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Subject: Turn Order Follies rss

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Matt Watkins
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One glaring imbalance in High Frontier's rules is the fixed turn order. Turn order matters in the colonization game because the same player always takes their turn first after an event occurs. They always get first look at new cards after Inspiration. They always get to respond immediately to the results of an election auction. They get to take advantage of opponents who've been debilitated by glitches or solar flares before those opponents get a chance to respond. I propose the following simple solution:

After an event takes place, but before the next player plays their turn, randomly redetermine the turn order by rolling a die or some other method. Then whoever is first in the new turn order takes their turn. Claim discs on the solar system chart could be used to keep track of the turn order. Every two rounds a new turn order will be determined, and players won't be able to base strategies on being able to respond early to the events.
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Doug DeMoss
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I don't see it. With the tech auctions, everybody still gets to bid. With the political auctions, if people really care, they can take an operation to run another election. With the rest, how often will it really happen that somebody is in position to take advantage and not get hurt themselves?
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Todd Pytel
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Maybe. I'm also not convinced the impact is dramatic enough to merit more rules. And reshuffling the turn order every two turns seems a little extreme. Maybe just do it every solar cycle? Or every time you shift to a new color? I don't know... I see the benefit to being first out of the gate after an Inspiration. I haven't played with Combat yet, so I'm not sure how impact turn order has there.

You could also do this with an auction mechanic, like Elections.
 
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Matt Watkins
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demoss1 wrote:
I don't see it. With the tech auctions, everybody still gets to bid. With the political auctions, if people really care, they can take an operation to run another election. With the rest, how often will it really happen that somebody is in position to take advantage and not get hurt themselves?


Everyone gets to bid in elections, but the auctioneer has a distinct advantage in auctions in that they win ties and get WT if they don't win. If there are highly desired patents in the mix, it's definitely to a player's advantage to be first.

PRC's ability makes elections problematic. If first, they can move any election result from anarchy to war before any other player can call another election. In fact though, any player who is first can plan to run two elections in a row and shift politics around as they please. (It takes two elections to gain power from another player.) No other player can do this.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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Matt_W wrote:

PRC's ability makes elections problematic. If first, they can move any election result from anarchy to war before any other player can call another election. In fact though, any player who is first can plan to run two elections in a row and shift politics around as they please. (It takes two elections to gain power from another player.) No other player can do this.


It takes such a large colonist or money advantage to pull off a double election successfully that I don't think the turn order even factors in meaningfully. As for PRC, well, maybe they get one turn of mischief before somebody else can move the politics again. It's their faction ability, they SHOULD be able to get that from time to time.
 
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Rich James
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Matt_W wrote:
Everyone gets to bid in elections, but the auctioneer has a distinct advantage in auctions in that they win ties and get WT if they don't win. If there are highly desired patents in the mix, it's definitely to a player's advantage to be first.

This is interesting because I have seen it argued that it is to a player's disadvantage if they use their operations to do a Research operation. The economic cost in initiating an auction is higher for the one that starts it than for the rest of the table. That, plus you burn an Operation to do it (vs. bidding on some other player's operation) makes it costly to initiate one.
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Matt Watkins
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demoss1 wrote:
It takes such a large colonist or money advantage to pull off a double election successfully that I don't think the turn order even factors in meaningfully. As for PRC, well, maybe they get one turn of mischief before somebody else can move the politics again. It's their faction ability, they SHOULD be able to get that from time to time.


This is why this came up for me. In my current PBEM game with Drake and Adam, we're playing PRC, NASA, UN in that order. Peacetime colonist votes are 2, 10, 2 respectively (NASA is the emancipator), but wartime votes are 7, 5, 5. (A couple of the colonists are non-player colors.) I am NASA. I have plenty of votes to shift politics except that if I do, I have to go to anarchy and then PRC will move it to war immediately and ruin my political advantage. Likewise, PRC can't win a peacetime election easily, so can't make the initial move to war. So we all kind of collude to keep UN in power out of mutual interest in not sharing power. I realize this kind of situation creates interesting gameplay and might even be the most "fair", but if I was first instead of PRC, I would absolutely be in power.

arjisme wrote:
This is interesting because I have seen it argued that it is to a player's disadvantage if they use their operations to do a Research operation. The economic cost in initiating an auction is higher for the one that starts it than for the rest of the table. That, plus you burn an Operation to do it (vs. bidding on some other player's operation) makes it costly to initiate one.


I think having to pay the auctioneer if I win more than balances out having to spend an operation. It's almost always worth more than income to the auctioneer because the advantage is doubled. They not only gain WT, but also reduce the other player's WT. I tend to be pretty reluctant to bid very high on other players' auctions for precisely this reason, which tends to game theory out to auctions being a pretty cheap way to pick up cards--another advantage for the auctioneer.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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When you consider what you're giving the auctioneer, be sure to subtract 2 WT (or whatever an Income operation is worth otherwise) as the opportunity cost for NOT taking Income. It's pretty much always worth bidding at least 2 and often more, whether you want the technologies or not.
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Drake Coker
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While I understand the OP's point, the suggestion would need adjusting to insure everyone gets the same number of total turns in the game.

Also, changing the turn-order could affect a prospecting race in pretty
unfair ways (e.g. player A getting two turns before player B gets any).
 
