Multiplayer games that only work (well) with a single number of players
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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I'm trying to catalog games here whose authors/publishers claim they play a wide range of players, but which in reality only play well with a single number of players. Much of this will be a judgement call, of course.
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1. Board Game: Carolus Magnus [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:896]
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Why play this with any number other than three?
 
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2. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:53]
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Playing with any less than five ruins the essential tensions of this game.
 
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3. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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From my experience, the rules for three or four players seem essentially like paste-ons. Stick with two ...
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4. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2481]
darksurtur
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Arlington
Virginia
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I don't have a lot of experience playing this game (thankfully), but I'm pretty sure playing with either two or four is not ideal.
 
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5. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:506]
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Like El Grande, most of the richness and intensity of this game is lost without exactly five players.
 
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6. Board Game: Oasis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1242]
Chris Garlic-13 Aniballi
United States
Carpentersville
IL
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Likewise, Oasis is really best with 5. Game is passable with 4, but not recommended at all with three.
 
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7. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
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I've heard people say that this works well with 4, but I can't see playing this game with less than 5. Its turn angst is maxed out at 5, and who plays games if they don't like turn angst?
 
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8. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:260]
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
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As with Princes of Florence, I've heard that Amun-Re is also a good game with 4, but I think it's best played with a full complement of 5. At that point, all provinces are in play, and the second half of the game with its provinces up for auction becomes much more critical.
 
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9. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Fidel Lainez
Spain
Unspecified
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It seems that it has been designed with 5 players in mind.

With less players, there are some balance issues.
 
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10. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:306]
Joe Gola
United States
Redding
Connecticut
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Defintely at its best with four players.
 
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11. Board Game: Timbuktu [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1427]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A classic example of a game fitting this description, IMHO, Timbuktu should only be played with precisely five players.
 
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12. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:512]
darksurtur
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Again, only three seems best here. With four, there is imbalance between the sets of cards dealt out, and the Rawlsian pie-cutting mechanics fall flat when only one is choosing instead of two.
 
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13. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1254]
Alexander Schmalz
Germany
Köln
Nordrhein Westfalen
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Should be played with either 3 or 5 players so the Nobles are included. I believe that this faction works as a balance for the game.
 
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14. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:499]
Brandon Clarke
New Zealand
Auckland
Auckland
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Just a waste of time with less than 7.
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15. Board Game: New England [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1694]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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First game that came to mind here. Only with 4. With 3 the board is too big and there are too many tiles/cards up for auction.
 
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16. Board Game: Solitaire [Average Rating:4.28 Overall Rank:15284]
Rob Leveille
Canada
St. Catharines
Ontario
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I find this one works best with one player, but I'm sure someone will disagree.

 
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17. Board Game: Mare Nostrum [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1073]
Ubiratã Oliveira
Brazil
Porto Alegre
Rio Grande do Sul
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What would you think...this game is very cool with 5 players...with less...I don´t think so...
 
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18. Board Game: Sex! [Average Rating:4.78 Unranked]
David Me
United States
Bowling Green
Kentucky
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Though made for two players, I hear this game can be quite a hoot with three or more.
 
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19. Board Game: Inkognito [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1397]
Ian T
United Kingdom
Harlow
Essex
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This is a visually impressive game - problem is, you need to really play it with others who are already familiar with it, or it can fall down horribly. Oh, and it really only works well with four (hence the addition to the list).
That said, if you have four players who all like deduction games, this is hard to beat.
 
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20. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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I've played with 4, and its OK, but to maximize the coalition mechanic you need to have 5 (talking about the most recent release of this). I won't usually bother trying to get this on the table with less than 5.
 
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21. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:216]
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
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Is it worth playing this one with less than 6 players? You really need to have all the factions represented to get as much diplomatic duplicity as possible.
 
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22. Board Game: Hansa [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:708]
Sheila N
United States
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I believe that Hansa works the best with 3 by far. 2 players is not bad. The one time I played with 4 players it did not work well at all. One person was always stuck with replenishing and it seemed to take just a bit too long between turns. I realize that one time may not be the best way to judge but I have read similar comments by others. And the game is such a good one with 3 players, why play it again with 4?
 
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23. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3815]
Tom Rhoads
United States
Severna Park
Maryland
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In my experience, this is best by far with 4. With 3 it's too easy to track down the criminals, so it's not interesting enough. With 5, it's so chaotic that it's almost all luck. Also, the sequences of events become totally nonsensical. This weakens the atmosphere, which is otherwise one of the game's strengths.
 
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24. Board Game: Mü & More [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:823]
Iain Cheyne
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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Mu is definitely best with five.
 
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25. Board Game: Conspiracy [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:3557]
Alan Monroe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Four players is a must in this one. For some reason nobody else in my group seems to like this one as much as I do.
 
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