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Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar» Forums » Variants

Subject: Starting variant - least corn rss

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Kevin Brown
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Draw tiles without determining start player. Each player chooses two tiles to keep but does not reveal them until all players have chosen their tiles. Whoever has the least amount of corn on their start tiles goes first. If you like, you can arrange all the players in ascending order of their start corn. If there is a tie for least corn, randomly determine a start player from those tied.

We've done this from our second game. It balances the start and also adds some strategy to the selection of start tiles.
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Andrew Williams
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Is this wise?

The player with the least amount of corn usally gains greater abilities elsewhere. Giving them the start token would allow them to quickly overcome the lack of corn, and gain an overall advantage. This can happen randomly of course but I'd rather that than tie it to specific set of starting tiles.
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Sunmachine wrote:
Is this wise?

The player with the least amount of corn usally gains greater abilities elsewhere. Giving them the start token would allow them to quickly overcome the lack of corn, and gain an overall advantage. This can happen randomly of course but I'd rather that than tie it to specific set of starting tiles.


You're acting like being the starting player is a big advantage. It's not even really a small advantage. Going later lets you jump up to bigger actions more quickly. This variant would make players with fewer corn go into a place which advantages them (earlier), while making players with less corn also do so (later). So I don't think there's a really big advantage to anyone.

That said, it could lead to some players accidentally screwing themselves over. If I took two tiles giving me only 5 corn total, but the person on my left took ones giving them 4 corn, I'd be in a terrible position that I wouldn't normally be in, since knowing I was going last I'd want to take more corn. So I'm not convinced by the variant, but for other reasons. You could have players be re-seated based on corn, but that seems a little excessive.
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Jeff Thornsen
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you make it sound like the start player is advantage. IMO the start player on the first turn is at a huge disadvantage because they do not have the option to pay extra corn to jump to a higher space. Other players get to piggy back off them.

I think knowing who the start player is has a big impact on deciding which starting tiles to keep. Making it unknown until after choosing would introduce an element of randomness I wouldn't like.
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Andrew Williams
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I find that the start player will often spam a wheel multiple times, giving themselves a head start. Not only by grabbing the free spot but by placing into the same wheel. In this particular example (least corn goes first) you would spam Palenque to offset your corn disadvantage as quickly as possible. Even starting with just 2 corn would allow you to take the first two spots and convert them into at least 7 corn on the very next turn. A player purposefully choosing the lowest amount of starting corn would factor this into their strategy which would IMHO give them an advantage, considering the tech,skulls,god bonuses the low corn tiles would have given them.

Choosing the start player randomly removes this, or at least makes such a stragegy risky to rely on.

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Kevin Brown
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Sunmachine wrote:
I find that the start player will often spam a wheel multiple times, giving themselves a head start. Not only by grabbing the free spot but by placing into the same wheel. In this particular example (least corn goes first) you would spam Palenque to offset your corn disadvantage as quickly as possible. Even starting with just 2 corn would allow you to take the first two spots and convert them into at least 7 corn on the very next turn. A player purposefully choosing the lowest amount of starting corn would factor this into their strategy which would IMHO give them an advantage, considering the tech,skulls,god bonuses the low corn tiles would have given them.

Choosing the start player randomly removes this, or at least makes such a stragegy risky to rely on.



What we've found in using this variant is that spending your first two turns just to gather corn puts you behind the other players who are using more productive actions.

Uxmal has always been the most popular first spam target here. Place three on Uxmal in turn one and get your 4th worker on turn two.
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I like it. The worst thing that can happen is when the first player has significantly more corn than others and does triple Uxmal; a lot of the time that's game right there.

Generally, the appropriate strategy is to take the tiles with the most corn regardless of starting position. The reason for this is that corn an abundance of early corn lets you avoid taking Palenque actions early on in favor of useful actions. The tech advances look powerful, but they are often more difficult to leverage into an advantage than an extra 3-4 corn.

These rules might lead to fewer non-games when the last player has 4 corn or something, but it still encourages people to take the most corn possible. I'll definitely try it with my friends.
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