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Subject: Game 'broken' because starting player has advantage? rss

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Mike F
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Normally my games of Hansa Teuutonica go smoothly. However tonight it drove new players crazy.

In particular one player felt very, very strongly that he was disadvantaged by being the last player to act in our 5-player game.

I generally dismissed his complaints. But is he actually right?

For example, if I'm first in a 4-player game the last player will only have 3 more cubes than me in their personal supply ... which is one action worth (at the initial stages of the game). And after they've done their first two actions, I'm straight into my second turn and doing my 3rd and 4th actions (and possibly a 5th if I'm already upgrading). So I'm always ahead of them, even though I will be doing the moneybag action earlier than them.

I don't think the answer is that later players have an advantage in being able to block players who went earlier, as then the players will tend to just lock horns on road regardless of who went first. Also, the ability to teleport cubes with the Libre action undermines notions that earlier players are left vulnerable by having declared their intentions through their initial placement.

What do you think? I have a feeling the person I dismissed might have been right. Although it seems marginal.

Perhaps the best, though unsatisfying, answer is that the metagame would evolve so that 'first players' are seen as mildly advantaged and other players adjust accordingly to focus on them.
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Jeff Michaud
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1st I assume you are using the standard game board and not the 1st expansion which does help provide some more balance I believe..

rigol wrote:
For example, if I'm first in a 4-player game the last player will only have 3 more cubes than me in their personal supply ... which is one action worth (at the initial stages of the game). And after they've done their first two actions, I'm straight into my second turn and doing my 3rd and 4th actions (and possibly a 5th if I'm already upgrading). So I'm always ahead of them, even though I will be doing the moneybag action earlier than them.

only? As you indicate that is a whole action worth... not to mention blocking ability going later which will put even more cubes onto the game board when the earlier players bump you.

In any case when you looked for existing topics on this subject you missed a couple....

Start player advantage in Hansa Teutonica?

Starting player vs last player
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bryden
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I hadn't noticed an advantage unless there is a lack of understanding of the cost of the actions. If the sole focus is on the action track or some other singular goal then the player who gets it first will "win".

I will "request" to play 4th or 5th in a game just to "prove" that the turn order is not an issue. It usually goes as planned or at least I give myself a chance to win.

Tips to all players ... block, block, block etc.

You can buy one of the expansions if you want but I would only do that if you really like the game and want some more variety. The first expansion was enjoyable and had a very different feeling to it.
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Jason Adultman
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HT is one of those games where 50% of people think the game is broken after playing it once, and 100% of those people are wrong.
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Jerome Chan
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I won a game where I had less actions then the other players. They were so busy fighting for that route that I was able to complete the red city to red city route and won by working on the Town Keys and ending the game quickly.
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Walt
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eviltofu wrote:
I won a game where I had less actions then the other players. They were so busy fighting for that route that I was able to complete the red city to red city route and won by working on the Town Keys and ending the game quickly.

I have seen that happen. In addition, if you go for the fast win, getting more actions doesn't have time to pay off for the other players.
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Jon van Oorschot
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Really do not feel a start player advantage. If you go last, you can see where everyone else has gone, giving you great blocking opportunities. This game is all about the blocking. Also the last player will have to do the get cubes out of the bag later than everyone else.
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bryden
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eviltofu wrote:
I won a game where I had less actions then the other players. They were so busy fighting for that route that I was able to complete the red city to red city route and won by working on the Town Keys and ending the game quickly.

Seen it happen and this is when I knew I could no longer play the game with this group. Even after I stated that if they keep going after more actions I am going to win, they still kept going because it is the "best strategy".

2 other players had 5 actions, I can't remember what the other had (it wasn't 5) and I had 3. I won, running away.

The other players like the game for it's simplicity but thought that the game was a bit too one-dimensional. "Actions are too important".

Uh ... yeah. Let's play something else.
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Grant
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Jasonbartfast wrote:
HT is one of those games where 50% of people think the game is broken after playing it once, and 100% of those people are wrong.

*Unless they're playing the original 2p rules on the original map. Then they're up to 70% right.
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Ryan Keane
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This game is so much about blocking and then benefiting from players paying to push you out, or going under the radar and doing your own thing somewhere else with no one blocking you, that any slight advantage in turn order at the beginning of the game quickly dissipates depending on what players do.

In our most recent 5-player game, the 3rd player seemed to have the greatest early advantage, as he was able to block both the 1st and 2nd players on the "extra action" routes, and 1 paid next turn to kick him out (the other player moved his 2 cubes to another route, which probably hurt him, as he didn't get to 3 actions until much later in the game). But this early advantage was lost, as among other things the 3rd player overfocused on extra actions, going to 5, and ended up coming in 3rd place.

I was 5th in turn order and came in 2nd place, and I may have come in 1st but had to invest too much in slowing down the lead player from ending the game really early, racing to 20 points. He had gotten to 4 actions quickly, controlling the "extra actions" city, took control of 2 adjacent offices on one of the starting chip routes, and kept completing it multiple times, putting a chip back on it each time, while no one (including me stupidly) was blocking the route between his turns.

