by Richard Sheffield
7 Scoring, Promotions, and Decorations
I've heard some people asked why they bother with scoring, promotions, and the rest of it. Why not just concentrate on the simulation and forget the rest? Therein lies the difference between simulations and simulation games. Most people like to have an objective way to rate their performances. Other than having someone else grade them over their shoulders as they play, some sort of scoring system is the only way to do that. These systems allow players to rate not only each other, but the performance of various strategy ideas. With a score in hand, players can tell if their skills are improving and establish their skill levels when compared to other players.
The promotion scale serves a similar purpose of establishing a skill level, and it also says something about the players' frequency of success and how long they've been playing the game.
Decorations serve a similar purpose too, but they also perform another important function. Every game should have an ultimate goal—something that establishes players as having attained an expert level of skill. Medals do that in F-19. Winning the Congressional Medal of Honor is the ultimate goal of most F-19 pilots. They also serve as a little bit of recognition for players. "Candy at the end" is how some at MicroProse refer to them. They are rewards for a job well done and encouragements to return to the game time and time again.
Since scoring, promotions, and medals are so important to most players, this chapter is dedicated to explaining these systems. Advice will also be offered on how you can maximize your scores and rack up an impressive row of ribbons and decorations.