First player advantage

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aFoxy1
Posts: 6
Joined: 31 May 2020, 16:54

Re: First player advantage

Post by aFoxy1 »

The first player advantage is that you have the best chance of finding a spot that doesn't limit your second turn (e.g., doesn't neighbor other terrain draws that won't be useful on turn 2).

As you get farther down in turn order your options generally become more limiting and a bad second draw will doom you against good players. In most games, there is also one bonus (farmers, merchants, in particular) that is critical and placing first gives you the best shot at scoring a lot of points with it.
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Cos-
Posts: 292
Joined: 28 August 2020, 22:51

Re: First player advantage

Post by Cos- »

Speaking as a player with ELO hovering around 500, playing a lot of 2- 3- and 4- player games and sometimes 5-player as well, I have been thinking about this for the past year or so and my opinion is leaning even more towards "there's no advantage in going first on average". The main source of luck in this game, by far, is what colors you draw, and what colors others draw.
aFoxy1 wrote: 20 June 2024, 00:59 The first player advantage is that you have the best chance of finding a spot that doesn't limit your second turn (e.g., doesn't neighbor other terrain draws that won't be useful on turn 2).
As you get farther down in turn order your options generally become more limiting and a bad second draw will doom you against good players.
I think this is only somewhat true when you're a less experienced player, but becomes not true at all once you have enough experience. Once you know the strategies for choosing where to move first in a way that plans for the possibilities of what may happen with your second draw, the difference between being the first player vs. going later diminishes from small to none, IMO. Which color you draw on your first turn makes a much bigger difference, depending on how it relates to the current board layout.
aFoxy1 wrote: 20 June 2024, 00:59 In most games, there is also one bonus (farmers, merchants, in particular) that is critical and placing first gives you the best shot at scoring a lot of points with it.
This is much more about which color(s) you draw first, then about whether you're the first player or not. In a 2 or 3 player game, you do have a lot of power to set yourself up to get the special tiles you want most even if you draw the wrong color on your first turn; in 4 player games the odds are higher that tile will be gone by your next turn if you drew the wrong color first, and in 5 player games you might as well assume you won't get a choice of special tile on your next turn so just go for what you can. But in any of these, the main source of luck is what colors people draw first, rather than what order they play in, and the first player doesn't have much of an advantage on average.
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