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Summoner Wars: Master Set» Forums » Rules

Subject: Question about Playing first rss

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Brian Rayburn
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I've seen this mechanic in a couple other games, and I'm curious. Why is there a penalty for playing first? You skip half your turn just because you get the initiative, and this baffles me. I just can't wrap my head around any reason playing first is bad.

A similar mechanic is in the Magic the Gathering rules, and we've disregarded it for years. It hasn't changed a thing. I'm hoping to get SW on the table tonight for the first time, and we will play the rules as written, but I just can't seem to understand this particular rule.

-Brian
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Chris Schenck
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In the first round, it's possible (especially with ranged units) to eliminate one or two of the opposing army's units before he even has a chance to go. the same general principle applies in other turn-based games as well. It's not a huge advantage, but it's there. So many designers choose to balance that factor with a slight first turn limitation.

Personally, I think the first turn penalty in SW is too much for my tastes. I'll almost alwast prefer to go second, and have a full normal turn at my disposal.


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Colby Dauch
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If you win the roll you get to choose who goes first. So if you prefer not to take the penalty you can opt to go second. I feel that the first turn penalty is necessary to the overall balance of the game, which is why I included it.
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Jerry Hawthorne
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If the game allowed the first player to have a full turn, it would create too much of an advantage to the player who goes first. This oddity could snowball in the metagame to the point where going first becomes too much of a priority. The last thing you want in a good game is for folks to blame the results of their game on that one die roll to determine who goes first.
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mrkurtb
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In my opinion, this is an unquestionably good rule for the reasons already listed.
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Clay Hales
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It is fairly conceivable to go first and have a couple cards in your magic pile without having to draw and summon. If you have commons with a 0 summoning cost, it could get ridiculous from the get go.
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Thomas Staudt
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scarecrowking wrote:

A similar mechanic is in the Magic the Gathering rules, and we've disregarded it for years. It hasn't changed a thing. I'm hoping to get SW on the table tonight for the first time, and we will play the rules as written, but I just can't seem to understand this particular rule.

-Brian


As a 10+ year MtG tournament player I just have to comment on this statement.
It may be true that you didn't see much of a difference in your games, but in a competitive environment going first might be incredibly important.
Take e.g. in a control vs. aggro matchup:
Let's assume the classic scenario that the control player's cheapest counter spells cost two mana and he can counter any creature when he has two or more mana.
Going second, the control player will have to let slip a two power creature on the first turn and a three power creature on the second.
Having 20 life, he will need a solution to remove the creatures before the 6th turn (0 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 damage).
Going first, he will only have to let the one mana spell slip, which makes damage point #20 on the 11th turn. This is a completely different game.

No offense, but the statement that going first doesn't make a difference in Magic is absolutely ridiculous.

Regarding Summoner Wars, if the playing field included a "neutral zone" between the players, so that the starting player couldn't reach the opponent on his first turn, there might not be a big advantage for him.
But then you would have a completely different game where defensive strategies and archery would totally dominate.
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James Sitz
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I actually played it wrong for all but 2 of my first 20 plays. I started the first player on 4. Movement every time, but I actually let them move all three guys instead of the correct two. What I found is that I almost never found the player winning the die roll elect to go second that way. Since I started playing correctly, I see about an even split, which suggests to me that the rule is pretty good.
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Brian Rayburn
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ashman wrote:


As a 10+ year MtG tournament player I just have to comment on this statement.
It may be true that you didn't see much of a difference in your games, but in a competitive environment going first might be incredibly important.
Take e.g. in a control vs. aggro matchup:
Let's assume the classic scenario that the control player's cheapest counter spells cost two mana and he can counter any creature when he has two or more mana.
Going second, the control player will have to let slip a two power creature on the first turn and a three power creature on the second.
Having 20 life, he will need a solution to remove the creatures before the 6th turn (0 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 damage).
Going first, he will only have to let the one mana spell slip, which makes damage point #20 on the 11th turn. This is a completely different game.

No offense, but the statement that going first doesn't make a difference in Magic is absolutely ridiculous.

Regarding Summoner Wars, if the playing field included a "neutral zone" between the players, so that the starting player couldn't reach the opponent on his first turn, there might not be a big advantage for him.
But then you would have a completely different game where defensive strategies and archery would totally dominate.


Good points, even though we only play casually at home. I can see the point of view I guess, just have to wait till it hits the table to really 'see' it lol. I guess too much HeroScape has spoiled me on other rules systems

Now if people would stop whining about 'spending time with family' and just get to playing some games! laugh

-Brian
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Jon Quinn
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Just an observation:

I have played a few games with my 5 year old grandson (yes - 5 - but he is almost 6 and he loves, and is quite good at, Heroscape).

By our third game he was wanting to go second. He came to that conclusion by himself based on the previous 2 games.

