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Scythe» Forums » Variants

Subject: Player Mat order rss

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Jeff Watts
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After a couple of games and some reading on the forum, I'm planning on implementing the following house rule regarding Player Mat distribution.

1) Randomly hand out Faction Mats.
2) Have the players pick the seat closest to their Faction.
3) Randomly determine a Start Player.
4) Hand out the Player Mats in ascending numeric order.



This will avoid the situation of having the number 5 immediately to the Left of the Start Player or having the number 2 being last.

The down side is that in games smaller than 5, the higher number mats won't get used. However, that also prevents the 3 player game with a 1, 5 & 2 from happening, where the 2 player clearly has a disadvantageous starting position.

Modified approach after the wonderful discussion and feedback below:
1) Randomly hand out Faction Mats.
2) Have the players pick the seat closest to their Faction.
3) Randomly determine a Start Player.
4) Randomly select a number of Player Mats equal to the number of players.
5) Hand out the Player Mats in ascending numeric order.
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Larry Haskell
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To allow the higher number mats to be played, why not randomly select a number of mats to match the player count and distribute them in order?
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Jeff Watts
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gamedog wrote:
To allow the higher number mats to be played, why not randomly select a number of mats to match the player count and distribute them in order?


So, for 3 player, randomly determine a number [1-3], and use that as the start mat number and distribute the Mats in ascending order.

2 player [1-4]
3 player [1-3]
4 player [1-2]

That's a good idea!
 
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Dave Moser
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Sounds like a good solution.

jeffjwatts wrote:
... The down side is that in games smaller than 5, the higher number mats won't get used. However, that also prevents the 3 player game with a 1, 5 & 2 from happening, where the 2 player clearly has a disadvantageous starting position.


You could also randomly select a number from 1 to ( 6 - <no. of players> ), and use that as the starting mat. For example, in 3-player games, you would pick a number from 1 to 3. If that number is 2, use mats 2, 3, and 4. This would tighten up the relative starting advantages in any given game, with the downside that over many games at various player counts mat #3 will be used more often than #2 and #4, and #1 and #5 will be used the least.

(Assuming my math is correct, over a large sampling of an equal number of 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-player games, mat #3 would be used in 87.5% of games, mats #2 and #4 in 79.2%, and #1 and #5 in 52.1%.)


(double-ninja'd!)
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Matt L.
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This creates a situation where you will always have games where the turn order is:

Industrial, Engineering, Patriotic, Mechanical, Architectural

In a less than 5 player game you're still limiting the variation considerably. I think you're cutting away some of the random/asymmetrical aspects of the game which make it more interesting in order to solve a perceived problem.

I personally would not be interested in playing this way.
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Thanee
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jeffjwatts wrote:
However, that also prevents the 3 player game with a 1, 5 & 2 from happening, where the 2 player clearly has a disadvantageous starting position.


Why not just have the entire turn order based on the number drawn.

1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5 (skipping those that are not around).

I will be a bit trickier than just going clockwise with 4+ players (at 3 you can just go clockwise or counter-clockwise), but it's not extremely difficult to do.

Bye
Thanee
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Chris Edwards
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For a compromise with slightly more randomness, on the other hand, you could randomly select n player mats (where n is the number of players), put them in numerical order, and then hand them out. It does mean non-uniform gaps in the numbers, but since the different mats aren't supposed to make a huge difference to the balance anyway...

Otherwise, I do think you'll be hurting yourself more by stifling the variety of player mat combos than any potential unfairness would hurt you.
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Derek Long
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jeffjwatts wrote:
gamedog wrote:
To allow the higher number mats to be played, why not randomly select a number of mats to match the player count and distribute them in order?


So, for 3 player, randomly determine a number [1-3], and use that as the start mat number and distribute the Mats in ascending order.

2 player [1-4]
3 player [1-3]
4 player [1-2]

That's a good idea!


I interpreted the idea slightly differently: for n players, choose n mats randomly from all 5. Take the n mats and put them in ascending order. Then select a start player and distribute them in order around the table.

