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Subject: Thoughts on negative VP bidding for starting positions rss

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Jonathan F
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We usually only play three or four players in this game. It is my thought that going third is a distinct advantage in a three player game. Rather than do random starting order, has anyone ever tried auctioning off the starting position with the players bidding how many VP's they would give up to have a certain spot? I think this could solve the issue and I would make the minimum bid zero so if you think starting position doesn't matter and you roll to start bidding you can always bid 0 and then get the last available slot
 
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Brian K
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Do you adjust starting $$ so that anyone with corn starts with on less $$? That works well to balance.
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David Debien
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spiderM9 wrote:
Do you adjust starting $$ so that anyone with corn starts with on less $$? That works well to balance.


Exactly this. It's not just the 3rd position. Anyone who starts with corn is 50% more likely to win vs Indigo according to online play statistics. Reducing their starting cash seems to offset this.
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Bill Eldard
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casualgod wrote:
spiderM9 wrote:
Do you adjust starting $$ so that anyone with corn starts with on less $$? That works well to balance.


Exactly this. It's not just the 3rd position. Anyone who starts with corn is 50% more likely to win vs Indigo according to online play statistics. Reducing their starting cash seems to offset this.

Interesting. So, how much do you reduce from the corn starters? One doubloon each? One for the first corn player; two for the second; three for the last?
 
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David Debien
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Eldard wrote:
casualgod wrote:
spiderM9 wrote:
Do you adjust starting $$ so that anyone with corn starts with on less $$? That works well to balance.


Exactly this. It's not just the 3rd position. Anyone who starts with corn is 50% more likely to win vs Indigo according to online play statistics. Reducing their starting cash seems to offset this.

Interesting. So, how much do you reduce from the corn starters? One doubloon each? One for the first corn player; two for the second; three for the last?


One doubloon each. If you are going to make it worse for 1 position over the other, then the 3rd seat should be -2, not the other way around. As is, 3rd seat only wins about 1% more often than 4th seat, so I dont see a reason to escalate the penalty.

I wonder what would happen if instead you gave Sugar to Positions 1 and 2.
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Bill Eldard
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casualgod wrote:
Eldard wrote:
casualgod wrote:
spiderM9 wrote:
Do you adjust starting $$ so that anyone with corn starts with on less $$? That works well to balance.


Exactly this. It's not just the 3rd position. Anyone who starts with corn is 50% more likely to win vs Indigo according to online play statistics. Reducing their starting cash seems to offset this.

Interesting. So, how much do you reduce from the corn starters? One doubloon each? One for the first corn player; two for the second; three for the last?


One doubloon each. If you are going to make it worse for 1 position over the other, then the 3rd seat should be -2, not the other way around. As is, 3rd seat only wins about 1% more often than 4th seat, so I dont see a reason to escalate the penalty.

Great! Thanks.

casualgod wrote:
I wonder what would happen if instead you gave Sugar to Positions 1 and 2.

Or how about sugar for the first player, and indigo for the second. The logical play for the first player on Turn 1 would be for the first player to select Builder, getting the discount for the Sugar Mill, while the second buys the Indigo Plant. Once manned, they will produce different goods, ensuring both can sell when Trader is selected.
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H C
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Tournaments do negative VP bids for seats iirc
 
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Ronald
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Eldard wrote:
Or how about sugar for the first player, and indigo for the second. The logical play for the first player on Turn 1 would be for the first player to select Builder, getting the discount for the Sugar Mill, while the second buys the Indigo Plant. Once manned, they will produce different goods, ensuring both can sell when Trader is selected.

Chris Gibbs did a lot of number crunching and the 1-coin fix evens up the player seats nicely.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/7876579
You can get the tools for simulating Puerto Rico from his site, run them with your changes and see if you get any improvements.
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Jonathan F
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Great responses....my only downside with doing the money thing is some people will likely disagree and then I have to try to convince them and they still might gripe if they draw a corn spot. But if we allow bidding then they have no excuse as they can always take player #1 and not lose any VPs while I would happily take the corn spot for -1 VP.

