would bring more doubts, questions and mistakes.

A way to reorder step 3 but still keep some order could be:
1. Identify the features...
2. Decide the order and give points for every bonus before scoring (watchtower, toll...)
3. Decide the order and give points for completed feature, including bonuses
4. Decide the order and give points for bonuses after scoring (fairy, ringmaster, teacher, Darmstadt church, Leipzig)
5. Meeples are removed/moved

 ???
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Offline Meepledrone

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2021, 11:24:37 AM »
In the approach you suggest, your are forcing robbers to steal from earlier bonuses first, followed by features and feature bonuses... So players cannot decide freely and you are adding more complexity to the whole process IMHO.

The general case seems more complicated to explain that it really is... and we normally would apply it out of common sense:

Evaluate following the order required by the features, but score following the order desired by the players.

I think it is pretty straight forward.

The two pivotal elements are:
* Order of evaluation for watchtowers and castles:
   - Watchtowers may depend on meeples in neighboring tiles.
   - Castles may depend on the points for one or more featues, including other castles... or this dependency may even be mutual...
     Check this thread still unresolved since they tried to apply the one-loop policy
     http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3151.0
* The scoring may happen in an order different than in the evaluation: During scoring players will be pondering options with Robbers and Messages.

Removing the meeples at the end of the scoring is not strictly necessary if the evaluation is done in a previous loop, so removing meeples won't vary the points for watchtowers, for example.

EDIT: Updated content and layout.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 11:58:34 AM by Meepledrone »

Offline corinthiens13

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2021, 01:42:11 PM »
That's true...

But what's not clear in your 5 points scoring proposition is when are bonus points from figures scored. In step 4?if so, are they scored together with the feature? Before? After?

Example:

Blue has a road with watchtower and fairy and a toll on the same road.
Red ringmaster has a city with same watchtower than blue and toll on blue's road.

I guess we keep every bonus from figures separated from feature points. But can the players score blue road, blue's fairy, blue toll, watchtower for blue, red city, red toll, red ringmaster bonus and watchtower for red:
  • In any order they want?
  • or do they have to score everything from one player, then the second player, but in any order they want
  • and/or do bonuses linked to blue meeple have to be scored directly before/after his road as well as the tolls, and bonuses linked to red meeple be scored directly before/after red city
  • and/or any other contraints?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 01:43:53 PM by corinthiens13 »

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2021, 04:46:31 AM »
The question about farmers, barns and watchtowers here reminded me of the issues watchtowers scoring per neighboring meeples pose when they overlap.  >:D

When scoring these two cities, the scoring may differ depending which city is scored first... since some meeples may be removed before the watchtower in the other is evaluated...  :o



In this case, it would seem reasonable to evaluate both watchtowers before both cities so no meeples are removed; otherwise you would get into trouble regarding who makes a decision in case of conflict. This would mean to break the loop where each feature and their bonuses are scored together.

Moreover, we saw in the Advent Quiz an example with castles and robbers (see Question #17) where features were evaluated in an order different than the one used for scoring the points in order to address castle dependencies and to minimize the impact of robbers. I think this principle should be applied in a generic way...

The scoring of a complex scenario combining castles, (meeple) watchtowers and robbers may not resolved in a step based on one loop as suggested in the basic rules. Instead, several steps with one loop each may be required.

The following summary shows the key actions to handle a complex scoring:

1) Identify the features to be scored: completed features, castles completed by them and fields scored due to a barn:
    - This is step to decide which features to score and their order of evaluation
    - It is important for castles which may have even chained dependencies

2) Evaluate points each feature is worth, considering bonuses for features and figures/tokens involved:
    - No points are scored yet
    - No meeples are removed yet

3) Decide the order of scoring:
    - Robbers and opportunities for messages are taken into consideration
    - The decisions made are communicated to the other players so everyone defines their scoring plan

4) Points are scored on the scoreboard
    - The scoring figures are moved
    - Robbers steal points accordingly

5) Meeples are removed if not moved (wagons only)

In the end, players should work with a snapshot of the playing area in order to plan and perform the scoring. After scoring all the required meeples and figures can be removed. Note: So far there is only one documented scoring that happens after all meeples are removed: the big top.

