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March 23, 2019
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What's in a Score?

by Rasmus Rasmussen on 11/27/18 04:17:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


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In games, a score is an abstract measurement of success. Some games - like Pinball - are about accumulating as high a score as possible, other games - such as golf - are about scoring as little as possible. Above the Fold is a newspaper simulation game, but at its core it's still a game about getting points.

As you build and manage your newspaper. The score is a measure of how good you are at doing that. While the points themselves have a limited effect in the game, the elements that generate the points are all major features. The points earned are more than just luck; they reflect the player's skill as shown below.

The Base Score

Scoring in Above the Fold is fairly complicated. It starts with the stories you find, and assign to your reporters in the game. A story's base score is a fraction of its word count, multiplied by its "scope" (indicated by stars on info card about the story). A story's scope is random, its word count is in part based on the scope and partly random as well. If a celebrity is associated with the story, the Fame value of that celeb is also added.

The Reporter

A story's score is next affected by the reporter writing it. The base score is multiplied by the reporter's skill and experience, and then divided by his or her happiness. Skill plus experience represents the reporter's full potential, and since happiness is measured as a percentage, the reporter contributes that percentage of said potential.

If the genre is a match to the writer's interests, a further bonus is applied, and vice versa if the writer dislikes the genre.


Once the stories are assigned and written, placement on the front page will boost the score of the story depending on its placement. The higher the story is placed above the fold, the bigger the bonus.

Since there is only room for five stories on the front page, any additional stories contribute their score to the issue without additional bonuses. The five stories chosen for the front page are the ones with the highest score prior to placement.

The Issue Score

On publication, all the stories and bonuses are added up, but there might still be additional bonuses added here from events, or if the issue was themed, drew no angry letters, or no one canceled their subscription.

Finally, the score is divided by the percentage of the total available word count filled for that issue. In other words, even if you wrote amazing stories, if they are really short, the overall issue will have a lot of filler content, which drags the score back down.

That then, makes up the total score for the issue. If that score is high enough, it may trigger events such as Angry-Letter-Forgiveness from the Owner, or if your issue hit the monthly theme with enough points, it may win an award.

Picking up advertisements and certain other things may also contribute to the overall game score, but that is added separately from the issue score.

Above the Fold launches in Early Access on Steam on December 3rd.

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