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Fixing Capitol's Score Chart

Greg Aleknevicus

January, 2002

Alan Moon & Aaron Weissblum's Capitol is one of my favorite recent releases. If there's been one universal condemnation about the game it's that the scoring device simply does not work. For those that haven't seen it, it's a set of four cardboard columns marked with numbers that you slide up to indicate a players' score. The problem is is that the columns are highly susceptible to be bumped and jostled around during play. The rulebook says to glue the two side flaps under but I don't think many people are actually doing this. I did and while it does improve it a great deal, it's still not very good. So most people simply ignore it and use a pen and paper to keep score. I think this is a bit of a shame and I really wanted to make the device work somehow. I prefer not having to rely on pen and paper and I think the "rising columns" fits nicely with the theme of the game. I experimented with several different methods and nothing really clicked until I thought about using magnets which ultimately proved successful. Here's what I did:

 

1. You'll need some flexible thin magnetic sheets. These are sold in craft or office supply stores and are rather cheap. They're most commonly available in 1 cm (about 1/2") strips with an adhesive backing. Adhesive backed
      magnetic strips. They're also available in larger sections which is preferable although somewhat harder to find. You'll want two sections, each measuring 180mm x 50 mm (7" x 2"). This material is very easy to trim with a knife or scissors so if you can get a full sized sheet that would be best. Get the strongest stuff you can, most of the stuff I saw on shelf stores was rather thin and a bit too weak for our purposes. The stock I used is ~1.5mm (1/16") thick and works well.

2. Take the "base" of the column score device and carefully cut off the two side flaps:

 

3. Apply one of the magnetic sheets to the back of column base. If you've got adhesive backed sheets this will be no problem. If you don't, gluing may be a little troublesome as not many types of glue will stick to the magnetic material very well. One product that does work very well is 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. (If you try another product I'd recommend experimenting with a sample first, you don't want to mess up your column base.)

 

4. Glue the flaps you removed in step 2 to the back of the magnetic strips. Obviously you'll need to use some sort of glue since the magnetic material will not have adhesive on this side. Be careful not to place the flaps too close together otherwise you won't be able to fit all four columns between them. I recommend gluing one flap and then using the four columns as spacers to get the positioning of the second flap perfect.

 

5. To use this improved "score-chart", place the four columns in the device as usual and then place the second magnetic sheet behind them. (If you've used adhesive magnetic sheets you'll want to leave the plastic on the backing strip.) The two magnetic sheets will sandwich the columns together tightly enough that they won't move on their own.

I'm quite pleased with my results and it makes for a much sturdier device. In fact, it can even be held vertical without displacing the columns as can be seen in the above photo.

- Greg Aleknevicus

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