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variable turn order

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drktron
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I've been having some difficulty coming up with a resource/trade mechanism for a pirate themed game I've been working on. I've come up with a solution that I like but it created a new problem by giving the first player a big advantage. At the start of the game and after every player has had one turn(once a round) certain ports will produce goods (sometimes in excess) while other ports will lose goods (drought or whatever). This will affect the pricing of these items for trading (supply/demand). Since this happens at the start of each round the first player has a large trading advantage. To resolve this I thought of a variable turn order where the first player of each round would be randomly (or otherwise) selected. I don't know how much players will like the arrhythmic game flow this creates. So my question is how do you feel about games with variable turn order? Should I couple variable turn order with my supply/ trade mechanic or scrap the idea and go with a fixed turn order and a different (simpler) trade mechanic?

hulken
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Joined: 04/18/2009
I think player would not like

I think player would not like a random turn order. Have you thought of leting the actions of the previous turn decide the turnorder for the coming one?

If you rank the actions you can take you get a "do a powerfull action now but go last next turn". Somthing like that might solv youre problem.

scottbalmes
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Joined: 12/22/2010
I agree with the above

I agree with the above comment.

Linking the previous turns actions to turn order might work. There needs to be some predictability in turn order - whether the players can somehow influence it or it's set in stone. Pure random turn order might not go over well - especially if its a very strategic game. It might work with a more lighthearted game.

John B
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Joined: 02/05/2011
Start of players turn

What about having the port production happen before each players turn instead of at the beginning of each round. Or, if it needs to be at the start of each round, have some other event that happens at the start of each player turn that randomly blocks some goods from being traded on that turn.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
Thanks for your feedback. I

Thanks for your feedback. I definitely won't use a random turn order. So I'm thinking I'll either have players bid for turn order using the wind cards (movement) in their hands or go with your suggestion and use the previous turns actions. I will have to give a value to each game action and then players will have to compare them at the end of the round to determine the turn order for the next round. I like this idea but I hope its not going to be too cumbersome and time consuming.

gabrielcohn
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Joined: 11/25/2010
Ideas for turn order

I like your bidding idea. Here's a few others:
(1) First player rotates (like "governor" card does in Puerto Rico)
(2) Players can use an action to change the order of players (like in Agricola or Caylus)
(3) The actions you select during your turn determine the order you get to play in next turn (like in Steam)--this I find to be a great method, as more powerful actions this turn me decreased choices next turn.

drktron
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gabrielcohn wrote:I like your

gabrielcohn wrote:
I like your bidding idea. Here's a few others:
(1) First player rotates (like "governor" card does in Puerto Rico)
(2) Players can use an action to change the order of players (like in Agricola or Caylus)
(3) The actions you select during your turn determine the order you get to play in next turn (like in Steam)--this I find to be a great method, as more powerful actions this turn me decreased choices next turn.

Thanks for the good ideas, this helps a lot. Now I just need to figure out the best fit for my game :).

perrochon
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Joined: 02/11/2011
During the game, can you easily find out who is winning?

If you know at any point of the game who is leading, you can have that player play last. It creates some balance, and prevents a run-away lead. As one player gets ahead, she will be slowed down.

In my game it's not always clear where in turn order you want to be, it depends on a few things on the board. So I let whoever is last in current standings select their next turn position first.

Ratmilk
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Joined: 02/03/2009
initiative penalty ideas

I've been toying with this concept for an operational wargame but I think it could easily translate to what your looking for. In my game each player laid out a series of order tiles or movements (cardinal directions) for their armies ahead of time. When all were placed down, say 3-4 in a row for everyone, every player simultaneously and successively revealed them and the various movements and plans would play out. Armies can bump into each other have meeting engagements and can plan wide flanking movements etc. Here is the catch, there are not just movements but orders too, you can forage, pillage, build siege works, recruit, etc. Each action, depending on how elaborate or time consuming it might be had an initiative penalty which was a number and these penalties accumulated into a total. When armies came within range of each other the one with the smaller penalty got an impulse move before the other player. A quick example might be that an army makes two marches (1)+(1), forages for supplies +(2) for a total of -4; An opposing army makes one march to the border and waits for two rounds(1)+(0)+(0) for a total of -1. When the two armies come within contact the normal sequence goes into an impulse stage and the second army gets to make his impulse move because he has less of a penalty. You see with a system like this how a player waiting patiently can get a payoff.

