The Artist is another investigator who can give you a break. Perhaps he has a short attention span, or he only cares about the real threats. Anyway, his effect is that all players have to quickly add up their victory points. This doesn’t take too long. Even at the game end, when the most resources are available it is typically only a 30-60 second process tops. This leads me into a side quest.
Adding up VPs
I’ve played plenty of games where VPs take quite a bit of time, and some investiture of effort, to calculate. We may all be able to remember landing on Income Tax in Monopoly and needing to figure out what 10% of our total money was. What a pain. (Pro Tip – always do the calculation. Almost invariably you’ll save money over the default $200 fee.) I love 7 Wondersand Agricola, for instance, but calculating the victor can take as long as 5-10 minutes in those games. It’s not really a problem, because everyone is involved, but still. Even Ticket to Ride takes a little time, and may involve pen-and-pencil. Evil High Priest is by comparison quite simple, though of course you COULD use paper and pencil. Let’s look at the process.
Example: it’s the end of a game and Lincoln has 2 Elder Signs, 3 spellbooks, 1 magic, 2 blood, and 5 treasure. Only resources are scored for VPs, so he ignores his monsters, cultists, chambers, etc. First Lincoln lines up his elder signs for 10 points each – that’s 20. The spellbooks are 5 points each – 15 more for a total of 35. The magic is 2; up to 37, and the blood is 2 more. Final total is 39, and it took maybe 10-20 seconds. Then he looks up and says, “Anyone have more than 5 treasure?” It turns out that Frank also has 5 treasure, but everyone else has less, so Frank and Lincoln tie for most treasure, and each get 5 extra points. Lincoln’s final total is 44 points.
For proof of the ease of this calculation, check out our game playthrough videos – skip ahead to the last couple of minutes, and you’ll see us doing it, all simultaneously. It’s lightning fast.
What does this mean for the Artist?
When the Artist is the attacker, before dice are rolled everyone has to calculate their points. So there’s a brief hush while all the players tot up points. It’s even quicker than the game end VP calculation, because of course this attack is often in the middle of the game, when players have fewer VPs anyway. (If all you have is an elder sign and 2 magic, it’s a piece of cake to shout out, “12!”). The important part of this whole process is that the player with the fewest VPs is ignored by the artists. So only the most deserving (i.e., most in the lead) players are affected. Note that if it is a tie for the fewest VPs (which is rare), then both players are skipped. It’s conceivable that all players could be in a multiplayer tie, and no one gets attacked, but I’ve never seen it.