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Subject: Turn Order Rules for the Anti-Massacre Movement rss

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Joe Fatula
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Ever since the Great Astronaut Massacre of 1965, I've been mulling over a small change to the rules.

The way it is now, if you're in last place, you get to go first. This can create a horrible incentive structure, where it's in your best interest to kill off your own astronauts, just so that you can have a chance of going first on a turn that really matters.

I've been considering two different ideas to fix this, and I'd like to get your feedback:
a) The starting player is determined randomly.
b) The starting player is whoever's in first place.

These both have advantages and disadvantages that I can see, but I'd like to know what you guys think about them first.
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Rus
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I prefer (a) to (b), because (b) makes it more difficult to catch up.

But, why not simply do :

(c) The starting player is whoever has the fewest mission points (i.e. not counting astronaut penalties).

There is also:

(d) The starting player is the player to the left of last round's starting player.

and

(e) No change to starting player rules, but award mission points equally to players who completed that mission during the same year (probably split, rounding down). You can probably use facedown money under space agency sheet to track those points.
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Niko
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rbelikov wrote:
I prefer (a) to (b), because (b) makes it more difficult to catch up.

But, why not simply do :

(c) The starting player is whoever has the fewest mission points (i.e. not counting astronaut penalties).

There is also:

(d) The starting player is the player to the left of last round's starting player.

and

(e) No change to starting player rules, but award mission points equally to players who completed that mission during the same year (probably split, rounding down). You can probably use facedown money under space agency sheet to track those points.
In order of preference: d), c), b)
Randomizing it every round seems too much hassle and is too prone to random strings of luck. Also I'm not sure if e) would break anything about the scoring.
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Robert Manning
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buffalohat wrote:

a) The starting player is determined randomly.
b) The starting player is whoever's in first place.

f) Combination: each player rolls the d8 and adds 1 for each of their completed missions; lowest total goes first (keeping in the spirit of the current rules). Do not adjust for lost astronauts. Optionally: adds the values of their completed missions instead of just +1.

Or take the current rules but do not adjust for lost astronauts: the -2 per lost astronaut is only applied at the end of the game.
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Joe Fatula
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rbelikov wrote:
(c) The starting player is whoever has the fewest mission points (i.e. not counting astronaut penalties).

This is an excellent idea.
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Paweł Bedz
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Or add auction phase. Whoever will give up most points/cash goes first (maybe add 1 or 2$ at the start of each year).
 
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Josh Zscheile
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Okay, we all know it, but it has not been explicitly stated here: The problem right now is that many players want to avoid small points in order to go first on critical rounds where they might score a big mission (or more than one) and thus win the game, or at least be on a good way. Apparently, people are even killing off their own astronauts to be able to do this.

In a multiplayer game it is even quite reasonable that more than one player might be able to achieve a mission in a certain turn, since often times players exchange knowledge for better efficiency, thus apart from maybe the number of outcomes on some, players often tend to be on the same level technologically.

The killing of astronauts to go first for me is just a symptom, but not the root of the problem. I'd rather not work around that, but tackle the real issue.

As such, for now I am all for splitting up points equally for players who managed to achieve the same mission in the same year. Maybe, as one player does so, the others may choose to either take the money or refuse it in order to be able to achieve the mission themselves, so that you cannot use that extra cash advantage for completion of this mission.
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Will H.
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I care too much about my little cardboard astronauts to intentionally kill them to go first.

You guys are playing with some cutthroat gamers! devil
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Craig

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What about splitting the points if two or more players would earn the achievement at the same time? So in the linked example, each of the players would earn 10 points and every other player would get $10m. This could incentivize going for different strategies, or at least capture that "space race" feel. It would mean a little extra bookkeeping, though.
 
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Gabriel Damon
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My preference would be:

1. Bidding for turn order because I imagine it would make money more meaningful late game when players have bought most things they need.
2. Ignoring astronaut penalties when determining starting player.
3. Let me kill more astronauts!
4. Randomizing turn order. In this sort of game, I like luck to be minimized.
 
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Josh Zscheile
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I thought a bit about this for the weekend and I think the problem more specifically is that players with more points never can be 'earlier' players than their opponents with less points.

I have played Archipelago quite some time, and this is a game where you can negotiate anything. There is a bidding at the beginning of the round, and the player with the highest bid gets to decide the player order for ALL players (not only his own standing). Now players can negotiate with him for their position in the ranking.

Now, take away the bidding, and you get that one player chooses the turn order for all the players. Let that player be the one with the fewest points in Leaving Earth, and make it possible for players to negotiate (i.e. bribe) their positions in the order.

This does not make very much sense if the player with the fewest points will complete a high point mission this year others could also complete this year. But if you negotiate like 'If you give me privilege to be first player for the next three years in which you decide on player order, I will give you 5M$ and my safe Life Support tech', this could become a rubber banding mechanism to make players who are behind on points get benefits over the other players.

If you included the shared victory points for completed missions, you could even negotiate giving away points for turn order (or other) benefits (e.g. having two probes on a surveying mission to venus and giving control over one of them to the last player).

This whole concept though depends heavily on how prone to negotiations as well as betrayal your group of players is.
 
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Casey Davis
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Is turn order supposed to represent anything thematically? It seems to me that a real-world space race would have all agencies' "turns" happening at the same time--which may not be feasible in a board game, but we should at least consider the notion that "going first" oughtn't be the sole determiner of who gets an award.

How about this--if two players achieve some goal in the same year, the points go not to the player whose turn happened to be first, but to the player who achieved that goal with the fewest number of maneuvers (on that turn), on the grounds that it seems reasonable to imagine that the turns are happening simultaneously, and the shortest trip is the one that "finishes first."

It would require a bit more bookkeeping (but only on years when two players seem likely to achieve the same goal), and still leaves start-of-year goals ambiguous, but I think it's worth a try.
 
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Laurent Lavenant
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A space Agency should'nt be allowed to launch a mission with a 100% chance of casualties. If you want to do that, maybe you should try another game because in EL it seems completely unthematic

Or you can use a chinese house rule like in High Frontier... but only for McCarthy's lover whistle
 
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Joe Fatula
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rbelikov wrote:
(c) The starting player is whoever has the fewest mission points (i.e. not counting astronaut penalties).

Just used this rule again last night, and I'm quite happy with it. It makes no change to the way the game plays, except that it takes away the incentive to kill off your own astronauts.
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Chris Montgomery
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I've been toying with this idea:

1. First player to score a mission card wins 100% of the points.

2. Second player to score the same mission card wins 50% of the points rounded to the nearest 0.5 points.

3. Third and later player to score the same mission card wins 25% of the points, rounded up to the nearest 0.5 points.

The monetary award is equal to the mission, up to $10, and only for the first time the mission is completed.

In this arrangement, players would not take the mission card off the pool, but would instead track points on a public sheet of paper.

What this does is de-emphasize the importance of low-point missions. A 1-point mission is scored 1, 0.5, 0.5. A 2-point mission would be scored 2, 1, and 0.5. The 16-point mission would be 16, 8, and 4. And the 21-point mission would be 21, 10.5, and 5.5.

This format also avoids the problem where a player has geared everything toward accomplishing a mission that cannot easily be moved to another mission card.

Anyway, just ideas -- I intend on playing the game with RAW for many more plays and considering the dearth of opponents, I probably won't ever have a chance to try these rules out.

Thanks so much for this game, Joe -- it's a great, accessible game that really makes me feel like I'm running a space program without a lot of complicated overhead.

I like the idea of the first player being the player with the lowest number of mission points not including astronaut deaths.

Great discussion.
 
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