For instance, this means there are 5 different sets for 4 players, instead of only 2 as in your approach.
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A J
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jeffjwatts wrote:
After a couple of games and some reading on the forum, I'm planning on implementing the following house rule regarding Player Mat distribution.

1) Randomly hand out Faction Mats.
2) Have the players pick the seat closest to their Faction.
3) Randomly determine a Start Player.
4) Hand out the Player Mats in ascending numeric order.



This will avoid the situation of having the number 5 immediately to the Left of the Start Player or having the number 2 being last.

The down side is that in games smaller than 5, the higher number mats won't get used. However, that also prevents the 3 player game with a 1, 5 & 2 from happening, where the 2 player clearly has a disadvantageous starting position.


This is exactly what we do.
 
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Jonathan Kinney
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I must be missing something, why are people doing this variant?
Is there a disadvantage if the mat order goes #1, #5, #2, #4 and #3?

 
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Larry Haskell
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Derek Long wrote:
jeffjwatts wrote:
gamedog wrote:
To allow the higher number mats to be played, why not randomly select a number of mats to match the player count and distribute them in order?


So, for 3 player, randomly determine a number [1-3], and use that as the start mat number and distribute the Mats in ascending order.

2 player [1-4]
3 player [1-3]
4 player [1-2]

That's a good idea!


I interpreted the idea slightly differently: for n players, choose n mats randomly from all 5. Take the n mats and put them in ascending order. Then select a start player and distribute them in order around the table.

For instance, this means there are 5 different sets for 4 players, instead of only 2 as in your approach.


Yes, this is what I was suggesting.
 
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Michael Melen
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Jeff, I'm very interested in how this works for you. When you have a few plays with your new house rules, please update this thread with how it works for you.

I've been fascinated by the BGG analyses of this game! I have yet to play a game of it, but have been following the posts.

I got Scythe over a week ago, and unboxed it yesterday with my gaming buddy. We didn't have time to play because she spent the whole time bedazzled by the components (me too) and deciding which faction she wants to play. It's supposed to be random, but she usually gets what she wants until the dice start rolling.

Can't wait to start mech'ing her life miserable! whistle
 
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Jeff Watts
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jonocop wrote:
I must be missing something, why are people doing this variant?
Is there a disadvantage if the mat order goes #1, #5, #2, #4 and #3?


Yes, the Mats are incrementally more powerful. Mat #1 is the weakest mat. Mat #5 is the strongest Mat.

Mat #1 always goes first and is the weakest specifically because it will always have the maximum number of turns in the game.

The Last player in any game has the highest chance of having 1 less turn than the other players. If the Last Player ends up with Mat #2, that player has the worst order position and the second worst Mat.

Also, imagine if two players decide to play two games back to back alternating the start position. If the two players randomly draw Mats #1 (for player A) and #2 (for player B) in the first game, but then they draw Mat #1 (for player B) and #5 (for player A) in the second game, clearly player A had an advantage in the match.
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Niko
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jonocop wrote:
Is there a disadvantage if the mat order goes #1, #5, #2, #4 and #3?
Most likely not, but it seems weird to many people that the second player would get the highest amount of starting resources since the rule book says those are to balance the likelihood of getting an extra turn.

However, Jamey has since said that the resources also balance the action combinations on the mat and many say that the difference in starting resources is so small that it doesn't have any significant impact on the end game score if the second player gets the most.
 
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Nicholas Dewald
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I'm guessing this comes up in competitive play between experienced Scythe players? I just have not seen this advantage in the games I have played where a certain player having one more turn would have had a significant impact on the outcome.
 
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Jeff Watts
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gamedog wrote:
Derek Long wrote:
jeffjwatts wrote:
gamedog wrote:
To allow the higher number mats to be played, why not randomly select a number of mats to match the player count and distribute them in order?


So, for 3 player, randomly determine a number [1-3], and use that as the start mat number and distribute the Mats in ascending order.

2 player [1-4]
3 player [1-3]
4 player [1-2]

That's a good idea!


I interpreted the idea slightly differently: for n players, choose n mats randomly from all 5. Take the n mats and put them in ascending order. Then select a start player and distribute them in order around the table.

For instance, this means there are 5 different sets for 4 players, instead of only 2 as in your approach.