Of course, this would have an impact on the Order of Play so complex cases are reflected properly... This would mean slicing Step 3B in several loops for starters.

Any thoughts?

Base game: "After each scoring, return the scored meeples to their owners' supply."
The Barber-Surgeons: "If there are several features scored (by placing one single land tile) you have to consider the order in which the features are scored - the player who placed the land tile decides the order in which the scoring is carried out, as this may affect which meeples are placed in free bathhouses (if applicable)." and "If there is only one Meeple involved in scoring a feature and if there is at least one free bathhouse, instead of returning the Meeple to your hand, you must place your Meeple sideways in (any) one of the free bathhouses (or in the only free bathhouse) immediately after the scoring."

Offline Meepledrone

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2021, 04:57:17 AM »
I add comments to my previous proposal...

1) Identify the features to be scored: completed features, castles completed by them and fields scored due to a barn:
    - This is step to decide which features to score and their order of evaluation
    - It is important for castles which may have even chained dependencies

2) Evaluate points each feature is worth, considering bonuses for features and figures/tokens involved:
    - No points are scored yet
    - No meeples are removed yet

Step 2: You evaluate the points for all bonuses and features, but you don't note the points on the scoreboard. You follow the required order of evaluation. So in a complex case would be like jotting down all the points to be scored on a piece of paper to allow everyone to make their decisions and plan their scoring. No meeples are removed as of yet.

This step allows you to evaluate points for features after resolving any dependencies. You also avoid any issues with scorings that would be altered when removing meeples (watchtowers scoring for meeples).

In simple cases you could resolve everything in this loop, but when considering robbers and messages, players may decide to score points in an different order, so that's when the decoupling is necessary.

A recurring open issue with robbers and some scorings is who decides in case of conflict, because sometines using the one-loop approach may lead to conflicting requirements: features need to be evaluated in a certain order (watchtowers, castles, shared features) but players want/have to score in a different order (robbers, messages, batthouses).

3) Decide the order of scoring:
    - Robbers and opportunities for messages are taken into consideration
    - The decisions made are communicated to the other players so everyone defines their scoring plan

4) Points are scored on the scoreboard
    - The scoring figures are moved
    - Robbers steal points accordingly

Step 4: Here the actual scoring happens. So you move your figures on the scoreboard and robbers steal points. The active player will have to check the final position the scoring figures he/she moved to determine if he/she receives a message.

5) Meeples are removed if not moved (wagons only)

Steps 4 and 5 can be merged, as all the information required for scoring is already determined.



Regarding your example,
* You would evaluate all the features and bonuses in Step 2 according to the order of evaluation required/decided in Step 1.
* You would actually score points in Step 4 in any order decided in Step 3.

As you can see, as the scoring info and order is decided before Step 4, you can remove meeples and other figures from scored features as you go in Step 4. So Step 5 could be integrated into Step 4 without any hassle.

Offline corinthiens13

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 05:32:24 AM »
I'm not sure this clarifies my question...
If I understand correctly, in step 4, if I have a fairy attached to red ringmaster on a road, and blue having other features: the fairy could be scored, then one of blue's features, then red's road, then one of blue's feature, and then the ringmaster bonus? (here, there's no scoring order rule at all)

Or if you score red ringmaster's fairy, then red's road and ringmaster bonus still have to be scored one after another, before scoring something else ?

In other words, is there
  • no scoring order rules at all, even bonuses attached to a same meeple may be separated by other scorings
  • OR once you start scoring something attached to a meeple (a bonus and/or the feature), you still have to score every other things (other bonuses and/or the feature) attached to that meeple before scoring something for another meeple?

