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Terra Mystica» Forums » General

Subject: Do the races chosen impact on the most likely winner? rss

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Mark Lockett
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Hi Everyone

Just something I've noticed over the last couple of games is that I think the races that are further away from other people's terrain are more likely to win. I've only played 8 games so far and a lot of those have been with new players and this may be proven a little further or disproven with further players.

I spotted this in my last game where I was playing the Fakirs in a full 5 player game and the other four races were two to the left and two to the right on the terraforming. This game was very hard for me to get much done as my land got terra formed all over the place as it was the most effecient option for the other races. Even with getting a few priests and flying my way into space I had a very tough game and came last. Other players seemed to be doing much more on a turn than me etc.

I thought there must be a way to test this and see how big an impact it might actually have. Based on the terra wheel I have added up how far away from the home terrain each opponent was and the highest number should have an advantage with this theory to win the game.

After doing this for each of the 8 games I have played so far this theory proves true in 6 of the games. 75% of the winners came from those whose home terrain was furthest away from the other races. Now 8 games doesn't seem much but I shall follow this a little more and would find it interesting if other players notice this trend also.

Anyway Work lunch over so I will have to come back to this later.
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Kaiwen Zhang
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that's why the setup if the most important part of the game.

if you pick last, you won't have a lot of choices left, and the races available won't be that great given the setup of tiles, but at least you can pick something that terraforms easily.
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Sutanto Joji
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There's the terraform factor to some extent, however, once you get used to each faction's ability and play style, the round bonus and bonus marker are equally important (if not more) in determining the appropriate race.

Being last on the pick, you need to adjust/counter the other factions. If there's a lot of board-heavy factions, get auren/chaos magician and try to dominate through cult. If majority of the factions are stronghold-rush type (due to bonus round), you might want to go towards an income heavy faction (such as nomad or dwarf)..

I think there's just too much subtleties in this game, and each "layer" of strategy will unveil the underlying other subtle strategy (hope that makes any sense)
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Kolby Reddish
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joehn wrote:

I think there's just too much subtleties in this game, and each "layer" of strategy will unveil the underlying other subtle strategy (hope that makes any sense) :D


I couldn't agree more. That's why I think people calling the game imbalanced this early are ridiculous because of all the subtleties.
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Mark O'Reilly
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I agree with above, we have played lots of games of this and while a player may "connect" with a certain race, on the whole I think everything is pretty balanced.
I believe a competent player that has many games under their belt, could win with any race.... But is just as likely to get beat by another competent player. It's goodness in shovels full.
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Mark Lockett
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Thanks for the comments guys.

So far we haven't had any sort of formal structured set up except for the placing and extra income bonus tile. We haven't really picked races in order. It's been a case of what colour would you like? You get choice of those two races then. Maybe there is a more tactical element in race choice at the beginning. We are certainly in the stage of playing ones we haven't tried before more than anything else so haven't really considered that just yet which probably makes the terrain subtlety more noticeable.

What caused me to write this is that I love the game but my last game was quite a negative play experience as it seemed whatever I tried to do I was blocked certainly in expansion. Thinking of the start of the game now I can see how I could have started better.

Such a good game. It has to be I'm still thinking about it two days later.

The arguments over imbalance don't sit well with me as I've played 8 games and have only had 1 repeated winning race. Doesn't seem a problem to me yet.



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Mark O'Reilly
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CharlieWonka wrote:
Thanks for the comments guys.

So far we haven't had any sort of formal structured set up except for the placing and extra income bonus tile. We haven't really picked races in order. It's been a case of what colour would you like? You get choice of those two races then. Maybe there is a more tactical element in race choice at the beginning. We are certainly in the stage of playing ones we haven't tried before more than anything else so haven't really considered that just yet which probably makes the terrain subtlety more noticeable.

What caused me to write this is that I love the game but my last game was quite a negative play experience as it seemed whatever I tried to do I was blocked certainly in expansion. Thinking of the start of the game now I can see how I could have started better.

Such a good game. It has to be I'm still thinking about it two days later.

The arguments over imbalance don't sit well with me as I've played 8 games and have only had 1 repeated winning race. Doesn't seem a problem to me yet.



We play races random. I have 7 large red plastic counters in a cloth bag , each with one of the race colours written on it, once you pull out your counter, you can choose which "side" to play!

