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Abstract Game Help: Castle Danger's "First Move Advanta

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Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

In my game "Castle Danger" (link), there is showing to be an advantage in having the first move ... and although it doesn't break the game, it means an important difference in how you play the game as Blue (first player) or Red. Recently, BGDF members Clark Rodeffer and David Witcher (Dralius) have had a chance to play the game, and confirmed seeing this.

My own way of handling this so far has been to suggest playing sets of 2 games and switching sides ... but that only masks the issue. While chatting with Clark, he suggested limiting the number of the Blue player's moves on the first turn ... which seems as legitimate a fix as any. Also, a player of the computer game told me that he played with a houserule that Blue could only choose to add a Builder on his/her first turn.

I'm was curious if any of the other abstract-oriented players/designers at this forum would have suggestions on approaching the issue.


p.s. If you're interested, I just added a Castle Danger hidden-information variant concept to the Game Journals ... ;)

Joined: 12/31/1969
Abstract Game Help: Castle Danger's "First Move Advanta

Both suggestions sound fair to me. Perhaps it is a good idea to say that the first player gets three moves less on his first turn. So if he adds another wizard, he would get 6 moves, instead of nine (if I understand the rules). This seems the cleanest solution to me.

Another idea. In Twixt (I think) the second player may choose to switch sides after the startingplayer's move. This means that the starting player must try to make not a good move, but not a bad move either. It's a nice fix for an abstract game with limited moves in one turn, but somehow I don't think that would feel "right" in your game.

- Rene Wiersma

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Abstract Game Help: Castle Danger's "First Move Advanta

The switching sides is special solution for a game that has an overwhelming advantage for the first player. In Castle Danger the first players advantage is not so grand. Having played the game Clark's or zaiga's idea of reducing the movement points seems to be going in the right direction.

In the games we player i was the lead player. By opening with a wizard to pump up my movement and keeping the ratio of wizard to cannon about 3/2 i was able to keep the other player on the defensive. Also i used the builder very little during the game. Instead of restricting the blue player to only opening with a builder you might just have a no wizard on their first turn rule.

Joined: 08/04/2008
Movement points

Yes, I think reducing the first player's first turn movement points is a good place to start for reducing the strong first player advantage Castle Danger has right now. Since it will require some play testing, I suggest trying to narrow it down quickly to reduce the number of games needed -- maybe start by allowing only ONE movement point for the first player's first turn. In other words, Blue may enter a piece and move it one space only. While it may be overkill, it's easy to adjust upward from there to compensate for the overkill. On the other hand, if reducing the movement points to one doesn't work and the first player still has a big advantage, you'll know sooner (rather than later, after attempts at using 5, 4, 3 and 2 movement points) that something ELSE (also?) needs to be done.


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