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Subject: Last player advantage in selling phase rss

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Mattias Svanstrom
Sweden
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I just bought Stockpile and it looks fun, although I haven't had the chance to get it to the table yet. The rulebook was very clear and easy to understand, and the graphics design is awesome. Superb work!

I was thinking about the last player advantage in the selling phase. As the last player knows what everyone else has sold, whereas the first player knows nothing about what the others intend to sell, this might give her a slight advantage by being able to follow the other players.

I interpret the selling phase to be from first to last player and then stop. Would it be detrimental to the game to instead have the selling phase continue several turns around the table, until all players decline to sell anything more? That way the first player gets a second chance to sell shares based on what the others sold. Or would this introduce another imbalance into the game?
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Bruce Gazdecki
United States
Lindsey
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I've only played the bae game once, but I don't know if the multiple sales would work:

1.) You do get info in the Demand phase, where people put their cards, which card was up, where they then place their bids.

2.) The "last player" advantage could from the last player (who had the disadvantage in the demand phase) to one of the other players. I see it like this: The first player passes, the second player may or not pass, the third player probably has to sell or he may not get another chance, and if he doesn't now you as hte last player have to sell first, giving info to everyone else when it should've been the other way.

3.) The first player moves throughout the game, so it shoudl balance out in the end.
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Mattias Svanstrom
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1.) Yes, but this information is kind of "the same" for all people, so I don't think it adds more information to the first player.

2.) Oh, right. I didn't think of this. For sure, there is a risk of there being a round of everyone not selling before the last player.

3.) In 3 / 4 player games the number of last player moves are different for different starting positions. On the other hand, maybe the last player advantage is so small it doesn't really matter? At least I have a feeling that it is smaller in the beginning, when all the shares are equally valuable, than towards the end when there is higher risk of bankruptcy for example.
 
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Henrik Bach
Denmark
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This game is amazing and the designers have done a great job in adding a good depth of strategy in simple rules. It in some aspects remind me of Power Grid, in that there are many small phases wherein each move is decisive for the overall success in the game.

Integer wrote:
1.)

3.) In 3 / 4 player games the number of last player moves are different for different starting positions. On the other hand, maybe the last player advantage is so small it doesn't really matter? At least I have a feeling that it is smaller in the beginning, when all the shares are equally valuable, than towards the end when there is higher risk of bankruptcy for example.


I have, however only with limited expeience from 4 games, noticed that it seems unfair that some players get to sit last more often in the 3 and 4 player games.
There seems to be a good advantage to being the last player in
1. The Supply phase, where you can design the piles once the other players have put their cards down.

2. Demand Phase: You might pay a little more placing last, but you get to see whether the other players favor their own hidden cards or move away from them.

3. Selling phase: Huge advantage here in that you get to see others (possibly) react to the hidden "information cards" before you have to sell.

Due to this we have expimented in our last game of 3 players with only having 6 rounds instead of 7. I know that this does not bring us completely through the pile, but I think it balances out that everyone has the same amount of good and bad turn position.

I would love to hear others experiences with this issue. Thanks.
 
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Paul Newsham
United Kingdom
Halifax
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Off the top of my head, 2 possible ways to mitigate this:

- Each player simultaneously writes, then reveals the stocks they are selling

- After each round, bid for turn order
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seth van orden
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Madison
Wisconsin
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Well I throw my thoughts out there on the topic. I would agree that more times that not there is an advantage for going last as stated by others in this tread. That being said, this isn't always the case. It's not too uncommon for there to be a round where it was a disadvantage for going last of latter in the round.

A couple of reasons this can happen:
1. You can a money advantage on all the other players which allows to buy a pile right out before others get the chance by bidding high than others can. This can take the form of buying a pile for 25 before others can.
2. You can give misleading information (intentionally or unintentionally) to the players later in the round that might cause them to sell something they shouldn't and cost them a bunch of money.
3. Sometimes your last and no one before you sells anything, giving you zero info about what they might no.
4. Being first you are able to play action cards first. Potentially bankrupting a stock, or saving a stock a key moment before others can.

There are potentially more reasons than this, but the reason I bring this up is to make the point that being last isn't consistently better than being first. Also knowing your are first you can do things to take advantage of this.

Because of this when designing Stockpile we decided not to give players going first more often and guaranteed bonus like start with an extra thousand. Unlike most worker placements where it's pretty much always an advantage to go first, so you give players going latter a bonus to make up for it. (ex Lords of waterdeep) Also to be honest after playing nearly 200 games, there isn't much trend of turn order to who ends up winning.

That all being said, the good news is we are working on an expansion that will add a sixth player and will allow additional rounds to be played with 3 and 4 players so that each player starts the same number of rounds. It will also add a lot of other cool stuff too.

Thanks everyone for playing Stockpile. I hope you all continue enjoying the game.
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Mattias Svanstrom
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Interesting! Thanks for the info, Seth!
 
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David Fox
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Having played the game last night, I think - overall - the advantages and disadvantages for player position even each other out well.

If you still feel there is an unfair bias in the Selling Phase (last player gets to know too much), then just have each player declare how many stocks they are selling and place them face-down on the board. Then, when everyone has made their declarations, reveal the stocks and get the cash.

As it is already a game of inference, later players may be able to infer something from the quantity of stocks sold if they know what the seller has invested in, but not explicitly the company.
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