Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
25 Posts

Dale of Merchants» Forums » General

Subject: First player advantage? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
AY Ronny
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Got the game and love it very very much, so much that I take it to a board game group. But a friend of mine ask "isn't the game has first player advantage?" and I cannot think of an answer to defend the game.

Would like to seek some clever suggestion to answer the question.

P.S. I force him to try the game with me and he enjoyed it also.
But still curious to see if any answer here can satisfy him. Thank you!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Zarzycki
Poland
Poznan
Wielkopolskie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Play 10 games, each with different player being the first. If you find a strong correlation between winning and being the first, then there is a first player advantage.

But you won't. There's just too many factors. If anything it's not the player that goes first, it's the player that has a "one" in starting hand, with an ability he is not going to use. Still, that's a long stretch.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is a very small first player advantage, simply because he/she can buy cards and build stacks before anybody else. If that bothers you, simply don't let the most winning player start in DoM. I guess the advantage is the greatest when playing with 2 players, or with the least interactive decks - when there is the least amount of chaos. Naturally other players should always try to slow down the leading player.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mikko Saari
Finland
flag msg tools
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, I guess this should be one of those "Youngest player starts" games (because that always implies there's a small first player advantage). But I haven't noticed any significant advantage in my plays.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
msaari wrote:
Yeah, I guess this should be one of those "Youngest player starts" games (because that always implies there's a small first player advantage). But I haven't noticed any significant advantage in my plays.

I fully agree with this. The first player advantage is not really an issue in DoM. If you lose regularly, you can only blame yourself! cool
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AY Ronny
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Wow, thanks for the answer

And yes, from my exprience, the first player doesn't have a lot of advantage unless he go ahead and build the first stack and force a race, which seldom happens.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mikko Saari
Finland
flag msg tools
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Even that is not a huge deal. You haven't lost the game if you are couple of stacks behind in the early game, you can still get great momentum going on and build stacks fast to gain the lead.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes. The game is not a simple race. If a player builds stacks too fast, he/she has problems when buying big valued cards for later stacks.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dustin Crenshaw
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't understand how anyone can defend this. If you get more turns than someone else, you have a big advantage. I've played it twice, lost both times because of turn order. Game fail.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mikko Saari
Finland
flag msg tools
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Because it's not a big problem? If the game lasts for twenty turns, one turn is not a big advantage, it's just 5%. That's easily won elsewhere.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sami Laakso
Finland
Pori
Satakunta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This has been discussed in another thread over one year ago. Rather than sounding like a broken record, I'll include a link to the thread here and quote my previous answer down below.

Liuhuparta wrote:
I believe it's my time to chime in regarding the so called Elephant in the Dale also known as the starting player advantage. I'll start by stating my current position regarding this issue.

I do aknowledge that there is a slight advantage to be the starting player. That's precisely the reason there's a recommendation that the winner of the last game shouldn't start the next in the rules. Though the advantage is small enough that it doesn't deserve another complicated rule to equalize it in a lighthearted game like this. If there ever was an official tournament, players in a 2 player game should play as long as the second player wins or something simple like that.

Next I'll run down some ways I did consider fixing the small problem and why I didn't include any of them.

Even turns and tiebreakers
I wanted the game to have a clear winner each time. Even with tiebreakers, there is a chance to have a shared victory. Tiebreakers would also burden the players and even favour specific strategies over others and thus make the game tactically less deep. I won't dive deep into the different tiebreaker methods as they are irrelevant.

Penalty for starting player
As each card in the market can cost up to 5 (without taking the market slot's added value into account), there can't be a penalty related to the market prices or starting hand size. With less than 5 purchasing power or 6+ prices, the player isn't quaranteed to be able to purchase a card in his or her starting turn.

Handicap for non-starting players
While giving some discount to non-starting players or anything like that gives them more alternatives during their turn, they still can't "catch up". There are 2 outcomes you want to have in your turn. Either you want a new card to your pool or build up your stall. Discounts give you more flexibility in your first purchase, but you're still a card behind.

