Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

De Stijl» Forums » Rules

Subject: Counteracting a 1st-Player Disadvantage rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am not sure how many times I have played De Stijl. I just know it has been a lot. Throughout the developing process, the original game play has proven to be pretty solid, with only a few minor alterations here and there to do such things as make choices less overwhelming or add a tie-breaker.

One thing, however, that has always bothered me is that the first player has a distinct disadvantage. This is especially true when playing a four-player game. The first player may make an excellent play when laying down the last card, but the three remaining players could all place cards that hurt that first player. With two or three players this disadvantage is not as great since less people lay down cards after the first player.

Tonight, after playing a game of De Stijl with friends, my brother-in-law suggested that the first player should place two cards at the beginning of the game. This would give that player a beginning advantage while retaining the end-of-game disadvantage, perhaps bringing about a more balanced experience. We tried this when we played a second game, and the results seemed promising. I would love to hear what others think.

Of course another option would be to play four games with each player taking turns being the start player, but the game then begins to become less of a filler-length game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Playing two cards was the first thing they came to mind to me as well. If that's too powerful, maybe a standard first card would work.

Mike and I tried similar balancing acts for Paiko, and I can commiserate with you on the difficulty.

I will be printing this myself at some point in the distant future. If I can provide some insight, I'll chime in.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your thoughts, Marianne. I could definitely see the idea of a standard card working... Perhaps, for example, the first player is red and the card has three red squares and three black squares on it arranged like a checkerboard.

Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps another simple solution would be to give the first player one extra point at the end of the game.

Thanks for your interest, too. I hope you'll let me know your thoughts on the game!

Paiko looks interesting, too... another abstract... somewhat chess-like but with a number of different mechanics and strategic opportunities.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
An extra point would feel weird, from the player perspective, even though it might make sense for balance. Perhaps Red gets an extra card at the end, but that might be too powerful.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yah, I agree, Marianne. After writing down that consideration, I also thought the extra point would feel strange. If that first player won, it would likely always feel unfair.

I think the answer has to be a start-of-game advantage to balance the end-of-game disadvantage. Otherwise, it will just feel wrong. The extra card at the beginning still seems good to me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
That makes sense. The extra card feels the least weird to me, outside of a start card, which might force the play field to be less organic.

I've made up a set of cards to use through PrinterStudio with thinner edge borders, skewing the colors more towards Mondrian art, and an expanded logo for the back. Here's a sample:


Let me know if you'd like me to post the lot to the De Stijl Files list. I suppose I might need to update the rules for how to start.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice tweaks! I especially like the way you made better use of the back of the cards by expanding the logo. It makes the other card backs look like more of an afterthought... which, I suppose, they were. blush

I would love to see you post these on BGG.

I wanted to let you know, though, that I was planning on updating the original files with two rules changes in mind (1-the additional card for the first player; 2-an identity card in each payer color). Now that I see your adjustments, I was also wondering about including some of your ideas in the new version. Would you be okay with that?

At any rate, I will post the new rules tomorrow, and you can use them as you wish.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Now that I've gotten some sleep, it seems silly for me to include your ideas in the update. Not that I don't like them, but it seems a little pointless for both of us post something so similar. I'll post my update with the slight changes I've made, and you can post your redesign.

Sound reasonable to you?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Sounds fine to me. I will update mine to reflect the changes. Besides, some people might prefer the simpler backs and brighter colors.

I'm not fully certain how the smaller edge border will affect lining up things, anyway. I tried to keep the squares square, but they're really squarish.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The updated files are currently uploaded and are being reviewed by the moderators. As soon as they are approved, I'll post them here.

When I was designing the game, I tried a few variations before making truly square shapes, and that seemed to work the best in my opinion, but they worked fine the other way, too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here are the updated rules...

The files have also been updated in the files section of the DeStijl page.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Hopefully I'll get time for this tonight!

I had noticed the benefit of being precisely square, which is why I tried to keep them as close as possible.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
The file is up! I wonder how this new rule will affect the game. With one extra card played, wouldn't the card stack run out faster?

For completion, here's the link: [filepage=114769]De Stijl Re-art[/filepage]
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
yamaraus wrote:
The file is up! I wonder how this new rule will affect the game. With one extra card played, wouldn't the card stack run out faster?


