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Subject: First player advantage when using L plus M. rss

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David B
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I've read from many that first player advantage is most prominent when using the Lady Bug plus the Mosquito. Why does the combination lead to a more significant first player advantage? Would the advantage be lessened by removing an ant and a grasshopper when using them?
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Keng Leong Yeo
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Adding the Mosquito and Ladybug and removing one Ant and one Grasshopper is how we like to play Hive.

The starting player advantage comes from the fact that the starting player is one step ahead of the second player. If each player plays without watching the other player (common among new players), i.e. placing and then moving the placed piece next to the opponent's Queen Bee, then the starting player will get there first and win.

As such, the second player is on the back foot for the initial phase of the game. Including more pieces leads to the starting player possessing more options to attack the second player. Putting it another way, the starting player will not "run out" of pieces so quickly and can continue to press the attack.

From our experience, removing one Ant and one Grasshopper does remove much of that starting player advantage. The starting player advantage is reduced to almost like playing Hive without the expansions, since the number of pieces are back to 11 per player. However, the game gains from the added variety of the two new pieces.
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Kellen Freeman
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That's an interesting idea. I need to give that a shot the next time I play.
 
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Andrew P.
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I know it has been said many times on many Hive threads, but the Pillbug really helps to alleviate any first player advantage because of it's ability to defend.

The second player starts the game on defense, and the Mosquito and Ladybug are great for attacking; The Mosquito can act as another Ant, Beetle or Ladybug, and the Ladybug's ability to leave/enter locked spaces is very powerful. If you felt there was already a strong first player advantage, then adding these two pieces may make it worse. Disclaimer: I am certainly no Hive expert.

BUT BE WARNED! The Hive Police will find you and lock you up if you do what you want with your game to make it fun for you! YOU MUST ONLY PLAY HIVE PLM WITH TOURNAMENT RULES AND TIME CONTROLS!

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David B
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pieforteeth wrote:
I know it has been said many times on many Hive threads, but the Pillbug really helps to alleviate any first player advantage because of it's ability to defend.

The second player starts the game on defense, and the Mosquito and Ladybug are great for attacking; The Mosquito can act as another Ant, Beetle or Ladybug, and the Ladybug's ability to leave/enter locked spaces is very powerful. If you felt there was already a strong first player advantage, then adding these two pieces may make it worse. Disclaimer: I am certainly no Hive expert.

BUT BE WARNED! The Hive Police will find you and lock you up if you do what you want with your game to make it fun for you! YOU MUST ONLY PLAY HIVE PLM WITH TOURNAMENT RULES AND TIME CONTROLS!



If the first player advantage can be minimized without the pill bug I would probably prefer that as I am not a huge fan of it. I could see playing base game with the pill bug added. The pill bug WITH the mosquito is kind of...yikes. Stopping one pill bug is bad enough. Personally, though, I think the base game by itself should get a little more positive attention than it does. New bugs are nice, but base Hive was already great.
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Andrew P.
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pfctsqr wrote:
pieforteeth wrote:
I know it has been said many times on many Hive threads, but the Pillbug really helps to alleviate any first player advantage because of it's ability to defend.

The second player starts the game on defense, and the Mosquito and Ladybug are great for attacking; The Mosquito can act as another Ant, Beetle or Ladybug, and the Ladybug's ability to leave/enter locked spaces is very powerful. If you felt there was already a strong first player advantage, then adding these two pieces may make it worse. Disclaimer: I am certainly no Hive expert.

BUT BE WARNED! The Hive Police will find you and lock you up if you do what you want with your game to make it fun for you! YOU MUST ONLY PLAY HIVE PLM WITH TOURNAMENT RULES AND TIME CONTROLS!

New bugs are nice, but base Hive was already great.


Yeah, no disagreement there. I go back and forth over which variation I like to play. Lately my son has been asking to play with only the base set, and we've been having a lot of fun.
 
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Quote:
BUT BE WARNED! The Hive Police will find you and lock you up if you do what you want with your game to make it fun for you! YOU MUST ONLY PLAY HIVE PLM WITH TOURNAMENT RULES AND TIME CONTROLS!


Hive Police, where?! If you were referring to my recent tirade, it was about changing the game for balance reasons, not for fun ones. I'm just calling for the effort to be expended on finding good evidence of an imbalance problem before it is expended on trying to concoct ways to correct said problem - which may not even exist.

That said, LM is thought to be least balanced because they are great bugs for attacking, and white has the tempo advantage to start so can press the attack for longer.

If played first the L also strengthens white just by virtue of its unique movement, especially in a C-type opening position. White can attempt to force close positions in order to then quickly pin the black Q to form a gate protecting the cell adjacent to both Qs. This creates a situation where there are two empty cells adjacent to the white Q which will free the white L when occupied.

White can still do this with another bug instead of the L, but the L is a much bigger threat to unleash a devastating attack when freed than any other bug would be in that position. Black must either resign themselves to finding a way around this problem after the fact if white decides to do it, or restrict themselves to the subset of openings which make it disadvantageous or impossible for white to stall Q placement long enough to force close positions.
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