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Jarratt Gray
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A few people have been asking about Endeavor as a 2p game, how it would scale and whether it would work.

One of the primary reasons we released Endeavor as a 3-5p game and not a 2-5p game is that the rules and set-up are exactly the same for 3-5p. While the rules presented can scale for 2p the dynamics inherent within the game don't translate to the 2p game. While the feel of the game is a little different with 3, 4 or 5p, the essential dynamics remain intact.

A true 2p version would clearly be a variant of the current rules. We did playtest the 2p game which helped us decide *not* to release the game as presented for 2p.

We recognize that people do like to play games 2p as well as with groups, so Carl and I have adapted the rules to create the following 2p variant. This is a work in progress, which we have received good feedback and suggestions on. Thanks to everyone that has contributed to developing this variant.

*

Endeavor 2p Variant with neutral tokens
This variant is designed to provide interesting conflict through the use of neutral tokens. You can attempt to starve your opponent of valuable trade tokens, isolate your cities among neutral tokens, and speed up the opening of regions.
For those that prefer a friendlier solitaire game this might not be for them.

Setup
~Main board, trade tokens, asset cards and buildings are set up normally.
~Each player gets one player board each and their choice of a single color
~Also take one of the other colors (not including cubes) and place them in a common supply. These are neutral tokens.

Gameplay
~The build, growth and payment phases remain the same.
~During the action phase certain actions will provoke neutral actions, either bringing tokens onto the main board, or discarding cards from the game.
Occupy
~Immediately after a player uses the occupy action and has placed their token, that player also adds a neutral token to any one available city in an open region where the neutral colour has presence. The trade token present is discarded. If no available city exists no neutral token is placed.
~Neutral tokens cannot complete connections.
~Using a blue token to occupy does not provoke a neutral occupy action.
Attack
~The attack action remains unchanged.
~Neutral tokens can be attacked.
Ship
~Immediately after a player uses the ship action and has placed their token, that player also adds a neutral token to the next available space on any one shipping lane. The trade token present is discarded.
~Neutral tokens can collect governors which are then discarded from play.
~Using a blue token to ship does not provoke a neutral ship action.
Draw
~Immediately after a player uses the draw action and has drawn their card, that player also discards the top card from any one open region where the neutral tokens present equal or exceed the card value.
~If no such card exists then no discard.
~Governors cannot be discarded in this way and therefore protect their stacks.
~If Abolition of Slavery is discarded it comes into effect immediately as if drawn by another player.
~Using a blue token to draw does not provoke a neutral draw action.

Special Buildings
~Docks: If the docks is used to both occupy and ship a token is placed for each action, after each individual action.
~Cartographer: After both ship actions have been executed then one neutral token is placed on a shipping lane.
~Trade Office:, After both cards have been drawn discard only one card.


Options
Limited Neutral Occupy
~Neutral tokens only occupy in the region that was just occupied.
Strategically this is easier, but given the way the regions open slowly one by one, this is not too dissimilar to the to the basic variant. If you are playing for the first time you may prefer to use this to keep things simple.

Blue Tokens Provoke Neutral Actions
~Use all the rules in the basic variant but allow neutral actions after the use of blue tokens.
Again playing this way is much simpler as everything works the same way. Limiting blue token play as in the variant creates less overwhelming domination by the neutral pieces and more room for interesting strategic play.

Building Limitations
~Before either player builds, the non-crown player discards one building. This may come from any level equal to or lower than that players Industry level.
~Only one level 5 building may discarded in this way during the game.
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Jason Clague
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I like the sound of this variant. The official Settlers variant uses the neutral player thing, and you can use it to get in your opponent's way - which is what is needed here I think.
 
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Doug Adams
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Thanks Jarrat. My golden rule is to not buy a game if it's not 2 player supported. Endeavor is back on the radar!
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linoleum blownaparte
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Jarratt I would suggest only one change:
Quote:

the neutral player Occupies in the same region ONLY if he has presence, otherwise he can Occupy in any region where he does have presence, player's choice.


I would also play around with a building Option:

Quote:
Each turn, before either player builds, the Neutral builds one building randomly selected from the highest tier currently available to BOTH of the other players.


This creates a bit of building scarcity. Perhaps it could even be a building from the highest tier available.
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Jarratt Gray
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Quote:
the neutral player Occupies in the same region ONLY if he has presence, otherwise he can Occupy in any region where he does have presence, player's choice.


