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Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium» Forums » General

Subject: 1st player advantage (Specially on Hellas) rss

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Pedro Sequeira
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I've played the base map a couple of times, and the expansions maps 1 time each, and I think the Hellas map has a really big 1st player advantage (at least compared with the other 2)

Elisium has the nice 3 card spot, but it is not very well located, but still good for the special tiles I guess

But on Hellas the spot with the ocean bonus seems way too good (last game at least 2 people were really looking forward to get it on the first chance (yeah, i didnt get it

I think it is particularly strong because it helps setup the south pole explorer 5 points

What do you think? Is it usually the first (land) spot taken in your games? And if so, how early?

I'm trying to test a variant to pick the starting 10 cards + corps with an auction, and I think I'll try to get the starting order in there as well
(https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1860529/1-auction-start-gam...)

 
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Patrick G.
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No. I don't feel like it is. I've played 3 or 4 games with hellas and I don't see it being a problem.
 
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Jim McMahon
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It's never a good idea to house rule something you don't like (or think you don't like) after a single play.
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Bill Buchanan
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Songok wrote:
I've played the base map a couple of times, and the expansions maps 1 time each, and I think the Hellas map has a really big 1st player advantage (at least compared with the other 2)

Elisium has the nice 3 card spot, but it is not very well located, but still good for the special tiles I guess

But on Hellas the spot with the ocean bonus seems way too good (last game at least 2 people were really looking forward to get it on the first chance (yeah, i didnt get it

I think it is particularly strong because it helps setup the south pole explorer 5 points

What do you think? Is it usually the first (land) spot taken in your games? And if so, how early?

I'm trying to test a variant to pick the starting 10 cards + corps with an auction, and I think I'll try to get the starting order in there as well
(https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1860529/1-auction-start-gam...)



On Hellas, we usually all race to get a good central map location spot on and close to the double steel locations ...
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Erik Twice
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It's not actually that as great as it seems. Consider that, at best, it's 1TR for 6 additional credits if you are one of the first places AND have a special tile to place there.

If you run the numbers it's a very small gain. Compare to that event that gives you 2TR for 14. The cost of each TR is 9 assuming you don't have anything to discount it with. So you gain a 3 credit advantage plus bonuses, which is noticiable, but small.

Considering that you can get 3-6 credits with Titanium placement, that doesn't seem like much.

You are also making the game run shorter and giving placement bonuses to every other player that places an ocean afterwards. I think it's a bad place to put a city, for example.

So yeah, not strong at all.
 
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Örjan Almén
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It might seem obvious to race for the spot you are talking about, but it really isn't. It is quite expensive to grab that spot.

First, you need to have a tile to put there. Unless you got a card to put a special tile or a city, you are limited to the standard projects Greenery and City, which cost 23/25 M€. Then you have to pay 6 M€ to put the tile in place. That makes a minimum cost of 29 M€ to gain 1 TR in the shape of an ocean tile placed. I think it's very expensive TR.

To pay 29 M€ first round, you can't keep so many cards from your initial 10 cards, as they cost 3 M€ each, for example if you start with 42 (a common starting amount), and pay 29, you have 13 left which means that you can buy max 4 cards.

It might be strategically a lot better to buy a few more cards, and play cards that might improve your production a lot more than 1 TR for those M€ left from the initial buy. Many players race to the double steel or double titanium places rather than this spot.
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Pedro Sequeira
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Jim, the variant is mostly to address the issue of picking the startings cards in a fair way (i.e. can't luck out with Tharsis and 2 or 3 city cards, and other similar combos)

the definition of turn order for the first round would just be an extra

and thats based on a couple of games now, like you say, I dont think we should house rule something on one play so I wanted to see if it was a common 1st placement in other peoples games (with 3 maps now, it will be a while until I get a good sample size with just my plays


And yes, I'm not saying it's good enough to justify a standart project on the first turn, what I'm saying is that if you have a special tile that you want to play on the first turn, thats a very good placement

I would then put the ocean on the 2 titanium spot

Then we have 1/3 for the polar explorer, and we can put a tile next to our ocean to have the 2M bonus, and be very close to finish it

of course someone may take that spot, but it's not SO great, specially since there is already competition for the explorer (us)


To sum up my opinion, I dont think it justifies a standard project, and it's not a great city spot, but IF you have a special tile to put down (like the nuclear explosion, the natural reserve, etc), it's the best spot on the map
 
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Patrick G.
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Songok wrote:
Jim, the variant is mostly to address the issue of picking the startings cards in a fair way (i.e. can't luck out with Tharsis and 2 or 3 city cards, and other similar combos)

the definition of turn order for the first round would just be an extra

and thats based on a couple of games now, like you say, I dont think we should house rule something on one play so I wanted to see if it was a common 1st placement in other peoples games (with 3 maps now, it will be a while until I get a good sample size with just my plays


And yes, I'm not saying it's good enough to justify a standart project on the first turn, what I'm saying is that if you have a special tile that you want to play on the first turn, thats a very good placement

I would then put the ocean on the 2 titanium spot

Then we have 1/3 for the polar explorer, and we can put a tile next to our ocean to have the 2M bonus, and be very close to finish it

of course someone may take that spot, but it's not SO great, specially since there is already competition for the explorer (us)


To sum up my opinion, I dont think it justifies a standard project, and it's not a great city spot, but IF you have a special tile to put down (like the nuclear explosion, the natural reserve, etc), it's the best spot on the map

Drafting is much better than an auction. I can't see how an auction doesn't just extend the game by one generation.
 
