First player advantage?

Forum rules
Please DO NOT POST BUGS on this forum. Please report (and vote) bugs on : https://boardgamearena.com/bugs
User avatar
Archduke
Posts: 65
Joined: 05 June 2011, 21:58

First player advantage?

Post by Archduke »

Over on the players' group, the idea was floated to collect some statistics on whether going first is advantageous or not. Here are the statistics:

Updated 2nd August 2022

2-player games (29618):
  • Player 1 wins: 51.68% (15306)
  • Player 2 wins: 48.32% (14312)
3-player games (12047):
  • Player 1 wins: 35.99% (4336)
  • Player 2 wins: 32.34% (3896)
  • Player 3 wins: 31.67% (3815)
4-player games (4390):
  • Player 1 wins: 26.61% (1168)
  • Player 2 wins: 25.76% (1131)
  • Player 3 wins: 23.34% (1025)
  • Player 4 wins: 24.28% (1066)
------------------------------------------------

Previous results

27th January 2022

2-player games (364):
  • Player 1 wins: 48.35% (176)
  • Player 2 wins: 51.65% (188)
3-player games (178):
  • Player 1 wins: 32.58% (58)
  • Player 2 wins: 33.71% (60)
  • Player 3 wins: 33.71% (60)
4-player games (37):
  • Player 1 wins: 35.14% (13)
  • Player 2 wins: 29.73% (11)
  • Player 3 wins: 16.22% (6)
  • Player 4 wins: 18.92% (7)
Last edited by Archduke on 02 August 2022, 08:39, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
KeithHendricks
Posts: 35
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: First player advantage?

Post by KeithHendricks »

Thanks!

It would be nice if there was a larger set of 4P games to analyze. I’m adding a few of those a few times a week, lol.

I expect the stats for 4P may even out once there is a larger set of games, but there will probably still be a significant difference between position 1, 2, 3, and 4. This may be due to a player meta that overvalues wood, ships, and emigration, and undervalues stone, houses, and engines not based on wood or ships, like animals. It would be interesting to determine these statistics for Beginners, Good Players, Strong Players, etc. Seeing how skill affects starting player order advantage would be extremely interesting.
User avatar
flower2886
Posts: 7
Joined: 25 October 2018, 13:18

Re: First player advantage?

Post by flower2886 »

Animals are just too weak in the base game, which forces everybody down a path of whaling or raiding (or a mix).
It’s hard to believe that the 4th player would not be at a disadvantage of a few VP’s.

FoF offers more options once you add the Norwegian expansion, as breeding pigs (and/or other animals) is viable.
User avatar
KeithHendricks
Posts: 35
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: First player advantage?

Post by KeithHendricks »

Animals are pretty decent in the base game. I play animal strategies a lot and they work pretty well for me. They may not work for everybody all the time, but they work for me a lot of the time.

True, they work better in Norwegians, but cattle are particularly very strong in the base game, with lots of synergy with longhouses. It’s such a nice feeling when you have a bunch of cattle and sheep and you take Labrador or Newfoundland, because you 1/2 fill it in a snap with a single upgrade action. Iceland can be boosted quickly with an upgraded cattle too.

You’re right about whaling though—you can’t let players monopolize that action or it will be a runaway game. No doubt the strongest action in the base game by far, all the better in that you can accumulate occupation cards in addition to all those tiles, then play the cards you cherry pick from your collection. I typically hate to focus on whaling because of all the competition for the action, but I am learning in all these four player games that it is good to take the action when you can simply to derail others’ scoring objectives.
User avatar
SYushen
Posts: 13
Joined: 01 October 2021, 19:20

Re: First player advantage?

Post by SYushen »

so we should make 3 the default number for this game in arena. 4 is just terrible because the starting player can take 4 wood and 1 ore with only 2 Vikings.
User avatar
KeithHendricks
Posts: 35
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: First player advantage?

Post by KeithHendricks »

Taking 5 things and an occupation card for 3 Vikings is nearly as good, especially as there may be more variety in what you come away with, possibly getting some stone or coin. Don’t underestimate this action space. You could draw Field Farmer, Orient Shipper, Seafarer, or Adventurer here.

Then there’s the 4 Viking Mountains action. Taking 4 things and playing your start card, as well as two double upgrades, solving your round one income with beans to wool in one action, is pretty strong too. By comparison, after taking the 2 Viking action, you still have your start card in hand and have no income yet. Sure, you have a very nice pile of wood. But that 2V mountains action space is overrated. Whenever players go there, I breathe a sigh of relief, glad that the 4V mountain action wasn’t taken.

Then there’s the imitate squares in 4P. These allow some of the above actions to be duplicated.

There are plenty of options round one for generating resources and getting things done. It’s just that many players have tunnel vision about the 2 Viking Mountains action.
User avatar
Archduke
Posts: 65
Joined: 05 June 2011, 21:58

Re: First player advantage?

Post by Archduke »

I've updated the stats on the first post. With many more games in place, these should be somewhat more reliable.
User avatar
KeithHendricks
Posts: 35
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: First player advantage?

Post by KeithHendricks »

Great! Thanks for keeping up with the data. That shows what I have always thought, that player 1 has a very small advantage in 4P, perhaps due to the imitate strips and the extra mountain strip. It’s interesting that the advantage is higher over player 3 (c. 3%) than over player 4 (c.2%), perhaps due to player 3 still pursuing a ship strategy at a disadvantage while player 4 pursues some other think-outside-the-box strategy, like animals or playing toward their occupation card.
User avatar
KeithHendricks
Posts: 35
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: First player advantage?

Post by KeithHendricks »

If you have time in the future it would be interesting to see these stats with skill level factored in, that is does a Good player starting first have a smaller or larger advantage than 2% when competing against a Good player starting fourth. I am guessing that when skill level is factored in, the difference will be larger among Beginners, but slightly smaller among more skilled players.
User avatar
MasN
Posts: 24
Joined: 26 December 2015, 23:45

Re: First player advantage?

Post by MasN »

@Keith
Try not to read too much into a 1% difference when the sample size is this small. (Only about 4000 4p games).

Playing around with a binomial calculator will show that in a sample of 4000, there's about a 1/4 chance that a player performs at 0.5% above their true winrate or better, and also about a 1/4 chance they perform at -0.5% or worse.

By the way, I suspect that if you filter for games with skilled players vs skilled players only, the advantage will increase. When skilled players play against unskilled players, they usually win regardless of their seat order.
Post Reply

Return to “A Feast for Odin”