Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
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Hi,

After playing about half a dozen matches of Ginkgopolis, all of them 2-player, I am in not sure how the first player card and its passing around impacts the game. After the starting player's first turn, what actually happens is that, instead of taking alternate turns, each player plays twice (one with hand A, then again with hand B and so forth) and pass their turn, then the next player does the same, as below (I used the symbol ' to represent the card that replaces the card played in the previous turn in what originally was the same hand):

GAME TURN 1
PLAYER 1 (starting player, first turn) plays a card from hand A
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand B
[Players switch hands and draw a card each; PLAYER 2 becomes the first player]

GAME TURN 2
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand A'
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand B'
[Players switch hands and draw a card each; PLAYER 1 becomes the first player]

GAME TURN 3
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand A''
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand B''
[Players switch hands and draw a card each; PLAYER 2 becomes the first player]

GAME TURN 4
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand A'''
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand B'''
etc.

As you can see, each player's turn is actually composed of two consecutive "player turns". Even though the game turns are separate, when you go from from TURN X's second phase to TURN X+1's first phase, what effectively happens is that the same player plays two times in a row.

If you just take alternate turns as in most other games, you would end up with:

GAME TURN 1
PLAYER 1 (starting player, first turn) plays a card from hand A
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand B
[Players switch hands and draw a card each]

GAME TURN 2
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand B'
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand A'
[Players switch hands and draw a card each]

GAME TURN 3
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand A''
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand B''
[Players switch hands and draw a card each]

GAME TURN 4
PLAYER 1 plays a card from hand B'''
PLAYER 2 plays a card from hand A'''
etc.

As you can see, this change would only make any difference to even-numbered turns: all odd-numbered turns would be played exactly as they would in case the first player card were being used. In absolutely all turns (both odd-numbered and even-numbered ones), players would play the same hands as they would if they were using the first player card. I am not sure what that would mean for the game as a whole, but happens if you don't use the first player card in a two-player game? How would just taking alternate turns actually affect the development of the game?

I apologize if the answer if obvious and I am just being stupid (I should disclose this has indeed happened in the past!), but I simply cannot see any major change right now and I am pretty tempted to stop using the first player card unless there is a good reason not to do so, if only to avoid the frequent

"It's your turn"
"No, it's your turn"
"No, I've just taken my turn"
"So it's actually your turn, because after your turn it's your turn again"

conversations we are having quite constantly.

That might have a lot to do with the fact that we are not taking "game turns" as per the manual (where both players FIRST choose their actions and lay their chosen cards and maybe tiles down on the table, THEN play them in order), but rather individual "player turns" (where at the start of a game turn I choose and IMMEDIATELY play a card and maybe a tile without my opponent having done absolutely anything, THEN she chooses and plays a card and maybe a tile from her hand and so on).

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear opinions about the subject. And also on what's the difference between taking "individual turns" as opposed to "game turns" on a 2-player game, where this difference must be far less perceptible than in a 3 or 4-player game.
 
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Kent
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Several reasons why turn order matters in my games:

- Strategic timing of the use of the new hand token(s) to force a recycle of the deck by draining it empty, thus introducing all of the cards into the deck for newly placed tiles marked under construction

- You may change your mind on where to place a tile during construction and especially during urbanization, depending upon where your opponent plays

By not playing simultaneous action selection, you have fundamentally changed the nature of the game with a variant, which is why you may not perceive value in changing the start player.

Note: I mainly play two player, using the Natural Topology Variant to eliminate the 7 card discard in a two player game (too chaotic otherwise, which causes the game to feel strategically different than at other player counts).

I also recently began trying the official hold one card, pass two variant for increased strategic depth. The impact may be detrimental though, as it can change the nature of the game for the worse, excessively reducing turnover in tile control, and sometimes exacerbating bad draws for the other player.

Edit: strike incorrect text
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Simon Walk
Austria
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We just add the 1st player card to one deck/hand of cards. The card is 2-sided printed, making it really obvious who the first player for a given round is . So you have one hand of five cards (4 regular + 1st player) and one hand of 4 regular cards.

Honestly, I think this is the easiest way of keeping track of the first player and does not need any bookkeeping or paying additional attention... I guess this would also eliminate your problem regarding the frequent first player discussions
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Guilherme B.
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Kent:

"- You may change your mind on where to place a tile during construction and especially during urbanization, depending upon where your opponent plays"

But that is exactly what you *cannot* do by playing simultaneous action selection as per the manual, right? I mean, playing by the official rules, when you make a move that makes me want to change mine, I can't, because I have already made my (by now now poor) choice of where and what to play.

"By not playing simultaneous action selection, you have fundamentally changed the nature of the game with a variant, which is why you may not perceive value in changing the start player."

If your answer to the question I posted above is "Yes", then I get what you mean. In this case, being the first player makes you the only player who knows with 100% certainty what is going to happen as a consequence of their chosen action (meaning: this player knows *precisely* what the board looks like when they play, and *precisely" what it is going to look like when they're done playing), whereas the other player just has to take things as they come and has to make do with taking a partially-informed decision. It surely looks like a big difference and I am going to try simultaneous action selection to check it out!
 
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Guilherme B.
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Simon:

"We just add the 1st player card to one deck/hand of cards. The card is 2-sided printed, making it really obvious who the first player for a given round is . So you have one hand of five cards (4 regular + 1st player) and one hand of 4 regular cards."

A mind-boggling solution in its simplicity. I am definitely going to try this out!
 
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Simon Walk
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Guizo wrote:
Simon:

"We just add the 1st player card to one deck/hand of cards. The card is 2-sided printed, making it really obvious who the first player for a given round is . So you have one hand of five cards (4 regular + 1st player) and one hand of 4 regular cards."

A mind-boggling solution in its simplicity. I am definitely going to try this out!
Haha ! In all homesty, I just stole the idea from the 7 Wonders 2-player rules (and I am not a 100% certain it isn't also mentioned somewhere in the rules of Ginkgopolis)!

Personally, the simultaneous action selection is what makes Ginkgopolis stand out for me ! It drastically speeds up the game and there is always the risk vs. opportunity wager !
 
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Kent
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Guizo wrote:
Kent:

"- You may change your mind on where to place a tile during construction and especially during urbanization, depending upon where your opponent plays"

But that is exactly what you *cannot* do by playing simultaneous action selection as per the manual, right? I mean, playing by the official rules, when you make a move that makes me want to change mine, I can't, because I have already made my (by now now poor) choice of where and what to play.

"By not playing simultaneous action selection, you have fundamentally changed the nature of the game with a variant, which is why you may not perceive value in changing the start player."

If your answer to the question I posted above is "Yes", then I get what you mean. In this case, being the first player makes you the only player who knows with 100% certainty what is going to happen as a consequence of their chosen action (meaning: this player knows *precisely* what the board looks like when they play, and *precisely" what it is going to look like when they're done playing), whereas the other player just has to take things as they come and has to make do with taking a partially-informed decision. It surely looks like a big difference and I am going to try simultaneous action selection to check it out!
Corrected my post with strikethrough. The only benefit of turn order is the strategic timing of new hand tokens. The use of which can pivot a game.
 
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