I am fine with going first or second. Though you start without cards, range units can usually (perhaps always) take out a unit or two when going first.

I see advantages in both. It is good that all the advatages are not found in going either first or second.
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Jason Quintal
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I can see Colby's point here, but in a four player game the third player can march on the fourth player just as easily in the first turn.

When thinking back to our first game, the third player's cave goblins did take out a fair amount of the 4th player's Dwarves before the Dwarves had a turn...It was a little more difficult for the second player to attack the third player as they are set up diagonally to one another.

In this case it seems in a 4-player game, the third player gets a decent advantage with a full turn. [Especially if their teammate, player one, dumps a good amount of magic into their pile to play with...]

Edit: There are a fair amount of things player 2 can probably do to slow down player 3 in this case if the right event cards are drawn, so by no means should this be taken as a broken example. We have played one four-player game so far and this is solely an observation from that single game.

- dev
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Chris Schenck
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Devonelle wrote:
In this case it seems in a 4-player game, the third player gets a decent advantage with a full turn. [Especially if their teammate, player one, dumps a good amount of magic into their pile to play with...]

I tend to agree with this. The third player has (more or less) the same advantage on the fourth player that the "first turn penalty" seeks to balance between the first and second players. The fact that the second player has gone by this point does muddy the waters a bit though.

You know, as a side note, it really is a great testament to the overall balance of this game that we're discussing something as fine-grained as the first turn penalty.




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Austin Norris

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Idk if I am playing something wrong, but atleast with the Orcs vs elves you arent missing much on your first turn by skipping the first three steps. Really you are only missing the chance to play event cards. However I feel in my games the first player does get a nice jump getting to kill usually two units for free.
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Clay Hales
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DOAisBetter wrote:
Idk if I am playing something wrong, but atleast with the Orcs vs elves you arent missing much on your first turn by skipping the first three steps. Really you are only missing the chance to play event cards. However I feel in my games the first player does get a nice jump getting to kill usually two units for free.
It's an interesting trade-off. By going first you can only build magic "the old fashioned way". You can only build magic by killing. Going second you can build magic from cards in your hand and/or killing, but you usually start with less units on the board. Of course that plays into both armies' event cards (magic drain and reinforcements).
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Chris Withem

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I've only ever played Orcs vs Elves, but with both decks and lucky dice rolls, on the first turn you can easily get 3 magic. by your 2nd turn (first full turn) you can already summon quite a few units on a lucky draw, or dump some extra magic for a champion. An opponent with 1 summoner and 1 smasher on teh field and no magic is going to be hard pressed to regain board position once i get my units in place.

After a couple plays i too was a big advocate of 2nd turn and being able to draw, but more recently, I am more then willing to go first.

I, of course, don't know how dwarves and goblins (and soon forsaken and vanguards) interact on first turns, so I am excited to see those interactions
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James Sitz
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NoobSauce wrote:
I've only ever played Orcs vs Elves, but with both decks and lucky dice rolls, on the first turn you can easily get 3 magic. by your 2nd turn (first full turn) you can already summon quite a few units on a lucky draw, or dump some extra magic for a champion. An opponent with 1 summoner and 1 smasher on teh field and no magic is going to be hard pressed to regain board position once i get my units in place.

After a couple plays i too was a big advocate of 2nd turn and being able to draw, but more recently, I am more then willing to go first.

I, of course, don't know how dwarves and goblins (and soon forsaken and vanguards) interact on first turns, so I am excited to see those interactions


Unless you're attacking your own guys, it's impossible to get 3 Magic on the first turn in a PE v. TO game.

When going first, you start in step 4 [movement], but you only get to move 2 guys. You can attack with 3 if you want though. [Edit... forgot Fury. D'oh! Still, that's a fairly low chance].
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Clay Hales
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NoobSauce wrote:
I've only ever played Orcs vs Elves, but with both decks and lucky dice rolls, on the first turn you can easily get 3 magic. by your 2nd turn (first full turn) you can already summon quite a few units on a lucky draw, or dump some extra magic for a champion. An opponent with 1 summoner and 1 smasher on teh field and no magic is going to be hard pressed to regain board position once i get my units in place.

After a couple plays i too was a big advocate of 2nd turn and being able to draw, but more recently, I am more then willing to go first.

I, of course, don't know how dwarves and goblins (and soon forsaken and vanguards) interact on first turns, so I am excited to see those interactions :D

The big thing with the released factions is that even when down you are not out. All but the Goblins have an event cars (or two) that can quickly level the playing field. Magic Drain and Reinforcements can be very powerful if played properly, and they require being down in numbers of units on the board. Picking up those two magic on the first turn is quickly almost meaningless once magic drain is played before they can be used. I would prefer to play second in almost every situation, even more so when the Goblins are in the game.
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