Two, or More Than Two?
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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A good number of games will be for 2 to 4 players or thereabouts. But the two-player experience tends to be quite different than with three or more. This list is for examining how games handle having two players, whether for better or for worse (or just as well either way).
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1. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:334]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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One of my favorite games, if played with three. The amount of income and troops you get, as well as your selection attacking opportunities, seems to be best with 3. With 2 players, since you control half the board your turns become longer, there's more to buy and keep track of, and the choices just seem less interesting.

Verdict - Best with More Than Two
 
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2. Board Game: Drakon (third edition) [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1493]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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Drakon has a chaotic, shifting board with a lot of opportunities to mess with other players. A maze of twisty passages, but not all alike. While it's always a race for gold, with more players there is much fiercer competition and therefore more interesting gameplay. With two players, though, players can get themselves into their own sections of the dungeon, generating coins after coins, killing most of the game's tension.

Verdict - Best with More Than Two
 
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3. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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Thurn and Taxis has pretty similar play no matter how many are involved. The level of interaction is so indirect - taking city cards and getting the VP chips earlier - that the game seems to flow just as well regardless of the number of players.

Verdict - Equally Good with Two or with More
 
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4. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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The two player game of Race for the Galaxy has significant differences, not the least of which is choosing two actions. More strategy seems to be involved in choosing those two actions while still trying to not collide with your opponent, and it is more difficult to draft against multiple tableaux than just one. The more directed strategy against one player makes me prefer the 2-player version.

Verdict - Best with Two
 
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5. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:212] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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I just played this for the first time yesterday, as 3-player games. The tactics seem to be heavily influenced by the whims of the players on who to attack, more than how to attack. While I have yet to play this with 2, I have to expect that good form is much more important in that setting.

Guess - Best with Two
 
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6. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:368]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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The US version, at least, comes with a 2-player variant that I've tried a few times. The trading aspect is all but killed, adding more luck in the "grab cards from the discard pile" mechanic. It doesn't hold the same fun or interaction as the 3+ version, to me or anyone else I've seen play it.

Verdict - Best with More Than Two
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7. Board Game: Carcassonne: The City [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:504]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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This great Carcassonne version plays surprisingly well with two players. While I was doubtful at first of the "place two/four walls" rule, it definitely helps keep the tension of the enclosing city walls, without sacrificing any fun or strategy.

Verdict - Equally Good with Two or with More
 
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8. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:895]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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I'm not a huge fan of the game, but the two-player game has even less excitement, fun in decisions, and interesting inter-personal tactics than the larger game.

Verdict - Best with More Than Two
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9. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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This plays 2-5. I've played it at all numbers, and it is an interesting and challenging game at all numbers -- though plays somewhat differently. For two players there are some small rules variations -- but they are small and don't affect most of the choices, options, or decisions going on.

I like it so much with 2 or more than 2, I have to say:

Verdict - works equally well with both 2 and more than 2.
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10. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Dick Hunt
United States
Orlando
Florida
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Alhambra supposedly accommodates 2-6 players, but it bogs down outrageously as the number of players exceeds 3. Adding more than 3 players also rachets up the game's chaos/luck factor too much, as the market choices of buildings you pass up on one turn is very likely to be totally different on your next turn. That's huge, because in this game, one of the toughest choices you'll have to make is whether to buy a particular tile now or to take money instead and hope that the passed-over tile will still be available to you on your next turn.

Verdict: Excellent for 2-3 players, but goes downhill fast with more than 3...
 
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11. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:231]
Dick Hunt
United States
Orlando
Florida
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My friends and I rather liked this game with either 3 or 4 players, but it fell flat the first time we tried a 2-player game. My opponent got a decent early lead on me and for the rest of the game all he had to do was mirror whatever I did. While "unforgiving" is rarely a complimentary term when applied to board games, it's especially bad in a 2-player game....

Verdict: much better with more than 2 players
 
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