Has there ever been any analysis about how strong first player advantage is?

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MajorGamble
Posts: 2
Joined: 20 April 2011, 22:35

Re: Has there ever been any analysis about how strong first player advantage is?

Post by MajorGamble »

LargoLaGrande wrote: 22 December 2023, 16:15 I've checked for curiosity the last 5 losses for the first 10 players ranked in Arena, regardless of the strength of the opponent.

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1.  CuSO44ek       - 5/5 starting 2° - 100%
2.  Victhan        - 4/5 starting 2° -  80%
3.  predatorc      - 3/5 starting 2° -  60%
4.  slywww2020     - 4/5 starting 2° -  80%
5.  Wolog          - 2/5 starting 2° -  40%
6.  kapout         - 5/5 starting 2° - 100%
7.  viermaaldomi   - 5/5 starting 2° - 100%
8.  Almatziol      - 4/5 starting 2° -  80%
9.  ViciousCyclist - 3/5 starting 2° -  60%
10. SrkiBG         - 5/5 starting 2° - 100%
Well done @LargoLaGrande! This is EXCELLENT data. Very easy to confirm by any of us with most up-to-date stats at any time and quite compelling, considering it uses only the top 10 players.

I updated it with current data now that it's been a couple days since the original post (and i would encourage others to do the same in the future).

FWIW, I'm not a top player, but my own anecdotal experience completely follows this as well—all of my 5 most recent losses have been 2nd player. I have yet to see a single configuration in which i would wish to go 2nd. I will be quite surprised if we see any significant exceptions following this very strict metric: 5 most recent losses by a top-10-ranked player.
LargoLaGrande
Posts: 6
Joined: 27 April 2020, 01:48

Re: Has there ever been any analysis about how strong first player advantage is?

Post by LargoLaGrande »

The only big tournament played in december with a lot of the best players in the charts (https://boardgamearena.com/tournament?id=247728), analyzing the last matches with (in theory) the strongest players of the tournament:

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Quarter-finals: 4/4 wins of the player starting first. 100%
   Semi-finals: 2/2 wins of the player starting first. 100%
         Final: 1/1 wins of the player starting first. 100%
Probability of this in a (in theory) game with 50-50 chance of victory: 0,78 %
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tchobello
Posts: 525
Joined: 18 March 2012, 13:19

Re: Has there ever been any analysis about how strong first player advantage is?

Post by tchobello »

thanks for all your stats. It has convinced me to rewrite the whole random algorithm.

I hope this one suits you better...
LargoLaGrande
Posts: 6
Joined: 27 April 2020, 01:48

Re: Has there ever been any analysis about how strong first player advantage is?

Post by LargoLaGrande »

I wrote before in a private feedback, I'll rewrite here in public because I saw no change in your or the creators behaviour: people are pointing out a "problem" (real or not, is not the point) that they "feel" playing the game. A feel that can ruin the experience and I found your answers really arrogant.

I don't want to convince nobody.
You provided stats and motivations not really convincing me, and I'm doing my very little and incomplete research to convince myself, failing.
I don't want to convince you, I want to be convinced that the game is fair.

I really like the game, it's great, but sometimes it's starting to becaming frustrating.
When I start second I only play in the fear of "not to loose", constantly following and trying to block my opponent. An this is not fun.
On the opposite side, normally when I start first, I quickly get the control of the board even with strong players. And this is also not fun.
Maybe I'm doing something wrong, maybe I have to study more the game, but I'm not having fun.

I still have to find a single random game where the first player played well, and lost.

You don't need to change the game. On BGA I play for example "Connect four". I'm experienced, I managed to win the last Arena. In that game (expecially in the standard 6x7) the first player wins 100%, it's math. They resolved with a simple, not-changing-nothing rule: the pie rule.
It seems that you are taking this personally, that's not a fault of you or the game. Even really complex games like chess, with experienced players, have a strong first player advantage.

After 2 or more month on BGA there is no player with 500+ ELO, for an abstract fair 1vs1 game this is strange. You will expect to have at least a little bit of strong players that wins almost all the games that they play.

I hope that you will listen with a more "open" attitude.
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