My son is convinced that it's best to go last in Vinci because you have the more complete information of seeing where other players have started their civilizations and you always get last turn (like having home field advantage in baseball). I see these 2 advantages, but I wonder if these outweigh the disadvantages such as not having first pick on civilizations, not being the first to go into decline, and perhaps other factors I haven't even considered (we're all new to the game). So:

Is it better to go first, last, in between, or is the game so well balanced that it hardly matters?

  • I've never played Small World, but I've read that it's a reimplementation of Vinci, and thus very similar. So perhaps the answer to this will apply to both games equally? If not, please tell me in the comments and I'll remove the small-world tag.
    – Joe Golton
    May 20, 2012 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


This is very difficult question to answer because so much of it depends on your experience, play-style, and how the random elements of the game turn out. These games have sufficient complexity that, based on how they are played by humans, going either first or last might be an advantage.

It's certain that one's play-style preferences will affect this decision. If you are one who more often likes to find a best response to your opponent's moves, then going later will be 'better' since it suits your play-style, this you'll win more often going later than going earlier. However, if you're one who prefers to be more strategic, going earlier might yield you more wins.

Two things to note:

  1. If you have the choice of consistently going in a certain order, keep choosing the one you have the most experience with. This will enable you to remove one variable of the game, and allow you to improve your skill in the game faster.
  2. There ARE certain combinations of races and powers that are clearly better, especially in terms of how they interact, than others. This means that in certain games, it will be more advantageous to grab them, thus go earlier. However, it's not at all clear that these situations happen often enough to offset any advantages (if they exist) from going later.

It will be difficult to measure, especially when you add in more than two players. Just examining two players for a moment here. It is usually more advantageous to go first during the first turn, because you get first race selection. After choosing your race, the new selection is revealed. If your opponent was only allowed a single turn, you could calculate the best move for every race before the revealed race, and determine the best move possible (after the new race is revealed, you can add it's best move into your calculations). If you only played one round, you will get the first attempt to take empty territory, and your opponent might have to attack you to take territory.

The exception to the above would be when a powerful race is revealed. This is less likely to happen when compared to the 6 starting revealed races.

An examination of the last turn is similar. The player who is going first has the opportunity to take any unclaimed regions (if any) before his opponent.

For the most part, this is a game of open information. Going first is an advantage in 2-player, because you could calculate your optimum move and your opponents optimum move that turn. In subsequent turns, you will get the first opportunity to go into decline. The only random events (race selection) favor the first player. In multiplayer though, who each person decides to attack has probably a greater effect on winning. If every player played optimally, I think the first player would still have the advantage most of the time, but that is a much more difficult question to solve.

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