I wrote this in response to the discussion about score goals and binary goals. Mostly from discord. Okay so I've long been a binary goal skeptic, yep it could be true but I haven't encountered a compelling argument. Until @evizaer and other's said that a binary goal maximises strategic variety because it allows a range of strategies to be successful. This is a good property for sure. But I think this is still missing the point. Lets take a step back and think about the arc of learning and mastering a game system. To start off with you're exploring and just kind of testing stuff out, here you want a lot of strategies to be viable otherwise you won't have enough time to explore the possibility space before cutting yourself off from winning. Play here is very toy like. So you want a nice low goal, a binary goal would suit this purpose just fine. It is clear and directed. (I don't see an issue with a high score goal at this point). Mid way along the path to mastery you are comparing the viability of different strategies, and learning extra tricks that give an edge in rare situations. Here you want the pool of potentially viable strategies to be reduced, so you get clear feedback about which strategies are the most viable. A binary goal is still great as long as it has moved, some kind of par could work, but it would be hard for the player to get win percentages, if it changes too much match to match. In the final stages of mastery the player really is just figuring out what the very best strategy is. At this point the line between game and puzzle should begin to fade, there probably is only one strategy that expresses total mastery of a system. So the question is what strategy best represents mastery? The one that can attain the highest possible score, or the one that can win in the most consistently across all the variances in procedural generation (including during a match). I think this is where it becomes clear that we should favour the latter, essentially the one true strategy is the one that is the attains the highest average score across all procedural content (note there could be several that are equal but that doesn't matter for this conversation, and the best strategy is probably extremely adaptive to different state spaces). This could also be expressed as the highest win percentage when a binary goal eliminates the overwhelming majority of strategies. So I think our goal as designers in collaboration with our players should be to map the strategic space of our game system and design goals that push players towards the ultimate goal of the final strategy. Early on players should have a lot of freedom to experiment, but quickly we should push them to throw out their poorest strategies and use only their best, while constantly improving them. Then ultimately at the latest levels of mastery give them a way to measure their success in finding that one perfect strategy. Now with this backdrop I think we can begin to compare the design of different goals. But that can wait till next time.