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Mark Lockett
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Loving that idea and so easy to do. I think I'll adopt that once everybody has played through all the races they want to specifically try out.
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Juho Snellman
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The game is basically destroyed by random faction selection (or even just random color selection). Choosing the right faction based on the scoring tiles, bonus tiles, and factions already selected, is basically the most important single decision of the game. If you ignore that aspect of the game, you should have no expectation of balance. (And I really can't see any reason not to play with the correct setup rules, it's not exactly an onerous process.)
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Alex Peters
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I fully agree with Juho. We also started with random race selection (Just taking seven markers of the game itself. Why create plastic stuff?) and it worked pretty well to get to know the races and being forced to play the race creatively. We noticed as we got better at the game, that the bonus tiles and the round tiles favoured some races, and choosing randomly meant we put a luck factor in a further luckless game. So know we pick our races based on the setup and of course a slight favour for the races itself (you will seldom see me play the cultists again for example). Regarding the distance issue, this is certainly not the case in our group. Look at the table below where you can see our winratio based on distance (left side) and number of players. I believe any race can win. The most important factor is the player playing and the quality of his opponents.

Player number
DP/2/3/4/5
02/1
03/1/2
04/0/3/0
05/0/3/1
06/0/0/3
07/0/0/2/0
08/0/0/1/3
09/0/0/0/0
10/0/0/0/0
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Mark Lockett
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Maccit wrote:
I fully agree with Juho. We also started with random race selection (Just taking seven markers of the game itself. Why create plastic stuff?) and it worked pretty well to get to know the races and being forced to play the race creatively. We noticed as we got better at the game, that the bonus tiles and the round tiles favoured some races, and choosing randomly meant we put a luck factor in a further luckless game. So know we pick our races based on the setup and of course a slight favour for the races itself (you will seldom see me play the cultists again for example). Regarding the distance issue, this is certainly not the case in our group. Look at the table below where you can see our winratio based on distance (left side) and number of players. I believe any race can win. The most important factor is the player playing and the quality of his opponents.

Player number
DP/2/3/4/5
02/1
03/1/2
04/0/3/0
05/0/3/1
06/0/0/3
07/0/0/2/0
08/0/0/1/3
09/0/0/0/0
10/0/0/0/0


Very interesting. I think I will start using the game set up as it is in the rules know most of the people I've played with have played twice now. I wan't to let anybody choose anything to begin with but I can see how this can add further tactics to the game. At the moment my game groups still wants to play races they haven't tried yet. I think they would be intrigued to see there is a further tactical layer of choosing the right race for the board set before them that may optimise their game.

Is there any race that people would always avoid if they were sitting in the first player seat and got to choose first and are there any safe bets that will always do relatively well whatever the layout and player order?

All this discussion has caused me to just want to play the game more. I wanted to play it enough anyway but I told my game group that I would stop bringing it and getting everyone to just play this one game. I have told them that we would have February off from playing it and instead I have created Feld February where I will fill my game bag with Stefan Feld games instead of Mystica for this month but I know Mystica is going to sneakily end up in the bag. Not had a game that has created this feeling of wanting to play it over and over for a very long time.
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Brian M
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jsnell wrote:
The game is basically destroyed by random faction selection (or even just random color selection). Choosing the right faction based on the scoring tiles, bonus tiles, and factions already selected, is basically the most important single decision of the game. If you ignore that aspect of the game, you should have no expectation of balance. (And I really can't see any reason not to play with the correct setup rules, it's not exactly an onerous process.)

This is an interesting comment.
Since each race can have very subtle differences, and intricacies to play that aren't apparent on first glance, I don't see how a player can make a reasonable judgement on which race to pick until they've played all of them, or at least most of them. Possibly several times each.

Saying that the game doesn't work well until you've got an entire group that has played dozens of times seems like a pretty major flaw to me.

I'm not saying that Terra Mystica is like that...I've been having fun with just the "random color, pick your side". Just that IF the premise is true that good race selection selection is essential, it seems like a bit of a problem.
 
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Dave Eisen
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StormKnight wrote:
jsnell wrote:
The game is basically destroyed by random faction selection (or even just random color selection). Choosing the right faction based on the scoring tiles, bonus tiles, and factions already selected, is basically the most important single decision of the game. If you ignore that aspect of the game, you should have no expectation of balance. (And I really can't see any reason not to play with the correct setup rules, it's not exactly an onerous process.)

This is an interesting comment.
Since each race can have very subtle differences, and intricacies to play that aren't apparent on first glance, I don't see how a player can make a reasonable judgement on which race to pick until they've played all of them, or at least most of them. Possibly several times each.


I would contend that the differences are not that subtle, at least are not that subtle to first approximation. An experienced gamer who understands this style of game will be able to make rational choices after 2 or 3 plays. Not 2 or 3 plays with each faction.

Naturally they will refine this process over time.

When I play with newcomers, my preference is still to have players select factions as it is a key part of the game. But I will bend my usual preference for letting new players fumble around their first game and will provide as much help as is allowed when they are selecting their factions.


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