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Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar» Forums » General

Subject: Any Fair Game? rss

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rounak jain
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I beat a master at BGA in a 2P game who consistently scores 190+ and looses less than 10% of his games (in his last 50 games). I am only a so-called expert. After the game, I asked him if he was experimenting or playing. He said the reason for his loss was bad starting tiles. I am extremely disappointed with Tzolkin after that game and have decided to never play it again. I had a suspicion that the starting tiles and first player gave an unfair advantage but never thought of the impact to be so huge. Kindly suggest me a fair game. I am thinking of chess but I rather take some advice first before investing my time again. Thanks.
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Rich Charters
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rounak wrote:
I am extremely disappointed with Tzolkin after that game and have decided to never play it again.
This seems like a pretty extreme reaction to me. If you don't like how the starting tiles are generated, why not just do a face-up draft of some type.....or an auction.....or give everyone the same starting position.

The core mechanics of the game are still sound....and very engaging.

Spoiler alert on chess: white has a higher win % than black....so the starting position matters there as well.
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Nicola Bocchetta
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I add, but I'm no expert, that maybe with the starting tiles he get he should have used a different strategy; instead (maybe) he went for his same "old" strategy, and that time it wasn't the right thing to do.
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Christopher Yaure
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rounak wrote:
I beat a master at BGA in a 2P game who consistently scores 190+ and looses less than 10% of his games (in his last 50 games). I am only a so-called expert. After the game, I asked him if he was experimenting or playing. He said the reason for his loss was bad starting tiles. I am extremely disappointed with Tzolkin after that game and have decided to never play it again. I had a suspicion that the starting tiles and first player gave an unfair advantage but never thought of the impact to be so huge. Kindly suggest me a fair game. I am thinking of chess but I rather take some advice first before investing my time again. Thanks.


The players at the final table for Tzolk'in at WBC suggested there should be bidding or some other adjustment for seating order. Perhaps you could experiment and let us know what works for you.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Blaming the starting tile? Haha.
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Feld Fan
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It is still my favorite game, even though I do sometimes lose at it. And yeah, I like to blame the starting tiles, too (or anything else I can think of) when I lose.
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rounak jain
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Thank you everyone for the replies.

I play only on BGA. So I can't change the rules. And I am extremely disappointed with the game to play it again.

Regarding chess, I googled and have confirmed that you are right.
White has an advantage over black. Any other game which involves intellectual thinking, planning, thinking few moves ahead etc and most importantly remains fair to both players?
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rounak jain
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Faso74it wrote:
I add, but I'm no expert, that maybe with the starting tiles he get he should have used a different strategy; instead (maybe) he went for his same "old" strategy, and that time it wasn't the right thing to do.

In a two player game, a resource extraction strategy can only get beaten by a better executed resource extraction strategy
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Grant
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The last time I lost it was because of the then-current phase of the moon. I promptly burned my copy of the game and sprinkled the ashes along the geographic ley lines in my neighborhood to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
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Feld Fan
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Actually, every single game is probably unbalanced, because everyone playing has a (slightly, at least)) different level of intelligence, experience, or luck, giving someone a slight advantage over another. Maybe we should stop playing games altogether since balance is clearly an issue.
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Neil Christiansen
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I suggest only playing this 4-player going forward. I would never play 2-player anyway.
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rounak jain
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It is fine if players have different level of intelligence and experience but not luck.
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Russ Williams
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FWIW if you're looking for a great (and time-tested) chess-like classic game:

Shogi has more balanced win rates for first/second player than Chess, and (as an additional advantage) very low draw rate.

And unlike regular Chess, there is a 'drop rule' by which you can reintroduce captured pieces back into play as your own, which adds additional tactical and strategic richness.

I highly recommend Shogi!

If it doesn't have to be chess-like, then of course there is the ancient wonderful classic Go. Both Shogi and Go are great, and fairer than Chess in this sense you're looking for.
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rounak jain
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@Neil Are the third and fourth players not at a distinct disadvantage for not being able to place workers on Uxmal quickly enough to get new workers? (It has been thoroughly discussed and confirmed on this site: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1163955/suggestion-regardin...)
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rounak jain
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russ wrote:
FWIW if you're looking for a great (and time-tested) chess-like classic game:

Shogi has more balanced win rates for first/second player than Chess, and (as an additional advantage) very low draw rate.

And unlike regular Chess, there is a 'drop rule' by which you can reintroduce captured pieces back into play as your own, which adds additional tactical and strategic richness.

I highly recommend Shogi!

If it doesn't have to be chess-like, then of course there is the ancient wonderful classic Go. Both Shogi and Go are great, and fairer than Chess in this sense you're looking for.

Thanks. I will look into these games. And yes, the game doesn't have to be chess-like.
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Jay Ackerman
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rounak wrote:
I beat a master at BGA in a 2P game who consistently scores 190+ and looses less than 10% of his games (in his last 50 games). I am only a so-called expert. After the game, I asked him if he was experimenting or playing. He said the reason for his loss was bad starting tiles. I am extremely disappointed with Tzolkin after that game and have decided to never play it again. I had a suspicion that the starting tiles and first player gave an unfair advantage but never thought of the impact to be so huge. Kindly suggest me a fair game. I am thinking of chess but I rather take some advice first before investing my time again. Thanks.


