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Subject: Agora is broken? rss

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David Me
United States
Bowling Green
Kentucky
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Seems broken if played as is. Shouldn't "last licks" be invoked, giving everyone the same number of turns? We were all close in score until Player 2 far exceeded the scores of players 3 and 4 on his last move, denying p3 & p4 a turn to compensate. Am I missing something? Are we just supposed to play "kick the leader" and try to stop the earlier players from the seemingly large advantage they have from moving first?
 
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Gary Pressler
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West Lafayette
Indiana
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I have never noticed a first-player advantage in this game. (I've played 8+ times.) The first player is twice as likely to lose their first market from a fire or flood than to gain from a festival, although most likely no event will take place before their next turn. However, since they have placed the first card, the following players can often add their cards to increase that first shop's size while maintaining or decreasing its income (doorways) and making it further fire & flood bait. This follows for the second player, to a lesser degree, and continues until it just becomes the flow of the game.

Also, if player two is poised to collect enough income to win the game. The others should, if possible, close up enough doorwars to prevent that. Otherwise, player two may have simply played very well. If you still think it's unbalanced, then fine, set a score threshold to trigger the game's end, and play through all players. Let us know if you like that better as a variant, but I certainly would not call it broken as written.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Arcata
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My experience matches GaryP's. (I've never bothered to keep track of who went first, but if it were a problem, you'd expect the first player to maintain a lead the entire game, and that doesn't happen.)
 
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David Me
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Bowling Green
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If my memory is correct, the small lead whoever had was important until the one round where the score increased dramatically. The first player had just under 50 points at that point, player two cracked 50, while the rest of us were stuck much lower. It seemed like that one turn was the most important turn that only 2 people had gotten to take. It was our first game and I thought I'd check here to see if there was any similar experiences before I tried it again.

I'll try it again soon. Thanks for the comments!
 
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Nick Sparks
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Eugene
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Our group finally got to play this tonight. I wouldn't say that the game is broken in regard to a player exceeding the 50 goal (or in our case, we agreed to play to 75) in a single turn. It seemed balanced and fair. However, I think we'll be playing with the following variants going forward:

1) 50 is too low a score. We had 4 players, and used less than half a deck before we got to 50. We all agreed to keep playing to 75. We may go to 80 or 100 next time. We're going to experiment with this so that we get at least more than half way through the deck but not use the whole deck.

2) The Festival rule is where I see some adjustments need to be made. The Festival says it starts with the person who triggered it and moves around the table, with the first person to make the score of 50 (err... 75... or... nevermind) being the winner. For the Festival, which hits before that player can make any tactical changes to advance their position, we felt that if more than one player broke 75 (er... 50) as a result of the Festival, than the highest score wins.

Either way, a very fun game with lots of strategy and lots of mischief (at least in our group).

- Nick
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