First Player Advantage?

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MasN
Posts: 26
Joined: 26 December 2015, 23:45

First Player Advantage?

Post by MasN »

The rules say that later players in turn order get a few extra gems.
This feels like insufficient compensation.
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wodan46
Posts: 3
Joined: 11 January 2014, 22:50

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by wodan46 »

The game could've gone "everyone gets the same # of turns" but specifically chose "everyone but you gets 1 more turn if you end the game" rule which is a hefty disadvantage for players later in turn order. This implies to me that the developers believe that going later in turn order is better, as the balance bonus for going earlier is much bigger than the balance bonus for going later.

As to why, well for any given 'round':

1: The last player will accrue the most diplomacy gems before taking an action, potentially enabling more and better actions.
2: The last player will be the last to choose to spend gems... if their opponents are low they know they can safely take income.
3: The last player can counterpick diplomacy tracks, knowing that their opponent is 'spent' and will not be able to respond.
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gabrielcohn
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 March 2021, 23:19

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by gabrielcohn »

As the designer, I'll say this:
There are so many variables in the setup of each game that we found little to no first player advantage overall. For sure, it is quite possible that the first player (or second or third) will have one more turn in a given game than a player later in the initial order. That said, I love the dynamic of being forced to choose, "do I think it's most advantageous for me to end the game now, or might I eke out a little more by doing X before I finish the game with action Y." That's ultimately why I landed on the structure as it is now. I could see an argument for making the bonus starting GEMs for later players 2/4/6 or maybe 1/3/5 instead of 1/2/3, but honestly, it seems to work just fine as is...
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MasN
Posts: 26
Joined: 26 December 2015, 23:45

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by MasN »

Hey Gabriel. Glad to see the designer here!
The way I see it, the value of an early turn is about 12 gems. (some hubs give you 11 if you were to pass first action, and that would not be a very good move, even if it were legal.)
In a 2p game, the starting gems is 0/1, which makes the implicit value of a turn only 2 gems, as p1 starts half a turn ahead. If you believe the value of a turn is 12 gems, then an appropriate balancing is 0/6 in 2p, 0/4/8 in 3p, and 0/3/6/9 in 4p.

Of course, 12 gems might be an inaccurate value, in which case the balance should be different. In any case, I believe 0/1/2/3 is clearly too little.
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