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Geoff Speare
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We had noticed this issue (and considered it an issue). Our proposed, untested solution was to rotate the event trigger among players without changing turn order.
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Rich James
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demoss1 wrote:
When you consider what you're giving the auctioneer, be sure to subtract 2 WT (or whatever an Income operation is worth otherwise) as the opportunity cost for NOT taking Income. It's pretty much always worth bidding at least 2 and often more, whether you want the technologies or not.

Yep. If you put up, say, a solar sail for auction and the winning bid (not you) is 2 WTs , you've gotten 2 WTs and your opponent has gotten a sail they either want or can free market later. You've also spent your operation for the turn and they haven't. If you win a tie at 2 WTs, you've lost effectively 4 WTs in the action: the cost to win the bid and the lost 2 WTs you could have earned taking income. If the card is that important to you, then you pay for it. But the cost is higher if you are the auctioneer.
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Greg Turner
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galfridus wrote:
We had noticed this issue (and considered it an issue). Our proposed, untested solution was to rotate the event trigger among players without changing turn order.


Interesting. What do you mean exactly? Event effects would be applied in an order different than the turn order?
 
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Matt Watkins
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arjisme wrote:
Yep. If you put up, say, a solar sail for auction and the winning bid (not you) is 2 WTs , you've gotten 2 WTs and your opponent has gotten a sail they either want or can free market later. You've also spent your operation for the turn and they haven't. If you win a tie at 2 WTs, you've lost effectively 4 WTs in the action: the cost to win the bid and the lost 2 WTs you could have earned taking income. If the card is that important to you, then you pay for it. But the cost is higher if you are the auctioneer.


Yeah, I guess you're right. It feels like you have more control as the auctioneer though, maybe because 1) supports muddy the calculation a bit, 2) it's rare in the early game for players to have large WT balances, so that provides a limit on bidding that can be used strategically by the auctioneer, 3) the auctioneer chooses the card up for auction, and 4) hand limits are highly important and can sometimes result in getting 3 cards for 0 WT, particularly after another player industrializes.

I like the idea that some other folks have pointed out of rotating the event trigger or--even more--making turn order an auction. I wonder if you could just have it be a possible outcome of an election auction: either the winner can move the politics disc OR they can rearrange the turn order. At the game beginning, give players an extra WT (total 5) and hold an auction after determining factions to determine initial turn order with ties broken randomly.
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Geoff Speare
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Gregor wrote:
galfridus wrote:
We had noticed this issue (and considered it an issue). Our proposed, untested solution was to rotate the event trigger among players without changing turn order.


Interesting. What do you mean exactly? Event effects would be applied in an order different than the turn order?


Yes - keep a separate marker for event resolution, which rotates clockwise among players once per solar cycle after resolving the event. The solar cycle moves and events are resolved before that player's turn with that player as the "start player" for purposes of resolving the event.

This creates a slight event lag but makes the event timing more equal.
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Adam Gastonguay
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galfridus wrote:

Yes - keep a separate marker for event resolution, which rotates clockwise among players once per solar cycle after resolving the event. The solar cycle moves and events are resolved before that player's turn with that player as the "start player" for purposes of resolving the event.

This creates a slight event lag but makes the event timing more equal.


Huh. I really kind of like this. Makes everything a bit more dynamic. Sure, it's one more thing to parse, but why not?

And I'm the UN, so I have no problem with how the game's going . I desperately need those VPs to stay competitive (and the PRC could blow us all up with a thought if we let him).
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Ulrik Bøe
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Rotating event triggers is interesting, but it will double the losses to Pad Explosion as people have even more to calculate to hit that window to launch and promote safely blush
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Patrick Schifano

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My way to accomplish this goal would be during the election for the player in Power(after the politics disk is moved) to decide which player is the First Player. In the case of Anarchy/War/Political Struggle(Exomigration omdule) then it is randomly determined(die roll likely).

So the current round is finished out(ensuring that all players have equal number of turns) then the next round starts with the First Player. Theoretically this could change several times in the blue sector as well.

You would need a way to track the First Player(a token), and a way to track the Last Player(another token). With these two tokens the First Player token would be the next person after the Last Player in turn order if no elections took place. The Last Player token would never move within the same round, but once that player has taken their turn it would be assigned to the person before the current First Player in turn order. The First Player token could move around a little or a lot.

The event roll would happen after the Last Player had gone so that election could also change where the First Player token lies. In that case the Last Player token might be adjusted again.
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Geoff Speare
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Here is my writeup of this variant. Simply changing when the sunspot marker moves creates some side effects (players having different numbers of turns in each section of the cycle), so I wrote it this way instead.

Variable Event Resolution Timing

Summary: the sunspot disk still moves after the last player, but resolution of events happens after a different player each sunspot cycle (moving in reverse player order). This mitigates the current situation where some players always react to events before other players.

L Colonization Setup

Give an Event Resolution Marker to the last player.

M0 Event Resolution Marker Movement.

After the marker on the SUNSPOT CYCLE moves past the Senility arrow and back to the Start space, give the Event Resolution Marker to the previous player in the play order (i.e., in counter-clockwise order).

M3 Colonization Event Roll

Instead of resolving an event when the sunspot disk passes an EVENT THRESHOLD, use the below procedure.
When the player with the Event Resolution Marker has taken their turn, check the sunspot disk. If the sunspot disk is on a space just before an EVENT THRESHOLD (i.e., it will pass the threshold the next time it moves), resolve an event as per M4.
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