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Has anyone here apart from me played Parade? It's a simple, cute, yet original and maddeningly addictive little Alice-in-Wonderland-themed card game from a Japanese designer. Basically, there are 6 suits of cards, ranked from 0-10. You want to avoid collecting these cards where possible, as they score their face value against you at the end, unless you have the most or equal most cards in a suit, in which case they score 1 point against you each.

It just seems to me that the designer possibly missed a trick with this scoring system. Obviously there are interesting choices to be made in that it's better to collect 5 or 6 green cards rather than the green 7 or 8 on its own; but it still seems like it would have been much more interesting for the cards you have the most of to count positively in your favour. Then it would have been just like Hearts: you'd have had to keep an eye out for players trying to "shoot the moon", and it could often be better to tactically pick up a few cards than just avoid picking anything up as much as possible.

As it is, I feel mitigating your losses by picking up more cards in the same colours is semi-interesting, but being able to turn losses into positive points would have been really interesting - especially as the game can be brought to a premature end by any player having at least one card in each suit. But am I missing something? Would inverting the rules in this way ruin the balance of the game, for a reason such as, e.g., it being too easy to score a ton of points and end the game quickly?

If anyone has both played Parade and can provide some analysis/insight into why it's scored the way it is, I'd be very interested!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Obviously, I don't know Naoki Homma's reasoning for his points system, but probably the answer to your question is that turning the points around would drastically disbalance the game. The main reason is this:

A positive point for you is like giving every other player a negative point

When playing with multiple players in a game, one must be very careful about giving one player an advantage because it's the same as giving all other players a disadvantage (and visa-versa). This bonus is powerful enough so that a single extra card (making 6 cards) can make a huge point swing: -10 -9 -8 -7 -6 = -40 points to +6 * 3 (in a 3 player game) = 18 points. So one card makes the difference of 58 relative points in the game. The other way, it turns -40 into -6, which is still huge (34 points), but nearly half as big.

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I'm suspecting it's a game length thing, currently. Seems like in Parade you spend a lot of time avoiding grabbing cards, and with good reason under the normal rules. If you can end the game by collecting one card of each colour, then it could be quite easy to go bang, bang in two moves and end the game; a stupid thing to do if all those cards are negative points for you, but quite good if you get +1 for most of them! Maybe you could make it work by removing the one-of-each-suit game-ending rule, but by then the game is starting to look completely different... –  thesunneversets Mar 1 '11 at 18:50
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