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Determining Turn Order

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/09/2008

Hi all
I’m currently looking at other ways to determine Turn Order for my game.

It basically an age of sail “pick and deliver” board game based on the old PC game “Port Royale”. You control 3 different ships (Merchant, Privateer, First Rate). Each ship has its own strengths and weaknesses and unique abilities. Merchant is weak in battle but it builds Production Centres in ports and can form Trade Routes. Privateer is middle of the road in battle but can perform Missions that are available which can be risky but good rewards. First Rate is strongest in battle and can capture other players ports and guard your other ships against pirates.
Each round players will have 6 actions they can use between their 3 ships. Kind of a “role” mechanic. Eg Most actions on Merchant, less on First Rate, none on Privateer. Or a balance between all three ships. etc

The game round goes like this:
1. Event is drawn. This can be good or bad for all or some players… or no affect at all.
Player order may be important depending on how this affects you.

2. War. Each player represents a country and at the start all countries are at peace.. but after the first round there is a 1/3 chance that a war breaks out. And then roughly a 1/4 chance that your country will be drawn.
Player order is can be a big deal because you may have ships and ports that were left vulnerable to attack from a previous round. This isn’t as bad as it seems but it is more advantageous to be first.

3. Pirates. I have a random mechanic to place pirates on the board. Depending on which strategy (role domiment) you want to play with will depend if this is good or bad to be first. Eg First Rate players wanting to Capture Pirates will want to go first so they can get them before other players. But a Merchant player may want to go last so that the pirates are gone and therefore can move his Merchant freely around the board.

4. This is where I would like to have Player Order determined. All players have all the information about Events., Wars, Pirates and can decide where they want to be in the turn order.

I’ve tested three different methods so far:
• Random. Not a big fan of this as too much rides on luck
• Round Robin. First Player passes to the left and order is clockwise. This is too predictable.
• Bid Track. Probably the best so far but it drags the game out. I used gold to bid on a stepped track from 10g (to guaranty 1st) 6g 3g 1g 0g 0g 0g 0g 1g 3g 6g 10g (to guaranty last). Only one spot can be taken by a player. So depending on how badly you want first will depend on how much you want to spend. Like I said.. it works but im not 100% on it.

I was thinking of a set amount of Bid tokens that each player has for the game but I don’t think it will work as well as using Gold because Bid Tokens aren’t worth anything except you may run out and have to bid 0 for the rest of the game.

After Turn order is set the players move and then there are Cleanup and Production phases that don’t rely on turn order.

So I’m just brainstorming ideas on how else I can determine turn order.

Any ideas are appreciated.


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
What if you do random. But

What if you do random. But then leave the option open for players to buy a better spot?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Final Action, etc.

X3M wrote:
What if you do random. But then leave the option open for players to buy a better spot?
I like this idea. The advantage of this is that a player has to decide how much they want to spend on the bid to go first. This can be particularly desperate if only the winner pays, while the other players keep their bids (allowing the potential of more money/resources available to them than the player who will now go first).

Additionally, you could tie it to the use of the player's final action with a certain type of vessel. For example, if a player uses their First Class ship last, they'll be first in line to be first next round. This will also allow for someone who was last in one round to be first in the next, but they'll likely not have a chance to repeat that same feat in successive rounds. Turn order would only change if the criteria is met, so it may be the same for a few rounds in a row if players don't use that ship last.

Another option is to have turn order linked to the Production Centers you described earlier (or some other kind of invested development). Play at the start of the game is randomly determined, but the player with the most of that specific investment will go first. This allows a player who has spent a lot of their resources on these Production Centers to reap the reward of first move, at least until someone else one-ups them.

Joined: 09/09/2008
Thanks for your replies.Yeah

Thanks for your replies.

Yeah the way the bit track works is that the first round which doesn't have event, war or pirates is determined randomly as its not really that important. But following rounds those things appear and could get nasty very quickly. So in previous turn order, players can bid on where they want to go in the turn order. So maybe the first player is now at war and is totally exposed to enemy attack (a careless first move would do that).so that player can try to be first again by placing a high bid of 3 gold (On the second turn 3 gold would be considered a lot as you only start with 9 gold and there is plenty to build,buy,upgrade). So anyway the next player that the player happens to be at war with would have to pay 6 gold to be the new first player. If he can't afford it or doesn't care since he can't get first he can bid 0. But as first player to bid 0 he actually slips down to last place so could bid 1 instead to boost his chances to not be dead last. The way I looked at this is that the later placed players gets a good look at what is available and can either outbid or just bid nothing and save gold. And first players to bid do get the whole track to bid on but could be outbid or waste gold on trying to bid too high.

I don't want to tie turn order with what they do during player movement. as it kills the different strategies the game offers. Players can do whatever action they like in with their ships and in any order, its part of the euro style "puzzle" that a turn consists of. Do I try to to get a trade route going with my merchant or do I capture that pirate.. Or can I do both? Should I finish this mission I have now or can it wait till next turn. There are a lot of desicions to make. How much gold should I keep for bidding or should I buy an upgrade for one of my ships (yes there are upgrades too) as I might not get another chance to get it.

I do have action cards that allow a player to swap turn order with another player but that was designed for a random turn order mechanic. I will probably change it to a boost in gold for turn order bidding. They come up randomly though so it's risky to rely on them to appear.

It may be possible to link players with the least prod centres to go earlier in the round as that would tie in with them using their first rate over their merchant. And the first rate use is the main ship you would want to go first for.

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