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The first turn advantage in my TCG/tactical combat game

3 replies [Last post]
Zweiterversuch's picture
Joined: 04/18/2017

Hello everybody!

As experienced boardgamers (I don't know if the term exists...), I'd like to know your opinion on this little game mechanic.

As you know, whoever gets to go first in a TCG usually has a certain disadvantage in regards to the second player. In games like YUGIOH or MTG the first player has one card less than the second player, this is good and fine, but I was thinking about adding something else.

What if the first player had a positioning advantage over the second player, but the second player had a tactical advantage?

Imagine a castle. The first player would be in the middle of the castle free to choose from a variety of resources, while the second player will be able to freely choose its starting point on the map from a series of locations which would limit what resources he'd have access to on his first turn.

Like this I plan to eliminate the -1 card disadvantage since I really don't like it.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Balance, Not Personal Preference

Zweiterversuch wrote:
Like this I plan to eliminate the -1 card disadvantage since I really don't like it.
I suggest that you playtest this layout extensively.

The notion of handicapping certain players based on player order is due to game balancing, not on how much the designer likes or dislikes a particular mechanic. However, considering something different is well worth your time, and could be very effective for your particular game. Testing will bear this out and help you feel more confident in your choice, or steer you into trying a different solution.

Here's to your success, Zweiterversuch. :)

Zweiterversuch's picture
Joined: 04/18/2017
thanks and...

Thank you.

I guess it's hard to really know how benefitial that mechanic would be in game without testing it first.

polyobsessive's picture
Joined: 12/11/2015

I was going to say something similar to let-off. :)

It's entirely possible that your game does not have a first-player advantage. In some games it is actually disadvantageous to go first.

In general, tuning the game to compensate for starting position should come after the rest of the game is as great as you can get it. It is probably a detail that you needn't worry about yet. When you have a lot of playtest data you may see that one player position wins disproportionately often, at which point you can see if you can find an appropriate way to address that.

Good luck!

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