I must say, this is my most preferred way to help fix the problem if I would have to choose one.

PS. I haven't introduced elephants yet, but I believe they would introduce an alternative winning condition to fight against the starting player advantage!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dustin Crenshaw
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
msaari wrote:
Because it's not a big problem? If the game lasts for twenty turns, one turn is not a big advantage, it's just 5%. That's easily won elsewhere.


Hmm, must be why all high rated games have "skip a turn" cards... oh wait.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mikko Saari
Finland
flag msg tools
http://www.lautapeliopas.fi/ - the best Finnish board game resource!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No, most games don't have "skip a turn" cards, because skipping a turn is not fun. In Dale of Merchants, you're not skipping a turn, you're ending the game as soon as someone is ready. So that's a straw man argument.

Also, if this bothers you a lot, Sami just mentioned the simplest solution: play even number of turns. Of course, then you'll be seeing more ties, but perhaps that's a smaller problem? I prefer the instant ending without ties, but perhaps your preference is different.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SeerMagic wrote:
I don't understand how anyone can defend this. If you get more turns than someone else, you have a big advantage. I've played it twice, lost both times because of turn order. Game fail.

In your opinion, all games which end immediately when some victory condition has been met, are a "game fail". Quite harsh!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dustin Crenshaw
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sepelius wrote:
SeerMagic wrote:
I don't understand how anyone can defend this. If you get more turns than someone else, you have a big advantage. I've played it twice, lost both times because of turn order. Game fail.

In your opinion, all games which end immediately when some victory condition has been met, are a "game fail". Quite harsh!


No, I like race games. Actually I love them. But there has to be something to offset turn order.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AY Ronny
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Liuhuparta wrote:
This has been discussed in another thread over one year ago. Rather than sounding like a broken record, I'll include a link to the thread here and quote my previous answer down below.

Liuhuparta wrote:
I believe it's my time to chime in regarding the so called Elephant in the Dale also known as the starting player advantage. I'll start by stating my current position regarding this issue.

I do aknowledge that there is a slight advantage to be the starting player. That's precisely the reason there's a recommendation that the winner of the last game shouldn't start the next in the rules. Though the advantage is small enough that it doesn't deserve another complicated rule to equalize it in a lighthearted game like this. If there ever was an official tournament, players in a 2 player game should play as long as the second player wins or something simple like that.

Next I'll run down some ways I did consider fixing the small problem and why I didn't include any of them.

Even turns and tiebreakers
I wanted the game to have a clear winner each time. Even with tiebreakers, there is a chance to have a shared victory. Tiebreakers would also burden the players and even favour specific strategies over others and thus make the game tactically less deep. I won't dive deep into the different tiebreaker methods as they are irrelevant.

Penalty for starting player
As each card in the market can cost up to 5 (without taking the market slot's added value into account), there can't be a penalty related to the market prices or starting hand size. With less than 5 purchasing power or 6+ prices, the player isn't quaranteed to be able to purchase a card in his or her starting turn.

Handicap for non-starting players
While giving some discount to non-starting players or anything like that gives them more alternatives during their turn, they still can't "catch up". There are 2 outcomes you want to have in your turn. Either you want a new card to your pool or build up your stall. Discounts give you more flexibility in your first purchase, but you're still a card behind.

I must say, this is my most preferred way to help fix the problem if I would have to choose one.

PS. I haven't introduced elephants yet, but I believe they would introduce an alternative winning condition to fight against the starting player advantage!


It is a delight to know that much thought has been put into this issue! In fact I have backed DoM 2 also and eagerly waiting for it

If I have to choose, I will play 3 matches and see who can win twice first, with the loser of the previous match being the first player in the next match.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Breden
United States
Independence
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm often the playing partner (with others) of Seermagic, and although I *love* this game, he's said in his blog that he won't play it again due to this fault of the start player advantage ... this makes me sad, and I'd rather have even a more complicated or imperfect fix than nothing at all. So I'd really be thrilled, Sami Laasko, if you would expand upon how you might most prefer to fix the issue! Giving a bonus to later players ... 2nd, 3rd, 4th one-time bonuses to purchase during game? ... or penalizing the starters ... maybe with additional junk? Or explaining actually how the tie-breaker might best work. I'd be very grateful indeed.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SeerMagic wrote:
No, I like race games. Actually I love them.

