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Subject: Sliding player order rss

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Simon Lundström
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Agricola is a superb game, relying on skill and no real chance in every single aspect except one: The infamous sitting order around the table.

In Puerto Rico, you're better off sitting to the left to a newbie than to the left of a veteran. In Agricola, if you sit to the right of a guy highly valuing being first, then you're out of luck.

As the game system allows people to take an action in order to be first next time, there is no reason to have it this way. If you were first player last time, you should be second player next time. Your playing turn shouldn't be decided on where you sit around the table. The game doesn't improve because of this, it only suffers.

What we do is keep a little track numbered 1-5, and place a stable there (you rarely use all 4 anyway) in the playing order. When a person takes starting player, his pawn get put on the 1 and all others slide down a step.
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Derek Carver
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I'm perfectly in agreement with Simon. We have always used the roving start player system (advancing one place each turn) but anybody choosing the 'First Player' option immediately goes to the head of the turn queue. This is a system used in many games, of course.

In the game as published, by going clockwise from the player choosing 'Start Player' the person to his left benefits whilst the person to his right always uffers. My first game was in a five-player and one player frequently chose Start Player, which meant that the poor guy on his righ was continuously disadvantaged.

- Derek
 
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John Weber
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"no real chance" in this game -- you have got to be kidding? The one game I played people draw from a deck of different cards, hence all the posts here about "killer card combinations" -- unless, of course, you are playing the basic version, which most have indicated is rather boring.

If you want to try a new game with no luck, I'd recommend Container. Much better than Agricola, of course we all know Agricola is the latest "darling" of the BGG cogniscenti so any negative remarks I guess are considered heresy.

Of course, the fact that you guys have been coming up with these rules "fixes" suggest that the game certainly isn't perfect, even for its fans.
 
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Simon Lundström
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Well, no real change EXCEPT the initial card draw, then. Games completely devoid of luck tend to stress me out too, so it's a fine balance that I find Agricola has succeeded to find.

But I find the basic game is a lot of fun aswell, even without the cards. No problem there. As said, the game is suberb in every aspect but the turn order that does seem quite unfair, but that is, as noted, very easily adjusted.

I couldn't care less about what's the latest darling of whatever, and you're very welcome with negative comments, but I assure you that other's opinions haven't influenced mine (more than perhaps that the hype made me check out the game to begin with). I love games where you "build your castle" and I love the farming theme, so this was the ultra-perfect game for me, hype completely ignored.
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Derek Carver
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[q="John WeberIf you want to try a new game with no luck, I'd recommend Container. Much better than Agricola, of course we all know Agricola is the latest "darling" of the BGG cogniscenti so any negative remarks I guess are considered heresy..[/q]

Such a pity your message wasn't posted earlier John. Maybe I'd then have searched even deeper into CONTAINER to try see if there really was a game there. Although it was my most prized purchase from Essen at the time (before I'd played it!) I and our whole group found it so dreadful that I got rid of it as being a totally hopeless case. There you go. Another instances of geese, ganders and sauces. But you've indicated that there's at least one player who likes it, which is good.

- Derek
 
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Matthew Watson
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John Weber wrote:
Of course, the fact that you guys have been coming up with these rules "fixes" suggest that the game certainly isn't perfect, even for its fans.


I realise you were trolling (duh!), but I still feel that I should point out that - in general - people aren't clones of each other, and therefore have differing tastes in things such as partners, music, food and - gasp! - game mechanics...

I have to *assume* you were trolling, because the alternative is not so flattering towards you.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Zimeon wrote:
What we do is keep a little track numbered 1-5, and place a stable there (you rarely use all 4 anyway) in the playing order.


"Rarely use all 4 Stables"?

Why not? They are worth 4 VP for max. 8 wood (and frequently less).
 
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Simon Lundström
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Well, we've rarely used them, as in the end we've been more busy turning our -1-points into 1 point, and people haven't had empty fences enough to build 3 stables to get you 3 points, but I guess it will happen eventually…

I guess you could use any wooden marker, or a piece of paper.
 
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Steve Perucca
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Getting back to the original varient idea...

Refresh my memory. Doesn't the "start player" action come with an additional action?

Caylus handles the turn-order mechanic perfectly. But in Caylus, there's no other actions associated with turn-order alteration. Plus, up to 3 players can change the turn-order.

An alternative might be to use a Pillars of the Earth type of start player mechanic. Rotate the start player until someone picks the action.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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Simon's variant is to use the same exact turn order mechanic from Caylus.
 
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Werner Bär
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SteveP wrote:
Refresh my memory. Doesn't the "start player" action come with an additional action?

Yes. The ability to play a minor improvement.
The changes suggested here penalize players with a bad hand of minor improvements, since with them, you have to take the start player action at times, or you'll be last every round.

Quote:
An alternative might be to use a Pillars of the Earth type of start player mechanic. Rotate the start player until someone picks the action.

This makes the start player space much worse. If you're going for it, you're first next turn, but last the turn after.
If you want to do such a thing, rotate the start player anti-clockwise if nobody takes the action.
 
