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Subject: Unfair advantage to 1st player in 3-player game? rss

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Erik Volkert
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Played my first game last night and am very excited to play more!

One thing that I wonder about... Since the first-player token moves left after each turn, as the first player I always go first every round. This isn't so bad for player two, since if I board their ship on my third turn of the round they get their third turn and then I get my first turn, but it feels a little unfair when I'm boarding player 3's ship as follows:

Player 3 takes their 3rd turn of the round, and then for my 3rd turn I use all the action tokens I accumulated over the round to board their ship and make a mess of things... Since I saved my tokens, and I'm the pirate, I've got 11 tokens, and I kill a bunch of their crew. Then the 2nd player takes their 3rd turn. Then the first-player marker moves to me and I get my 1st turn at the top of the next round before the 3rd player can answer. I couldn't handle doing that so I used the turn to leave my opponent's ship but if I hadn't I could have fired twice for free and then fired 4 more times from tokens before they got another turn...

Maybe in a three-player game the first turn marker should get passed to the left again to keep such things from happening?

Or better yet maybe it should move right, to avoid the same situation with player 2. If left, they get turn 3, and then immediately get turn 1. If it goes to the right at the end of the round after going left at the end of the turn, they get to answer before anyone gets to go twice, I think...
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Rodger Samuel
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Interesting suggestion. I may move the marker right when I play.
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Joshua Broberg
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Won't passing right grant the same advantage to a different player?
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Erik Volkert
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Elessar33 wrote:
Won't passing right grant the same advantage to a different player?


Hopefully not, since it's passing right after passing left (AKA not passing it left after the final turn). So you pass left at the end of every turn at then at the end of the round pass right (or just don't pass it left at the end of the last turn of a round).

The rounds would look like this:
Round 1
Player 1 Turn 1
Player 2 Turn 1
Player 3 Turn 1
(Player 1 passes token left at the end of the turn to Player 2)
Player 2 Turn 2
Player 3 Turn 2
Player 1 Turn 2
(Player 2 passes token left at the end of the turn to Player 3)
Player 3 turn 3
Player 1 turn 3
Player 2 turn 3
(Player 3 passes token left at the end of the turn to Player 1)
(Player 1 passes token right at the end of the round to Player 3)


Round 2
Player 3 turn 1
Player 1 turn 1
etc...
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Scott Rogers
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I don't think there is an unfair advantage to the first player, but there (almost) always is an advantage in any game for going first.

I'd be curious to see what happens with your "rotate right" method. You might have just invented the game's first "house rule"! 😄
 
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Erik Volkert
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Agreed that there's usually an advantage in going first, but the movement of the first-player token changes the dynamic further I think? Especially when you consider the build-up of energy tokens over the course of the round and how necessary those appear to be in mounting a good boarding action.

I was the one who was going to be taking advantage of I felt bad about what I could do if I acted on what I saw available to me... I had killed off two of his crew in my last turn of the round prior (so many energy chits!), and faced with the opportunity of taking 6 shots (two free shots for my two guys on his ship + 4 tokens) I couldn't bring myself to open fire on his crew and instead fled (on average I'd take out 3 of his guys leaving him with 1 guy... Ouch!) We were too far from the end of the game for me to feel okay knocking him out of the game...

That said, I'll be less kind in the future!!

But that said, it seems to me that the first and second player will always get that edge, every single round, and I don't see anything that the third player gets in recompense that's comparable. "I saved up all my energy for a final turn boarding action, and after all that but before you can act, all the guys I boarded with will get free actions and (likely) four more action chits to spend."

The 3rd player can hope that the 2nd player will curtail the 1st player's bold assault with boldness of their own a la a True Romance-style stand-off, but that's not always going to pan out...

The third player gets something kind of similar on the second turn of the round, when:

2nd player 2nd turn.
3rd player 2nd turn.
1st player 2nd turn.
3rd player 3rd turn.

...at which point the 3rd player could open up a can of her favorite hostile beverage of choice on the 2nd player in a way that's similar to what I'm talking about above, but with a noteworthy difference of up to 4 less energy chits. And they get a similar advantage against the first player at the end of the 1st turns, but that's even less to speak of since the most energy chits they'll have at the end of their first turn is 4.

Forgive my ignorance if I'm missing something; these are things I'm calculating based on a first play, and if I find something mitigating in the future I'll surely point it out! (And if you Know Better, I'm more than happy to hear what I'm getting wrong since you are by far more experienced in this game than I!)
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Scott Rogers
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OmgBoardGames wrote:
I was the one who was going to be taking advantage of I felt bad about what I could do if I acted on what I saw available to me... I had killed off two of his crew in my last turn of the round prior (so many energy chits!), and faced with the opportunity of taking 6 shots (two free shots for my two guys on his ship + 4 tokens) I couldn't bring myself to open fire on his crew and instead fled (on average I'd take out 3 of his guys leaving him with 1 guy... Ouch!) We were too far from the end of the game for me to feel okay knocking him out of the game...

That said, I'll be less kind in the future!!


I'd say THAT was your mistake.
 
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Scott Rogers
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OmgBoardGames wrote:
But that said, it seems to me that the first and second player will always get that edge, every single round, and I don't see anything that the third player gets in recompense that's comparable. "I saved up all my energy for a final turn boarding action, and after all that but before you can act, all the guys I boarded with will get free actions and (likely) four more action chits to spend."


I have found it a very effective strategy (as 2nd, 3rd or 4th player) to let the other players board my ship, burn up their action tokens and then when it comes around to my turn, I can counter-attack and blast them apart because they don't have any action tokens left to dodge with.

This tension about whether to save action tokens for future actions or not is a very deliberate part of the game.

I think it all comes down to how you like to play the game. I think you'll find that while it is a game that rewards aggressive behavior (intentionally) it also rewards those who are skilled at being patient (and have a little luck on their side!)
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