Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Welcome to the World of Front Page Building and Scoring!

I’m here to walk you through the exciting process of creating and evaluating a front page. As an aspiring journalist, this skill is crucial for capturing readers’ attention and delivering an impactful message. So, let’s get started!

What Makes a Great Front Page?

When it comes to crafting a front page that grabs attention, there are a few key elements to consider:

  • Headline: The headline is the first thing readers see, so it needs to be catchy and compelling. It should pique their curiosity and make them want to learn more.
  • Visuals: Images and graphics play a crucial role in attracting readers. Eye-catching visuals can create an emotional connection and draw readers into the story.
  • Layout: The layout of your front page is like a roadmap for readers. A clean and organized design will guide them through the content and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
  • Content: The content on your front page should be relevant, timely, and engaging. It needs to captivate readers and make them want to dive deeper into the story.

Scoring Your Front Page

Once you’ve built your front page, it’s important to evaluate its effectiveness. Here are a few factors to consider when scoring your front page:

  • Attention-Grabbing: Did your headline and visuals catch readers’ attention? Did they make readers want to pick up the newspaper and read the story?
  • Clarity: Is your front page easy to navigate? Can readers quickly find the information they’re looking for?
  • Appeal: Does your front page appeal to your target audience? Does it reflect their interests and needs?
  • Engagement: Did your front page engage readers and make them want to learn more? Did it provoke an emotional response?

By taking these elements into account and striving for excellence, you can create a front page that stands out from the crowd. Remember, building and scoring a front page is both an art and a science, so don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment. Good luck on your front page journey!

Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press UltraFoodMess

When you decide to go to press, the first thing I have to do is build and score my front page.


To build my front page, I’ll start by taking the stories I picked up – the ones where I had the most or tied for the most reporters, and place them on my newspaper’s front page. My player mat will represent the layout. Now, there are a few rules I need to follow:

  1. First, I will look to see if I have any stories from top news beats. These beats are the most important stories of the day, and they’re marked with arrows pointing to the highest value. I’ll look at the numeric value, not just the position of the arrow markers. These top stories need to touch the top edge of my front page, which is the most valuable space for a newspaper. If I have multiple stories from top news beats, I need to place as many as possible touching the top edge.

If you have more stories from top news beats, make sure to put as many as possible on the rest of your front page. Then, use the remaining space to add the rest of your stories wherever they fit. You can arrange the stories horizontally or vertically, but you should prioritize turning the top news beat stories in the best way to fit in as many as possible, as per the rules mentioned above.

If you decide to place stories sideways, feel free to flip them over to make them look better. Before scoring, give other players a chance to check if you followed the rules correctly when creating your front page.

It’s important to note that you are not allowed to move your advertisement around while building your front page. Now, let’s move on to scoring.

Hey there! So, once you’ve got everything set up and ready to go on your front page, get ready for some perks!

  1. First off, you can pick one super special story to make as your “exclusive.” This story might not be from a top news beat, but it’s still important and will grab people’s attention. And guess what? This story gets double the points! Pretty cool, huh? Now, remember, you can only declare one exclusive. Even if you have other stories at the top of the page, they won’t score double.
  2. All the other stories you publish will get their normal points based on their news beat value. So be sure to choose some good ones!
  3. If there are any empty spaces on your front page that are not covered up by stories, you’ll lose points. The amount you lose depends on if it’s a small empty space (-1) or a big one (-2). So, try to fill up your page as much as possible!
  4. Your advertisement won’t earn you any points, but it will hide any empty spaces and save you from losing points. Once you’ve scored your page, you can replace the advertisement with a new one when you draw a headline card.

Building and Scoring Your Front Page

  1. Choose a few stories that will make it to the front page.
  2. Assign a news beat value to each story, based on its importance.
  3. Consider the stories you couldn’t fit on the front page as negative points.
  4. Put the unpublished stories back on their supply stacks, in star order.

Tally up the total score for your front page and move up the circulation track. You can’t move backwards on the track, so a negative score is counted as zero. But remember, you can’t go to press without at least one story!

Here’s an example to help you understand:

Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press UltraFoodMess

Hey there! So, guess what? The Times, also known as the yellow player, has just printed their newspaper! And guess what else? They managed to get three amazing stories, beating The Sun, the blue player, to the punch on two of them. Pretty impressive, right? Now that they have these stories, it’s time for The Times to put together their front page.

Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press UltraFoodMess

Here’s how I scored The Times (yellow) newspaper:

  • I gave them +4 points for their Politics story.
  • I awarded them +6 points (3×2) for their exclusive Crime and Calamity story.
  • I granted them +3 points for their War story.
  • Unfortunately, I deducted -1 point for the empty space.

Now let’s look at how The Sun (blue) newspaper stacked up and scored 2 scoop points:

Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press UltraFoodMess

  • I have to give you a thumbs up for being the first to report on the Crime and Calamity story.
  • Kudos for being quick to report on the War story. The fact that it’s an exclusive doesn’t change the scoop points.

So, here’s the deal. We’re in the middle of a game, and The Herald (the black team) has already printed their newspaper twice. They’ve got this annoying advertisement that’s taking up space on their front page, and they’ve got a shot at three great stories that would be perfect for the front page. Sounds like a win, right?

Well, here’s the issue. New York City is the hottest news beat right now, and in order for The Herald to put those stories on the front page, they have to touch the top edge. Problem is, if they go to press now, there won’t be any room for the War story, and that’s a big deal.

See, if they skip the War story, their front page won’t be worth much at all. It’s like wasting all that valuable space for nothing!

Building and Scoring a Front Page in Penny Press UltraFoodMess

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