Offline Meepledrone

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2021, 07:39:28 AM »
I'm not sure this clarifies my question...

Sorry... Let's see now.

If I understand correctly, in step 4, if I have a fairy attached to red ringmaster on a road, and blue having other features: the fairy could be scored, then one of blue's features, then red's road, then one of blue's feature, and then the ringmaster bonus? (here, there's no scoring order rule at all)

Or if you score red ringmaster's fairy, then red's road and ringmaster bonus still have to be scored one after another, before scoring something else ?

Any order can be applied. Let me explain...

The rules of Carcassonne do not specify a particular order for scoring features or bonuses (with a few exceptions): the scoring magically happens, no matter if it involves several features and/or players. This lack of specificity allows played to follow any sequence as soon as the job is done.

If you check the Order of Play in the CAR v7.4 (Step 7.c, page 210) you'll see that the fairy bonus is scored before any other features... So the order is not written on stone. Watchtowers have to be "scored" before the affected feature(s) to avoid side effects, probably from meeples removed. Castles have to be "scored" after the features they depend on for practical reasons... (although when there are mutual dependencies between castles, things may get complicated).

The loop included in the CAR or Step 3B is a simplified approach to the whole process. A suggestion to crack the problem with so many moving parts, but it falls short for Robbers. The ROBBER CHOICE tag is a way to address this issue: you "score" using a loop through all features, but robbers need to gather a flattened snapshot of everything that was scored to make their decisions. There you have your second loop, hidden in plain sight. And these two loops may clash in terms of timing... You have may decide that your third scoring event (a castle, due to dependecies) in the loop taking place in Step 3B (Step 7 in the CAR) is your first scoring so an opponent's robber steals the least points from you... (Are you going to unscore two scoring events and re-score them later?)

So any order can be applied. We follow some conventions to simplify the scoring process and we implicitly use a loop to represent the scoring sequence since we can only do one thing at a time. And iterating through the features to be scored is practical approach, but falls short to address some of the dependencies.

In other words, is there
  • no scoring order rules at all, even bonuses attached to a same meeple may be separated by other scorings
  • OR once you start scoring something attached to a meeple (a bonus and/or the feature), you still have to score every other things (other bonuses and/or the feature) attached to that meeple before scoring something for another meeple?

As I said above, the scoring order is something we have assumed, but it is not specified in the rules. Scoring, or let's say, evaluating by feature is a practical approach. So resolving each feature and its associated bonus is a way to avoid forgetting anything. If you do everything in one pass, perfect! But as I mentioned, this is not always the case.



So mapping your question (I added some extra info for the sake of completeness) to my proposal...

In Step 2 you determine the points for scoring event, following the usual evaluation order (you would observe castle dependencies and meeple watchtowers dependencies if necessary). For example:
- Road with Red ringmaster: 6 points
- Red ringmaster points: 4 points
- Fairy bonus for Red ringmaster: 3 points
- Watchtower for Blue meeple in city: 2 points.
- City with Blue meeple: 8 points

If there are no robbers, messages or free bathhouses involved, the scoring sequence of these scoring events is irrelevant. You can score them as you please. You normally follow the order of evaluation when scoring, but it could be any order.

However, if there are robbers or messages or free bathhouses are to be considered, the scoring sequence becomes relevant, so this is Step 3 for decision making. And Step 4 finally resolves the scoring.

