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Variant Idea: Deals with the "must take" actions

 
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Knave



Joined: 28 Jun 08
Posts: 258


PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:08 pm    Post subject: Variant Idea: Deals with the "must take" actions Reply with quote

The problems

1) At the beginning, there is clearly no better move than to take the bus
2) Starting player has a massive advantage
2) Also at the beginning, many actions are silly fillers

#1 is a problem, because any game that has a "clear" best move is not much fun, and this is especially true in this game since the starting player is random, and that starting player gets to take the overwhelmingly better move.

The solution

1) New Rule: The minimum number of stones that you must play in a round is equal to the number of buses that you have
2) Buying a bus does not count towards that minimum

I could have rephrased #2 better, but the idea is that if you buy a bus, you must play an extra stone immediately, so the first person to buy a bus must play at least 2 stones in the first round.

So, if one player starts burning ahead on the buses, you can play one efficient action for turn, while the other guy runs out of stones. This way, buying the bus is not necessarily the best action. I still think that I would buy the bus if I was the starting player, but at least with this rule I would have to think about it, and it would not be automatic.

Thoughts?
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smlait



Joined: 16 Jul 06
Posts: 392

Location: alberta, canada

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In round 1, everyone's second action is "silly filler". One person buys a bus, one person expands their line, one person calls dibs on going first next time - and if you're playing with 4 or 5, the others put down a building somewhere they want it or pick up a point. So, while it might be a bit annoying, it's just the way the game works and it's fair to everyone (except *maybe* the person who goes last in a 3-player game).

While picking up that second bus in the first round *is* pretty much automatic, I don't know that it's actually a huge advantage. I've won a ton of games where I've started late in the turn order. After all, everyone gets their second bus before anyone gets a third (usually) and buses aren't superimportant in the first few rounds anyway - those are more for laying groundwork to score points later.

I don't see anything particularly wrong with your variant, but I think it adds a complication that just isn't necessary. I like the simplicity of Bus as-written.
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Knave



Joined: 28 Jun 08
Posts: 258


PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am relatively new to this game, so perhaps my sample size is too small. However, generally, the first stone played each round is

1) 20 to 10 stones: Bus
2) 6 to zero stones: Vroom

My point being, that for the first 5 rounds, I have pretty much NEVER seen a first purchase that wasn't a bus. This is not very interesting, and, as I stated before, I think it gives a tremendous advantage to the first player.

You say that buying a bus is not a big deal in the opening round, and I disagree. The bus itself is not important, but the opportunity cost is, given that the buses must be purchased at some point. Let us compare 2 players (assume the 3rd player goes around doing silly things)