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Jeff Kahan
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orjanalmen wrote:
It might seem obvious to race for the spot you are talking about, but it really isn't. It is quite expensive to grab that spot.

First, you need to have a tile to put there. Unless you got a card to put a special tile or a city, you are limited to the standard projects Greenery and City, which cost 23/25 M€. Then you have to pay 6 M€ to put the tile in place. That makes a minimum cost of 29 M€ to gain 1 TR in the shape of an ocean tile placed. I think it's very expensive TR.

To pay 29 M€ first round, you can't keep so many cards from your initial 10 cards, as they cost 3 M€ each, for example if you start with 42 (a common starting amount), and pay 29, you have 13 left which means that you can buy max 4 cards.

It might be strategically a lot better to buy a few more cards, and play cards that might improve your production a lot more than 1 TR for those M€ left from the initial buy. Many players race to the double steel or double titanium places rather than this spot.


It also might be tactically better to buy LESS cards from the initial 10. Also keep in mind that the 29 you spend on getting a greenery on this spot actually nets you TWO TR- one for the Oxygen and one for the ocean so it's really 14.5/TR Also, add in the "goal" of getting to the milestone (as your reasoning for landing on this point) and 1/3 of the way to 5 points PLUS you can dump that ocean right atop the 2 Titanium spot. To me.. TR tactics/strategies are all situational... doing the best with what the board/cards/corporation/other players hand you. A first turn Greenery on this spot can be awesome... it can also set you behind.... definitely not the end-all first move for Hellas.
Just my 2 MC..... whistle
 
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Pedro Sequeira
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Patrick if you want check the link for the auction thing, I think it will actually be faster than drafting the 10 initial cards (something I like better than the official variant, and propose in most of the games I play

Still, with the draft it's possible to get a way better combo just because no one knows what they are drafting against, so you may still, in the example given, end up with a bunch of cities with tharsis

But staying on topic it would be cool to know if there are spots way more likely to get a first tile, which may give a 1st player advantage (of course players still need the specific tile laying card, etc)

Or in other words, if you really wanted to win, and could pick your starting position, would it be first?

There are games where it is not clear, because you want to react to others, or the 2nd, 3rd, etc get some extra stuff to make up for it
 
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Örjan Almén
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Oboewan wrote:
orjanalmen wrote:
It might seem obvious to race for the spot you are talking about, but it really isn't. It is quite expensive to grab that spot.

First, you need to have a tile to put there. Unless you got a card to put a special tile or a city, you are limited to the standard projects Greenery and City, which cost 23/25 M€. Then you have to pay 6 M€ to put the tile in place. That makes a minimum cost of 29 M€ to gain 1 TR in the shape of an ocean tile placed. I think it's very expensive TR.

To pay 29 M€ first round, you can't keep so many cards from your initial 10 cards, as they cost 3 M€ each, for example if you start with 42 (a common starting amount), and pay 29, you have 13 left which means that you can buy max 4 cards.

It might be strategically a lot better to buy a few more cards, and play cards that might improve your production a lot more than 1 TR for those M€ left from the initial buy. Many players race to the double steel or double titanium places rather than this spot.


It also might be tactically better to buy LESS cards from the initial 10. Also keep in mind that the 29 you spend on getting a greenery on this spot actually nets you TWO TR- one for the Oxygen and one for the ocean so it's really 14.5/TR Also, add in the "goal" of getting to the milestone (as your reasoning for landing on this point) and 1/3 of the way to 5 points PLUS you can dump that ocean right atop the 2 Titanium spot. To me.. TR tactics/strategies are all situational... doing the best with what the board/cards/corporation/other players hand you. A first turn Greenery on this spot can be awesome... it can also set you behind.... definitely not the end-all first move for Hellas.
Just my 2 MC..... whistle


Yes, it can be great due to circumstances. A lot depending on your cards, corporation and a lot more. But I don't think I'd rush there with a standard project greenery, but if I have a card that places a tile, I could rush that one there as it probably would be somewhat cheaper that way.
 