Well it's highly unlikely that the neutral player wouldn't have presence but that seems like a good thing to look at. I wouldn't have them occupy somewhere else though. At the moment it will occur where there will be no available spaces for them to occupy in a region because they are taken.

Perhaps one way of looking at it is that an available space is one that can be occupied under normal circumstances, so if they have no presence in the shipping lane then any city in that region wouldn't be available.

Quote:
I would also play around with a building Option: Each turn, before either player builds, the Neutral builds one building randomly selected from the highest tier currently available to BOTH of the other players.


While building scarcity is a feature of the 5p game it isn't hugely important in the 3p. I think the buildings where it most matters are the tier 4 buildings and I would be loathe to take out some of them just in case one player wanted to build 2. i.e. If you have a perfect set of buildings over the first 5 rounds then 2 Universities can be gold.

If people want to try this and play around with building scarcity then try it but I don't think it is that important.

The easiest way would be to drop the number of buildings in each tier at the start of the game, Possibly 3/3/2/1/1 might work. Or you could try the random remove. Another way would be to have the first player choose 1-2 buildings to discard at the start of the round in every round other than the last round.

Building scarcity might be a feature of other 2p variants we try out and I would be interested to know what people think when playing this whether building scarcity is necessary or not.
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David Hoffman
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Quote:
f they have no presence in the shipping lane then any city in that region wouldn't be available.


But, if the players are following the instructions above (place a neutral marker whenever you place one of your own on a shipping track), the neutral player would have to have a presence in a region before it opens for occupation, no?

My wife and I will be trying out the 2-p variant tonight.
 
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Asa Swain
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When you ship you put the neutral player token in any shipping lane. Imagine a game where both players decided to put all the neutral shipping tokens in the Far East and India. When they complete dthe shipping lane for South America, the neutral player would have no presence there, which means that when they start occupying South America the players wouldn't be able to place any neutral tokens in South America.
 
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Jarratt Gray
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quartex wrote:
When you ship you put the neutral player token in any shipping lane. Imagine a game where both players decided to put all the neutral shipping tokens in the Far East and India. When they complete dthe shipping lane for South America, the neutral player would have no presence there, which means that when they start occupying South America the players wouldn't be able to place any neutral tokens in South America.


I think this is a good reason why Neutral's should ignore presence.

On the flipside if you both sent them all to the Far East the region opens but currently you have no presence there. Docks would come in handy in this situation.
 
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Asa Swain
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In a 2 player game you either use the 3rd player as a dummy player(much like Alhambra does) or you have the 3rd player be used by both players to attack each other (which is what Endeavor seems to do).

I think having the neutral player conform to the same rules of a normal player is less important, if it improves the quality and balance of the game.

So if the neutral player ignores presence then anytime you occupy a newly opened area, 1 of the 3 cities will quickly be filled by the neutral player. This helps give the players an alternate use for the attack action, besides attacking each other.

This basically reverts back to your original suggested rules, except adding the point that when you occupy a region you add a neutral token to any available city in the same region (whether or not the neutral player has presence in this region).

In terms of theme (which may or may not be important) I imagine the neutral player could actually be portrayed as pirates who plague the shipping lanes and indigenous peoples (aka savages) native to the territories. It makes sense that pirates would take away valuable shipping trade and natives would occupy vacant (unprotected) cities. Unlike the colonizing powers, natives don't have to have presence in the shipping lanes to occupy a city.

There are a lot more shipping spaces than cities, so I'm not sure how much occupying you do in the game, especially once Europe is filled up. My worry is that if we let neutral players occupy other regions (if this region is full) all the cities across the board will quickly be filled with neutral tokens, making attack much more valuable then it was in the 3-5 player game. Of course you could design a zombie variant where you are fighting back a plague of neutral zombie tokens which are spreading across the world, but that's a different kind of game. I think the key is to have the neutral tokens take up enough of the spots to force competition, but not so many as to overwhelm the players.

 
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Tim Collins
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Please let use know anyone who tries this variant out how well it plays and if it is fun for 2p. I'd love to get this game, but am cirrently in the market for games that play well 2p for my wife and I.

Thanks

Tim.
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Asa Swain
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Unicorniclops wrote:
Please let use know anyone who tries this variant out how well it plays and if it is fun for 2p. I'd love to get this game, but am cirrently in the market for games that play well 2p for my wife and I.

Thanks

Tim.