So if we add robbers to the example, the picture changes. Let's assume there is a Blue robber along with the Red scoring meeple. If so, you may decide to score the fairy first so Blue steals the least points. You could perform the scoring according to the following sequence (we use a loop again as a convention to handle several robbers if needed :))):

Scoring - step #1:
- Fairy bonus for Red ringmaster --> Red scores 3 points
- Watchtower for blue meeple in city: --> Blue scores 2 points

Robber actions #1:
- The Blue robber steals 2 points from the red meeple scoring for the fairy
- The Blue robber is removed from the scoreboard

Scoring - step #2:
- Road with Red ringmaster --> Red scores 6 points
- City with Blue meeple --> Blue scores 8 points

Robber actions #2:
- N/A

Scoring - step #3:
- Red ringmaster points --> Red scores 4 points

Robber actions #3:
- N/A



In any case, the decoupling I'm talking about is implied in the rules for The Robbers. How can you decide the scoring sequence and let other players know if you haven't made your math first?

The issue is that I feel that the way the scoring process is represented in the CAR, and therefore in WICA, could be improved to reflect all these nuances.

Understanding the rationale behind ROBBER CHOICE is not that trivial.

Offline corinthiens13

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2021, 08:05:16 AM »
Ok, thanks for your explanation. I thought the scoring order in WICA was more official  ;)

Simplifying it and using a snapshot instead of those loops would probably make it easier to understand and apply in a game.

Edit:And it'd avoid false scoring for watchtowers since no meeples'd be removed while evaluating the points...
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 08:12:42 AM by corinthiens13 »

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2021, 08:15:51 AM »
What about a yellow toll connected to two roads simultaneously completed, one with travelers, occupied by blue, one with a farm, occupied by blue too.
  • Blue choses the scoring order for the two roads for his meeples
  • Yellow choses the scoring order of the two roads for his toll, no matter the order blue choosed
Correct?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 08:22:27 AM by corinthiens13 »

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2021, 08:23:36 AM »
Yes.
Roads are scored by standard rules.
Toll is scored separatelly as bonus for toll owner and doesn't matter if player occupy or not occupy road and if he score road or not.

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2021, 08:41:53 AM »
Also remember that tolls are not turned over (if required) until the scoring is completed. There are no side effects caused by the order of scoring of the roads involved. The same toll is applied to any road involved.

You would turn over the tollhouse token if at least one of the roads scored had a group of travellers.

Here you are an excerpt of the rules when scoring roads with groups of travellers:
https://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/The_Tollkeepers#3._Scoring_a_feature

Quote
Toll changes with travellers

If you have scored at least one group of travellers with your tollhouse, you change its value. The small toll (1) becomes the large toll (2) or vice versa.

You change your toll only at the end of your turn. If you score more than one road with one toll within the same turn, its value is the same for all the roads.

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2021, 09:04:29 AM »
Also remember that tolls are not turned over (if required) until the scoring is completed. There are no side effects caused by the order of scoring of the roads involved. The same toll is applied to any road involved.

You would turn over the tollhouse token if at least one of the roads scored had a group of travellers.

Here you are an excerpt of the rules when scoring roads with groups of travellers:
https://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/The_Tollkeepers#3._Scoring_a_feature

Quote
Toll changes with travellers

If you have scored at least one group of travellers with your tollhouse, you change its value. The small toll (1) becomes the large toll (2) or vice versa.

You change your toll only at the end of your turn. If you score more than one road with one toll within the same turn, its value is the same for all the roads.

I knew it, don't know why I forgot that !

And so, if we're working with a snapshot, removing meeples only after evaluating all of the points, the separation between Bonus scoring (prolog), Bonus scoring (epilog) and feature scoring can be removed, as they may be scored in any order (there's no prolog and epilog, only feature scoring and bonus scoring)?

In the "scoring during turn sequence", we could even list the bonus scoring separately from the feature scoring, to make it clear that they do not have to be scored together (currently, if we look at road scoring for example, toll bonus and watchtower bonus are listed inside the road scoring, this tends to think that they HAVE to be scored along with the road).

Instead, we could have in Step 3B: Resolve Completed Features:
  • A list of every bonus scoring (toll, fairy, ringmaster, watchtower...etc), listed without dependency to a feature
  • A list of every feature scoring (without the bonus listed above)
This would make it clear that there's no predetermined order of scoring, and it'd also make the list smaller, as the bonuses'd be listed only once, instead of multiple times with every kind of feature...

