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Subject: What's your reaction to this rule for who goes first? rss

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Matthew Hanson

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If you saw this in a rule book, how would you react.

"The player who most recently traveled to outer space goes first. If there is a tie, draw a tile at random and whoever's tile has the highest maximum point value goes first."
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Jack Harrison
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It's future-proof! I like it. Although I'm now assuming your game is lightweight and space-related?
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Filip W.
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If it was a quirky, light 30-minute filler: funny. If it was a larger, more serious game: bad writing.
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Mike Jones
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You haven't read many start player mechanisms have you?

Sounds like many.

One of Fragor Games rulebooks I was reading lately had some 'weird' one and the then next line item on set up said something like 'groan more about Fragor's start player rules and decide however you'd like' or something to that affect.
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Magic Pink
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filwi wrote:
If it was a quirky, light 30-minute filler: funny. If it was a larger, more serious game: bad writing.


Uh, no. Large, serious games can still be funny. You're way too uptight.

I love goofy first player determination rules. The crazier the better. This one is great.
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Matthew Austin
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What I want to know is does low earth orbit count?
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Benjamin Lindvall
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gabo2007 wrote:
What I want to know is does low earth orbit count?

I'd allow it to count.
 
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David Gibbs
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I like thematic, but amusing, "who goes first" rules in my games, whether the game is serious or not-so-serious.

Providing a backup rule -- not so much, other than, maybe just says "decide randomly". I don't think players need to be instructed as to how to generate a random result.
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chadgar24
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what about getting a little 'spaced out' from breathing diesel fumes at a gas station?

sidebar...if this was your intent, that someone would come up with some funny off the wall story then I say keep it.
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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gabo2007 wrote:
What I want to know is does low earth orbit count?
LEO isn't the issue; the problem will be when Americans go to Essen to play this and get into a fight about "50 miles" vs "100 kilometers".
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Nat Levan
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I typically don't like games that set up arbitrary conditions for going first. Especially when it's something that will rarely change. (I'm looking at you, Small World with your pointy ear rule)
My personal feeling is that the starting player should either be determined in a way to balance asymmetrical starting positions, or randomly. I typically ignore it in the rules, and assume the players will figure it out.
In your case, it's clever, original and fits with the game theme, and has a reasonable secondary method, so it's neither arbitrary nor random, so I'd say it's fine.
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Nat Levan
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lomn wrote:
LEO isn't the issue; the problem will be when Americans go to Essen to play this and get into a fight about "50 miles" vs "100 kilometers".

Well, clearly 50 miles doesn't count. It needs to be at least 62 miles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_space
 
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John Breckenridge
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I'd say, "Outer space starts at the ground" and jump up.
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howl hollow howl
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Well, I just asked John Glenn, and he enthusiastically approves of it.

As for myself, I have one group that always uses the same mechanism to determine start player, and another group that doesn't really care and uses any one of several at any given time. Dungeon Petz is probably heavier than the game you're working on, and it has a "most recently fed your pet" start player rule that we used last week.
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Bill Eldard
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Sivilized wrote:
My personal feeling is that the starting player should either be determined in a way to balance asymmetrical starting positions, or randomly. I typically ignore it in the rules, and assume the players will figure it out.


Agreed. That's all tbat's necessary.
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Koen Hendrix
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I really like the OP rule. It's basically saying, choosing a starting player at random, but in a flavorful way, while poking fun at other board games that use silly first player rules (Small World's pointy ear thing). I agree with cutting the specific tile-drawing instructions though.
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Jeremy Lennert
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Humor's great in principle, but I can't read something like this without inwardly cringing while imagining someone trying to enforce it as an actual rule.

Rules are already hard--it takes sustained care and concentration to read or write them, players often have to go back and check something they've read previously, and mistakes and arguments are routine. You can put anything you want in a sidebar, but I think the actual rules text should only contain actual rules that you seriously expect people to follow; otherwise you slow down people who are just trying to look something up so they can get on with the game, and risk igniting disputes.

I'm probably too up-tight, but you asked my reaction, so there it is.
 
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Stijn Hommes
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MatthewJHanson wrote:
If you saw this in a rule book, how would you react.

"The player who most recently traveled to outer space goes first. If there is a tie, draw a tile at random and whoever's tile has the highest maximum point value goes first."
As long as the rule in question is thematically relevant, I feel it's okay to do something out of the ordinary with the rule about who starts. People are free to ignore it anyway, but it adds to the immersive experience.
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T. Dauphin
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Quirky first-to-play rules can be fun, but may sideline the gaming efforts somewhat. I like them for the conversations you can generate with them.
For example, what if this rule was, "Whoever has been closest (most recently) to outer space goes first."? Then you would have to talk about what took you to whatever elevation you were at, and you might learn something about the people you're gaming with. I like this rule for that.

Of course, if you're anxious to get started at the game, you may not be too crazy about distracting everybody for 10 or 15 minutes while they chat about their travels.

 
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John Peterson
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As others noted, other games do it.

"The person who looks most like a monster." (Can't remember)

"The owner of the game goes first." (Nuclear War or Nuclear Escalation)
 
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Scott Nelson
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Mine is very similar to outer space visiting: "The Player who can hold their breath the longest becomes the Starting Player." Diver Down was the game.
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George Jones
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My favourites are 'player who got up earliest' and 'player who looks most like their evil baby'.

However, by and large there's no point getting uptight about deciding 1st player unless there is a really bad 1st player advantage (which I would say indicates poor design if the only way you can mitigate 1st player advantage is to carefully select 1st player)

In my experience 1st player decisions end up being ignored in favour of 'owner of game goes first as they are likely to actually know the rules to a competent degree so everyone who isn't as familiar can watch an example turn and get the jist of things
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Jason Kotzur-Yang
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louper wrote:
I'm never one for these "goofy" who-goes-first rules. I'd say,

"Randomly decide on a start player."

Done.

Maybe put in the thing about drawing a random tile, but honestly, if people can't figure out how to randomly determine who goes first without specific instructions, well, they probably shouldn't be participating.


I'm not a big fan for goofy first player rules either, but it's best to give players a way of determining start order. They can ignore it if they choose to (and it sounds like a lot will) but if you say "Randomly decide on a start player" you've just told your players this is a random, abstract game (and missed a chance to reinforce your theme), and you've also now made your players make a design decision for you (do they use a dice or draw straws or play rock, paper, scissors?). Some players will roll a dice no matter what, so give them a more immersive choice.

If you're playing with a group of people that start arguing about who goes first, then an arbitrary rule will not save you.
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S J
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Excellent comedic value. And potentially the most epic conversation starter ever.
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Paul Oakes
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Humourless prats exist everywhere, so while it's disappointing that there's so many in this hobby it shouldn't be a surprise.

Tzolk'in has the rule that the start player is the one who made the most recent sacrifice. My friend Mick - a county bridge player - claimed a sacrifice bid of 6 Hearts (doubled) and went first.
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