What is the point of using 3-point coins in a base-ten coin game? There are 5s and 10s, and you can almost never exchange the two for any multiples of 3.

  • I don't think you'll find a good answer to this, it's just a weird choice by the publishers. I've often wondered the same thing about For Sale, how each player starts with 2 $2000 coins and the rest $1000 coins. Could have just as easily been 4 $1000s instead.
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 11 '14 at 22:43
  • 2
    I agree, it seems a bit odd. Maybe the publisher wasn't thinking about it but one effect of having four coin denominations instead of three is that it can make it more difficult to keep track of or guess your opponents current score. Just a thought.
    – LemonadeGT
    Mar 11 '14 at 23:04
  • 2
    Another possibility is component efficiency (although base 2 is the best). The game comes with 35 (1VP) coins, and 20 (3VP) coins. If your next lowest denomination coin is 5VP instead of 3VP, you need 4 * (#Players = 5) + 4 * (#Races in Sideboard - 1 = 5) 1VP tokens. A grand total of 40 1VP tokens instead of only 20 1VP tokens using 3VP as your next denomination. (5VP) wouldn't be a component of a base10 numbering system, which is extremely inefficient with components, requiring 90 possible 1VP tokens.
    – user1873
    Mar 12 '14 at 4:49
  • Interesting, but possibly irrelevent comment: Azerbaijan has a coinage system starting with 1, 3, 5 and 10: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azerbaijani_manat
    – tttppp
    Mar 12 '14 at 18:28

I think the simplest answer is to allow players to hide their score better. If you only had 1s, 5s and 10s, you'd just have to remember how many 5s and 10s someone earned - adding a third variable makes it really complicated, especially three-plus player games.

  • I don't know about that, I know many players, myself included, are constantly trading in tokens throughout the game (5 1s for a 5, etc), so they don't keep what they originally earned anyway.
    – GendoIkari
    Mar 12 '14 at 13:50
  • 1
    @GendoIkari Even if you're trading, it's still relatively easy to keep track of how many times you've traded for a 5 or 10. Adding a 3 makes it that much more difficult to track since you can get a more varied mix when you take your coins.
    – ghoppe
    Mar 12 '14 at 15:00
  • I'm a little surprised that you don't think of a player's score as public information. This is a lot more broadly philosophical - it's hardly applicable to just Small World - but for any game where every scoring action is visible to all players, I think not providing current scores when asked just adds an extraneous element of memory-dependence to the game that's not really aligned with the gameplay skills that the game should be testing. Mar 12 '14 at 16:23
  • 6
    @Steven Stadnicki - I believe the rules for SmallWorld specifically state that score should be hidden. I expect this is to make king-making scenarios more difficult. Mar 12 '14 at 17:10
  • 1
    @ire_and_curses Yup, that and analysis paralysis on the last turn or two.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 12 '14 at 18:43

I agree with Alex's answer about hiding score. It makes it more difficult to tell at a glance how many VP someone has.

But it's helpful even without that, just to use fewer one-point coins. Remember, the varying denominations aren't just to make it easy to exchange coins. You don't have to do that, and if you're trying to hide your score, you probably shouldn't. The different values also just help avoid needing a bunch of one-point coins for scores that are 3 or 4 mod 5. That makes it a little easier to hand out the coins, and also means that you're less likely to run out of one-point coins and have to ask players to trade in coins.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.