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Subject: Two player long game - Advantage: first player rss

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Mathieu Martin
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Is it possible that the starting player in the two player long game has an advantage? The wife and I have played through a number of times now and it seems that the first player seems to come out ahead by a significant amount. She insists that the first player ends up with an extra turn somehow, but I am unconvinced.
 
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Keng Leong Yeo
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Zorch wrote:
Is it possible that the starting player in the two player long game has an advantage? The wife and I have played through a number of times now and it seems that the first player seems to come out ahead by a significant amount. She insists that the first player ends up with an extra turn somehow, but I am unconvinced.

There are 14 rounds, which containing 7 turns. 14x7=98. So each player gets 98/2=49 turns each before the final round where both players get a final turn during which they can use the same building. Summing, each player gets 50 turns for a two player game.

Having said the above, I do find that the first player has a slight advantage. That comes from being able to take the two francs on his/her first turn to purchase the marketplace. This leaves the other player on the defensive as he/she has to construct/purchase as many craftman's buildings as possible to restrict the first player taking full advantage of the marketplace.
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David Jones
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As others have pointed out, the number of actions per player is balanced. However, if you forget to flip the upkeep/boat card it will cause the first player to have one extra action, so checking that you've done this is extremely important.

The only way in which I can see the first player having an advantage has to do with boats. The first iron and first steel ship available in the game both appear on a rounds in which the start player takes the first action. If, like me, you time your actions to ensure you can build those boats as soon as they appear, then you've blocked player two out of getting one (and the food they provide) for at least one round. The iron boat probably isn't a terribly big deal, but if my opponent doesn't do the same thing the following round, I will also snipe the second iron ship, leaving him/her in a bit of a food crunch. The steel ship is probably more significant. The seven food bump is usually enough to get you out of needing upkeep the rest of the game. Also, I often take a shipping action on round 10 or 11 to get my loans paid off and being able to send the extra goods helps.
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Len
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No.
 
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Jeff Lotton
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Always. Especially considering that there is only 3 steel ships to be had and the 1st to go gets first crack at two of them.

Then there is the first to grab unique opportunities in the 1st tier of buildings. It's happened a few times that the clay mound for instance is in the first tier of buildings and the 1st player to go gets it.

In general, definitely and advanatge. Descisive ? Not always.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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louper wrote:
The first player doesn't end up with an extra turn; in every version (short and long) with any possible number of players, each player receives the same number of turns.


I don't think this is accurate. Anyone care to correct me?
 
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David Jones
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kvenosdel wrote:
louper wrote:
The first player doesn't end up with an extra turn; in every version (short and long) with any possible number of players, each player receives the same number of turns.


I don't think this is accurate. Anyone care to correct me?


The original claim is correct. The number of rounds in a game is always divisible by the number players in the game, thus everybody is guaranteed equal turns. Having seven turns per round is also a bit of mathematical genius - with seven being coprime to 2,3,4, and 5, each player is also guaranteed to have the same number of "start" actions in the game.

There are only two ways in which I have never seen player advantage in the game.

1) Start player can almost guarantee himself first choice of building. So if you're after one of the top three cards, start player will always be able to beat you to it. After that, the advantage disappears due to random building order.

2) Last player has an advantage on last turn of the game, although it is extremely slight and, before I explain the advantage, I have to deflect a possible rules clarification. According the rulebook, all players can take their final turns simultaneously, but it does also stipulate that if turn order would be relevant, that you should continue in regular turn order; this is where the advantage comes in. If the last player owns an important building (say, the shipping line) that player could collect entry fees and then ship them as part of their final action. Rare, but if you have room on your boat and get paid in fish or bread, extra goods are worth nothing but shipped goods are points. In the same vein, I have seen rare cases where a latter player did not have the entry fee for the building they wanted to use on last action, but a player in front of them used one of their buildings, thus giving them the necessary entry fee. Again, I have to concede that both of these advantages are rare and slight, but I have seen them used.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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davypi wrote:
kvenosdel wrote:
louper wrote:
The first player doesn't end up with an extra turn; in every version (short and long) with any possible number of players, each player receives the same number of turns.


I don't think this is accurate. Anyone care to correct me?


The original claim is correct. The number of rounds in a game is always divisible by the number players in the game, thus everybody is guaranteed equal turns. Having seven turns per round is also a bit of mathematical genius - with seven being coprime to 2,3,4, and 5, each player is also guaranteed to have the same number of "start" actions in the game.

There are only two ways in which I have never seen player advantage in the game.

1) Start player can almost guarantee himself first choice of building. So if you're after one of the top three cards, start player will always be able to beat you to it. After that, the advantage disappears due to random building order.

2) Last player has an advantage on last turn of the game, although it is extremely slight and, before I explain the advantage, I have to deflect a possible rules clarification. According the rulebook, all players can take their final turns simultaneously, but it does also stipulate that if turn order would be relevant, that you should continue in regular turn order; this is where the advantage comes in. If the last player owns an important building (say, the shipping line) that player could collect entry fees and then ship them as part of their final action. Rare, but if you have room on your boat and get paid in fish or bread, extra goods are worth nothing but shipped goods are points. In the same vein, I have seen rare cases where a latter player did not have the entry fee for the building they wanted to use on last action, but a player in front of them used one of their buildings, thus giving them the necessary entry fee. Again, I have to concede that both of these advantages are rare and slight, but I have seen them used.


Thanks! I stand corrected. I was remembering a game I played as last player where I got one less action than everyone else. We must have made an error in moving ships once to allow that to happen. Perhaps the last person in one round went first in the next or something.
 
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David Jones
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kvenosdel wrote:
Thanks! I stand corrected. I was remembering a game I played as last player where I got one less action than everyone else. We must have made an error in moving ships once to allow that to happen.


Its also possible that you forgot to flip the round card over into the boat pile. This would have added an extra round to the game, which would give the start player one extra turn. This is why checking the player numbers on the right of the round card is helpful.
 
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Stephen Michael Hickey
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Probably one of those games where it is wise to bid for the start player position.

Randomly choose a player to make the first bid and allow players to raise the bid or pass in clockwise order.
 
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