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Lords of Waterdeep» Forums » Variants

Subject: Starting variants esp. for 1st player advantage rss

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Jeremy C
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So, our current group, which is a hardcore gaming group of very good players of equal level--the 1st player has won every game, and it was a different person each time.
This is 4 games of 4 players.
One player has played around 8 times, never been first and never won. He's incredibly experienced (owns 500+ games). As far as he can recall, 1st has mostly won those games as well [he's the one who made us aware of it]. Those were maybe 5 games of 3-4 players. So not a big data cluster, but still enough to make us wonder about the game's viability.

Now taking suggestions for how to fix this issue.

Current ideas for 1st player:
The starting player token advances clockwise if a player visits the building square.

The first turn, the players play their two agents (player tokens) in (snake) order of 1, 2 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1.
In this case, probably money would be 4 for player 1, and 5 for all other players.

All new buildings (including the first turn) appear upside down until the building space is landed upon at which time they are all revealed. Once a building is bought, the replacement building appears face down. They still accumulate VP.

A sort of hybrid to solve (perceived) other problems:
At the beginning of the game, you can pay 1 gold to gain extra quests (or intrigue) cards, but you must still discard down to 2 before play begins.
I suppose you could do this with Lord cards as well.

A friend liked the idea of taking the 25 point quests (or whichever you think are imbalancing) out of the deck prior to the initial deal. As soon as the players have their cards, the 25's are shuffled back in, and dealt out in the Cliffside (or whatever) Tavern as normal.

Thanks, I'll take my answer off the air.
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James W
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Let's pretend that there are four people playing a game.

They sit down and roll a 4 sided die. All ties are broken by re-rolling and whoever gets the lowest number 'wins' the entire game.

Remember, this is entirely random. Each player has roughly the same amount of 'skill' since they cannot affect the outcome of the die.

This is what you would expect:

You expect Player A to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player B to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player C to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player D to win 1 game out of 4.

However, due to statistics, you would expect a plus/minus to be the square root of 2.

So, to put that together,

You expect Player A to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player B to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player C to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player D to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.

Now, of course, this is all a very rough analysis and a proper analysis will be much more precise, but from this we get the following conclusion:

4 games is not a large enough sample to determine balance.

Maybe you should go play 116 more games and then report back.

However, I'd bet that after 120 total games you'd look back and think how silly it was that you thought you could even presume to judge the balance of a game after only 4 trials.
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Team Ski
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Yeah, I didn't think there was that big of an advantage. However, I do bury large VP quests if they pop up at the beginning of the game.

-Ski
 
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Tom McThorn
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Going first is nice but not a game winner. I played a 3 player game with 2 new players and I went first...the entire game. I still lost due to bad luck with my initial lord/quests not matching up at all and at times not getting the resources I needed for quests.
 
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Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
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Being first in this game is not a huge advantage in this game IMHO. I think that the luck of the draw regarding lord and beginning quests is more significant.

That said, I could be wrong and if the "first player always wins" phenomenon keeps up for your group that would be a real turn off for me. At some point "statistical significance" has a lot less to do with game enjoyment and perception than your gut reaction to it.

Regardless, interesting thoughts.
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Dale Moore
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There are already plenty of equalizers.

1. Not going first gets you more money and the better quests and buildings cost money.

2. The players that didn't go first the first round can never let him/her go first again.

3. The randomness of the buildings and quests. the better choices for you might not come out till later in the game.


I don't see how such few games under your belt and you feel like first is going to be the winner. I've played LOW at least 20 times now and that hasn't been the case at all for me.
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Mikko Karvonen
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In my experience, the 1st player advantage changes considerably depending on the number of players. With 3 players, it does not come into play much. In fact, I think in our 3 player games (13 so far), the first player has won only two or three times.

With 4, however, the players have fewer actions, which makes the difference in the amount of options available to the first player much wider compared to the last player. I doubt this would be significant enough to quarantee the first player win, but I can see it giving the first player a clear edge compared to the last one.
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Mike Jeter
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I have played ~20 games and I don't think going first makes any difference at all. By the end of the first round someone else has become the 1st player, so it only matters for 1 round. You could get the best building available, but you only have 4 gold, so that limits what you can buy. You could pick up the best quest out. Either way, I feel that going first is offset enough by the starting gold difference.

I DO think that getting a Plot Quest/Lord match up in the initial deal can be critical to winning. We try to remedy this by dealing out 4 quests to each player...keep 2.....and deal 2 Lord cards, keep 1. You will also have access to your 2 Intrigue cards if that sways your decision at all. The buildings are not revealed until the decision is made.
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Stephen Sanders
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kingjames01 wrote:
Let's pretend that there are four people playing a game.

They sit down and roll a 4 sided die. All ties are broken by re-rolling and whoever gets the lowest number 'wins' the entire game.

Remember, this is entirely random. Each player has roughly the same amount of 'skill' since they cannot affect the outcome of the die.

This is what you would expect:

You expect Player A to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player B to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player C to win 1 game out of 4.
You expect Player D to win 1 game out of 4.

However, due to statistics, you would expect a plus/minus to be the square root of 2.

So, to put that together,

You expect Player A to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player B to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player C to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.
You expect Player D to win between 0 and 3 games out of 4.

Now, of course, this is all a very rough analysis and a proper analysis will be much more precise, but from this we get the following conclusion:

4 games is not a large enough sample to determine balance.

Maybe you should go play 116 more games and then report back.

However, I'd bet that after 120 total games you'd look back and think how silly it was that you thought you could even presume to judge the balance of a game after only 4 trials.


My anectodal contribution is that in our last game with 5 players, the 4th player came in first, and the 5th player (myself) came in second. But, then, we had some new players, so that skews these results....
 
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