FYI - One player's experiences with the two player variant were posted in a session report here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/440732
 
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Jeff Binning
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My wife and I finished playing the two player variant a few minutes ago, and we both thought it worked extremely well. The competition was fierce, and though I thought I was far behind, I ended up losing by only 2 points, 49 to 47. As we get more comfortable with the game, it will be easier to estimate scores, but there is a lot to watch out for. Excellent game.

A couple quick points of clarification regarding the variant. The special building reference to the Trade Office should be the Cartographer, right? Cartographer provides for 2 shipping actions. Trade Office allows for 2 card draws in a region.

When the ship action occurs, we're assuming the trade token taken by the neutral piece gets discarded as it does for the occupy action.

Thanks for this great variant. We've been playing this with a couple of friends for the past week, and it was nice to have the chance to play it when it's just the 2 of us. We'll be playing this one often.

If anyone has hesitated to get this due to the 3 to 5 player suggestion on the box, I'd say go for it. It played differently with 2 than the 3 or 4 player games did, but it was very satisfying. I hope I get to try the 5 player game soon as well.

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Jarratt Gray
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
A couple quick points of clarification regarding the variant. The special building reference to the Trade Office should be the Cartographer, right? Cartographer provides for 2 shipping actions. Trade Office allows for 2 card draws in a region.

When the ship action occurs, we're assuming the trade token taken by the neutral piece gets discarded as it does for the occupy action.


Yeah you are correct on both counts. I have amended the variant. I also added in that neutrals don't need presence for occupying.
 
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Catherine Short
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Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Just clocked the fourth game using the two player variant and it works really well.

Can you just clarify a few rules.

1. A player activates the Docks (ship and occupy) and a shipping lane has two spaces left. The player places their colour token, then a neutral token in the shipping lane. The Governor card is then given to the player with the majority. Then the player occupies a city followed by the neutral player occupying a city. So the order is: Ship (player then neutral) Occupy (player then neutral). Is this right?

2. Can you place neutral tokens next to full shipping lanes? This came up when there was only one shipping lane left and we guessed this was not allowed.
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Steve Duff
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cj1582 wrote:
1. A player activates the Docks (ship and occupy) and a shipping lane has two spaces left. So the order is: Ship (player then neutral) Occupy (player then neutral). Is this right?


Looks to me like the neutral token stuff is done *after* your moves. So, when it was your turn, you couldn't do both the ship and the occupy, as you were two away.

Your turn was ship, can't occupy.
Then the neutral token went down, filling it up, assigning the Governor.

When you're one away, then I believe it's:

You ship, you occupy.
Place two neutrals.

cj1582 wrote:
2. Can you place neutral tokens next to full shipping lanes? This came up when there was only one shipping lane left and we guessed this was not allowed.


Neutrals don't draw cards, so there doesn't seem to be any reason to worry about this. The track is already full, the governor already assigned.
 
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Jeff Binning
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I'm just replying because I'm so excited about the game. My opinions are just that and no more.

Quote:
1. A player activates the Docks (ship and occupy) and a shipping lane has two spaces left. The player places their colour token, then a neutral token in the shipping lane. The Governor card is then given to the player with the majority. Then the player occupies a city followed by the neutral player occupying a city. So the order is: Ship (player then neutral) Occupy (player then neutral). Is this right?


This sounds exactly how we'd play it if it occurred. You have the option of which shipping lane to place the neutral token, so you could use it to trigger the opening of the area. The sequence you describe seems the logical way to proceed.

Quote:
2. Can you place neutral tokens next to full shipping lanes? This came up when there was only one shipping lane left and we guessed this was not allowed.


On this I'm guessing no as well. The only real purpose to place next to a shipping lane is to open the area to a player who wishes to occupy cities there and didn't get in on the original path. Jarratt added the rule (see his post above) saying:

Quote:
I also added in that neutrals don't need presence for occupying.


With this rule in place there would be no reason to place a neutral token outside the shipping lane, as presence isn't a requirement.

Edit after looking at the wording of the variant again:

It does say place the neutral token on "any available space" which implies one of the spaces on the shipping lanes; however, if the lane is full, then the space alongside would be an available space, I guess.

I'm sure Jarratt will respond and give you an official reply, and I hope you don't mind me sharing my thoughts on this. It really is a wonderful game, isn't it? My wife and I are both wanting to play it all the time since we got it.

 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
Looks to me like the neutral token stuff is done *after* your moves. So, when it was your turn, you couldn't do both the ship and the occupy, as you were two away.

Your turn was ship, can't occupy.
Then the neutral token went down, filling it up, assigning the Governor.

When you're one away, then I believe it's:

You ship, you occupy.
Place two neutrals.