Final order of scores with the starting place:
1. 2nd in turn order
2. 5th
3. 3rd
4. 1st
5. 4th

I would say getting to 3 actions early in the game is pretty critical, but investing in upgrading further depends on what other players are doing and is not essential to winning. One players may use 3 actions per turn very effectively, while another player may squander 5 actions per turn to less effect.
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Malachi Brown
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I believe many people over-value actions. Hansa Teutonica is not a game about playing a particular strategy, it is a game about playing the other players.
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grant5 wrote:
Jasonbartfast wrote:
HT is one of those games where 50% of people think the game is broken after playing it once, and 100% of those people are wrong.

*Unless they're playing the original 2p rules on the original map. Then they're up to 70% right.


I agree

2-player game definitely broken + solution
 
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Stephen Stewart
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Jasonbartfast wrote:
HT is one of those games where 50% of people think the game is broken after playing it once, and 100% of those people are wrong.


Right It takes 2 plays to determine this...
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Anthony Faber
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My first take on this is that the first player advantage has to do with getting more total actions in the game (similar to Scythe and other instant end games), not about getting out to a big edge right at the beginning.
 
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Colin Sham
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maxlongstreet wrote:
My first take on this is that the first player advantage has to do with getting more total actions in the game (similar to Scythe and other instant end games), not about getting out to a big edge right at the beginning.


Unlike Scythe, this game lets you increase your actions by tech or one time bonuses. There's no guarantee the first player has an action advantage, and that's before discussing an action advantage being inherently valuable (I find you need a balance of all the techs, such as bag and privilege).

You'll have more turns in that game. That's no guarantee of anything though.
 
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Anthony Faber
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Ridel wrote:
maxlongstreet wrote:
My first take on this is that the first player advantage has to do with getting more total actions in the game (similar to Scythe and other instant end games), not about getting out to a big edge right at the beginning.


Unlike Scythe, this game lets you increase your actions by tech or one time bonuses. There's no guarantee the first player has an action advantage, and that's before discussing an action advantage being inherently valuable (I find you need a balance of all the techs, such as bag and privilege).

You'll have more turns in that game. That's no guarantee of anything though.


Having more turns doesn't 'guarantee' anything, but it helps, no? In my first game, the first two players got one more turn than everyone else, and on that turn scored 5-10 points each. I can't see how that's not an advantage.
 
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Colin Sham
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maxlongstreet wrote:
Ridel wrote:
maxlongstreet wrote:
My first take on this is that the first player advantage has to do with getting more total actions in the game (similar to Scythe and other instant end games), not about getting out to a big edge right at the beginning.


Unlike Scythe, this game lets you increase your actions by tech or one time bonuses. There's no guarantee the first player has an action advantage, and that's before discussing an action advantage being inherently valuable (I find you need a balance of all the techs, such as bag and privilege).

You'll have more turns in that game. That's no guarantee of anything though.


Having more turns doesn't 'guarantee' anything, but it helps, no? In my first game, the first two players got one more turn than everyone else, and on that turn scored 5-10 points each. I can't see how that's not an advantage.

I was pointing out that turns != actions. One extra turn is meaningless if I get 4 to your 2 actions a turn.

The theorycrafting logic you're employing from Scythe is flawed. This game gives you ways of increasing actions per turn and provides one-time bonuses (+3 and +4 action meats). It has action-equivalent powers in Bag (gaining 5 vs 3 on a bag is almost 2x the efficiency which will save you actions), and it has complex meta-game calculations via blocking (2 other players blocking your access to Action Tech will not only cost you but expedite them. Do you switch to the other techs? Or pay the cost? Etc.)

Turns in this game are close to meaningless as a mechanism to judge efficiency or effectiveness.
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clovis chan
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"Having more turns doesn't 'guarantee' anything, but it helps, no? In my first game, the first two players got one more turn than everyone else, and on that turn scored 5-10 points each. I can't see how that's not an advantage."

If you compare 1st to 4th player, P4 has 3 more cubes. 3 cubes = 1 bag (initially), so technically you can say they have the same number of actions to start with though at this point I probably haven't addressed your point about higher initiative.

But if you think about it, is the option of the 4th player much worse than the 1st? IMO I don't really like being P1 as your 1st 2 placements essentially away which track you want to go (if you place the 2 on same track), or you are placing the 2 on different tracks and you are playing a stalling game, in which case the 'initiative' effect diminishes.

In a 'standard' (though not necessarily the only possible viable) opening, P1 and P2 may place on 2 different tracks, while P3 block both/one and P4 have a choice of going to a new track or blocking both/one of P1/2. P4 is not necessarily in a bad position.

I guess P1 and P2 will have an advantage if everyone goes for the same skill tracks as them... but why not go for other tracks with less obstacles in your way? I haven't played Hansa for 2 months but based on my memory, there is no one dominant OP combination of tracks.
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