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Subject: When does the game end? rss

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Kirk Monsen
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Disclaimer: I have not read the rules (cannot find them online) and was taught by someone else. After the game in which the first player won by 3 points (by claiming the last villain), I thought of this and was wondering:

When does the game end, when the final villain is destroyed, or at the end of the round that the final villain is destroyed?

If it is when the final villain is destroyed, what mitigates first player advantage?
 
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Chuck Hurd
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The rules state that the game ends at the end of the player's turn once the third villain is defeated. So, as you surmize, the start player advantage is not mitigated. You'd have to house rule that you complete the round.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Related to the issue of ending is probably the question of is there an actual first player advantage? If this was a typical DBG, where everyone had identical starting decks, perhaps, but character you get changes things greatly.

Go first with a crappy character (hello Thomas Harrow), you're likely to get boned anyways, especially if second player gets one of the better ones. Add to this the random nature of the Villains you draw, some of which are tailormade for some characters (lvl II Gremians/Scarecrow and Harlow Morgan/Inspector Cooke for example, all four high, high Cunning), while some start with just 1 in a stat, getting a Villain with high requirement in that stat will bone you even if you're the first play.

What if the Center Line doesn't have that great cards, you buy something, bam, a great card pops up, right up for grabs for the second player? Naturally, if the Center Line starts off with great card(s), first player can jump ahead, but again, character matters, you might or might not be able to get the card you want even if it is available (few characters can muster 4 Spirit right away for Disturbing Presence).
 
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Kirk Monsen
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Dam the Man wrote:
Related to the issue of ending is probably the question of is there an actual first player advantage?


I would say yes. Despite anything else, if the first player ends the game then they had one more turn to buy things than all other players.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Villains vary from I think 6VP to 11VP, that's more like 2-3 turns of buying stuff if you want to get even VP from just shopping.

I could probably find about more in my logs of 78 plays whether first player wins more often than not. But my gut feeling says first player advantage is negligible at most, character draw matters far more (double Honor vs no Honor starting character, former wins good 75+% of the time).
 
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Kirk Monsen
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Dam the Man wrote:
But my gut feeling says first player advantage is negligible at most


So your gut feeling is someone who gets resources for 21 buys would not have an advantage over someone who gets resources for 20 buys?
 
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Rich Moore
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MunchWolf wrote:
Dam the Man wrote:
But my gut feeling says first player advantage is negligible at most


So your gut feeling is someone who gets resources for 21 buys would not have an advantage over someone who gets resources for 20 buys?


Not sure how this is any different than your gut feeling that says it does....except he has 78 plays under his belt.

I would agree, though, that there is no strong first player advantage. That advantage if it existed would be that first player gets first shot at the Villain every round. However, as noted above, there doesn't seem to be an advantage with respect to taking down Villains, as that is balanced by the different character abilities and differential starting (and built) decks. In my experience as well this balances any perceived first player advantage, as the firsts player doesn't necessarily kill more vVillains than the other players.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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I think the point is players that have more turns than other players have an advantage. It can be argued that because of all the variability and random effects in the game the first player advantage is mitigated, but it cannot be disputed that certain players will have one more turn's worth of opportunity than others. Playing out the final round is the only way to mitigate that.
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Kirk Monsen
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rcmoore4 wrote:

Not sure how this is any different than your gut feeling that says it does....except he has 78 plays under his belt.


Ad hominem. You are invalid.


Ascension, which is the closest game in analog to this, realizes there is a problem and allows the players to finish out the round.

Even Dominion, the grandfather of deckbuilding games recognizes the issue in two ways, first the number of rounds is used in a tie breaker (players with fewer rounds win when compared to players of equal score with more rounds), and by having divisible by players quantity of victory cards.

Despite any other randomness, any game that allows one player to have more turns than all others has a fundamental issue. I am just curious what this game does to mitigate that. I do not see anything.

Saying the game is just too random to make a difference isn't a good response, and insults the game.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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MunchWolf wrote:
Ascension, which is the closest game in analog to this, realizes there is a problem and allows the players to finish out the round.

Even Dominion, the grandfather of deckbuilding games recognizes the issue in two ways, first the number of rounds is used in a tie breaker (players with fewer rounds win when compared to players of equal score with more rounds), and by having divisible by players quantity of victory cards.


Yet, both of those games, all players have IDENTICAL starting decks (assuming about Ascension) and no player character type individualistic touch with a potential 1-2 special abilities on top that you get in DG. Which is what I mentioned in my first reply. With identical starting positions, only thing separating players is turn order (well, and player skill, but that applies in all games). Here, turn order isn't the only thing separating players, but IMO it's also by no means the most important aspect in creating separation.

