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Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice» Forums » General

Subject: Is starting player too much of an advantage? rss

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William Shields
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I am starting to think it is.

The problem is that the starting player is _last_ to place his or her second settlement (chaos magicians and nomads notwithstanding). Let me give several anecdotes on this topic.

1. It's pretty common in our games for chaos mages to be selected by the last player. Part of the reason is that they're picking bonus tiles first but the majority of it (IMHO) is that they don't get screwed by the settlement placement. Nomads come up for the same reason but less often (probably because chaos mages are more "fun").

2. With the expansion, the volcano races are the new "terrorists". After 4-5 plays of the expansion it's become pretty apparent to me that the worst thing you can do is start next to one of these races unless you have some kind of natural barrier to prevent them from surrounding you (eg starting on an isthmus so they need a boat to get behind you).

If I am an earlier player than the dragonlords or acolytes it's a _huge_ advantage to place one settlement after both of theirs have been placed.

3. The ice races are less of a problem but still a problem because ice, like volcano, can't be transformed once made allowing ice and volcano races can essentially reserve land in ways no other race can;

4. Picking late in the order I've essentially lost the game in setup before. Pre-expansion I picked a race, perhaps foolishly, where both of my neighbouring terrains were chosen (this was part of the problem) and placed a settlement on the edge of the board near two friendly terrains. I go get a drink and come back and find both of my settlements surrounded with no possible expansion possibilities.

The last point may touch on why the order is the way it is. Late players do get to choose based on who is in the game so I guess the first player has to have a later settlement placement to avoid losing in setup?

Later players do know who else is already in the game but still the advantage of picking first seems to be pretty huge.

Take yesterday. 4 player with the expansion. Extra scoring tile was distinct settlements. First turn scoring bonus was settlements. Large building scoring was on turns 4 and 6. I chose Riverwalkers on green (to keep the witches out). I almost got cut off by the Dragonlords but won largest network, the extra scoring, built 6 settlements on turn 1 and 3 towns over the course of the game for a 150+ score and large winning margin.

Later players may not have chosen optimally but it seemed a VERY Riverwalker friendly game.

Perhaps the problem is that many of the new races can not only be advantageous but they can keep other races out of the game?

I dunno. I just know I pretty much want to go first in every game if I could.
 
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Rhett Morgan
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Nah, if such a thing were imbalancing it would have shown up a long time ago. Aside from faction imbalances like the shapeshifters there isn't anything to concern yourself about in turn order.
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Jack Spirio
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If you look at snellman you find that victorys are extremly well balanced around the starting position
 
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Rick
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hagin wrote:
1. It's pretty common in our games for chaos mages to be selected by the last player. Part of the reason is that they're picking bonus tiles first but the majority of it (IMHO) is that they don't get screwed by the settlement placement. Nomads come up for the same reason but less often (probably because chaos mages are more "fun").
Make sure you are playing correctly. The 1st Player chooses his bonus LAST in the first round of the game.
Terra Mystica Rules wrote:
Beginning with the last player and in counterclockwise order,
each choose and take one Bonus card.
I misread your post.
 
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Merudo
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Usually when Giants or the Volcano Factions are in play, you have to place your settlements with the assumption that they'll show up at your doorstep and try to viciously cut you off.

This means you should be placing your settlements in a way they can't cause you trouble easily no matter where they start.

Obviously this will depends heavily on what color you both are. Now in some cases you might find that given a specific color combination, it's very hard to find a "safe" spot to put your settlements. A good example that sucks is being last player & playing black faction and facing a blue dragonlord on the original map - pretty much the only "safe" spot is E5, and even then you better pray brown & yellow don't show up on your right.

Now that may seems unfair, but really you only have yourself to blame for picking that faction in the first place - you were last player, so you knew ahead who you were against.
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