Now here is how the concept can work for you. Each one of your players can plot their course and plans around the carribean, pair this with fluctuating markets, unique orders and pre-laid out (face down) random events and I think you have something here. A player can plot his course to Tortuga(1), get ship repaired/upgraded(4), and trade in the market (2). Make each order or movement take time too, this way market shifts can happen while your players are involved in other tasks. You really want to get to Port Royal to grab that cheap rum(randomized draw), but your in the middle of ship repairs because you cant risk getting caught in a storm(randomized draw). If two players got into Port Royal at the same time the one with the smaller initiative penalty gets first dibs on the market etc. If two players try to fight it out at sea the one with the smaller initiative penalty may decide to slip away rather then fight. A cautious player may wait in port and get rumors (a 0 initiative move) which might lead him to secretly look at a future random event (like a Spanish convoy to raid) which he can plan for in the future.

What a system like this does is keep everyone engaged too and avoids some of the problems of down time as every player is waiting to see how moves play out and interact with everyone else. It also makes a great narrative.

le_renard
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I like the bidding idea...

drktron wrote:
So I'm thinking I'll either have players bid for turn order using the wind cards (movement) in their hands or go with your suggestion and use the previous turns actions. I will have to give a value to each game action and then players will have to compare them at the end of the round to determine the turn order for the next round. I like this idea but I hope its not going to be too cumbersome and time consuming.

I'm using a somehow similar system in my game Insania Lupina.
Players get Support Points from the number of Cities they possess ( to make it short ).
At the beginning of the turn, the First player is determined through a secret bidding based on these Support Points.

Sir William
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Joined: 02/19/2011
Not sure of the exact layout

Not sure of the exact layout of your game, but the suggestion of the person who is in the lead going last seems like it could fit into a pirate theme. If it is the pirate that you are controlling their fame might cause them to have to dodge the navy more often (slowing them down).

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Another direction... Simultaneous turn resolution?

drktron wrote:
Since this happens at the start of each round the first player has a large trading advantage. To resolve this I thought of a variable turn order where the first player of each round would be randomly (or otherwise) selected. I don't know how much players will like the arrhythmic game flow this creates. So my question is how do you feel about games with variable turn order? Should I couple variable turn order with my supply/ trade mechanic or scrap the idea and go with a fixed turn order and a different (simpler) trade mechanic?
Can your game support simultaneous turn resolution? That would help reduce first-player advantage.

Play flow would be: Determine supply/demand at ports >>> determine market prices >>> all players (secretly?) choose actions >>> all players reveal actions >>> all players resolve actions.

Of course, you'd need a way to resolve simultaneous identical actions. Without knowing more about the structure of the game, it's tricky to know what to suggest. If players have to travel to ports, then the one who arrives first would obviously get first dibs. If players get a number of action points each turn and can potentially take multiple actions, you could bid action points, etc...

Whether this suggestions is useful to your or not, I hope your game turns out the way you want it to!

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
Thanks for your response.

Thanks for your response. Simultaneous turns is an interesting idea. It certainly solves the first player advantage problem and eliminates down time. I like the idea and have tried it in a few other games but without great success. I'll have to think it over and how well it would work with my other mechanics. Honestly I've put this game on the backburner while I work in this months game design contest so it may be awhile before I work on it again. :)

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Other ideas

What about simply reversing the turn order each round? I mean, doing 1, 2, 3, 4, and then 4, 3, 2, 1. This is just like the initial settlement placement in Settlers of Catan, and works provided that not only going first is and advantage but going earlier in general is better (which is quite often the case).

You could also use a table containing all permutations for a given number of players. This would make it more complicated, but could be worth it for games where the order is very important.

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