Yes, this is what I was suggesting.


Well your idea is both easier to implement and ensures that the boards all get equal play.

The only down side is having large gaps in the numbers. Still, I think having 1, 2, & 5 is more palatable for the Last player than the 1, 5 & 2 situation.

So, I think you've sold me.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Folks are getting way too hung up on the minor differences in starting resources on these mats. I think this variant will likely cause more problems than it is attempting to solve (which I am not convinced at all there even is a problem to solve).
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PapaDeWald wrote:
I'm guessing this comes up in competitive play between experienced Scythe players? I just have not seen this advantage in the games I have played where a certain player having one more turn would have had a significant impact on the outcome.
But he/she played the entire game with this knowledge. It should integrate into a strategy. Thinking that it isn't right because "I would have won if given another turn" disregards the value of this information.
 
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Jason Brown
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I'm guessing this entire conversation happened during play testing and the current rules represent the best solution.
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@papa. Btw I am agreeing with your point, just not the notion as expressed by others.
 
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Eric Hogue
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Thanee wrote:
jeffjwatts wrote:
However, that also prevents the 3 player game with a 1, 5 & 2 from happening, where the 2 player clearly has a disadvantageous starting position.


Why not just have the entire turn order based on the number drawn.

1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5 (skipping those that are not around).

I will be a bit trickier than just going clockwise with 4+ players (at 3 you can just go clockwise or counter-clockwise), but it's not extremely difficult to do.

Bye
Thanee


Every player can place a star, in play order, to help with the memory.
 
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Becq Starforged
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For those concerned that this feature of the game will cause a problem, here is a simple house rule:

A. Distribute the boards as necessary.
B. Determine first player randomly.
C. Ignore the starting resources on the boards. Instead, give out the following starting resources (in addition to those listed on their faction boards):
Player 1: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 4 coins
Player 2: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 5 coins
Player 3: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 6 coins
Player 4: 2 objectives, 3 hearts, 6 coins
Player 5: 2 objectives, 4 hearts, 7 coins

Note that this is entirely untested, but it does allow for a simple way of disassociating the starting resources from the boards, and associating them with turn order instead.

Note that the allotments above are identical to those on the boards, so if you want to get a bit fancier, you can scan in the bonus portion of each board, then print out cards with that information, distributing them in turn order.

Let me know if this works for you!

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Paul Ferguson
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LunaWolvesMan wrote:
This creates a situation where you will always have games where the turn order is:

Industrial, Engineering, Patriotic, Mechanical, Architectural

In a less than 5 player game you're still limiting the variation considerably. I think you're cutting away some of the random/asymmetrical aspects of the game which make it more interesting in order to solve a perceived problem.

I personally would not be interested in playing this way.


The asymmetrical aspects of this game are so minute I can't see it making much of a differenc if the order is always industrial - architectural
 
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Nicholas Dewald
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The amount of playtesting that went into this game, I don't forsee a house rule "improving" the game, unless it is for personal taste. At best, I see it having no effect.

This rule seems to add unnecessary complexity to setup that shouldn't affect the outcome.

Thanks for a wonderfully polished game Jamey!
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Jeff Watts
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Becq wrote:
For those concerned that this feature of the game will cause a problem, here is a simple house rule:

A. Distribute the boards as necessary.
B. Determine first player randomly.
C. Ignore the starting resources on the boards. Instead, give out the following starting resources (in addition to those listed on their faction boards):
Player 1: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 4 coins
Player 2: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 5 coins
Player 3: 2 objectives, 2 hearts, 6 coins
Player 4: 2 objectives, 3 hearts, 6 coins
Player 5: 2 objectives, 4 hearts, 7 coins

Note that this is entirely untested, but it does allow for a simple way of disassociating the starting resources from the boards, and associating them with turn order instead.

Note that the allotments above are identical to those on the boards, so if you want to get a bit fancier, you can scan in the bonus portion of each board, then print out cards with that information, distributing them in turn order.

Let me know if this works for you!




I have two issues with this:
a) This is far more complex than just numerically sorting the Player Mats.
b) The Player Mats may well rely on their varying Starting Resources for balance.
 
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