That is surprising.

Quote:
But there has to be something to offset turn order.

Alright, you seem to think DoM is lacking that feature. And you came into this conclusion after two plays. Either you are a genius or you are wrong. I am curious to hear your arguments. We already told our arguments to you, so the burden of proof belongs to you.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Breden
United States
Independence
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What if the tied players just keep playing -- with equal number of turns still of course, and untied players returning all of their cards re-shuffled back into the market (so the market has not run out)? Then only one to achieve 9th stall alone, or 10th stall alone, etc., will win? Would that work?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dustin Crenshaw
United States
Shepherdsville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sepelius wrote:
SeerMagic wrote:
No, I like race games. Actually I love them.

That is surprising. :)

Quote:
But there has to be something to offset turn order.

Alright, you seem to think DoM is lacking that feature. And you came into this conclusion after two plays. Either you are a genius or you are wrong. I am curious to hear your arguments. We already told our arguments to you, so the burden of proof belongs to you.


What proof do you need? There is nothing to offset turn order. End of story.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
a_flying_possum wrote:
What if the tied players just keep playing -- with equal number of turns still of course, and untied players returning all of their cards re-shuffled back into the market (so the market has not run out)? Then only one to achieve 9th stall alone, or 10th stall alone, etc., will win? Would that work?

The game would then last too long. Also I guess people don't like to be eliminated from the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seppo Kuukasjärvi
Finland
Pori
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SeerMagic wrote:

What proof do you need? There is nothing to offset turn order. End of story.

How should I know what proof I need? I don't believe that proof even exists.

If you are right, you should win every time in DoM when you are the starting player. Or at least 80% of the games. Right? How about testing that idea and reporting here? devil
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sami Laakso
Finland
Pori
Satakunta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
a_flying_possum wrote:
I'm often the playing partner (with others) of Seermagic, and although I *love* this game, he's said in his blog that he won't play it again due to this fault of the start player advantage ... this makes me sad, and I'd rather have even a more complicated or imperfect fix than nothing at all. So I'd really be thrilled, Sami Laakso, if you would expand upon how you might most prefer to fix the issue! Giving a bonus to later players ... 2nd, 3rd, 4th one-time bonuses to purchase during game? ... or penalizing the starters ... maybe with additional junk? Or explaining actually how the tie-breaker might best work. I'd be very grateful indeed.

Thanks for the well written post. I can suggest you to try the unofficial variant below.

unofficial starting player variant wrote:
Give the 2nd player 1 coin token, 3rd player 2 coin tokens and 4th player 3 coin tokens at the start of the game. These one-time use tokens are worth 1 and can only be used when purchasing new cards. For example you could purchase a card costing 6 with 5 junk cards and 1 coin token. These tokens last until you use them for new purchases.

As mentioned above, this is an variant and an unofficial one at that. In my opinion (and many others') there isn't really a need for balancing for the starting player. Just take turns starting and you will see that there really isn't a correlation between that and winning. And if you really do want to start, that reward goes to the early bird who woke up the first.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Zarzycki
Poland
Poznan
Wielkopolskie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Liuhuparta wrote:
And if you really do want to start, that reward goes to the early bird who woke up the first. :)


Which is the best first player tiebreaker I saw in years :)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Breden
United States
Independence
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah, that is great, thank you! 6 coins are going straight into the box, just in case. Thanks again for such a brilliant game, really such a rewarding deck-builder in such a small time and footprint. Love it. Also -- hahaha! -- I had sort of forgotten about the first player being decided by who gets up earliest! I guess if it really bothers him, Seermagic can just change his sleeping habits ... Lol! Cannot wait for Dale of Merchants 2. And 3 ..?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.