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Subject: In a two player game, it seems to me that going first is a huge advantage. rss

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Bob Gresh
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Since the last hand seems to allow a player to generally buy a province or better, the player that goes first is at a huge advantage. Is this correct?
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Paul Incao
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bobgresh wrote:
Since the last hand seems to allow a player to generally buy a province or better, the player that goes first is at a huge advantage. Is this correct?


I totally agree. If you are playing someone with similar skills and experience it usually comes down to who gets the last province.
 
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lee freeman
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It's absolutely an advantage -- how much of an advantage is debatable. The rules even acknowledge this advantage by the tie-breaker rule -- the victory goes to the player who had the fewest turns.
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Michael Sheets
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bobgresh wrote:
Since the last hand seems to allow a player to generally buy a province or better, the player that goes first is at a huge advantage. Is this correct?


If it's consistently a problem just play two games alternating the start player and combining the scores. (Perhaps allow one person to forfeit if they have a particularly bad round and want to start over rather than play a second.)
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Options:

*Allow player 2 to choose both player's first-turn split (4/3 or 5/2) or maybe just his own if that seems too powerful.

*Give both players an equal number of turns (so player 2 always goes last and gets a chance to buy something (even if not a province) on the last turn).

*Increase the province cards to 10. I usually do this already. First player still has an advantage, but a slightly longer game will probably lead to the statistically superior deck winning more often.
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Brandon Richards
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I don't feel that there is an advantage in 2er games. If anything, most games with equally skilled players should end in a stalemate. However, going last in a 4er game is a huge disadvantage.

edit: spelling
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J
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In my experience it can help, but by the time you're purchasing provinces there should be enough randomness in the deck shuffles to nullify that advantage.

However, if the 1st player gets a 5/2 split in the first two hands then this can lead to a serious advantage when combined with the starting turn. (Depending on the cards played of course.)
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Robert Birks
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after hundreds of BSW games, I think that the starting player's advantage is small, and has rarely been a factor in the games I've played.
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Nicklas Brandefelt
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because the tiny advantage and to avoid stalemate I would prefer the extra rule that if both players have equal amounts of points and have done equal number of turns then the player who started last is declared the winner.

Nicklas
 
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Ed Browne
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My wife and I play that whoever lost the last game gets to go first. I get to go first most games with this rule and still only win 1 out of 3 if it's a good day.

p.s. Since my wife isn't anywhere near the level of gamer that I am, it's nice to find a game I enjoy playing so much and don't mind losing so often.

p.p.s. And my wife always complains when an attack card is in the random mix, but she has done lots more damage to me with witches and pirate ships than I have ever done to her...
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Jeff Hall
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I haven't run the numbers for 2 people but I know with four people it's about

30% wins for the 1st player
26% for the 2nd player
24% for the 3rd player
20% for the fourth player

roughly... I imagine that it's a 60/40 split for the 1st vs. 2nd player in 2 player dominion... but that's a guess... at some point I may rewrite my program to try a two player sim
 
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Jeff Hall
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UlyZed wrote:
laxrulz777 wrote:
I haven't run the numbers for 2 people but I know with four people it's about

30% wins for the 1st player
26% for the 2nd player
24% for the 3rd player
20% for the fourth player

roughly... I imagine that it's a 60/40 split for the 1st vs. 2nd player in 2 player dominion... but that's a guess... at some point I may rewrite my program to try a two player sim


What data is this based on?

Considering a BSW player winning 60%+ of his games is not common, this would suggest that going first is everything.

Empirically, I don't believe it.


The 30/26/24/20 is based on a program I wrote to originally test big money vs. various strategies. That number has been born out by others. It's based on simulations but it appears (also based on simulations) that inserting "skill" and "complexity" actually increases the 1st player advantage not decreases it.

The 60/40 is my guess.

Do BSW numbers give you win % for only 1v1 games... or do you see some conglomerated statistic of their 2, 3 and 4 person games?
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Tim Seitz
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In my experience, a bigger factor is who gets to 6 coins first (and can thus buy a gold).

First-to-gold winning rate was over 90% in the sample I had when I was keeping track (about 200 games). But that is base Dominion and I expect that the new cards would have decreased that effect somewhat

The related question would be how often is the starting player the first player to buy gold?
 
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Andrew Hardin
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My experience with 2 player is that going first gives you the advantage of winning by buying a tiebreaker. You can buy 3 Provinces, 1 Duchy or Estate and then win on a final Province. If you go second you sometimes have to decide between a Duchy or Province buy to gamble on a win or end on a tie.

I actually find it worse with more players. The impact of cards like the Militia or Witch in a 4-player game can be downright unfair to the last player(s).

- Lex
 
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Jeff Hall
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I'd rerun my simulation except I pretty much hard-coded in the "4 player logic"... maybe I can just neuter players 2 and 3 and rerun it with them doing nothing each turn...

I'm curious now ;)
 
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Jeff Hall
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LexH wrote:
If you go second you sometimes have to decide between a Duchy or Province buy to gamble on a win or end on a tie.

- Lex


This struck me as very true. I've had the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I was uncertain if my opponent had trashed 2 estates or just 1 and wasn't sure what to buy... Or knowing that I need to buy a Duchy and gamble that they can't buy a Duchy or a Province and that I'll be able to buy Province next turn.
 
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Dave Anderson
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bobgresh wrote:
Since the last hand seems to allow a player to generally buy a province or better, the player that goes first is at a huge advantage. Is this correct?


Are you basing this assertion on several sources of data which you have objectively evaluated, or on the latent bitterness that still eats at your soul after I beat you in those two games we played on Monday? (Remember, you went first in the second game, so we had an equal number of turns.)
 
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Wence the Wanderer
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laxrulz777 wrote:
I'd rerun my simulation except I pretty much hard-coded in the "4 player logic"... maybe I can just neuter players 2 and 3 and rerun it with them doing nothing each turn...

I'm curious now


dont put in schmuggler, it'll be broken with the 2 deadweight characters. also your number of provinces will be off by a lot.
 
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Dave Goldthorpe
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The 60-40 split seems reasonable to me. This would mean that in a fifth of games, players have decks that could 'end and win' on the same turn. This again seems reasonable as evenly balanced players should be finishing at about the time, within 5 turns of each other (one in five gives the 20%)

This suggests to me that the second player should be using more attack cards as the longer the game goes on, the wider the distribution of 'winning turns', and the chances of a tied game become less likely. Lucky cards like treasure maps could also become a good tactic as they widen the distribution, winning badly or failing badly.

This runs counter to the usual concept that attack cards seem stronger in the hands of the first player as their attack hurts the opponent earlier. An attack by the first player on turn 3 affects the opponent's hand of turn 3. An attack by the second player on turn 3 affects the opponent's hand of turn 4.
 
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Jeff Hall
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I think of it this way, the first player gets x% more turns then the 2nd player where x = 1/turns

So the more turns you can add to the game, the more you can decrease the "edge" that your opponent gets.

As for the attack cards hitting first, I think this is less of an issue with things like Witch and Militia then others. However, for cards that TRASH cards (i.e. Saboteur, Swindler, etc) I think it's a much bigger deal.

 
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Bob Gresh
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Just because you're smarter, more strategic, and better looking than me (not to mention younger and more athletic, with better eyesight and cognitive skills) it doesn't mean you're a better player.....err, well, maybe it does, but...remember that my mother and your mother were hanging up clothes, my mother punched your mother right in the nose, and.....so there!
 
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Johan Örtman
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OP: What's your problem?
 
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