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Subject: The first player advantage rss

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Raistlin
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Maybe I missed it, but I never seen a post about this. Talking with a friend, at some point after a matchup, a question arose: does the 1st player have an advance in Smash Up?
Mathematically talking (not considering the abilities, I mean), the 1st player has advantage, because he can start and close a base before it's opponent has the opportunity to play it's 'response' turn.

Clearly the game is more complex and big, so many things may happen to minimize this advantage, but the question is still there. What do you think? Keep in mind I refer mostly to 2-players games for this supposed little advantage.
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Andre Oliveira
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Usually first player has an advantage, as he plays and draws first.

Since the game is turn based, I can't see a way around it.
Maybe the draft balances it out, as the first player only chooses one of his factions.
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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Really? I would think it's the other way around.

Depends on factions of course, but some factions are based on destroying or controlling other players and they would have an easier time doing so if they aren't the first on the playing field.
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Moose Detective
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You're playing a card game and worrying about first-turn advantage? The cards you draw provide way more of an advantage than going first. Getting your combo cards together, at the perfect moment to surprise break a base, or getting the perfect counter card for the situation are all more "gamebreaking."

It is EXTREMELY rare to be able to break a base single-handedly on your first turn with the 5 cards in your hand. The second player would have a slightly better chance, the third player more so, the fourth player more than that, etc. And the third and fourth players are of couse the first and second players again in a 2player game.

If you think your opponent has an advantage due to turn order or card draws... play "defensively". Which sometimes even means not playing cards at all. Or playing your smallest minion on a different base if you're afraid of setting up a basebreak. Stalling is a science in 2 player Smash Up.

You could also just as easily say the first player has a disadvantage by being the only player who has targets to attack/copy/steal/whatever.

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Jay Young
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GrandMasterFox wrote:
Really? I would think it's the other way around.

Depends on factions of course, but some factions are based on destroying or controlling other players and they would have an easier time doing so if they aren't the first on the playing field.


Think of it this way, if you are one of those factions just dont take your turn draw 2 cards and now you are essentially last player with 2 extra cards
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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In Smash Up, the first player is at a disadvantage. He get to put a minion down first, so he get the opportunity to get it destroyed/moved first by his opponent.
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Raistlin
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Wildhorn wrote:
In Smash Up, the first player is at a disadvantage. He get to put a minion down first, so he get the opportunity to get it destroyed/moved first by his opponent.


Uhm I don't see this as a disadvantage for the 1st player, but only a response to a card play.
Ok, I play a minion and you destroy it. You used a card to do that, so you simply rebalanced the status. One card for one card. You didn't taken advantage on that.
And that's only IF you have a response ready to be played; because if you have not, I will play another minion and another action and the game will be esponential, with me always taking the upper hand.

In fact, in quite all card games I played generally the 1st player has a sort of handicap/limitations in their really 1st turn (draw one less card, do not draw from deck, can't perform some actions, etc.).
 
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Andre Oliveira
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RaistlinMajere wrote:
Uhm I don't see this as a disadvantage for the 1st player, but only a response to a card play.
Ok, I play a minion and you destroy it. You used a card to do that, so you simply rebalanced the status. One card for one card. You didn't taken advantage on that.
And that's only IF you have a response ready to be played; because if you have not, I will play another minion and another action and the game will be esponential, with me always taking the upper hand.

In fact, in quite all card games I played generally the 1st player has a sort of handicap/limitations in their really 1st turn (draw one less card, do not draw from deck, can't perform some actions, etc.).

The 1st player has 2 more cards and an extra minion and action play than the 2nd.

I had a few close game where the first player won because he was first (i.e. the second player would have won if he had an extra turn) - that being said I don't find it too troublesome. I just reverse the play order on the next game.
 
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Raistlin
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desocupado wrote:
The 1st player has 2 more cards and an extra minion and action play than the 2nd.

I had a few close game where the first player won because he was first (i.e. the second player would have won if he had an extra turn) - that being said I don't find it too troublesome. I just reverse the play order on the next game.


Yes, exactly what I mean. Happened to me too to win/lose some matches where the 2nd player could have won if he had an extra turn.

Clearly in a game like this one - light and quite caothic - the disadvantage is less than other games (like collectibles or LCGs).
Yes, reverting the play order rebalances it, but the final round of a 2 on 3 game would suffer it a bit.