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Mike Bazynski
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this is exactly the reason why agricola isn't a 10 for me.
I am also doing it Caylus style, and letting 2 people place their worker at that space (again, Caylus style). In family game I give exactly 1 food for people after the first who place their worker there, I haven't played a regular game this way, but was going to either not allow minor improvement to 2nd and later players, or allow it at an incresing cost (+1/+2 food, just as the bonus occupation card)
 
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Simon Lundström
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Werbaer wrote:
The changes suggested here penalize players with a bad hand of minor improvements, since with them, you have to take the start player action at times, or you'll be last every round.

Then I've been misunderstood, or I am misunderstanding you.

What I am suggesting is that when you take the start player, you get first place. And then when the next guy takes the first player, you are second place. And when the start player is taken the next time, you are third. Etcetera.

As it is in the base rules, you might take the start player one turn, and then be last the next turn, because the player to your left is keen to be first. That doesn't, in my opinion, go according to the spirit of the game, to have your ability to choose actions being so dependent on the sitting order around the table.

I don't see how this system will force player with bad hand of minor aquirements (or improvements) to be "last every round".
 
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Steve Perucca
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The sliding player order mechanic works in Caylus because the action is automic (not bound to another action). Plus, you have up to 6 workers instead of 2-3 like in Agricola.

When a player can take more actions than other players, using an action on the start player action is less painful. So, the inbalance in turn order starts when certain players get more actions, further distancing the leader from the pack.

Another option would be to move the start-player action around the base action board to actions that aren't getting picked - sweeten the incentive like Puerto Rico does for role selections.

There are lots of options. Maybe some furture expansion will rectify this a bit.
 
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Georg D.
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Zimeon wrote:

I don't see how this system will force player with bad hand of minor aquirements (or improvements) to be "last every round".


The idea is that player A with many good minor imorovements can take the startingplayer-action without big disadvantages because of losing an action.Player B with no good minor improvement has to sacrifice much mor if he takes the startingplayer-action. So the effect will be that player A will easily be one of the first players every round an player B will either be the last one or has to sacrifice important actions to change it.

Plus the problem that the last player nearly never has the chance to become first because all the other players can choose first - and there will always be someone who wants to become first next round especially if you know that it will be hard to stand up again after you are last.

In the original rules this isn't much of a problem; if another player chooses the startingplayer-action before you have the chance to do it you still will improve your position... .

Fluxx
 
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Simon Lundström
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Fluxx wrote:
The idea is that player A with many good minor imorovements can take the startingplayer-action without big disadvantages because of losing an action.Player B with no good minor improvement has to sacrifice much mor if he takes the startingplayer-action. So the effect will be that player A will easily be one of the first players every round an player B will either be the last one or has to sacrifice important actions to change it.

Yes, but this is very much the case even with the original rules, right? Unless you're lucky enough to sit to the left of a guy with good minor acquirements (yes, I prefer to use that word).

Fluxx wrote:
Plus the problem that the last player nearly never has the chance to become first because all the other players can choose first - and there will always be someone who wants to become first next round especially if you know that it will be hard to stand up again after you are last.

Hm. This is very true. Indeed that could be a problem but it never was during our little test round.

It's true that in the original, if you were last in one turn, and another guy took starting player before you got the chance to do so, you would at least not be last next time. Whereas in the system I proposed, you would _never_ gain from someone else taking the starting player position. In all places but last you'd slide down a place and if you already were last, you'd stay there.

Yet I am not content with the system as is. In games like Agricola, I don't like that the sitting order around the table influences the game so much as it does. It's true that it should balance out, as being 2nd isn't so bad, so it's unlikely that the guy to your left should claim the position.

I have to think a little more about this. One option could be that if you take the starting player action, the last player automatically gets 2nd place. That would mean that if you take the starting player action, and then another guy takes it after you, you slide down to position number 3 immediately. However, this does seem bad in a 3-player game, and would work better in a 4 player game or 5 player games.
 
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Mike Bazynski
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simply allowing a 2nd player to take the 'first player' action, just like it works in caylus, solves all your problems. currently with more tests I prefer to have the people after the first one taking this action get nothing but a better play order position.
 
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Mike Nichols
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Hi Zimeon!

In the one game of Argicola that I played, it was a 4-player affair, and we decided to use a sliding turn order as you described. Most rounds, one player was stuck in last position because the 3rd person in order wanted to go first (we had a lot of jostling for the same few actions). Eventually, the last player got to go first, and he eventually won the game. Though, being a first play, he won more out of luck since all of us forgot some of the scoring rules.

In short, none of us liked the base rules' table placement of turn order. All of us preferred the more Caylus-style of sliding turn order (which is common to other games). Some games, someone will get stuck in last place, which is just a side effect of turn order. We just preferred to risk it instead of giving people gratuitous 2nd placement.
-MickeyD
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Mauricio Noda
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MickeyD wrote:
Some games, someone will get stuck in last place


Getting stuck in last place is not as bad as it looks. A 3rd player taking the starting player action in a 4 player game actually acts as 6th on the same round, and the 4th player acts as 3rd and 7th. Unless the original 3rd player has a good minor improvement to play, it is a waste of actions.

In a 4 player game, keeping one player stuck in last place costs about 13 starting player actions to the other players, about 4-5 actions to each one, which is a lot. Not surprised the last player won.
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