Semi-seriously, you play Thomas Harrow, I play Argot Blackwell, you get to go first every game, out of 50 plays, I'd wager you winning five would be a great feat. Mentioning the two characters at the opposite ends of turrible to great scale.

In your OP, you made no mention of several contributing factors to the outcome. Characters, Villains, who had played how many times, etc.? Hell, even a die roll during the game can swing the 3VP you say the margin of victory was.
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Chuck Hurd
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Dam the Man wrote:
Semi-seriously, you play Thomas Harrow, I play Argot Blackwell, you get to go first every game, out of 50 plays, I'd wager you winning five would be a great feat. Mentioning the two characters at the opposite ends of turrible to great scale.

The arguement can be made though that if one started first in each of those games and played Argot, one would win 49 out of 50, not accounting for any player's particular talent for the game. 2 Honor to start is a big advantage. Can you really argue that 2 Honor to start and going first is not more of an advantage? How can it not be?
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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True, but that puts it at 45 vs 49 wins in this (highly )hypothetical scenario. Is 4 wins more out of 50 really enough to make the first player advantage something to be "fixed"? Especially since the margin of victory for Argot would very likely be 15+ Investigation in each of his wins. I mena, I've seen Argot score more than the other two heroes combined in a 3-p game. Even playing out the round, outcome would change maybe a couple of times (if that TBH) out of full 100 plays (50 with Argot going first, 50 with Thomas going first).

On the case of first player advantage in other DBGs, would mention that Street Fighter DBG has no "play the round to completion" system either. Since it uses the Cryptozoic Cerberus engine, guessing none of the other DBGs from them use round completion either. And that system uses a similar center line for all purchase method. Ditto for Thunderstone and Resident Evil, as well as Marvel Legendary. Basically, none of the DBGs I've played take first player advantage into account and weirdly, they all play just fine.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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I think to the larger point that this game has greater issues that render the first player advantage negligiable you are right on. But to the OP's question I would still answer that an advantage is an advantage and it's not necessarily mitigated by the rules or the game.
I just know how it feels to have the game end out from under you when you're sitting there with a -3 point dark secret in your hand. It just feels like you needed to have your turn and you got shorted.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Carcking wrote:
But to the OP's question I would still answer that an advantage is an advantage and it's not necessarily mitigated by the rules or the game. I just know how it feels to have the game end out from under you when you're sitting there with a -3 point dark secret in your hand. It just feels like you needed to have your turn and you got shorted.


Should we handicap for player skill differential too? That's an advange surely too. Should that be in the rules? What is enough of an advantage that needs to be mitigated, in turn order, skill or whatever?

It's funny when another player takes out the final Villain that lets you destroy card(s) in hand or discard pile (Shadow Witch is one IIRC), letting you cull out Dark Secrets. Of course, say you got a final turn, turned that DS into a Shocking Discovery, no guarantee it would not end up biting you in the ass, possibly destroying another card worth 3IP or more.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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Dam the Man wrote:
Should we handicap for player skill differential too?

Surely not. Handicaps should not be based on anything subjective such as player talent or random game effects. It should be based on objective mechanics, such as an equal number of turns. What you're suggesting is that because the game includes random events and effects it's alright for some players to have less turns than others, as though random events and effects somehow makes up for having less turns.


Dam the Man wrote:
It's funny when another player takes out the final Villain that lets you destroy card(s) in hand or discard pile (Shadow Witch is one IIRC), letting you cull out Dark Secrets. Of course, say you got a final turn, turned that DS into a Shocking Discovery, no guarantee it would not end up biting you in the ass, possibly destroying another card worth 3IP or more.

Yes, this could happen, however an equal number of turns doesn't guarnantee an equal outcome. It's about having equal opportunity. Imagine getting beat by 3 points let's say by a player that had one more turn than you. If you had that turn you could have had the opportunity to make up those three points.
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Rauli Kettunen
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One might argue you had equal opportunity, you just lost the die roll for first player at the start of game . Unless your opponent used weighted die, but then it wasn't equal.

I just don't see that games HAVE to account for number of turns. What about games where you lose turns, compensate with an extra for each turn lost? Actually, I've seen turns lost in DBGs due to massed forced discards, empty hand = lost turn in effect, compensation?

Wargames too, say an ACW game where Confederates get to go first and game ends if they capture Washington, should Union get another turn even though CSA met their goal (and since that goal probably resulted in a huge morale loss for the North population that even taking back DC would see them lose)?
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