Who's First? –⁠ First Player and Tie Breaker Rules

This got me thinking about the games I have set on Mars, which made me think about Mars Needs Mechanics, which features the cringiest “first player” rule I’ve ever seen:

“The First Player Marker is given to the contestant with the best English accent.”

I mean… What?

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Best?

(Normally at this point the forum presents us with a wide selection of ‘authentic’ British accents.)

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Yeah, but it’s not “Best British Accent”… So someone with a spot-on Mid-atlantic accent would be a contender?

(Though I think most Americans would interpret it as “Best British Accent” or, at least, "Best English accent matching a dialect found in England. Maybe UK readers would also. I’m just a pedant doing pedant things)

Edit: still doesn’t explain what a group of people native to England should do… Other than laugh at the absurdity

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Do our best parodies of regional accents (especially if a native speaker of said accent is at the table), then roll some dice / use a phone app.

(While I admire the creativity that can go into first-player rules and tiebreakers, I sometimes wish that they’d say “OK, it’s random”.)

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Bruv, as someone who grew up in East London, I would love to hear Americans try MLE (Multicultural London English).

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I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember which game instructs the person to most recently captain a fishing boat to go first; otherwise, just choose randomly

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Secrets suggests the first player should be the person most recently abducted by the CIA or KGB.

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I’m on mobile right now, otherwise I might start a new thread of interesting start player and tie breaker mechanisms.

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One of the joys of older games is the rule ‘choose a start player’

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Off the top of my head

‘Last person to read a history book’
‘Last person to plant a tree’

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Stores should have a policy of free refund if the game contains a contrived starting player rules.

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I like that Archaeology has both a suggested “fun” start player picker (last to step in sand) and a “strategy” one (person dealt the lowest total value in their starting hand).

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Personally I like a silly mechanism.

But I also like daft first player markers, like the moose in A Feast for Odin

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Container?

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From the Evolution rulebook:

“If there is a tie, the player with the most Trait Card points is the winner. If there is still a tie, the player with the most Population points is the winner. If there is still a tie, then you must immediately order pizza (either a meat lover’s pizza or vegetarian pizza) and play again.”

And from Arboretum:

“In the case of a tie, the tied player with the most species present in their arboretum wins. If there is still a tie, the tied players must each plant a tree. In five years’ time, the player whose tree has grown the tallest wins.”

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Most recent player to use a needle for Patchwork. My partner got venepuncture training to take that one away from me.

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I’m having trouble with the forum software letting me split this conversation into another thread, but in the meantime, I’ve gone through a couple of games in my collection and this is best one I’ve found so far:

Bridges of Shangrila

Whoever has last reached the peak of Mount Everest using nothing but blue and white checkered stilts carved form the wood of a Mammoth tree is declared the Starting Player. In case of a tie, the wisest player of the group begins the game.

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I’m fine with them as a “huh, the rulebook’s silly, let’s just pick a first player” thing. But a few groups I play with insist on actually following the rule. I really dislike that. I don’t want to have a dull conversation about who last climbed a mountain or wrapped a present.

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I always house rule first player. But, by consensus, we sometimes go by a zany rulebook rule.

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Weird is better than the old school “oldest player” and the like, as that results in always having the same first player.

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