Anyway I'm starting to try a house rule: the 1st player draws one less card at the end of its very first turn.
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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RaistlinMajere wrote:

Ok, I play a minion and you destroy it. You used a card to do that, so you simply rebalanced the status. One card for one card. You didn't taken advantage on that.


Your assumption is that the card I use is off the field. If I play a minion who has an ability to destroy another minion, I get a +1 of it since it's still on the field.
 
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Wim D
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I've recently started keeping records of my games played.

Granted, my pool of results is still small, but I can report this:
- 7 games played (1 x 2-player, 3 x 3-player, 3 x 4-player
- All these games used faction drafting according to the "Kickin' it Queensberry" rule. The factions to draft from were selected randomly from all existing factions. There were always ((2 x number of players) + 4) factions to draft from.
- Of the 7 games, 5 wins went to the first player, 2 went to the second player.
- 4 of these seven games ended at the end of a turn of the first player, 3 ended at the end of a turn of the second player. This gave the first player an extra turn compared to all other players in 4 games, and gave 1st and 2nd player an extra turn compared to 3rd (and 4th) in 3 games.

So far it looks like 1st player (and 2nd player in larger games) has an advantage, (possibly) because he might get an extra turn.
I'll see if this trend continues.
 
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robert
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1st player has advantage in 2 and 3 player games,though I would not say it makes that much of a difference. He may be the first to draw 2 cards, but he didnt have the two extra cards on his first turn. That said, 1st player is at a massive disadvantage in 4 player games. If he plays a minion on a base, that base will likely be scored before he even has another turn.

We in general dont like 4 player games and find them chaotic, but the first player in our group almost always passes now.
 
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Raistlin
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GrandMasterFox wrote:

Your assumption is that the card I use is off the field. If I play a minion who has an ability to destroy another minion, I get a +1 of it since it's still on the field.


Your example does not help, because as I wrote the amount of different abilities can change a lot the game (for example.. what about if my minion cannot be destroyed?).

But analyzing one card played for one card played, the 1st player has advantage in my opinion, just only for playing before the opponent.
And without considering the 2 more cards drawn at the end of the turn.
 
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David Lee
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Not fully convinced that the first player has a significant advantage, but this is the reason why when I play 2v2, it's a choice between first pick in the draft or first turn in the game.
 
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Andrew Kapish
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Wise drafting decisions should balance out any minute advantage afforded to early players.
 
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Andrew J.
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sonus wrote:
1st player has advantage in 2 and 3 player games,though I would not say it makes that much of a difference. He may be the first to draw 2 cards, but he didnt have the two extra cards on his first turn. That said, 1st player is at a massive disadvantage in 4 player games. If he plays a minion on a base, that base will likely be scored before he even has another turn.

We in general dont like 4 player games and find them chaotic, but the first player in our group almost always passes now.


Wow, y'all play so differently than we do. Generally, we're pretty skittish and don't collaborate nearly that much. Second player will almost invariably choose a different base than the first, and then the 3/4th will each go to one of the same bases so you end up with 1v1 and 1v1.
 
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Andre Oliveira
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It's hard to quantify the advantage because the players don't have the same resources. It's also hard to compare the draft advantages x turn order advantage.

Maybe the order should be reversed on the draft. Dunno.
We could say Wim D small data is also a consequence of the 1st player picking either zombie, robots or horses, no?
 
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Wim D
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First player picked the following faction first when he won:
Zombies
Warriors
Vampires
Ninjas
Robots
when he won.

He first picked the following faction first when he didn't win:
Geeks
Steampunk
In those cases, player two won picking this faction first:
Pirates
Clerics
 
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robert
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aaj94 wrote:
sonus wrote:
1st player has advantage in 2 and 3 player games,though I would not say it makes that much of a difference. He may be the first to draw 2 cards, but he didnt have the two extra cards on his first turn. That said, 1st player is at a massive disadvantage in 4 player games. If he plays a minion on a base, that base will likely be scored before he even has another turn.

We in general dont like 4 player games and find them chaotic, but the first player in our group almost always passes now.


Wow, y'all play so differently than we do. Generally, we're pretty skittish and don't collaborate nearly that much. Second player will almost invariably choose a different base than the first, and then the 3/4th will each go to one of the same bases so you end up with 1v1 and 1v1.


