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Subject: First of all: an awesome 2-player game rss

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Ruben Bauer
Germany
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This Review does not repeat the rules.
They are very simple and are explained well by SOS in his review: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/161776


Short tactics note, that has nothing to do with the rest, but might be interesting for someone new to the game:
A good outcome of a single play is: Either
- you beat your opponent(s) as closely as possible or
- you loose to them as dramatically as possible or
- a tie works to your advantage while you pay the minimum.



My main goal: I will try to explain, why Raj is one of my favorite 2-Player games, while I tend to get bored with 3+ players fairly quickly.
To do so, I will first describe, what it is, that I love about this game: It's a game that's all about tracing your opponent's thoughts, always trying to be that one little step ahead of him, while he is trying to do the same thing. If you know what poker is essentially about - this is it, in great purity: following people deep into their thoughts about a situation which includes your following.


Now, is this game easier with only one opponent? In a way: yes, and in a way: no.
In the end, the 'no'-part of this answer is the reason I prefer the 2-player game a lot. But first, the 'yes'-part:


The 2-player game, is easier, yes, because you don't have to factor in as many variables in each decision. You 'only' have to consider one opponent's strategy. And his strategy depends only on what he thinks about your strategy. It is in a way obvious, that this is a much simpler scenario than figuring out, what each of my two or more opponents will do, who themselves have to make their decision dependent on two or more opponents, etc.
But: The 2-player-game can get very complex, too. This depends strongly on your opponent of course. If he plays a solid straight foreward strategy, thinking around 5 corners won't help you much: thinking around just one more corner than him must always be the goal. If both are willing to dig deeper though, a thought process can become quite long and still be reasonably probable to capture what is really going on in your heads. Talking about individual plays and why they were made is a way of checking that afterwards, and the great satisfaction which stems from knowing that you were right (or just slightly wrong - which is as wrong as you can be) all the way during a long thought is what's so damn fun about the game.


Alright, the 2-player game can get complex, too, but then why the heck shouldn't a 3+ game still be even more exciting?
In my experience, the complexity in a 3+ player game in the end has the opposite effect: decisions become shorter and gutsier because of overwhelming complexity. The jump in (psychological as well as strategical) complexity, is so huge as soon as the third player enters the game, that players have to simplify their decision process in a radical way in order to handle it. While you are following each of your opponents thoughts into deeper regions, the probability that you loose at least one of them just becomes so much bigger. And as soon as you loose one, you've lost them all. It therefore often doesn't make much sense to dig as deep as you do in a 2-player-game regularly.
Don't get me wrong: this necessary simplification in a 3+ game does still include a lot of skill and can at times be quite challenging, but it turns out, that you are thrown back at a more of a gutsy kind of feel to judge how the other players will simplify, rather than beeing able to figure out their longer and deeper thoght processes. The analytical process each player can reasonably go through just gets cut off much earlier.


So, concluding what's been said: If going deep into thought processes is what makes the game a hard one to master and a great one to play, then i would say: The 2-player game is not simply easier, it's simpler in it's setup, but therefore gives the oportunity to go much deeper. And because of that, at least for me: it's much more fun.


I am very interested in other people's thoughts about this, as i have a feeling, opinions could differ a lot on the judgement of the complexity jump from 2 to 3 players.
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Marshall Miller
United States
Malden
Massachusetts
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I don't like the 2p game as much because I am a horrible card counter. Most of my friends are much better than I am, so I feel like the game comes down to whose memory is better for the cards the opponent has left to play.

This is a game that I really like though. I went out of my way to get a copy.
 
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Marshall Miller
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Also, I like to start teaching new players this game, then make the jump to For Sale.
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Ruben Bauer
Germany
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Well I must say: counting the exact cards your opponent has left at all times is essential for knowing your strategic options in this game.
 
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Shaun Mather
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Yuma
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From reading this thread, I am thinking it would be just easier and yet more intense to discard your used bid cards face up for all to know...
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Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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PsychoZulu wrote:
From reading this thread, I am thinking it would be just easier and yet more intense to discard your used bid cards face up for all to know...


Reading the rules, it says you discard your bid cards "face up in a pile". I agree, I think I'll just play you discard your bid cards face up in a line.
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