Tribute Scoring Formula: Supply Center Count + Survival Bonus +/- Tribute
Tribute scoring rewards players for surviving to a draw, for having a lot of supply centers, and especially for having the most supply centers, known as “topping the board”. The goal is to promote dynamic games where as many players as possible attempt to top the board and the outcome hangs in the balance as long as possible.
Topping the board can be very valuable in Tribute. Players should aim to top the board, up to the point that there really is little hope of achieving it. In that case, players should aim to survive and keep the board-topper as small as possible.
A surviving player’s score goes up as other players get eliminated, but all survivors have to pay tribute to the board-topper, where the payment increases with the board-topper’s center count. Thus focusing too much on eliminating other players may lead to a lower score, since doing so may give the board-topper free rein to grow.
The biggest scores in Tribute are achieved by topping the board with a large draw size, since every surviving player is a tribute payer. For this reason, the optimal strategy is to keep the board-topper within reach until the opportunity arises to secure the board-top for oneself.
Want to read more? Check out “To Whom Tribute Is Due”, the Diplomacy World article by War Weasel Brandon Fogel.