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Port Royal» Forums » Variants

Subject: First player advantage? Starting Coins Variation rss

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Kilo Force
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Quote:
Starting Coins Variation #1:
---------------------------
1st player = 3 coins
2nd player = 3 coins
3rd player = 4 coins
4th player = 4 coins
5th player = 5 coins


Quote:
Starting Coins Variation #2: (suggested by Mavis101)
---------------------------
All players = 0 coins


Curious, has anyone else noticed a first player advantage? We have only played a handful of games (with 4 players), but the first player seems to have either won most of the games, or been in second place with score. And they weren't close games for the other positions. Maybe, this advantage may not be noticeable with fewer players?

We tried a variant where the 1st and 2nd players get the standard starting 3 coins, and then the 3rd and 4th players get 4 coins, so they can actually buy a cheap 3 cost card (because it costs 4 off turn). That way the 3rd and 4th player have a chance to buy something in the first few rounds, instead of twiddling their thumbs.

I would assume with a 5th player, 5 coins would be their starting coins, but we haven't had a 5th player to try it with.

Thoughts?
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Peter Hazlewood
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If we have, it's been very slight. Sometimes it's an advantage to go last at the end of the game.
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Steve Cohn
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I would think the sheer randomness of the game would prevent any such advantage?

Example:
First player turns over a blue ship worth 1 gold. They continue--of course, who stops at 1 gold in a push-your-luck-game?--and oops, another blue ship, *BUZZ*. First player turn over, they get nothing but a poke in the eye.

Second player turns over Red Ship for 2 gold.
Seeing what happened to player 1, they take that.

3rd player flips three cards (one at at time), the first two no one can afford, the third is a green ship worth 3 gold. They take it.

Player 4 flips and ends up with a black ship worth 4 gold, which they take, of course. Play passes back to Player 1.

Player 1 now has significant disadvantage, or at least it is perceived that they do, since everyone else received coins and they did not. This disadvantage would actually be compounded by giving other players more money to start.

In an action-selection or worker placement game the players last in turn order do often get some monetary advantage due to a perception of "going last means all the good spots are taken first", so this 'last gets more money mechanic' is provided as compensation for that.

Going last in a game where there are 120 cards randomly distributed--any 9-15 of which are given out face down as 3 "gold" at the start--really has no reason to compensate a player going last in turn. Realistically, before any cards are flipped, the player going first, second, third, etc. have equal odds of "getting something good". If anything, last may have a slight advantage if they care to do card counting and calculate odds ( yuk ), as they have likely seen a half dozen or more cards already and would know if any "good ones" are left for them or if they should take the first coins that come their way and be satisfied with that.

At least that's what I tell myself after going bust on my third turn in a row.

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Mavis
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We play that every player starts with 0 gold.
 
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Peter Hazlewood
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Mavis101 wrote:
We play that every player starts with 0 gold.


Ouch. That's vicious! And surely slows the game down significantly. If you can't get a decent ship in your first go you're probably stuffed from the start. Not sure I like that...
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Mavis
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sneakypete21 wrote:
Mavis101 wrote:
We play that every player starts with 0 gold.


Ouch. That's vicious! And surely slows the game down significantly. If you can't get a decent ship in your first go you're probably stuffed from the start. Not sure I like that...


After 150+ plays this is definitely not our experience and it does not slow the game down. Maybe it means there is slightly more luck as to who accumulates enough cash to start buying first but it does guarantee that it will not always be the first player. I would recommend it as a variant.
 
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Kilo Force
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OchreOgre wrote:
I would think the sheer randomness of the game would prevent any such advantage?

Example:
First player turns over a blue ship worth 1 gold. They continue--of course, who stops at 1 gold in a push-your-luck-game?--and oops, another blue ship, *BUZZ*. First player turn over, they get nothing but a poke in the eye.


Maybe we play too cautiously, and maybe we just haven't played enough for this statistical anomaly to work itself out.
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Kilo Force
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Mavis101 wrote:
We play that every player starts with 0 gold.


Interesting. I wonder if that might actually have the same effect as what we are trying to do. It prohibits the first player from buying something on the first round, jump-starting their owned cards. I think we will try that variant too. Thanks!
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xorsyst xorsyst
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In my experience, last player has the advantage, not first, so I'm not sure this balancing helps that.
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Mavis
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xorsyst_uk wrote:
In my experience, last player has the advantage, not first, so I'm not sure this balancing helps that.


Why do you think last player has an advantage?
 
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Andre Eppler
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Mavis101 wrote:
xorsyst_uk wrote:
In my experience, last player has the advantage, not first, so I'm not sure this balancing helps that.


Why do you think last player has an advantage?


Cause when the last player reaches the score to finish the game (usually 12) the other players don't get another turn..they are only allowed to buy from the current display and then the game ends.
In 2-player we feel that is quite an advantage.
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Mavis
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Blechbirne wrote:
Mavis101 wrote:
xorsyst_uk wrote:
In my experience, last player has the advantage, not first, so I'm not sure this balancing helps that.


Why do you think last player has an advantage?


Cause when the last player reaches the score to finish the game (usually 12) the other players don't get another turn..they are only allowed to buy from the current display and then the game ends.
In 2-player we feel that is quite an advantage.


Yes I understand how the game ends. Never played 2 player but can see that it would be different.

With 3-5 players it is the player who reaches 12 or more points first who has the advantage, this is not always (or often) the player going last. If the last player can reach 12 first on their go, then of course they will probably win but they are no more likely to be in a position to get to 12 points first than any other player.
 
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Mavis101 wrote:
xorsyst_uk wrote:
In my experience, last player has the advantage, not first, so I'm not sure this balancing helps that.


Why do you think last player has an advantage?


Well, if any other player gets to 12 points, they are making a gamble that a player later in the turn order won't get more points. The last player, however, has perfect information. They know precisely what's needed for them to get 12+ points without any other player beating them, so they can push their luck exactly as far as neccesary. This tends to be most pronounced in 2-player games, but I've seen its effects at 5-player too.
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Matthias Mahr
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I agree with xorsyst: first player has a (slight) disadvantage, imho. If (s)he triggers end game, everybody has a slight chance to turn the game at least with some risky gamble, which might turn out well. It's often to be seen, that somebody triggers end game with 12 or 13 points, then somebody later in turn order manages to get 4 or 5 ships into harbour, is able to purchase two captains or settlers, then taking an Expedition for a total of 14 or even more.

The earlier you are in turn order, the more likely it is, somebody behind you triggers end game. And then, you only get maybe a few cards from others Trade & Hire phase, but it is very unlikely, that anybody will leave a card for you, to surpass the others. And even, if you get a fitting person for an Expedition at that time, you can not exchange your staff, as this is only possible, when you are active player.
 
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