Games that play best with 3 players
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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I'd like to keep track of games that are considered "Best" with 3 players. That can be sometimes an awkward/unbalanced number for many games, so it would be useful (at least for me) to have some go-to games for this number.

I searched around first to see if something like this already existed, I found this
Summary of User Suggested Player Count Polls (BGG Top 250)
which is nice since it incorporates weight, but, it's from 3 years ago so it doesn't include some newer games, and also I don't want to restrict myself to the top 250.

Feel free to add any of your favorites. The only criteria is that the user-suggested # player polls should be Best for 3 players; it's fine if it's also Best at other #s.

EDIT:
As I mention in a comment below, what I'm looking for is an intersection between personal opinion and wisdom-of-the-crowds: games someone likes enough to make the effort to post, but that also satisfies the consensus on the poll that it's "best" with 3.

I'm being intentionally picky with this to only get the cream of the crop. If I also included games that are "recommended" but not "best" with 3, the list would be way too large.

EDIT AGAIN:
I just changed the sorting to alphabetical.
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1. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:3]
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Best Recommended Not Recommended Vote Count
1 0.7% (1) 10.7% (16) 88.6% (132) 149
2 27.4% (81) 64.9% (192) 7.8% (23) 296
3 70.2% (221) 27.6% (87) 2.2% (7) 315
4 20.1% (57) 42.6% (121) 37.3% (106) 284
> 4 0.0% (0) 1.5% (2) 98.5% (134) 136
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2. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:13]
Dick Hunt
United States
Ovid
Michigan
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Ranked #6 on the 'Geek, 78.8% of users polled think it plays best with three vs. only 59.3% preferring it with four players.
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3. Board Game: Brass [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:15]
Daniel Sharp
United States
Austin
Texas
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One of my all time favorite games! This one is really good with 3 players, weighing it with 53.8% of the vote. Four players is probably ideal, but still great with 3.
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4. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:19]
Dick Hunt
United States
Ovid
Michigan
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I would have guessed that the sweet spot for Caylus would be pegged at four or five players, but according to the 'Geek, 56.4% of 370 voters claim that three players is its best number.
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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:27] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Dick Hunt
United States
Ovid
Michigan
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This is another game which surprised me with its 3-player sweet spot because I figured it would be more popular with four players. But according to its 'Geek poll, 55.4% of voters say it's best with three players while only 46.4% of voters liked it best with four.
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6. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:47]
Markus
Germany
Kaiserslautern
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So this is my new overtext ? Hmmm...
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61.8 % say this game is best with three. I had the chance to play this game several times both with 3 and with 4 players and I have to agree - totally. I suspect that the fixed number of rounds (six) is the major reason for this, since each player will get the starting player token exactly two times in a 3 player game.
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7. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:121]
LuAnn Hensel
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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64% of voters say that this is best with 3.

This is a classic Knizia game.

Instead of being rectangular, the board is in the shape of Japan. Instead of boring cubes this game features some nice figures, especially the Buddhas.
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8. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:140]
Y Kim
South Korea
Seoul
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Notre Dame is best with 3 players (62.4%, 68 out of 109 think so), also good with 4 players.
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9. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:165]
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Oh I can't believe I forgot Maria! Another one that was actually designed for 3 players.

93.8% (30 votes) say Best With 3.

Locally owned and loved in Gainesville so plenty of opps to play this one...
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10. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:171]
Daniel Sharp
United States
Austin
Texas
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52.4% of gamers found this to play best with 3 players. Somewhat overshadowed by the whopping 85.7% that found it best with 4, but nevertheless a great game with three. This is also a fairly new game, so there may be some future changes that knock this one out of the best with three category.
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11. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:206]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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67.3% of geeks say Vikings are best in threes. I would tend to agree.
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12. Board Game: Middle-Earth Quest [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:253]
William Snider
United States
Midlothian
Virginia
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I have this on my soon to buy list mainly because of how great it is with three.(or so I've read). Also Liberte.
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13. Board Game: Thebes [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:254]
Daniel Sharp
United States
Austin
Texas
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68.7% of respondents found Thebes to be best with 3 players. This is a great light game that scales very well from 2 to 4. 3 players is definitely the sweet spot on this one though.
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14. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:294]
Angel Garcia Perez
Spain
Malaga
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One of the best
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15. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:299]
LuAnn Hensel
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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67% of voters say this is best with 3.

This is a meaty game with a pretty unique theme. Plus it has shrimples! I think of it as a cross between Tigris & Euphrates and a stock game.
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16. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:303]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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71.9% of geeks say Alhambra is best with 3
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17. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:310]
Matthias X
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While Core Worlds is playable with four players it is not interactive enough to require four players and it suffers from too much downtime with that player count.
I highly recommend this game for three player groups.
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18. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:317]
Kevin Duffy
United States
Phoenixville
Pennsylvania
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Mr Worf.....Fire!
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Quote:
90.9% say best with 3 and I agree.
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19. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:389]
Daniel Sharp
United States
Austin
Texas
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Someone already put up Web of Power, so this one may add a little redundancy. Anyway, an overwhelming 78.9% of respondents felt that this game played best with 3 players. No qualifying statements for this one, its hands down best with 3.
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20. Board Game: Arkadia [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:456]
LuAnn Hensel
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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58% of voters say this is best with 3.

A nice lightish stock game that doesn't have a stock theme from Rüdiger Dorn.

This is also a nice looking game. It uses the tower pieces from Torres, little plastic people, and Tetris-style pieces like Princes of Florence.
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21. Board Game: Amyitis [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:513]
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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75% (27 votes) say best with 3. I've only played it once and that was 3 players.
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22. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:527]
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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"Best" by a whopping 70.1% (68 votes)!
None of the other player #s for this game are even close to Best.

On my wishlist.
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23. Board Game: Carolus Magnus [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:590]
Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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72.9% of the folks think Carolus Magnus works best with 3 players. When someone mentions 3 player games, this is the first one that comes to mind. It plays well with 2 as well, but truly shines with 3.
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24. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:588]
LuAnn Hensel
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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87% of voters say this is best with 3.

This is a rummy style game where the players are trying to catch outlaws and collect the reward money.
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25. Board Game: König von Siam [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:637]
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Best by a whopping 75.0% (33 votes).
None of the other player #s even come close to Best.

Own.
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