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Subject: Proposed change to start player for next printing rss

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Ben Rosset
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Hello Brew Crafters fans! This is Ben Rosset, the designer. For a future printing of the game the publisher and I are thinking of making a change to how start player works, to make it rotate every round instead of being an action space. We encourage you to playtest this new rule at home with your copy and to provide feedback! The important question is: does it make the game better? Here are the steps to implementing the proposed rule change:

1. The person who most recently finished a beer is the start player for round 1, like normal. This is not changed from the current rules.

2. The start player marker rotates to the left at the beginning of each new round.

3. In 2-4 player games, players seated in positions 2-4 from the first round no longer receive any extra bonuses in step 10 of setup. In 5-player games only, player 4 from the first round receives an extra malt and player 5 receives an extra hops.* All players still receive 2 malt and 1 hops, like normal.

4. The Private Investor market action space still restocks $1 there at the beginning of each new round (including round 1). It just no longer also makes you start player.

*this is because, in games of 2-4 players, everyone will get an equal number of turns as start player. In a 5 player game, players 1 and 2 from the first round will get an extra turn as start player. Player 3 is at a negligible disadvantage, and players 4 and 5 are at a slight enough disadvantage to warrant an extra resource at the beginning of the game.
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David Combs
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Should this be playes with the Form Local Partnership on the Private Investor spot or the Fundraiser spot or does it not matter?
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Brian Bowles
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rosset37 wrote:
1. The person who most recently finished a beer is the start player for round 1...


Okay, but this rule has always made it very difficult for my group to choose a first player, often requiring a chugging contest.

Humor aside, I first want to say thanks Ben, for making us fans feel a part of the ongoing development process!

I'll give this a try next time we play, and I think it's a good idea, but my first thought is I would like to see a choice for how to play original or this. I do kind of like the ability in games to maybe not get anything great this round but be able to lock down first choice at the start of next round. Rather than think well, I could really make this work if I could "do X" but I can't take an action till two others take their action.

I guess I'm a "cake and eat it too" kind of guy.
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Jacob Lee
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I've only ever played this way. There's enough to sorry about in the game that stressing over turn order seems completely separate from the game experience. Six plays with these rules and I can assure you they work perfectly.
 
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Barry Miller
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Ben,

Will give this rules change a try at next opportunity!

On a side note... while I enjoyed Brian's humor above about the chugging contest, I'd like to offer my personal (and less humorless) opinion about how rules are currently written for selecting the start player...

Perhaps it's because I'm becoming an experienced boardgamer, but I'm finding the cutesy start player rules (I.e., "the player who last saw a rabbit", or, "the player with the most facial hair", or even, "the person who most recently finished a beer") to be well, inane and silly. I hate to sound harsh about it. Perhaps I'm jaded and no longer see new games through the bright eyes of a brand new gamer who would find such wording to be fun and inviting.

I think a recent game I bought does it right: New Bedford
It's rulebook, for selecting the start player, simply says: "Give the first player Token to the player who will go first."
Or it could be written as, "Pick a player to start the game and give that player the Start Player token."

The above ways to write the rule are so direct and so simple, that in today's era they come across as almost elegant. I even commented about the New Bedfored rule, here: The best line in any rulebook, ever.

So take the above FWIW... it's only my personal opinion and we all have one, after all. My character flaw is that I like to vocalize mine!

 
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Jessica Gustafsson
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We shall try this change in a 2-player set up, sounds good on paper. As for deciding who goes first we usually just rotate it but its an easy descision since its me and my partner playing it every time(otherwise I would start every time since I'm the only one that drinks beer). For people with shifting playgroups it might be a different kettle of fish.

We will get back to you with the results!
 
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Shawn is boufalaxx
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I think I like the First Place choice better (assuming the recent changes which move the partnerships), but I could give this new one a go
 
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bgm1961 wrote:

Ben,

Will give this rules change a try at next opportunity!

On a side note... while I enjoyed Brian's humor above about the chugging contest, I'd like to offer my personal (and less humorless) opinion about how rules are currently written for selecting the start player...

Perhaps it's because I'm becoming an experienced boardgamer, but I'm finding the cutesy start player rules (I.e., "the player who last saw a rabbit", or, "the player with the most facial hair", or even, "the person who most recently finished a beer") to be well, inane and silly. I hate to sound harsh about it. Perhaps I'm jaded and no longer see new games through the bright eyes of a brand new gamer who would find such wording to be fun and inviting.