I wouldnt call it collaboration as much as we just know the first player will win that base if we dont take it, which also makes him take last on the base, which then wasted his first turn. We don't really talk about beating him out and how to do it much lol.
 
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Chet C.
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andrewkapish wrote:
Wise drafting decisions should balance out any minute advantage afforded to early players.


Good drafting systems enable this. But a bad drafting system will only make it worse. (Queensbury 12344321 works well from a limited pool, but if you're choosing from all factions, the first player has a huge advantage because (s)he gets the best faction and then gets to counter everyone else.
 
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Chet C.
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Different faction drafting systems can grant advantages to first or last player. Forgetting about these for a moment and focusing entirely on advantages after drafting is completed, there is a distinct and obvious first player advantage in smaller games (2 players). It may disappear as games reach and exceed four players, but let's concentrate on 2-player games for now. The key arguments:

- The first player gets to play as many or more minions and actions during the game as other players.
- The first player gets to draw as many or more cards during the game.

Some people in this forum have argued that the first player has a disadvantage because the first minion played is vulnerable. I argue against this:

- If the first minion on the table is vulnerable, then the first player can simply end their turn without playing a card. After drawing their two cards, it's as if they played last but started with 7 instead of 5 cards.
- As first player, if you worry that the first minion will be destroyed, moved, etc., simply start out with a low-powered minion.
- Since reactive cards (destruction, movement, etc.) are not very common, there's a good chance the second player does not have a reactive card in their hand yet. Even if the second player could react, it is probably smarter for the second player to save that card for a better time. If they waste it now, you will be in a better position later on.

All in all, I see serious advantages to going first. Any disadvantages can be avoided by playing strategically. Again, these advantages will probably wash out in larger games as luck, ganging up on the leader, and breaking bases quickly will guide the dynamics between players more than player order.
 
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Johny D
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RaistlinMajere wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but I never seen a post about this. Talking with a friend, at some point after a matchup, a question arose: does the 1st player have an advance in Smash Up?
Mathematically talking (not considering the abilities, I mean), the 1st player has advantage, because he can start and close a base before it's opponent has the opportunity to play it's 'response' turn.

Clearly the game is more complex and big, so many things may happen to minimize this advantage, but the question is still there. What do you think? Keep in mind I refer mostly to 2-players games for this supposed little advantage.


From my vast experience with this game I can say that usually the first player doesn't have the advanatge due to the nature how bases are scored. In fact, going second or third is always better in 3 or 4 player games.

Overall it greatly depends on the available bases, factions in play, number of players, initial card draw, etc.
 
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Chuck Jones, yo
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quit and nuts wrote:
First player picked the following faction first when he won:
Zombies
Warriors
Vampires
Ninjas
Robots
when he won.


Holy cats one of these things is not like the other. Good for him picking vamps first! Someone picks vamps first, you best grab Innsmouth before he has the chance.

Actually, I think it's fitting to bring up Vamps in the context of who begins the game. Given their Fledglings and Nightstalkers, I estimate the benefits of playing at least second in the rotation, perhaps even last, far outweighs the benefit of having to play first. Same theory with, off the top of my head, Halflings, Sharks, LolCats, and to a lesser extent Aliens, Elder Things, Shapeshifters...

Not to mention, when I have Killer Plants and get the oh-so-precious to play a Sprout or Weed Eater or lovely Water Lily, the odds of me ever getting to see my Minion during the start of my next turn seem practically nill-- I would gladly give up the meager bonus of First Player to get some other targets to distract my bloodthirsty fellow players.
In fact, as First Player, unless you've got Tricksters or Igors or something, I bet the odds are way higher that your opening Power 2 or 3 minion doesn't make it back to you.

I think the best thing about going first is having free reign to really stake your claim on whatever the best base is. If there are, say, two bases out that are equally enticing, then the Second Player gets just as much advantage as you do, maybe even a little moreso if they only drew actions which target opponents' minions.

My question: Haven't any of you ever felt a sense of relief that you don't have to play first?

I know that after drawing a hand of Copycats and Collectors, I'll be like "I woke up at 7:30 pm today and NOT A MOMENT EARLIER" when establishing who goes first.
 
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