What about interaction in 2 players mode? Have read, it pushes players to fight for resource more often than in >2 player mode.
I personally prefer some conflict on the board while doing other actions. For example, Antike Duellum we play often has great balance between economy and fighting.
3 players has a tad bit more conflict as the same amount of ports are closed in the variant but the remaining resources must be dispersed amongst 3 players. 2 player games run well, though conflict is less likely as there are enough resources to go around.