I think a recent game I bought does it right: New Bedford
It's rulebook, for selecting the start player, simply says: "Give the first player Token to the player who will go first."
Or it could be written as, "Pick a player to start the game and give that player the Start Player token."

The above ways to write the rule are so direct and so simple, that in today's era they come across as almost elegant. I even commented about the New Bedfored rule, here: The best line in any rulebook, ever.

So take the above FWIW... it's only my personal opinion and we all have one, after all. My character flaw is that I like to vocalize mine!



My personal opinion is that I LOVE this quirky and funny ways to determine first player...

Obviously some are impossible to determine and are there just for fun and I see no problem in having them there... ultimately you can choose first player for every game the way you want to choose, be it following the rulebook or completely ignore it and do it randomly, or if you play with a consistent group you can have the winner of the last game decide who is first player in the next one, etc, etc, etc...
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John Weber
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Having played BC somewhere between 75 and 100 times over the past two years (when it's been the most played game in my collection), I agree with the proposition that start player in the first season can be particularly powerful, particularly when there is only one of the four "Stud" Skilled Workers available (these being Architect, Holiday Help, Storage Coordinator and Brewpub Mgr.). Had I known about the last player to drink a beer rule, I certainly would have considering bringing more alcohol to the gaming table -- do I get to decide whether or not to chug it down before or after seeing the starting set of SWs?

Seriously, and I view BC as a serious game, I participated in the only BC tournament I am aware of to date, at PrezCon in Va. last Feb. I drew #2 at start and came in second. The player who drew #1 -- an experienced Agricola player whom I introduced to the game a couple of months earlier -- won the tourney. We both got great SWs on the first turn, and he outplayed me to win the game. But I believe we were able to separate ourselves from the other two mainly based on those two SWs we got in round one.

Once you accept the view that start player is a big deal, how do you remedy the situation? Ben's idea of rotating it automatically raises three issues:
(1) What do you replace the Take Start Player space with? Not replacing with anything is going to make the game much much tighter, particularly in the later seasons when noone needs to hire a SW, start a new shift and all the partnerships are gone.
(2) If playing a 4P, the start player in Spring of Year 1 is same player in Spring of Year 2. If you brewed 3 batches in Year 1, the optimal move as Start Player in Spring of Year 2 is to Hire your 2d Shift, which gives you four additional brewery actions for which you owe $3 at the end of Year 2 -- a really good deal. So, in 4P games at least, rotating Start Player seems to exacerbate the problem, not solve it.
(3) Taking Start Player off the table removes a key tactic in the game -- beating out another player to a Gold Label by switching the turn order in the upcoming Brewery action phase. Usually there's a trade-off, i.e., you give up another Market action that enables another player to take more ingredients or some other valuable Market action space.

Also, I don't think the compensation for players going later in the turn order in the initial turn (i.e. an extra ingredient) is sufficient. When playing the game with experienced players, our group usually hands out the Advanced Research Boards (all of which are different) in reverse player order, with the caveat that players can always flip the board over and play Basic Lab if preferred. This seems to help alleviate the problem somewhat.

Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.
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Yoki Erdtman
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John Weber wrote:
Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.
Bidding for start order sounds like the best solution, but would you expand on this Vegas Showdown style bidding?
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Max Jamelli
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Yokiboy wrote:
John Weber wrote:
Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.
Bidding for start order sounds like the best solution, but would you expand on this Vegas Showdown style bidding?


I was intrigued by that comparison too. Usually when there are bids, they're made in increments - I wonder if John wants bids to be like special tiles -- 3-5-7-9 points worth.
 
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John Weber
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Yokiboy wrote:
John Weber wrote:
Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.
Bidding for start order sounds like the best solution, but would you expand on this Vegas Showdown style bidding?


You haven't played Vegas before??? It's one of my all-time favorite games.

Anyway, here's how the bidding would work: There were be a chart, maybe in 1 VP increments or possibly half VP increments, starting at 0 (which would also be a legal bid). Chart could go up as high as 5, or maybe even 10 VP. Player A would go first and put a marker on a preferred location. Bids would be allowed for any of the four seats (i.e. assuming a four-player game). Player B goes next, etc. When it comes around to Player A, he replaces his marker on a different spot only if he is outbid for a particular seat. Bidding continues clockwise until each player has a unique seat. The VP bids are noted on a scoresheet and play commences, with players possibly switching seating positions.

A similar bidding mechanism is used in Amun Re, but with a restriction that outbid players have to move to a different spot. That's not true for Vegas Showdown and it wouldn't be true here.
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Max Jamelli
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So -- correct me if I'm wrong.

