Games with direct conflict and best with 3 players
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Andover
Massachusetts
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I game on a regular basis now with a couple of coworkers. We occassionally have a fourth or fifth player, but for the most part it's just the 3 of us. So far, I've introduced them to plenty of Euros, which they enjoy. But I think they're itching for some direct conflict. I can't seem to find any geeklists that cover this sort of topic specifically, so I thought I'd throw it out there and see what turns up for additions to this GL.

What games feature direct conflict--whether player vs player or player vs game--and are best (or at least good) with 3 players?
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1. Board Game: The End of the Triumvirate [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1316]
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Andover
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This is the first game I'm going to introduce them to that meets the two criteria. I've played it once and enjoyed it, so I went ahead and bought this one to show them. I think they'll appreciate the elegance of a game with combat that doesn't involve dice (or cards, for that matter). I'm sure the theme will hold them as well.
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2. Board Game: After the Flood [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1668]
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Haven't played it yet, but as long as it's not too complicated, they'll be able to pick it up alright. I like most of the Treefrog games, so I plan on acquiring this at some point.
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3. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:1387]
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This one may be a bit over the top for them rule-wise at this point (I'm not sure I even understand all the rules with the Ottomans and Hapsburgs). It doesn't really have player-on-player conflict, but they may enjoy the combat part of it, nevertheless.
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4. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
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Andover
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This one is borderline, as the Provost mechanic can't always target just one specific opponent. But, this one went over well with them, even though it was a bit heavy rules-wise.
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5. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1479]
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This one is rated higher with 4 players, but is still recommended with 3. Have not played, but I understand it's one of the lighter "wargames" of GMT.
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6. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:253]
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Another one that seems to excel with three. Seems to be a nice blend of Euro & wargame.
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7. Board Game: Prophecy [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1440]
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Andover
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Descent was a bit much for them on a weeknight, even with the Rescue scenario and me "dumbing down" the rules a bit. This might be too random for my tastes, though.
 
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8. Board Game: Runebound (Second Edition) [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:695]
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It's been a while since I've played it. But, it has the randomness that I'm worried about in Prophecy. Plus, it's got the added downtime because of the movement dice...still considering, though.
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9. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:26]
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While in my top 10 games, I think this one will have to wait until I expose them to more boardgames first. I'm not interested in playing any version of this other than the "Full" game, and that is beyond my gaming group at this point. Someday...
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10. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:336]
Tim Mierz
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Middletown
Connecticut
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Nexus Ops works fantastically as a 3-player game. It's fast-paced, encourages constant battling without stalling, and is just plain FUN.
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11. Board Game: Middle-Earth Quest [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:433]
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Own it, but haven't played yet. Not sure what makes it best with 3 rather than 4, but eventually, I'll teach this to them.
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12. Board Game: Tumblin-Dice [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:596]
Sara Stowe
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Mounds View
Minnesota
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Love It! great with three.
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13. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1342]
Ronster Zero
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California
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Is a damn fine direct conflict game.

Works best with 4, but is a damn fine game with 3.
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14. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Andrew Hodkinson
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Owen Sound
Ontario
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This game is usually 30 minutes long, has direct conflict (sometimes even triggered whether anyone wants it or not), and plays best with three or four players.

Edit: And it only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to play.
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15. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2493]
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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I would not play it with any other number.
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16. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:70]
Dick Leban
United States
Austin
Texas
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Plays differently, but well, with 2, 3, or 4. We enjoy it. Often reported as Reiner Knizia's gamer's game when it came out.
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17. Board Game: Sticheln [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:805]
Guy Riessen
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Sebastopol
California
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This is a painfully fantastic game to play with three--particulary if you're looking for something fast and hugely confrontational.

But it must be played with the "intense" rules found in the rulebook where each player must choose two different "pain" colors. We also use the optional rule that the zeros are worth nothing at the end. Every single play is designed to hurt your opponents. Played this way, with just three players, Stichlen is far more directly confrontational than any wargame I've ever played.

If you're going to play 3-player, Intense, make sure everyone has thick-skin, and truly can play agressively without taking things personally...it is that brutal. With the right players you'll hear nothing but evil cackles and groans of pain for 15 minutes, then you'll play again.
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18. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1029]
Danger Mike
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Best 3-player wargame evar. In my opinion, of course. It is two-against-one rather than every-man-for-himself. Works best when the two Allied players have differing views on strategy...
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19. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (second edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:403]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
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You can play it with 5 but with 3 (each hunter player playing 2 hunter characters) the game moves along much better.
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20. Board Game: Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1835]
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
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This is clearly made for 3 players, although 2-5 canin theory play.
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21. Board Game: Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesia [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:2092]
Michael Hovan
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Elkhart
Indiana
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This is an old Avalon Hill title. It is a wargame built for 3 people. The battle shapes up in concentric rings. A middle to the donut is played by one player, the next layer is another player and the outer force yet a third.
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