I have a "thematic" suggestion to get a "more nice feeling" about the row/column/diagonal VP award:
But i will start with a broader concept change:
First of all, here is what I feel what the game is all about: It is a murder case of course, and we have a captain that is under pressure to bring the crowd what they want: Justice and a murderer that will be hung on the next tree or something like that. There are several suspects, who may not leave town until evidence-gathering is closed.
A murderer HAS to be found. It is neither possible that nobody of the suspects was the murderer, nor that the murderer gets killed and the case is closed.
Some other suspect will be found guilty then.
This is noir setting and the pressure on the captain is great to get the job done. Now he is the captain and has a team of detectives that will work together to give him what he needs, the evidence file that will bring justice to one of the suspects in a murder trial in court.
BUT the team does not cooperate! Why?
My guess is that the captain is under pressure to being able to close the case soon, and every detective is eager to shine and take the credit boost with his boss, maybe get promoted (like hinted in the one murder case where the guilty hunch is worth +5 VP), make the "parent" corporation (Floyd, Caprice) happy, that "their" detective got the job done, you get the picture.
The one detective that seems most competent in the eyes of the captain in bringing the most convincing evidence in the case to close it, will get the praise.
Detectives who get distracted by marriage problems, personal identity crisis, friends in need, or being often in a drunk state will not impress the captain much.
It doesnt really matter for the detectives, if they can frame the "real" murderer. If the evidence and alibis that they can dig up individually form a more convincing case than the file of the other competitors for the murder, they will win high praise from the boss, thats all that matters for each detective. The chosen "victim" of each detective is probably the one they can, as professionals, assume to have the biggest chance to frame and get away with. After all, each detective has a different background and contacts and skills.
Whenever a lead is followed, the detective at the location puts the evidence ,that pleases his cause most, in the file and hides the rest of info under the carpet, to only frame "his" suspect. Of course as professionals, the detectives know what they can get away with and dont want to anger the boss with obvious false information, so the "with no second guess infringing" information varies from low to strong (1-5 points)
However sometimes the detective stumbles on information that can make a suspect of the other, competing detectives, look less guilty and make the detective look like a beginner that did *oversee* that evidence that clearly contradicts his work and make the captain think he (the other detective) is incompetent.
Both things work well for each detective to get *his* guilty hunch to be found guilty and let the other detectives look like amateurs compared to himself, regarding a possible promotion.
I think you get the picture and of course, thematicaly, lots of cards play very well into that theme, especially the ones that i remember with louis blaine, the cop who is sometimes by use of light cards fiddling with evidence, LOL. He knows the ways to do it and get away with it. But as all do it, he is simply a little bit more experienced (being corrupt and all) in doing that fiddling with evidence.
But anyway, the ability that each detective can *buy* alibis for suspects looks clearly like a strong case that none is interested to find the *real* murderer, but to make his own file look *stronger*, (or placing hits for that matter).
Ok, but you ask yourself, what does this all have to do with the puzzle? Here it comes: My interpretation with the puzzle and why it fits in PERFECTLY in this noir scenario where the detectives "work for their own cause":
There is one question i would like to ask: What is the puzzle, and why would you get rewards for the puzzle?
Now in a scenario where the detectives happily work together to uncover a sinister and evil plot in a murder case and make the world a safer place, so that everybody can sing "Kumbaya" and be happy, you *might* argue, that linking some organisations to an evil murder will bring the population peace and joy as they now know that that organisation is dealing in shady things and is connected to a murder case. You might imagine that this organisation will be getting a lot of FLAK in the future, dont you? And of course the one detective who uncovers that would get the praise for that, right?
Obviously, that the detectives are not cooperating, nobody can deny. They are actively trying to look better than the competitors for the captain for a future career boost etc.
Now lets assume you argue: OK about that competition , nobody can deny there is competition about who gets the case right, but if a detective uncovers a link that frames one organisation to the crime, he should get extra praise, no?
My answer is : yes and no!
Yes, if the detective uncovers a piece of the conspiracy, it should make him look more competent in the eyes of his boss, BUT:
Why should a detective get extra VP if one organisation is framed for being connected to the crime, simply for having favors to that organisation.
It would be logical to assume that the organisation is thankful for NOT being displayed as being involved in a crime:
Imagine the following situation: Louis Blane has successfully aquired some favors for some organisation and linked them to the crime too. He wants to visit the organisation and brings his (lets say) 4 favors with him (Favors are currency, remember) .His contact man says something like: "Oh Mr. Blaine! Welcome! We had some minor sales repercussions (34%) among our clients and our analysts say it is because the media is covering our strong links to the unpleasent murder case where strong links (3 of them) are leading towards our organisation as being the culprit and we have found out it was you who uncovered this. Anyway, what can we help you today (smiling)?
Is that *thematically* plausible to all those who say there should be an *extra* reward for this?