I can see that being the way to go as well. I thought the other way because placing a neutral token is part of a single action, i.e. ship, then place a neutral, or occupy, then place a neutral. When granting 2 actions I'd think you do them one at a time, rather than doing my 2 actions, then neutral 2 placements. It feels like it's splitting the actions.
 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
Neutrals don't draw cards, so there doesn't seem to be any reason to worry about this. The track is already full, the governor already assigned.


I thought she was asking if it could be used as a stalling technique. If only 1 shipping lane is left, and you didn't want it to fill too rapidly, could you place the neutral outside a different shipping lane. But maybe I'm mistaken as to the intent of the question.
 
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Steve Duff
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I'm sure we'll get an official ruling soon. I expect he'll take your side.

Really, I guess it doesn't overly matter, it just slightly changes the timing on when you get the best use of your dock. As long as it's known beforehand, it works either way.
 
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Steve Duff
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
I thought she was asking if it could be used as a stalling technique. If only 1 shipping lane is left, and you didn't want it to fill too rapidly, could you place the neutral outside a different shipping lane.


Ah, yes, that makes sense. Crafty devil, she is.
 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
Really, I guess it doesn't overly matter, it just slightly changes the timing on when you get the best use of your dock. As long as it's known beforehand, it works either way.


And with the 2 player game, it slightly opens up your options with the dock, as you could use it effectively from either one or two spaces away from the card.

And I agree, it only affects timing, not a critical issue. Great little game.
 
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Jarratt Gray
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The idea of the variant was that Neutrals fill up spaces you want so a Neutral won't go to the open sea. If all the shipping lanes are full then you don't place, other wise it goes to an unopened shipping lane.

The Docks question is a little trickier so I recommend people try it a few ways and tell us what they like.

1. Neutrals are added after each step of the Docks
2. Neutrals are added only after you have completed all steps of the Docks
3. Only 1 neutral is added after you complete the steps of the docks, it based on last action you used with the Docks.

I would probably lean towards #2 myself because it seems the easiest, though #1 has some interesting ramifications as Catherine has said. I do believe that without #1 it might become impossible to get the timing right to use the Docks to finish a shipping lane and then occupy.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Jamie Pollock
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Jarratt, thanks for taking the time to post a variant for playing Endeavor 2-player! FYI, it's precisely this that's convinced me into purchasing Endeavor - seems your time and effort posting this has been worthwhile!


One question - what's the reason for deciding on one neutral colour as opposed to two (i.e. one per player)? Is it just for elegance sakes, or is it just to deliberately make governor cards hard to come by? In fact if both players go to the same region won't be nigh on impossible to get a governor card? I guess one upshot is that in itself might create interaction as each player tries to stop each other...

Edit: oops, didn't read it properly - after shipping one can put a neutral token into any shipping lane. I guess I just need to try it out to see how it all plays!
 
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Jarratt Gray
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Jambo wrote:
One question - what's the reason for deciding on one neutral colour as opposed to two (i.e. one per player)? Is it just for elegance sakes, or is it just to deliberately make governor cards hard to come by?


Well I think it is easier for each player to draw from the same pile of Neurals. Also if you use something like Black as Neutrals then it is pretty easy to gauge where you are on the board.

As you say with 1 set of Neutrals Governors are harder, with 2 they are easier.

In trying to get the interaction and struggle you feel in a multiplayer game I felt that having a single colour really got that. Making Governors a real struggle is part of that.

You can put the Neutrals on any shipping lane so this gives you a few options.
~Put it somewhere else that you might want to open up later
~Put it in your track to speed up the opening but risk losing the governor
~Put it in your opponents track to stop them getting a governor but this will speed up the track.

On top of that with both occupy and ship you can place the Neutrals in such a way as to deny your opponent a trade token they wanted.

And of course you can wander in and join them on a shipping lane to make sure they don't have the region to themselves.
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Gil Bellemare
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We have played Endeavor 4 times already, 2x 4 players,1x 5 players, and once tonight with 2 players.

I think this game is at is most fun with 5 players, but I have to admit that this 2 players configuration was nice, and I have to say: it felt the same as a 4 player game tension-wise.

We played the rules you posted here (neutral with Occupy and Ship.)

And we reduced the number of buildings as you suggested a couple posts ago.(3-3-2-2-1 instead of the total 5-4-3-2-1.)

Thanks for sharing this rule, my wife and I really enjoy being able to play this splendid game even if were just the two of us.



-Takezo
 
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