I’ve been thinking about player balance in Mac’s Crossfire Missions. If the two players are mis-matched in terms of experience or ability you might find the stronger player consistently wins every game. This is probably not very much fun for either player. I think a handicap system gives a way to cope with these situations. Handicapping gives the weaker player an advantage, to make it possible for them to win whilst maintaining fairness. This is Crossfire, of course.
A player’s handicap is 0, 2, 5, 7, 10, or 20 points. These six handicap levels are chosen deliberately as they match the cost of different VP bonuses and also match the reinforcement options introduced in Mac’s Missions v3. Weaker players have higher handicaps.
If you are playing as a club, each player in the club might have a handicap. However, if there are only two players in your group, then the stronger player will always have a handicap of 0 and the other player will have a handicap of 2, 5, 7, 10, or 20 points.
Calculating victory points
Handicaps are used to calculate victory in Mac’s Crossfire Missions. Add each player’s handicap to their victory points before deciding who wins the game. In other words, weaker players get bonus victory points. Otherwise you play the game normally. Having said that, handicaps are important during the game as they give players more choices. A weaker player, knowing they have a handicap, can afford to take more reinforcements during the game.
If the weaker player – the player with the higher handicap – wins the game, then their handicap is reduced one level e.g. from 10 points to 7 points. If they lose the game, then increase their handicap one level e.g. from 2 points to 5 points. Handicaps cannot go below 0 or above 20.