First Player Advantage?

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MasN
Posts: 27
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: 13
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
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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: 27
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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Tamerlayne
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Joined: 03 January 2015, 09:57
Location: Sr. Analyst

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by Tamerlayne »

Completely agree that 0/1/2/3 is inadequate. More is deserved.
Thanx,

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Zero_1627
Posts: 22
Joined: 08 April 2020, 17:14

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by Zero_1627 »

Agreed that going early has serious advantages - besides being able to move first and, all other things equal, take first choices (for which current 1-gem diffference seems adequate) - if opponent later in the queue fulfills game end condition, earlier players will effectively gain extra turn...

On the other hand, notable increase in early gems might lead to making game unbalanced (especially for hubs that give only small amount of gems with abundant other resources - eg. if hub gives 5 gems, receiving extra 8 (as in proposals above) would be a huge difference).
Perhaps consider giving further players more _differing_ resources - which would be valuable long term, but not allow immediate strong first move?

Proposal:
second player: 2 gems
third player: 2 gems and water or food
fourth player: 2 gems and water and food
biwebof
Posts: 23
Joined: 04 July 2023, 22:27

Re: First Player Advantage?

Post by biwebof »

I don't see how a hub that only gives 5 gems would be imbalanced by receiving an extra 8. If they went first, they just end up taking an early income turn, and receive more than that anyways.

If anything I think water and food might cause a bigger balance issue, as it may allow hubs to transport without taking an expedition action. Gems have fewer "breakpoints".

This is a great game, but would be better with an option to increase compensation.
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