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Re: Order of Play: Decoupling Points Evaluation and Scoring
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2021, 10:28:49 AM »
Also remember that tolls are not turned over (if required) until the scoring is completed. There are no side effects caused by the order of scoring of the roads involved. The same toll is applied to any road involved.

You would turn over the tollhouse token if at least one of the roads scored had a group of travellers.

Here you are an excerpt of the rules when scoring roads with groups of travellers:
https://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/The_Tollkeepers#3._Scoring_a_feature

Quote
Toll changes with travellers

If you have scored at least one group of travellers with your tollhouse, you change its value. The small toll (1) becomes the large toll (2) or vice versa.

You change your toll only at the end of your turn. If you score more than one road with one toll within the same turn, its value is the same for all the roads.

I knew it, don't know why I forgot that !

This can happen to anyone. That's why I felt I  should include the reminder.  ;)

And so, if we're working with a snapshot, removing meeples only after evaluating all of the points, the separation between Bonus scoring (prolog), Bonus scoring (epilog) and feature scoring can be removed, as they may be scored in any order (there's no prolog and epilog, only feature scoring and bonus scoring)?

I just kept it that way as a reminder that the rules indicate the evaluation/scoring should happen before the feature itself by default. You can see I always list the figure-related bonus in the epilog in the same order for maintainability reasons. The order is not actually specified.

Something similar happens to the different components of the feature scoring... Inns/cathedrals is not commutative after the game and the Witch is never commutative. So everything is arranged to be consistent both during the game and after the game:
1. Basic points and modifiers affecting them (inns/catedrals last - so at the end of the game their x0 works perfectly)
2. Mage/Witch (because the Witch is always applied after inns and cathedrals)
3. Feature-related bonuses (because we know for certain that little buildings are applied at the end and then other bonuses affecting the final scoring of the feature like German castles should follow suit, as hinted in the existing clarifications).

So within the complexity entailed, it is an easy model to remember and follow.

Note: I came across the following post by a CarcF member who had reached the same conclusion (It is in German and h uses a rather cryptic notation... ;)):
https://www.carcassonne-forum.de/viewtopic.php?f=101&t=3237#p40694

In the "scoring during turn sequence", we could even list the bonus scoring separately from the feature scoring, to make it clear that they do not have to be scored together (currently, if we look at road scoring for example, toll bonus and watchtower bonus are listed inside the road scoring, this tends to think that they HAVE to be scored along with the road).

The bonuses are in separate blocks for the prolog and the epilog.
The points assigned to the road itself are marked with a yellow block on the right (core feature scoring = points from tiles), so castles, the teacher and robbers, see these points plus the feature-related bonuses as one scoring event. The other bonuses represent one scoring event each.
I know there is a lot much info encoded there. :o

Instead, we could have in Step 3B: Resolve Completed Features:
  • A list of every bonus scoring (toll, fairy, ringmaster, watchtower...etc), listed without dependency to a feature
  • A list of every feature scoring (without the bonus listed above)
This would make it clear that there's no predetermined order of scoring, and it'd also make the list smaller, as the bonuses'd be listed only once, instead of multiple times with every kind of feature...

I included the bonuses applicable to each feature so it may alse serve as a checklist. If you mix them all, then you may skip one by accident. I know it is too verbose but IMHO it serves a purpose.

I see two tasks in Step 3B:
- Separating the evaluation from the scoring
- Normalizing the way robbers are handled in Step 3B.

By the way, nobody complained that Steps 3A and 3B mention only "completed features" in their titles, when they also handle fields to be scored due to the barn, not a completed feature.  >:D

I was checking and it would require around a dozen small changes in the wording to correct the current bias.  :o

EDIT: Updated scope of yellow blocks.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 03:57:24 PM by Meepledrone »


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