Players never actually use the whole deck, so the cards should not run out faster.

Just a minute... I see a difference between your rules and my rules that will may be causing your concern.
-On my rule card, the first player receives an extra card before creating the deck of cards with 4 for each player.
-Your rule card has that switched around, with the stack being made, and then the first player playing an extra card. So your rules will have the game ending before the last player gets to play the final card.

I really like your design for the top of the rule card. Very nice implementation of De Stijl. Thanks for posting it!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Oooh, that makes sense. I looked over the rules but didn't see that. My reading comprehension is low with the sleep we get now. I'll fix it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Low sleep? snore
You must have little children. I know my kids certainly limit my sleep. Of course a lot of my lack of sleep also is my own doing. Now, for instance, I should be getting ready for bed. So... good night!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Yep. 14 months of wake-ups every hour. But, the instructions are fixed and the file is pending approval!

My husband said you would fix the first player disadvantage but the second player and third players would still have a minor imbalance. He suggests changing the statistical prevalence of each color through the deck.

I thought he meant a point advantage, for player 1, 2 and 3. Mike says Go does that.

He said from testing Paiko, people don't like the latter because it feels unfair, but don't really notice the former.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for sharing Mike's ideas about balancing things out. Since I read your suggestion, I've been debating about implementing it.

When playing De Stijl, there is not one player position (in my experience) that wins with more frequency than another. Though that last player does have an undeniable advantage, it is mainly with the start player (and this mainly in a four-player game) that any noticeable difference can be seen.

Yet Mike's thoughts make good sense and would require a minimal amount of changes. The main change players would likely notice would be a set turn order determined by color.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin V

Mount Oliver
Pennsylvania
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Lucas,

First thanks for making your game freely available. I got it printed, cut, and assembled this week and played a few rounds with my wife. I hope any feedback I can give is valuable to you in lieu of payment.

We really enjoyed the game, the length is great for us while not diverting too much attention from our infant son. The strategy and decision making is deep enough to stay engaging but not so complex that the game bogs down during turns.

Something I've noticed in some other 2 player games is a lack of engagement or worry about what the other player is up to. You simply play through your strategy, don't pay attention to the other player, and count up points at the end to see who won. I don't get that in De Stijl, I am always considering how my turn helps me but also hurts the other player. I like that a lot.

We definitely have not played enough games to comment on the balance yet, but there is nothing glaring which I'm sure you know already. There is also nothing glaringly 'wrong' or that we dislike. The simplicity but also reference of the theme to the art works well and having the board come out distinctly different every time is neat.

We were wondering if you have tried many games as two player with each player claiming two colors. We tried a few games with one color each and felt like without the other colors being involved the decision making was a lot easier. When we each claimed two colors for a few rounds, decisions became more difficult and I think more entertaining, but again not sure how it might affect the balance.

I obviously came into the game after the implementation of the beginning two cards for the first player and haven't tried to play without it, but that mechanic feels natural enough to me and does seem to keep the games tight.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lucas Gerlach
United States
Watertown
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, thanks for your comments, Justin! I'm glad to hear that you and your wife are enjoying the game and that it's hitting on a number of the right cylinders for you. Many of the things you enjoy about the game are the very things I enjoy about it, but you said it so well. I appreciate that.

I have had a few people comment on claiming two colors in a two-player game. I, myself, haven't really played around much with that option. I definitely feel, however, that claiming two colors is a valid way to increase the complexity level in a two-player game. I can't really foresee anything negative stemming from playing in that manner. I'll be sure to play a few games with that option soon.

One question of clarification for you, Justin... if you played blue and red, for instance, did you (a) count the points from red and add this to your points from blue or (b) play as if blue and red were the same color and count points accordingly? I would think (a) would work a lot better than (b), but I am curious as to how you played.

Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin V

Mount Oliver
Pennsylvania
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oh wow, I hadn't even thought of the possibility to tally points as if the two claimed colors were the same (b). We played by counting the two colors scores individually and tallying that as the single score for the player (a). I bet both could produce some interesting games.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marianne Waage
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
I suppose you could also take the average of the two, or use only the highest of the two.
 
 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.