Round 1

A buys a bus
B extends line

Round 2

A buys another bus
B extends line

Round 3

A extends line
B buys a bus

Round 4

A extends line
B buys a bus



~~~~~~~~~~~~


Are both players equal here? Clearly not, A has a substantially beefier line. The reason is that during the "unproductive" opening, player A bought a bus, which was already at max efficiency. conversely, player A also extended his line later, when that action was at a greater efficiency. Meanwhile, B was stuck buying a line when it was at its lowest efficiency, and buying a bus when other actions were more appropriate/efficient.

With only 20 actions max throughout the game, this is a game of efficiency. By reducing the amount of "silly stones" that have to be played, you allow player B to make up for the huge efficiency hit that he took at the beginning of the game.

I would argue, that if your opponent starts a game of bus, and you beat him, then he really didn't play very well.
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milksheikh
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Joined: 24 Sep 03
Posts: 399

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knave wrote:
Round 1

A buys a bus
B extends line

Round 2

A buys another bus
B extends line

Round 3

A extends line
B buys a bus

Round 4

A extends line
B buys a bus

Why is Player A going first every round?
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milksheikh
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Joined: 24 Sep 03
Posts: 399

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Statistically, of 805 completed games of Bus, the starting player has won 279 times, or 34.7% of games.

There has been an average of 3.97 players per game, so if there was no starting player advantage, the starting player should win 25.2% of the time.

Seems like you may be on to something, although "I would argue, that if your opponent starts a game of bus, and you beat him, then he really didn't play very well" may be a bit strong.

I'll see if I can get a comment from the game designer.
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milksheikh
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Joined: 24 Sep 03
Posts: 399

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

milksheikh wrote:
There has been an average of 3.97 players per game, so if there was no starting player advantage, the starting player should win 25.2% of the time.

Well, this isn't exactly true -- the correct probability is 26.2% due to the distribution of games:

3-player: 260 games * 1/3 win ratio = 86.7 games won by starting player
4-player: 307 games * 1/4 win ratio = 76.8 games won by starting player
5-player: 238 games * 1/5 win ratio = 47.6 games won by starting player

which equals 211 games won by the starting player or 26.2% of the 805 total games.
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freduk



Joined: 18 Jan 06
Posts: 433

Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Mr. Milksheikh is in a statistical mood...
How many 4-p games have been won by player 4?
How many 5-p games have been won by player 4 or player 5?
In my limited (13 game) experience, the answer is 0.

I'm not one for introducing unofficial variants to the site, as I think it only causes confusion, but if we could persuade one of the designers to sanction an official variant (similar to Richard Breese's Reef Encounter change) then that's different.
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Knave



Joined: 28 Jun 08
Posts: 258


PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

milksheikh wrote:
Why is Player A going first every round?


It was a completely contrived example. The idea was not to show a realistic game situation, but to point out that if, after 4 turns, 2 players have taken "bus" twice and "line extension" twice, that does not make them equal.

And, I agree, my statement to the effect of "starting player should always win" is probably too strong, but I would certainly argue that it is a large advantage. And your preliminary stats seem to bear it out...

Of course, my idea might not help at all. I had read some of the proposed fixes on BGG, and none of them had a good mesh, and all of them still left taking starting player followed by bus as the best opening move for the first few rounds.

I'd be curious to hear about what the designers would have to say Smile
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smlait



Joined: 16 Jul 06
Posts: 392

Location: alberta, canada

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we look at the stats in our profiles, I think the order of players left-to-right was the original turn order. Assuming that's the case, I got the following for my 31 games played:

3-player
2 - 2 - 0

4-player
4 - 1 - 4 - 1

5 player
5 - 1 - 1 - 4 - 6

The numbers are the number of times each player in turn order won. To be fair, I'll confess to having a fairly high win % at Bus and five of the six "wins by fifth player" are mine. But they weren't all!

And, apparently, I've never won from fourth place - no matter how many were playing. Huh...

Edited to note that I'm well aware this sample isn't really big enough - particularly not for 3-player Bus. IMO, Bus is by far best with 5. But it does answer Fred's question! Smile
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cpsof95



Joined: 31 Mar 06
Posts: 177

Location: Finland

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been playing a 5-player Bus game where I got the last position in the turn order, and it's been a nightmare. The game was halfway before I got my 2nd bus, and I haven't been able to take any other nice actions either, because big line expansions and all the scoring opportunities are taken before my turn. Half of my action stones have been complete waste.

Every round in the early game went the same way. First player buys a bus, and second player wants to become the first player. In 5-player game it's crucial to take the 1st player action because otherwise you're going to be last in the next round.

I've been lucky with the turn order draws in my earlier games, but now I've seen how bad it can get when you're not lucky, and I really don't like it.
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powermorph



Joined: 20 Feb 06
Posts: 175

Location: Bristol UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think when you play experienced players, turns 4 and 5 are a disadvantage (although can still be won clearly). Other variant ideas could be:

1. Give additional actions or points to later positions (like Reef gives additional tiles to the later players). Maybe player 4 gets an extra turn and position 5 gets 2 (or points instead of turns).

2 Another variant could be a closed bid to begin, with the highest bid getting player 1 and the next highest position 2 etc. Ties would be resolved by original starting (random) order. The value of the bid would in turn be given as turns (or points) to the relevent person in reverse order (did that come out confused?). i.e. in a 5 player game, if 3 was the highest bid, then that would be awarded to the last player (and the second highest bid awarded to the 4th player etc.).

Saying that, I'm with Freduk in that only agreed variants to be considered otherwise the site would be inundated with ideas Rolling Eyes
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Knave



Joined: 28 Jun 08
Posts: 258


PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick note that I had two problems. The first was the last player disadvantage, but the other problem was the "bus is always best first move, starting player then bus is always best second move". I was looking to add some decision making into that process.

Giving extra stones helps the first problem, but not the second.
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milksheikh
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Joined: 24 Sep 03
Posts: 399

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smlait wrote:
If we look at the stats in our profiles, I think the order of players left-to-right was the original turn order. Assuming that's the case, I got the following for my 31 games played:

Not so, I'm afraid -- it will be the player order at the end of the game (or possibly as it would be in the following round, were the game to have continued).
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kimmy



Joined: 08 Dec 17
Posts: 12


PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting
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Sobhana123



Joined: 26 Jan 18
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hii. thanks for sharing this topic it is very nice and good information.
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