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Elasund: The First City» Forums » General

Subject: Imbalance in starting positions for players vs. the church? rss

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Tim Kelly
United States
Richardson
Texas
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During our game last night, one of the players stated he believed there was not a fair arrangement of starting building positions in regard to the church.
There are 9 church tiles, and the first one played is "anchored" to the dark brown spot on the board. Other church tiles must be played in their appropriate relationship to the first played tile. With 9 tiles, that gives 9 different positions for the church.
Checking all 9 layouts to see which positions threaten which starter buildings when the church is fully built out, I found 7 positions will destroy Yellow buildings, 6 will destroy Blue, 4 for Green, and only 3 for Red.
I realize starter buildings may be rebuilt for free (if there's a spot for them), and the church is not always completely built out (although it has been in 4 of our 5 games), but doesn't this seem to be a bit out of balance?
I haven't noticed Red winning the most games (so far, only 1), but this does seem odd.
Anyone else notice this, or can use math to show me how it's really all balanced? Perhaps this just means Yellow and Blue must adopt slightly different strategies.
Your thoughts appreciated!
Tim Kelly
 
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Nick Fisk
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Stoke on Trent
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We have noticed this, but all we've done is go "huh" rather than do anything about it!



The other thing we noticed applies to a 2 or 3 player game ... due to the different start positions, should a 2 player game use "matching" colours of "opposing" colours ?

And in a 3 player game, is there an advantage or disadvantage in being the odd-player ?

N.

 
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mike tauman

New Jersey
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We noticed it but I never thought it was that much of a big deal.

I have only played 2 games (4-player and 2-player) and it seems that a good number of these starting buildings get built over by things other than the church anyway.

Now this could be that our group hasn't really gotten into church building. They are more obsessed with wall building, which I am still trying to figure out if it is worth it once the walls become 4g (you ultimately will spend 12g for one cube, and depending on which tiles you are placing you will get 2-3-4 influence cards... if I have to build tiles 4-5-6 all on the back wall as much as I know influence is important 12 g for 1 cube and 3 influence, and another cube exposed to the Pirates, doesn't add up to me).

If the church is being built rather quickly in other games I can see this being a point of concern. In our games it seems no one really focuses on the church especially early (other than that first tile) and by the time people get around to church building, you have gotten a lot of production already out of those starter buildings so its not too much of a loss to have to move them.

Once that first church tile is laid down, its pretty safe to say a lot of the starter buildings are going to be move due to 4-space buildings being built over them anyway. It might actually be a BENEFIT to having a starter building on a square that falls withing the church's 9 spaces, because in that case no one wants to build a larger building there and risk losing it, so you get more production from that starter building, and it may even last until the end of the game.
 
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Steve K
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It's funny, but when we spotted this, I wondered if the fact that red's initial buildings were "safer" than others might mean that red's initial buildings were actually more likely to get built over since they are on good row numbers, yet safer from church building.

In other words ... if the church hasn't been started, red's starting buildings must look pretty attractive for building over, but if the church has started then they probably look even more attractive.
 
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Peter Marchlewitz
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We've played this gem about 14 times now...and haven't had any problem with the person who starts in whatever area.
Getting a starting building isn't all that bad, as you can immediately place it where you want...usually further back towards the far wall on rows 6-8.
I really don't think it is a big deal.
 
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Matthew M
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I noticed this the first time I played, but after many subsequent playings I've concluded that it's a non-issue. There is no way to design the map with a more balanced result and, as Peter mentioned, the safer buildings are more likely to be built over by other players anyway.

-MMM
 
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Carl Parsons
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Carrollton
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If there's an imbalance in the starting position then this game is clearly broken.
 
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Tim Kelly
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Richardson
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I want to be clear on this: I don't think it's a problem, just a curiosity. I think getting a "starter building" hit early may actually be an advantage, since they are much easier to rebuild earlier than later. Also, we haven't seen one color or strategy dominate yet. One thing's for sure: we're ALL ready to play again. Great game!
TK
 
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Robert Rossney
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Re: Imbalance in starting positions for players vs. the chur
By the time the second church building is built, it may actually be to your advantage to be given the opportunity to move one of your starting buildings.