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Patrick G.
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Songok wrote:
Patrick if you want check the link for the auction thing, I think it will actually be faster than drafting the 10 initial cards (something I like better than the official variant, and propose in most of the games I play

Still, with the draft it's possible to get a way better combo just because no one knows what they are drafting against, so you may still, in the example given, end up with a bunch of cities with tharsis
Faster isn't necessarily better. And I meant it was 1 generation longer because I misread how payment works. I thought you would just basically missed the ability to do much you first turn.
Songok wrote:

But staying on topic it would be cool to know if there are spots way more likely to get a first tile, which may give a 1st player advantage (of course players still need the specific tile laying card, etc)

Or in other words, if you really wanted to win, and could pick your starting position, would it be first?
When don't I play to win? Honestly if I had my choice I would probably pick 2nd in two player, 3 in 4 player and 5th in 5 player. My assumption being that those times I would be first(first cycle in 5 players and 2nd in 3& 4 player) I would be hopefully qualifying for something and be in prime position to claim it.

Songok wrote:

There are games where it is not clear, because you want to react to others, or the 2nd, 3rd, etc get some extra stuff to make up for it

Ultimately I don't think there is anything that needs to balance first player out. It usually is either something that can plan around or you're just behind the person scoring something you wanted to do anyways...
 
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Pedro Sequeira
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I'm hoping my variant will be faster and fairer (not sure about better), and I really like auctions, so for me i'm sure it'll mean a better experience

And yes, the global starting $ would be the same, so it shouldnt add extra generations

In one of my top games, TM (Terra Mystica eheh), there is a clear downside to being 4th in a 4 player game (conclusion from a website for online play, with data from hundreds of matches), there is even a tournament where every player plays 4 game, one in each starting position to balance things out.

But that game has a random setup, so in some games it's a big advantage to be first, while in others even 4th isn't so bad

A way that was proposed to fix these random elements and make it fairer (not by me) was an auction to pick factions + starting player order, and it works

I think they havent implemented it yet on the tournament because the site doesnt support and auction in game (it would have to be done over email or something like that)

Still, it's not a VERY big deal, a player with 50 games will crush a player with 5 no matter what
 
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Patrick G.
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Songok wrote:
I'm hoping my variant will be faster and fairer (not sure about better), and I really like auctions, so for me i'm sure it'll mean a better experience

And yes, the global starting $ would be the same, so it shouldnt add extra generations

In one of my top games, TM (Terra Mystica eheh), there is a clear downside to being 4th in a 4 player game (conclusion from a website for online play, with data from hundreds of matches), there is even a tournament where every player plays 4 game, one in each starting position to balance things out.

But that game has a random setup, so in some games it's a big advantage to be first, while in others even 4th isn't so bad

A way that was proposed to fix these random elements and make it fairer (not by me) was an auction to pick factions + starting player order, and it works

I think they havent implemented it yet on the tournament because the site doesnt support and auction in game (it would have to be done over email or something like that)

Still, it's not a VERY big deal, a player with 50 games will crush a player with 5 no matter what

I think you are over complicating the matter. I would have to say that player order is not that important for starting the game.

But if you like it enjoy and happy gaming! lol.
 
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Daniel Wigren
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I have played both maps several times, and my initial thought was also that the first player might get an advantage because of map placement. But so far I have seen no signs of this. I dont believe first player advantage is anything to worry about at all in this game. The more important factor is who is starting player in round 4 and 5 when all the milestones and awards are taken. You might have to base your entire strategy around this.
 
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Songok wrote:
I've played the base map a couple of times, and the expansions maps 1 time each, and I think the Hellas map has a really big 1st player advantage (at least compared with the other 2)

What do you think? Is it usually the first (land) spot taken in your games? And if so, how early?


I have played the game dozens of times on each map and there is an advantage/disadvantage associated with turn order. And while it may be more obvious on some maps, the advantage is definitely more pronounced when players are of even ability/experience and more problematic with larger number of players (4 or 5). Your OP focused on the Turn 1 advantage, but the advantage also shows up late in the game. Perhaps more than an advantage for the first player, it is a disadvantage for the last player.

If the game goes 10 generations, then the late-game playing field is somewhat leveled since each player goes 1st twice, and more importantly, each goes last twice. But, if the game goes 11 generations, then player #5 goes last 3 times (and player #4 goes 2nd to last 3 times). Trying to grab those last few available ferraforming opportunities on the last generation is much harder if you are going last or 2nd to last, and much easier for the 1st or 2nd player.

I see several potential ways to address the issue of turn order advantage. I have only tried OPTION-2 below. I think all are better than doing nothing, but not sure which is the best or if some combination is needed

1. Initially turn order is set based upon experience / skill with the most experienced players going last.


2. Initial Card compensation.
* Player 1 gets 10 cards
* Player 2 gets 11
* Player 3 gets 12
* Player 4 gets 13
* Player 5 gets 14
### Players can keep a maximum of 10 cards on turn one.
### Only works in a game where you are not drafting the opening 10 cards


3. Initial Money compensation.
* Player 1 gets no extra money
* Player 2 gets +1
* Player 3 gets +2
* Player 4 gets +3
* Player 5 gets +4


4. Players Bid for turn order with victory points that are deducted for their scores at the end of the game.
 
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