What is a point worth? This is a question that comes up frequently when I’m learning new games. After the rules are done and the scoring conditions are being discussed, I have to ask what the average score tends to be. Unfortunately, I am frequently playing new games where no one at the table has any anecdotal evidence of what’s average final score, can be.

If you’ve played a lot of games, you may have run into this problem. Say you’ve just finished off a game of Castles of Burgundy. You managed a pretty good score, just squeaking over that 200 point mark. Feeling pretty good about that score, your friend pulls out Agricola. During the rules teach they mention that if you can’t feed your family during a harvest, you’ll have to take a beggar card for every food you’re short, and those are worth -3 points. “No problem” you think to yourself. 3 points is basically nothing. Flash forward to the end of the game and the winning player earned 30 points. You look down at those three beggar cards you took right off the bat and realize that 9 points is ~30% of a winning score.

In some games, it’s fairly easy to get a feel for how valuable a single point is. In Dune: Imperium, the first player to get to 10 points triggers the end of the game, and probably wins. In that case, it’s easy to see how valuable a single point is. In Food Chain Magnate, your money is your score, and the game ends when the bank is depleted. You know the total sum of ‘points’ available from the moment the bank breaks the first time.

Players all choose how much money the bank will have at the start of Food Chain Magnate

Other games have their scoring a bit more nebulous. Wingspan for instance, the final score will be highly dependent on which scoring objectives come out, which birds are available, and how many scoring cards each player managed to take into their hand. The scores in Isle of Skye can swing wildly, depending on just the order in which the objectives get scored!

Another thing to consider is some games have a fairly set amount of points, no matter the player count. Vikings and Raiders of the North Sea are two games that don’t scale with player counts. The competition for each point becomes fiercer the more players you add to the game. This is especially frustrating when someone offers anecdotal evidence, “Oh yeah, Otter and I played Raiders of the North Sea a few months ago. Our scores were in the 80 point range”, not realizing that in a 3 player game, 60 points a more average score.

11 points is a big difference in a 4 player game of Raiders of the North Sea

So, naturally, when playing so many different games, it can be hard to value a point. Knowing when to throw away a card that offers you two points in favour of something else can be key. I’m not going to take one of the 4 point buildings as my first pick in Castles of Burgundy, but in some other game, getting an easy 2 points is a worthy trade-off. And Bigfoot finally got sick of my whining, so he created Goodat.games to solve my whining.

Goodat.games queries BoardGameGeek’s user submitted scores and plots out the average score on a handy graph to answer the question, “What is a point worth?” It includes filters to sort by the number of players, narrow down the subset of data based on a year or month, and can even tell you what the average score is for each placement in a game (e.g. the average winning score in a 4 player game of 7 Wonders)

What’s the average winning score of a 4 player game of 7 Wonders? Around 58

Goodat.games is a work in progress, but it has become such a handy tool in my board game life, that I feel compelled to share it with the world. There are limitations, like it doesn’t have every game available, and adding new games requires a 10-minute buffer as to not make too many API requests and get itself blocked by BGG. Games that have the same name as others, or trying to specify which edition or expansions, are all extremely tricky things to try and solve for. But for my purposes, it has become a site that I pull out anytime I’m learning a new game. Now I never need to guess at what the value of a point is. In Gizmos, the difference between a 1 point card and 3 point card is the difference of 3% of your final score, and 10% of your final score. Meanwhile, in Whistle Mountain, the average score is 134, so the difference between a 1 and a 3 point tile is .7% and 2% of your final score.