Now, we know that X has a spatial advantage due to going first (that's the same with almost all abstracts), so I mitigate that by giving O a slight advantage (+0.5~+1), and most players would go second because of that. Somehow going second means playing the final piece more often (I haven't done the math on that...would have to consider board size and piece coverage), and I end up losing quite a few ties. Which is infuriatingly frustrating, because I would spend half an hour to find the best neutral opening just for me and my opponent to play optimally and end in a draw. And I lose. Because my opponent played the last piece. While I applaud players who take me to a draw, I don't think I deserve to lose, and btw, it kind of hurts in a competitive setting such as tournaments or the arena.
In the flip side, how does the player playing the last piece deserve a win?
So I proposed to settle the tie to whoever played the first piece instead. We all know how hard it is to play the first piece, and I find it rewarding to decide the tie in such a way. The designer responded "it breaks the purpose of a pie rule to favor the slicer of the pie", which I don't quite understand, since it's true in other abstracts but rather vague in LITS. At the end of the day, my proposal might be too subjective due to my own experiences (albeit being top level experiences), so I may reconsider an alternative.
I previously played an abstract called blokus, which is quite well known in the abstract community. In both 2-C and C2 variants, the first player has an inherent advantage (+5 and +17 respectively), thus the official tournament games are played in sets (alternating starting player). Some other tournaments use the pie rule, i.e., one plays a neutral opening for the other player to choose going first or second. When there is a tie, it's either a tie, or the game is replayed. I think the game mechanisms are similar to LITS, and therefore propose to modify the rule set to either 1) permit ties, or 2) play over a course of 2 legs, alternating starting player (if still tied, grant win to first player of the first set). Or perhaps, simply granting the win to the first player isn't that bad. Whichever is applied, they're all imo way more preferable than gifting the win to the player who played the last piece.
I very much like the game. It's aesthetically pleasing. Its rules are simple, but it has a lot of depth. It has a bit of chaos in the random openings. But, as I like to say in the forums, the tiebreaker is unhealthy for a competitive environment. Back in the day, this game had a lot more top players, including Daggerheart, who previously posted on this issue and wrote some guides, and many other players who are on par or better than me that I admire. Now they have all gone on haitus, which makes the game slightly less appealing. I may not always be the best, but I strive to, and learn from others to optimize my strategies. Please take the top players feedback into consideration. Else I'd say, I've probably explored all existing strategies, but top level play is ultimately decided like a coin flip.