The ability to freely place a 2-square building is not to be sneezed at: it's often possible to place such a building in a way as to make one of your otherwise vulnerable buildings much safer, by occuping spaces so that building permits can't be placed on them.
 
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Hunter Johnson
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Dayton
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Suspected imbalances have been mentioned in color selection and starting order. Perhaps roll for starting player, then allow the last player to choose his color, then next-to-last player, and so on. (Or, if someone suspects that going first is a disadvantage, allow them to choose first, etc.)
 
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Jim Cote
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Re: Imbalance in starting positions for players vs. the chur
1. The starting position of the church should have been on the 4 center spaces. This would avoid the miniscule imbalance that exists.

2. Starting buildings knocked off the board by another building are immediately replaced. No big deal. This can even be in your favor.
 
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Greg Jones
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It's already been pointed out that it may be possible to relocate your starter building to a more favorable location. So whether you want to be near to the church or far away depends on how likely it is you will be able to do that.

For the influence buildings, I think it's pretty likely. They start in a pretty unfavorable position, and they only need one space to occupy. These are farther from the church in any case, and less likely overall to be displaced, so they're the less important half of the question.

The only way to get a better position on your gold buildings (speaking strictly in terms of expected income) is to move to the 6/8 row. In my games, it is well into the game before enough of the church is built to make it likely to move even the blue building. Even though most of the church positions have the chance to smash the blue gold building, for any particular church placement, still at most two of the tiles will do the job. By this time, it's likely the 6/8 row will not have an available spot.

I like to intentionally smash my own starter gold building, and move it into the 6/8 row.

With 2 players, I like to take something on the front column. This way I can build on the trade points and smash my building at the same time. I think it's best to build a 2x2 on the 6/8. However, if you're blocked from that by competitive permit placing, build on the 5/6 or 8/9. If you end up doing that, it's better to have the yellow building and build on 5/6, because your 2x2 will be at less risk from the church. So my first choice of color is yellow. My second choice, assuming my opponent chooses yellow, is green. That's to stop them from doing what I was going to do. To move to the 6/8 row, their only options are the church spot (bad idea) and right next to it. You can block the latter with a permit.

With 3 or more players, green might be the best. You can smash your starter building with a 2x2 on and behind its column. Although you don't get the trade points, this might be better than the front column, since it's one column farther from the church.

In a 4-player game, to smash with a 2x2 on the 6/8 row, you also smash an opponent's building and there are a lot more 6/8 spots, so you probably both get one and end up helping out an opponent. Still, it's good to get a lead versus the other two players.
 
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Greg Jones
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ekted wrote:
1. The starting position of the church should have been on the 4 center spaces. This would avoid the miniscule imbalance that exists.


Sounds like a good idea. Rather than giving the first player to build a church piece a choice of 2 tiles, they could select one tile and have the choice of which of the four squares to place it on.
 
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Anthony Simons
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Re: Imbalance in starting positions for players vs. the chur
morningstar wrote:
ekted wrote:
1. The starting position of the church should have been on the 4 center spaces. This would avoid the miniscule imbalance that exists.


Sounds like a good idea. Rather than giving the first player to build a church piece a choice of 2 tiles, they could select one tile and have the choice of which of the four squares to place it on.


Sounds like a bad idea to me; adds too much power to the first church build.
 
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Anthony Martins
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fellonmyhead wrote:
morningstar wrote:
ekted wrote:
1. The starting position of the church should have been on the 4 center spaces. This would avoid the miniscule imbalance that exists.


Sounds like a good idea. Rather than giving the first player to build a church piece a choice of 2 tiles, they could select one tile and have the choice of which of the four squares to place it on.


Sounds like a bad idea to me; adds too much power to the first church build.


Well, I suppose it depends on what you "believe." If you think the start-building/close to church thing doesn't matter much, then it just goes from arbitrary to decided, which can somehow feel like a "balance."

Personally, I'd rather get blown up early, then I can rebuild on the best spaces.
 
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