Would you not imagine that Blaine should rather watch his back when he enters the organisation *ever* again?
I say "NO" about extra praise to link an organisation to a crime and reap extra benefits from having favors to that organisation, how does that make sense? You link someone to a crime and expect applause from them? They would be glad if you had used your "assets" to let them look like completely innocent in this case, wouldnt you think so? THEN, if you have favors to ask of them, they would roll out the red carpet for you, NOT if you have proved them involved in such an evil task.
Obviously, my interpretation needs some out of the box thinking from the start, but it is *thematically* backed up by the part where i explained why the detectives are competitors and *don´t* work together: And here it is and it covers the following points:
1.: "The detective that is uncovering the conspiracy and giving information about the *bigger picture" gets some extra praise from the captain" and/or "he can use that information for his future career in future cases or personal dealings with that organisation (information, that he kept secret from his boss); the "future" is not covered in the game, but it sounds plausible in the thematic interpretation of mine, that the detectives all use the murder case AND the conspiracy to further their own power and influence, get promoted or gain other positive influence and power for the future.
2.: "The detective does get benefit from linking certain groups by the use of tiles, if he has the criteria from the groups."
How does that make any sense? Wait, here comes the BOMB!
Imagine, a detective who is placing a tile of the puzzle is simultanously giving the boss (or himself) an understanding of the *bigger picture* (in this case specifically, or in general for his personal use). He should be, thematically, rewarded. However some pieces of information are *harder* to obtain compared to others. Now placing a conspiracy piece in a corner or edge is harder to place than placing a conspiracy tile in the middle ( 2 or 3 possible routes to the tile (possible links from edges) as opposed to 4). It can be expected that placing a corner piece is a potential 12 VP (it has only 2 access possibilities) as opposed to other pieces of the conspiracy who have 3 or 4 access sides.
My interpretataion is:
Everytime a detective is placing a piece of the puzzle, he is linking some organisations to the crime (that is whenever an organisation is in contact with *any* puzzle piece, it is involved in the murder case) if it is the piece is adjacent to the *link* of the organisation, but, if he is making a *link* so there is a line (or several) to the center piece, the detective has given the organisation a kind of alibi that is plausible to the public. If he *links* the organisation according to the rules more than once, he can expect more thankfulness from the organisation to *NOT* being viewed publicly as being responsible for the murder case.
THAT would make thematically more sense that the organisation, where you have favors with, would see the detective who make them look innocent and not involved would be very thankful. As opposed to an organisation that is thankful for being linked to the murder, now the latter would really not make that much sense would it?
As a result, if you have favors to ask from an organisation, that you can choose to *link* or *link not* , would you, *thematically* link them them to something that is detrimental to them or would you not?
I can understand if this concept seems mindboggingly reversed to your thinking so far, but try to follow my idea.
Now, organisations that are not linked at all to the crime (not adjacent to any puzzle piece) have no reason to be thankful, (the investigator gets no VP for them too, there is no *link* as defined in the rules) but, those that are linked to the crime (adjacent puzzle piece) but are *linked* according to the rules, have a lot of reasons to be thankful, bc the detective could have used his "skills" that he displays to set his hunch as top guilty suspect, to show the organisation, that he has ties (favors) to, that it was him that made them look guilty or innocent and demand a return favor for that. If he has linked them according to the rules, he is making them look innocent (ofcourse if the organisation is involved in the crime, it is thankful for that and favors get VP for that) or he has linked them to the crime (by not linking them ruleswise).
Everytime a detective is finishing a row, column or a diagonal, he is giving either a bigger picture to his boss or keep it for himself for further use, in any way, if he is obtaining useful information (interpretatation: 5 pieces in a row, column or diagonal), he is rewarded a VP total of 4, bc it benefits him in the future.
Questions and thoughts all welcome.
One more note to all who who are confused now: Assume that the linking lines from the crime to the different organisations are a kind of alibi.
there are 3 possibilities:If an organisation is linked to the crime according to the rules, it has its dirty fingers involved in the crime, however the police is viewed( and any detective who fullfils the condition that is listed at the *link*, like favors) to have been beneficial in the public view of the organisation, therefore the detective gets some benefits from the organisation in the future (VPs).
If an organisation is not linked to the crime (link as in accordance to the rules),BUT has a piece of the puzzle adjacent to his, then it is viewed as being involved in the crime (in public), but none of the detectives has used his assets to divert evidence from the organisation, they are not linked (as linked in rules) so thematically, the organisation has no reason to be THANKFUL to ANY detective (there is no link ruleswise that any detective can use), (no reward for the *NOT*-link) as they all did their job to uncover the organisations involvement.
If an organisation has no piece of the puzzle adjacent to it, it was not involved in the murder and couldnt be framed either, there was no reason to expect detectives to bend the public view of them favorable, so there is no reason either to give them detectives any extra thankfulness (VP).
Questions and thoughts all apreciated!