Reduce 1st player advantage

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Jban
Posts: 3
Joined: 06 June 2016, 16:28

Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by Jban »

In the current implementation, there is a significant advantage to the first player.

This is the case since the first player has knowledge of 8 cards (5 from his opening hand and 3 from the tray), so in case one of those top-notch bird is in the tray, or a specific combo can be formed, the first player has this info to base his opening birds and foods on. The players in later positions don't have this advantage since the best bird(s) are usually gone before they get their first turn.

A similar though way smaller advantage can be found in knowing the 5 opening foods. For example, if you have the Northern Flicker in your opening hand, the decision to keep the bird can be entirely based on knowing the 5 opening foods. These situations are much rarer than those with the birds in the tray, but do make a significant impact now and then.

My proposal would be that there would be a game mode introduced, that just hides the opening resources and bird cards in the tray until all players have chosen their opening hands, foods & bonus cards and only then reveal them. This eliminates that the first player (or any player) has the possibility of basing his opening hand/foods on what cards/foods are coming.

Very interested if other people also believe this advantage to the first player is unfair and a fix as proposed would be a good idea.
detlefchef11
Posts: 145
Joined: 17 June 2023, 22:23

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by detlefchef11 »

At my house we don't roll the dice or fill the tray until everyone has decided on their birds and food. So I agree entirely with your post.

After all, none of the subsequent players who get first crack at the tray get to do anything as dramatic as choose between 5 birds and/or 5 foods after they see what is in the tray for them.

Considering also that really powerful birds matter less as the game goes on, so getting first crack at one in round 1 is MUCH better than getting first crack at one in round 3, that's another advantage of being 1st in the 1st round. So as much as realistically possible should be done to mitigate the advantages of being 1st 1st.

I will say this: EVERY TIME, I see that I'm first to go, I look at the tray and consider one of those mine for the taking and factor that into what I keep be it food or other birds. Like if there's a franklins or killdeer in the tray, I'm not going to bother with a powerful wetland bird because I know I'll never activate it. And if it's a gull, I'm keeping a fish even though I may not need it for the birds I'm keeping.
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Mathew5000
Posts: 203
Joined: 02 January 2021, 01:41

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by Mathew5000 »

Essentially the same issue that was discussed here: https://boardgamearena.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30245 and here: https://boardgamearena.com/bug?id=70934

Paramesis said: "The rules say the first player is chosen (randomly) after all players have chosen which bird cards, bonus card, and food to keep. But in more competitive environments (like digital adaptations or tournaments), it is an official variant to have the turn order determined before everyone chooses which cards and food to keep."
detlefchef11
Posts: 145
Joined: 17 June 2023, 22:23

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by detlefchef11 »

Mathew5000 wrote: 07 July 2023, 00:57

Paramesis said: "The rules say the first player is chosen (randomly) after all players have chosen which bird cards, bonus card, and food to keep. But in more competitive environments (like digital adaptations or tournaments), it is an official variant to have the turn order determined before everyone chooses which cards and food to keep."
That seems odd, to have more competitive situations inflate the advantage of luck that way.
itakeitback
Posts: 5
Joined: 02 January 2024, 05:42

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by itakeitback »

Was redirected via a link, so apologies for reviving an old post.

I agree with OP's sentiment about first player being too advantageous. However, I have some theories that might be worth considering:

1. The base game, without any expansions including starter pack, can be very unforgiving at start. Basing the beginning of one's game on 5 cards without the additional cards, nor knowledge of food tokens in the feeder can be punishing. If one were to get 5 high-cost cards, without any synergy or utility, they might want to look to the face-up cards for a better start. To make it worse, if the cards weren't Wetland cards, one may struggle to build up their habitats at all. This may lead to some outlier games where the flow of the game is extremely lopsided and it may make some players' experience very unpleasant. The current game already struggles with that to an extent, imagine how much worse it would be without any knowledge of the feeder and face-up cards. In more competitive environments, this lopsided start can lead to extreme outcomes and severely strain players. I think by introducing a shared knowledge base of feeder and face-up cards, it curbs this extreme outcome, acting more as a fail safe. So in theory, I agree with OP but application is a little trickier. I believe this open face and open feeder start was to mitigate extreme outcomes. Not only does it mitigate extreme outcomes, but it also helps accelerate the game, allowing players to build habitats to an enjoyable level. I believe the current method, where all face up cards are shown and feeder full without knowing who may go first, is the right application.

2. My guess for the digital applications disclosing turn order may have to do with queuing mechanisms. In the early days, it may have been hard to gauge just how popular the digital application would become. Without an understanding of the size of the player base, there may have been a conservative approach to build out a digital version. This may translate to let whomever joins the room start picking their first 5 items instead of having an open room waiting without starting the game. This means not having a lobby. Having a lobby equates to more server dedication and buildout. To a game in its early launch, and without a guarantee of its success, the creator - Elizabeth - may have opted to err on the safe side and invest as little as possible into the digital applications. This translates to simpler queuing features - first come first serve - and lack of parity with in-person rules. The creator wanting to invest as little as possible into its digital application in the early days gains a little more plausibility when you look at the state of the iOS and Nintendo Switch ports - it is perpetually riddled with bugs and lacks the amount of features that BGA has, especially around setting preferences on whom to play with. I think the digital rules being incongruent with in-person rules may simply be a matter of financial/tech constraints from the early days.

Just my guess.
Ceaseless
Posts: 230
Joined: 12 November 2022, 17:06

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by Ceaseless »

How do you know if you're going first or second before choosing bird/birds, etc? Where does it say?
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Mathew5000
Posts: 203
Joined: 02 January 2021, 01:41

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by Mathew5000 »

Ceaseless wrote: 10 February 2024, 06:14 How do you know if you're going first or second before choosing bird/birds, etc? Where does it say?
It's whoever has this token in the player panel: Image
Ceaseless
Posts: 230
Joined: 12 November 2022, 17:06

Re: Reduce 1st player advantage

Post by Ceaseless »

Oh, that makes sense, I never thought to check for that before things started, lol. :oops:
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