190+ consistently against people that have any idea how to play this game is simply not believable.
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Neil Christiansen
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As discussed in the thread, the easiest fix is to allow only 1 worker to be placed by the starting player(s). Just put it in the starting game notes as a requirement to play and cancel game if not followed.
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Paul Grogan
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Based on your comments, and your reaction to the game, I'm not sure you are going to be any happier with 99% of the games out there.
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Clyde W
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richcharters wrote:
rounak wrote:
I am extremely disappointed with Tzolkin after that game and have decided to never play it again.
This seems like a pretty extreme reaction to me. If you don't like how the starting tiles are generated, why not just do a face-up draft of some type.....or an auction.....or give everyone the same starting position.

The core mechanics of the game are still sound....and very engaging.

Spoiler alert on chess: white has a higher win % than black....so the starting position matters there as well.
Sure, but in chess the chances of a Master beating a Grand Master when the GM is black are still pretty low.
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Thanos Larisis
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Tzolk'in is balanced imho...
I usually play 3rd or 4th and have won many games to more experienced players than me.
Also if you want to get an extra worker faster and the others have already placed theirs you can pay and get yours much faster which in the next 2 round pretty much balances the 2-3 corn you paid for the position.
I thing you are exaggerating in your reaction.
You can get the second edition of Through the Ages once it gets in stores
and the first second handed for that matter cause I thing there is not much of a balance issue (if you let your opponent build a large military force without doing anything you asked for it and also he won't be able to advance in many other aspects)
Mage knight is also a great game that requires a lot of strategic thought.
There are many more but if you had such a reaction in tzolk'in,which is one of the most balanced and best of it's kind, I'm afraid that 99% of games would not suit you(not to say 100%)
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Michał Pietrzak
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grant5 wrote:
The last time I lost it was because of the then-current phase of the moon. I promptly burned my copy of the game and sprinkled the ashes along the geographic ley lines in my neighborhood to ensure it wouldn't happen again.


Story of my life. Since then I play only bingo, because it's not giving a favor to any player.
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Grant
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zakwas wrote:
grant5 wrote:
The last time I lost it was because of the then-current phase of the moon. I promptly burned my copy of the game and sprinkled the ashes along the geographic ley lines in my neighborhood to ensure it wouldn't happen again.


Story of my life. Since then I play only bingo, because it's not giving a favor to any player.

You've got to watch with bingo. It tends to be very susceptible to time of day and temperature.
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rounak jain
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Oblivion4Lcf wrote:
Tzolk'in is balanced imho...
I thing you are exaggerating in your reaction.

I had never played board games before and worked very hard to understand and play Tzolk'in properly in the last one month. I played more than 10 games a day. And to think that when I will be a master, a Good player (or so-called expert) is going to beat me for no fault of mine is just unacceptable to me.

Quote:
Also if you want to get an extra worker faster and the others have already placed theirs you can pay and get yours much faster which in the next 2 round pretty much balances the 2-3 corn you paid for the position.

Totally wrong. It all depends on how much corn you have in your starting tiles. If you are not first player, you need atleast 12+ corn in your tiles to balance it out. This is because the cost of placing that one worker on Uxmal (mostly Uxmal 4 or 5 and then paying a corn again to pick the worker next turn) is like 6 corn and you need another six corn for placing the remaining two workers because the zero positions on palenque and tikal wheel are generally occupied by the first player and there is not much point in placing a worker in Yaxchillan in the first turn. There is no point in exhausting your corn, going down on temples and barely being able to place the new worker you just got. The fact that any starting player starts the game by placing his workers on Uxmal shows how unbalanced the game is.

Anyway, I think I got the answer from everyone's replies. 99% of the games are not going to satisfy me. Time to move on from games (unless Shogi and Go change my mind as suggested in this thread).


PS: Also, all the suggestions regarding modifying the game rules are going to be difficult (though not impossible) because I only play online on BGA. It would not be easy to get every player to agree to "MY" rules everytime I play a game.
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Christopher Yaure
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Game of pure skill, though probably not available online:

Elk Fest
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David Scheele
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rounak wrote:
Totally wrong. It all depends on how much corn you have in your starting tiles. If you are not first player, you need atleast 12+ corn in your tiles to balance it out. This is because the cost of placing that one worker on Uxmal (mostly Uxmal 4 or 5 and then paying a corn again to pick the worker next turn) is like 6 corn and you need another six corn for placing the remaining two workers because the zero positions on palenque and tikal wheel are generally occupied by the first player and there is not much point in placing a worker in Yaxchillan in the first turn.


Some of the replies in this thread came of as ridicule and attacking to me. I thought that people should treat your questions with a little more respect. But man, you simply don't sound like a fun person to play with. What do you want out of a game? Why would you play a heavy game like Tzolk'in 10 times a day? I imagine that there are some designers don't play their games 10 times a day for playtesting. Can you extract any fun out of playing that game? Because it sounds like you just really want to get good at a game to be good at a game, maybe to win tournaments? What is your goal with this, I can not wrap my head around this. This is the most alien I have ever seen someone try to grasp the concept of games.

I myself am a gamer who always hated randomness in games as dice seem to hate me. So actively looked for games with less randomness in them. Tzolk'in is my favorite euro and worker placement game. It has great theme, it had fun gameplay and it is expertly designed imo (the iconography is simply amazing).
I get to play it maybe once a month. Maybe twice if I gun for it. I do not expect to win it, I play to interact with the other players and have fun. Sometimes I win, sometimes someone else had a better strategy. As I do with absolutely every other game out there.

Sorry if I came off as rude or something... it just baffles me...
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