Maybe we could bid coins instead??
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Game Guy
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If your friends object to Corn-1 Dub offer to take it yourself... and win!devil

1 VP is too little to pay for Corn. The 2.5 VP an early Dubloon is worth almost exactly offsets the average winning edge for Corn in three player expert play.
 
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Jonathan F
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TerrapinStation wrote:
If your friends object to Corn-1 Dub offer to take it yourself... and win!:devil:

1 VP is too little to pay for Corn. The 2.5 VP an early Dubloon is worth almost exactly offsets the average winning edge for Corn in three player expert play.

interesting. So doubloon bidding is a better system than VP you think?

And why is the 1 doubloon an extra 2.5 VP.
 
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Game Guy
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I cannot find the old strategy article from which I got the 2.5 number. If you look up the really old Puerto Rico Strategy threads you will see a lot of discussion of the high value of early money in the game. In particular https://boardgamegeek.com/article/18972#18972 .

I did not mean to suggest "bidding" for seat position with money. Using VP for that makes sense for the exact reason that VP are smaller pieces of value, so the bidding is more granular. To use money as a way of evening out Corn's advantage, just determine seats the usual way with the understanding that the corn seat(s) get one less Dubloon.

 
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Jonathan F
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TerrapinStation wrote:
I cannot find the old strategy article from which I got the 2.5 number. If you look up the really old Puerto Rico Strategy threads you will see a lot of discussion of the high value of early money in the game. In particular https://boardgamegeek.com/article/18972#18972 .

I did not mean to suggest "bidding" for seat position with money. Using VP for that makes sense for the exact reason that VP are smaller pieces of value, so the bidding is more granular. To use money as a way of evening out Corn's advantage, just determine seats the usual way with the understanding that the corn seat(s) get one less Dubloon.


that makes sense. I was thinking the same thing since you could bid in 0.5 point increments or any increment really with VP but not so for money.

I will propose both to the group and see what they think.
 
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Steven Metzger
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-$1 for corn is recommended by Seyfarth.

Same for swapping costs for University and Factory.
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Jonathan F
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metzgerism wrote:
-$1 for corn is recommended by Seyfarth.

Same for swapping costs for University and Factory.

But only in 3 and 4 player games right? ANd then in 5 player games you should only do it to 4th player as 5th player corn doesn't have an advantage.
 
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Game Guy
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The big advantage is really in 3P. In the standard Settle/Build/Mayor opening, the Corn player can either purchase a Small Market and or, if he got Sugar from the initial Settler, a Small Sugar Mill. With the bonus Colonist he can occupy both the Plantation and the Building. On the second round, Player 2 (the Governor) and Player 1 (now acts last) almost have to take Trader and Captain respectively (+1 Dub each) even though they have no goods. The Corn Player will Craft (+1 Dub) for 2 Corn (or Sugar). He gets to take off two Victory Points on the defensive Captain and will have the choice of Builder/Settler/Mayor each with a coin or even the option to Craft again. But that is usually a poor choice since he will not act again until the end of the fourth round. If Player 2 does not take the 'empty' Trader, the Corn Player can get the 'empty' Trader for Two Coins instead on top of 2 VP from the Captain. Failure of Player 1 to take the 'empty' Captain allow The Corn Player to Captain for three VP and two Dubloons. If the other two take Captain and Trader in the other Order, the Corn player can Trade Corn for 1 Dub (or Sugar for 2) will still be the only player with any goods produced. These advantages are dramatically blunted with a second Corn player.

These sequences really give a huge advantage to the Corn player in 3P. -1 Dubloon takes the Sugar Mill option off the table altogether and gives back the extra coin the Corn Player gets from the Small Market. The other players still probably have to play some defense, but they do not end up nearly as far behind.
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