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Dominion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Arguments against finishing the whole round at game-end rss

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Jorge
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I played Dominion the other day and I was surprised to find out that almost nobody in my group, apart from the game owner, was aware that the game finishes immediately at the end of the active player's turn when a game-end condition is triggered (Provinces/Colonies/3 piles).

As a matter of fact, the game owner plays with a variant, that you end the whole round down to the last player and then you finish the game. He even organizes tournaments with this rule and nobody complains about that. Therefore, nobody knew that the game is supposed to finish immediately. I was, actually, heavily criticized for wanting to play the game with the official rules.

My friend's arguments were that:
1) The official rule imbalances the game, as the first players might get one more round.
2) The fact that the first players lose ties, is not enough to rebalance the game.

In one 4-player game, I started as 2nd player ended the game on 3-piles and won by 2 points. The 3rd and 4th player "finished" the round by taking a last virtual turn, to see what would happen. The 4th player "bought" a Province, "tied" with me and argued that "You won because you had one more turn than me."

So, I'd like some help in arguing against this variant. Apart from "the official rules state otherwise", how could one argue that it's best to play by the original rules?
 
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Ben Bateson
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Argument 1: In a 2P game there will be a lot more ties because the tie-break has just been nullified. I estimate about 5% of 2P games end with the scores tied.

Argument 2: If a player goes on a mega-turn and empties most of the piles on the board, what is the point of carrying on? It's not really that unusual for a player to empty all the scoring piles simultaneously.
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Some amount of endgame strategy gets changed by allowing players to play out all remaining turns. There is a clear first player advantage in general, but equal turns would shift some of the advantage to second player - now first player can't end the game when ahead, forcing them to guess whether they'll win if they end the game now while player 2 can know for certain. That said, most attacks do still favor player 1, who can hit with them more quickly than player 2 (And earlier turns tend to be more important than late turns for building up).

It's an idea that's been discussed a lot. Most top players don't like it, and tournaments tend to get around it by playing a large number of games and allowing everyone an equal number of first turn advantages (or in knockout tournaments, keeping the number per player as close as possible). For example the Dominion League has 6 games per match between player, and Gokodom (knockout tournament) I believe is best of 7 games.
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Robert Crawford
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This has been discussed quite a bit in the past. Here's a couple links to look through:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=9791.0
http://boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/13661/phantom-...

So there's 2 different things being discussed here. Some people are talking about a rule where the second player can buy a Province even if the first player bought the last one; the "phantom Province rule". You seem to be talking about just a regular final turn.

With just a regular final turn, it would do nothing at all to help stop first player advantage in many game... in almost all games that end by the Province pile being emptied, the second player wouldn't be able to do anything to win anyway; as there's no Provinces to buy.

With 3-pile games, the problem is the same as the problem with the phantom Province rule... which is that the second player suddenly gains a huge advantage. The second player now has the ability to end the game with a win whenever he has more points than the first player. But the first player can't do that. Instead, the first player needs to get so many more points than his opponent that he can end the game and know that his opponent can't catch up. And if you're talking about 3-pile games, this is much harder than it is in a Province-ending game.

One of the big strategies in Dominion is to not think in terms of "how can I make sure I have the points when the game ends?" but rather "how can I end the game while having the most points?" With the equal turn variant, only the second player actually gets to play that way. The first player can still play just the same as he would otherwise if the best strategy for that game is to buy a Province whenever you can until they are all gone (and in these games, equal turns won't help second player anyway). But in games where the dominant strategy is something like Native Village + Bridge, or any type of megaturn, or any type of engine where the object is to buy a single Estate and then a bunch of other cards to 3-pile and win 4-3; then the first player can no longer play that strategy. But the second player still can.

Anyway, there is indeed a first-player advantage in Dominion. Which is why the official rules say that when playing multiple games, the loser of the last game goes first in the next game. Dominion is designed to be short enough to play multiple games like this.


*Edit to add*: In the situation you describe in your 4 player game, you can't just say "what would have happened", because you as second player would be playing a different strategy had you been playing under those rules in the first place. You said you 3-piled while you had 2 more points anyone else... well if you were playing equal turns, then you wouldn't have done that, because you would have likely known there was a good chance one of the other guys could buy a Duchy or Province. So instead of 3-piling, you would have had to either buy a VP card or something else to just stall the game. A good example of how you would have been disadvantaged by not being able to end the game safely.
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Jorge
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GendoIkari_82 wrote:
*Edit to add*: In the situation you describe in your 4 player game, you can't just say "what would have happened", because you as second player would be playing a different strategy had you been playing under those rules in the first place.
Exactly, I also argued about that! In my last round I played two Sea Hags and a Giant (this Coin of the Realm was super useful!), where I handed out 2 Curses and trashed an Island. I subsequently bought the last Urchin to end the game, as I was suspecting I could have won, even without any Provinces. I argued that if I knew it wouldn't end, I would had just bought a Duchy, or even an Estate...

GendoIkari_82 wrote:
Which is why the official rules say that when playing multiple games, the loser of the last game goes first in the next game.

They actually say that the player to the left of the winner goes first, so the winner goes last.
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Robert Crawford
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Picon wrote:

GendoIkari_82 wrote:
Which is why the official rules say that when playing multiple games, the loser of the last game goes first in the next game.

They actually say that the player to the left of the winner goes first, so the winner goes last.


I always forget which of those it is... I usually only play 2 player.
 
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