John
Max
Ben
Pete are playing.

John bids for starting player first. He bids 2.
Max wants to be starting player. He bids 3.
Ben doesn't want to bid higher than 3, but doesn't want to go last. He bids 1.
Pete is new. Pete is happy to go last and bids 0.
John's bid. John wants to go first. John bids 4.
Max Passes.
Ben passes.
Pete Passes.

turn order is John, Max, Ben, Pete.



Or ...

John bids 1
Max bids 2
Ben bids 0
Pete bids 0
John passes

Max 1st
John 2nd
Is Ben 3rd because he bid 0 first or does there need to be one person per bid space?
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Dylan Thurston
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Max, it sounds like there's no explicit 'passing' at all. Either you have the highest bid for a spot (and can't change it on your turn) or you don't and must make a new bid.
 
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Max Jamelli
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dthurston wrote:
Max, it sounds like there's no explicit 'passing' at all. Either you have the highest bid for a spot (and can't change it on your turn) or you don't and must make a new bid.


Not sure how I feel about that then. Bidding for a winner is simple enough - working through 2nd-4th seats becomes cloudier.
 
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John Weber
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Actually, my concept is that there's a chart with the opportunity to bid on all starting positions (well, one for each player in the game) and that a player could bid on any of them.

To use Max's example. Assuming a four-player game.

Max bids 2 on position 1.
Ben bids 3 on position 1.
Alan bids 1 on position 2.
Chris bids 0 on position 3.
Max (who is outbid), seeing there are two good Skilled Workers in the opening draw, bids 2 on position 2.
Ben does nothing, as his bid of 3 on position 1 is still high bid.
Alan (now outbid for position 2) bids 0 on position 4.

So, at this point, the bidding is over.

Ben gets position 1 for 3 VP handicap.
Max gets position 2 for 2 VP.
Chris gets position 3 and Alan gets position 4, both for no VP handicap.

Hope this makes it clear.
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Max Jamelli
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John Weber wrote:

Actually, my concept is that there's a chart with the opportunity to bid on all starting positions (well, one for each player in the game) and that a player could bid on any of them.

To use Max's example. Assuming a four-player game.

Max bids 2 on position 1.
Ben bids 3 on position 1.
Alan bids 1 on position 2.
Chris bids 0 on position 3.
Max (who is outbid), seeing there are two good Skilled Workers in the opening draw, bids 2 on position 2.
Ben does nothing, as his bid of 3 on position 1 is still high bid.
Alan (now outbid for position 2) bids 0 on position 4.

So, at this point, the bidding is over.

Ben gets position 1 for 3 VP handicap.
Max gets position 2 for 2 VP.
Chris gets position 3 and Alan gets position 4, both for no VP handicap.

Hope this makes it clear.


and now I see the Vegas Showdown comparison a little clearer too.

I would get behind this.
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C. B.
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Hi Ben,
thanks for the opportunity to contribute here.

As others said, automating start player takes away an important part of gameplay. You lose the ability to grab start player before brewery actions (including start of winter), which affects medals and collaboration, and makes the game less interesting.

My suggestion is this:
After brewery actions, if no one played on the start payer space this turn, pass the start marker one player to the right.

It goes to the right because that moves almost everyone down 1 in the turn order. The one person who moves up would be the player who just went last. If you passed it left, almost everyone gets a benefit in turn order if they do nothing, so the space would become less attractive.
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Ben Rosset
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Spaceknight wrote:
Hi Ben,
thanks for the opportunity to contribute here.

My suggestion is this:
After brewery actions, if no one played on the start payer space this turn, pass the start marker one player to the right.


This is an interesting idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I'd like to open up the conversation to generate other ideas as well. Someone suggested a viticulture style choice for start player. Would that work? I'm open to hearing other ideas from the community as well.

Ben
 
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Keith Ferguson
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rosset37 wrote:
Spaceknight wrote:
Hi Ben,
thanks for the opportunity to contribute here.

My suggestion is this:
After brewery actions, if no one played on the start payer space this turn, pass the start marker one player to the right.


This is an interesting idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I'd like to open up the conversation to generate other ideas as well. Someone suggested a viticulture style choice for start player. Would that work? I'm open to hearing other ideas from the community as well.

Ben


This is similar to how Pillars of the Earth works - there is a spot to take 1st player, but if no one goes to that spot, the 1st player marker rotates. However, there it passes to the left. In that case, the player who was 1st, will now be last on the next turn. The idea of passing it to the right is intriguing...but the player who just went 1st is now going 2nd...which may be a benefit. The question is, do you want the last place player to get to jump up suddenly, or have the current 1st place player face prospect of going last next turn...and thus tempting him to use the space to keep the 1st place position?

