Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Castellan» Forums » General

Subject: First-player disadvantage rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have played the game only three times so far, but the first-player disadvantage is too evident to be ignored. As the first player, you start with nothing on the table and will inevitably place pieces that will help your opponent. Also, you are more likely to trigger the end of the game and allow your opponent to draw extra cards for the final turn.

It's a little disappointing, because Castellan is otherwise a fine game, but this imbalance makes it only suitable to play with your non-gamer girlfriend, child or parent, but not with a player of similar skill. The problem could have been easily avoided by starting the game with a couple of castle pieces assembled, and I wonder why the designer didn't use this solution.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Walters
United States
Hercules
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I noticed this issue the first few games, but then we all seemed to learn to play the weakest possible card first. It doesn't feel like as big a problem now.

I'd love to see a solution, but starting with a couple of pieces out means that the second player is going to miss out at the end, so they have essentially become the first player.

Maybe players can bid points for start player. Whoever is willing to give the other more points gets the second player spot. That wouldn't work for new players, but it would work with veterans. Lots of wargames do something like this - you know one side has an advantage, so you give up points to be that side.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
andreww wrote:
I noticed this issue the first few games, but then we all seemed to learn to play the weakest possible card first.

That's what I do, but it's still a clear disadvantage to go first.

Quote:
I'd love to see a solution, starting with a couple of pieces out means that the second player is going to miss out at the end, so they have essentially become the first player.

I don't see why. Two towers connected by a wall should be enough. That wouldn't harm the second player at all. He would possibly have even more options to expand, as the first player would tend to play more pieces.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Walters
United States
Hercules
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

You could put down two walls and a tower, then the first player is essentially in the second player position. But there are exactly the same number of pieces as depicted on the cards, so someone will end up playing fewer pieces than the other, a distinct disadvantage. So this would put some pressure on players to make sure they got all their pieces down first, since whoever finishes gets cheated out of two walls and a tower.

Usually with experienced players is not good to run through all your cards and let your opponent draw all the rest of their cards and play all their final pieces unopposed. If people are trying to pace themselves so they don't run out too soon they'll end up finishing close together, meaning it's more likely the second player that will end up cheated out of two walls and a tower, so they essentially played those pieces first, so it's just as if they were start player.

Now all this is just me thinking things through, and I could be way off base. There's nothing for it but to try it a few times, but do keep track of who misses out on the pieces at the end, and who wins, the first or second player.

All in all I'd lead toward the bidding method. If we keep track of how many points the player who goes first starts out with and the final scores we should pretty quickly see how much first player disadvantage there is.

I have five sets and have been playing multiplayer games as well as two player game at a game convention, a game store, etc., so I've seen a lot of different people play. While the start player is often annoyed at their choices I have not noticed that the start player always loses. Definitely not.

So we should collect some data. If we had the final scores from fifty games or so we could decide if there's genuinely an advantage or if the start player just *feels* like there's a disadvantage.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not suggesting a variant. If those were the rules, of course the game should come with the necessary extra pieces for the setup.

I don't think we need to collect data to see that there is a first-player disadvantage. What that data might help determine is how big that disadvantage is.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Wasson
United States
Erie
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Seems like the most simple solution is to play the game twice, or, some even number of games. Switching sides each time! If you are playing a four player game, you have to play four times. A great excuse to play a fun game more than once.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Christiansen
United States
Mount Pleasant
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
OOK! OOK! OOK!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wonder what the average advantage might be? 3 points?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kyle

Seabrook
Texas
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I played with my non-gamer girlfriend and her friend. I'm posting our scores below and a few others post it should help quantity the point delta.

First player, played before, 47 points
Second player, new to the game, semi gamer, 45 points
Third player, played before, non gamer, 50 points

In this game I was the first player, and triggered the end game condition which both helped the third player.

I think their is a a per position gap in 3 and 4 player games, but I don't have enough plays to know for sure.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.