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Subject: Initial turn order imbalance rss

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Douleur Chiot
France
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I would like to come back on the initial turn order imbalance topic.
It has been already partially discussed in the following "4-player-game" subject few months ago:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2041863/4-player-game

The average position in the turn order over the complete game length of the starting first player is 2.17 = (1+2+3+4+1+2)/6
versus 2.83 = (4+3+2+1+4+3)/6 for the starting 4th player.
The only player interaction are the bonuses tiles and the cards gathering through the studies action.
For the two reasons above, it's obvious the first players in initial turn order have much more opportunities than the last players to get bonuses and wanted cards without sacrificing coins for new cards revealing.

In the "4-player-game" subject, the game designer Nestore Mangone recognized it could be a good idea to select the players board in reversed turn order during the setup to somehow compensate for turn order imbalance.

Is there a reason why compensation means haven't been considered during the game design and/or playtesting phases?
Have the following compensation solutions been judged too unbalanced to be integrated in the rules?:
- 2 coins for starting 1st player, 3 coins for 2nd, 4 coins for 3rd...
- 0 potion for starting 1st player, 1 potion for 2nd, 2 potions for 3rd...
- 0 victory point for starting 1st player, 1 VP for 2nd, 2 VPs for 3rd...
- Selection of player board and/or player initial cards set in reversed turn order
I would be glad to hear the thoughts and comments from the game designers about this topic.

Thanks
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Next Game Please
England
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Somerset
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Hi Douleur,

I'm in agreement. The folks who won were happy as they thought there was enough choice, but I'm thinking there needs to be some balancing for first player.

If Looking at your results, I'd favour the potion as a balancing technique. But I'd like to hear how much testing was done around this.
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Damien Cosgrove
United Kingdom
Bury St Edmunds
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Fishticuffs wrote:
Hi Douleur,

I'm in agreement. The folks who won were happy as they thought there was enough choice, but I'm thinking there needs to be some balancing for first player.

If Looking at your results, I'd favour the potion as a balancing technique. But I'd like to hear how much testing was done around this.

What about drafting the boards in reverse turn order, as the extra study action or recruit feel more useful early.
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Nestore Mangone
Italy
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I don't think turn order (in the initial round) is really important. But I understand that someone prefers to have compensation because he thinks he is damaged because he cannot reach a token or a specific card before the others.

I could offer you a very simple compensation by assigning a variable number of coins to the number of players (4) 1,1,2,3 - (3) 1,2,3 - (2) 1,2. In four players the difference between the first and the second is irrelevant, and assigning 4 or 0 coins to someone would be too unbalanced.

But in my experience, balancing must always be an opportunity to include something fun, possibly including a choice. The reverse draft of the player board can be another fun small compensation, but perhaps you risk that some lazy player, in a usual group, becomes too fond of a strategy!

I make another proposal. Each player receives only 1 coin. At the start of the game, before placing the bonus tokens, then select certain bonus tokens. In reverse order they are drafted. Therefore all the tokens are normally shuffled and placed. Obviously it is a variant to be tested and cannot be considered an official variant.

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Douleur Chiot
France
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Thanks again for your feedback Nestore,

We tested some of your proposals to compensate initial turn order:

- coins compensation, we think 1 coin only for the first player(s) is counter-balacing too much the turn order with a major hurdle: you cannot spend 2 coins for your first game turn to boost one action (get Level 2 card for example, or reaching a revenue tile on the technology tree...)
So we tried with the following starting coins:
number of players (4) 2,2,3,4 - (3) 2,3,4 - (2) 2,3
Of course, now, starting with 4 coins might be a little bit overpowered... to be checked with more plays.

- reverse draft of the player board: it works fine and we've quickly adopted the variant!

- reverse bonus token draft: not yet tested but it's a very interesting idea. Will try it.
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Damian
Poland
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There’s imbalance for sure. There isn’t any reason not to be the 1st and grab better bonus tokens.
Drafting player boards in reverse turn order helps a bit, but other solutions should have been tested.
 
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