And if you have this mechanism in the game - 1st place rotates unless the 1st place spot is taken...do you still give out extra bonus materials to the non-first place players at the beginning of the game?
 
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Keith Ferguson
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John Weber wrote:

Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.


John - I'm running Brew Crafters at Prezcon again this year. I was planning on nerfing the Brew Pub Manager to some degree...but your bidding idea is very intriguing. What happens if everyone bids 0?
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KTFerguson wrote:
rosset37 wrote:
Spaceknight wrote:
Hi Ben,
thanks for the opportunity to contribute here.

My suggestion is this:
After brewery actions, if no one played on the start payer space this turn, pass the start marker one player to the right.


This is an interesting idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I'd like to open up the conversation to generate other ideas as well. Someone suggested a viticulture style choice for start player. Would that work? I'm open to hearing other ideas from the community as well.

Ben


This is similar to how Pillars of the Earth works - there is a spot to take 1st player, but if no one goes to that spot, the 1st player marker rotates. However, there it passes to the left. In that case, the player who was 1st, will now be last on the next turn. The idea of passing it to the right is intriguing...but the player who just went 1st is now going 2nd...which may be a benefit. The question is, do you want the last place player to get to jump up suddenly, or have the current 1st place player face prospect of going last next turn...and thus tempting him to use the space to keep the 1st place position?

And if you have this mechanism in the game - 1st place rotates unless the 1st place spot is taken...do you still give out extra bonus materials to the non-first place players at the beginning of the game?


Pillars is a bit different since placement order on the Master Builder board is not the same as start player for resources. The current start player could be placing the last Builder, and faced with an interesting choice. Or the 2nd player will be last, the player just before them has a decision to make. If play is always left and passing is left, you would lose those situations, you keep them to a degree if passing right.
There's also the difference here that start comes with some money and priority in brewery phases, so even if you stand to receive it for free (whichever direction it passes) there's still value to the space beyond that.


Let me use a 4 player game to illustrate direction. Player 3's second placement comes up, start is still available. If player 3 needs to go first, the choice is obvious. The question is when they're just looking for value, comparing start+money to another spot.
If it would pass left, they have a chance of going up from 3 to 2 for free, the value of start is then only getting that extra step to 1st. If it would pass right, they consider dropping 3rd down to 4th vs that other spot - a far more interesting choice.

Consider 4's position. This is what we need to improve, right? The situation where 4 has to spend the move on start and just one buck, or know they go last again.
Passing left, they choose to take start or go up to 3rd. That isn't much help for the guy who probably didn't manage to get a partnership or worker on round 1 - up to a spot where they can take the 6th best power card isn't much of an improvement.
Give them the 8th best spot on the board and 1st player by passing right, that's balancing things better. and if anyone feels otherwise they could have taken start and the buck, as they could now.



As to the bonuses during setup, I think that stays because you still have someone randomly assigned 1st player and 1st shot at the best worker/partnership overall. Even if you rotated start equally as in the original post, round 1 priority is more powerful because of unequal opportunity to get unique cards, that needs to be compensated. (and even after all that, Brewpub Manager would still be overpowered.)
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John Weber
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KTFerguson wrote:
John Weber wrote:

Finally, were I to run a BC tournament, I would introduce bidding for seat position (at least in the final or elimination rounds) after players see the opening SW and Recipe draws. Bidding should be in VP increments (either half or full points) and noted on the scoresheet, using a Vegas Showdown style bidding mechanism. This has worked out well in other heavy strategy games with a known seat bias, notably Puerto Rico and Princes of Florence.


John - I'm running Brew Crafters at Prezcon again this year. I was planning on nerfing the Brew Pub Manager to some degree...but your bidding idea is very intriguing. What happens if everyone bids 0?


Bidding is done sequentially, so they can't bid 0 for the same position. Player 1 could bid 0 for seat 1, player 2 0 for seat 2, etc., then you are done after one round because everyone would have a different seat, but I doubt that would happen if people value the #1 position.
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Steve G
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I'd like to see turn order done with some kind of bidding system, like has been discussed. I feel like strategically and thematically something similar to Alchemist could work really well. Where players potentially gain additional resources for taking a later spot on the turn order track or forgo them for an earlier spot. It would make the risk/ reward a little more tense with regard to how much you are prepared to give up to secure first turn.
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Jan De Roos
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Any idea when this print is going to be for sale?
 
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