### Minimax algorithm: Cost/evaluation function?

##### - by Dave

Hi guys,
A school project has me writing a Date game in C++ (example at http://www.cut-the-knot.org/Curriculum/Games/Date.shtml) where the computer player must implement a Minimax algorithm with alpha-beta pruning. Thus far, I understand what the goal is behind the algorithm in terms of maximizing potential gains while assuming the opponent will minify them.
However, none of the resources I read helped me understand how to design the evaluation function the minimax bases all it's decisions on. All the examples have had arbitrary numbers assigned to the leaf nodes, however, I need to actually assign meaningful values to those nodes.
Intuition tells me it'd be something like +1 for a win leaf node, and -1 for a loss, but how do intermediate nodes evaluate?
Any help would be most appreciated.