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Subject: San Juan for Two Players? rss

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Arturo Ron
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I've read mixed reviews on how well this game scales down to two players and I'm wondering if it's worth purchasing if I'm going to mostly be playing it with one other person. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
 
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O.Shane Balloun
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It's pretty fun with 2 people. It plays quickly and it doesn't lose its strategy with 2 (vs. 4 people).
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blueart1 wrote:
I've read mixed reviews on how well this game scales down to two players and I'm wondering if it's worth purchasing if I'm going to mostly be playing it with one other person. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Yes, you should find it to be an enjoyable 2p game.

Worth mentioning is that this game plays rather differently with 2p vs. 3p vs. 4p that with each different play count, it's almost like it's a completely different game. Should you ever play with 3p or 4p, you may need to "adjust" to do well.

This is one of those games where reduced to 2p, it's more structured, less chaos, and you tend to think out more things, since you only have 1 other player to worry about.

Library may have to be taken out, as even when people follow the rule of "one use per round", they feel it's still too strong.

I've played it enough and got bored with the game in a timely manner. However, with the expansion (part of the Alea/Rio Grand Games Treasure Chest), it greatly revitalizes it.
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Billy McBoatface
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Almost all my games were with 2 and I had a lot of fun with it.
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Richard Sampson
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I actually have to disagree. The game is fun, but it does lose a lot when only playing with 2.

The fundamental problem is that with 2 players you take turns each selecting two roles. This is fine except that producing/trading is a two (out of the five) role process, and it is a process that can be completely avoided (even in a 4 player game).

What this means is either both player pretty much take turns getting an inefficient produce/trade role each round, likely benefiting the other player just as much or (more likely) one person has to single-handedly drive their own produce/trade engine while the other pursues a mostly purple building strategy, completely solidifying most choices in the game.


Overall it is still fun with 2. In fact, when I didn't have many games, it got played that way many times. However, with so many great games out there, I think you might be better off with something better suited for two.

Edit: the poster below is correct and I was misremembering the rules, but I still think that better 2 player games have come out over the last ~10 years. Games like Innovation hit a similar note to me and have more interesting gameplay.
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Ken Dilloo
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Just to add another voice, it is great with 2.
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Dan Vore
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I find it a superior game with just two players. by far one of my wife and I's favorite two player game.
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Greg Cox
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It's a great 2 player ignore anyone who says otherwise...
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wmshub wrote:
Almost all my games were with 2 and I had a lot of fun with it.
Seconded!
 
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Caleb
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I find it very interesting with two, because the timing of role selection becomes even more important. Library is NOT too strong, as long as you understand it can only be used with ONE of the roles on turns when you select two.

Production is actually a viable strategy in 2-player, whereas it is basically not in 3-player (unless 2 people inexplicably happen to go for it).

If you have an iOS device, you can buy the game for a few dollars and try it out first - the computer on Expert is OK (not great) but as a newbie you'll surely be crushed at first - try playing 2 player and see how many points you lose by at first!
 
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Nick L
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Karlsen wrote:
wmshub wrote:
Almost all my games were with 2 and I had a lot of fun with it.
Seconded!

Thirded!
 
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Jakub Z
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ras2124 wrote:
I actually have to disagree. The game is fun, but it does lose a lot when only playing with 2.

The fundamental problem is that with 2 players you take turns each selecting two roles. This is fine except that producing/trading is a two (out of the five) role process, and it is a process that can be completely avoided (even in a 4 player game).

What this means is either both player pretty much take turns getting an inefficient produce/trade role each round, likely benefiting the other player just as much or (more likely) one person has to single-handedly drive their own produce/trade engine while the other pursues a mostly purple building strategy, completely solidifying most choices in the game.

Overall it is still fun with 2. In fact, when I didn't have many games, it got played that way many times. However, with so many great games out there, I think you might be better off with something better suited for two.


I believe you play this game incorrectly then. Only governor selects second role.

Rules wrote:

Note: when playing with just 2 players, the governor selects
a second role (with both players taking the associated
action) after his opponent has selected a role and both have
taken the associated actions. Then the round ends and the
governor changes. Thus, with two, 3 of the 5 roles are
chosen: governor - opponent - governor.
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Matt D
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blueart1 wrote:
I've read mixed reviews on how well this game scales down to two players and I'm wondering if it's worth purchasing if I'm going to mostly be playing it with one other person. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.


I have played this game almost exclusively 2-player (I probably have less than five plays in with more than 2 players), and it definitely has a ton of re-playability. It's an excellent two-player game, and I've not grown tired of it, even without the expansion.

With regards to an earlier poster, he is incorrectly interpreting the rules -- when you play with two players, the governor (first player) selects one role, the opponent one, and then the governor again. There are only three roles selected each turn, which means if both parties are completely ignoring production (which can happen and be a good strategy depending upon early cards), you still have three very viable and useful roles to select - builder, counselor, and prospector.

I second the suggestion to get try the iOS version if you have an iOS device, it is only $1.99 and has a decent AI. There is also an online implementation at BrettSpielWelt.de that will let you play it for free.

But it's a great two-player game, and since it is essentially a deck of cards and a few tiles, it can be transported -very- easily to make for a nice game to bring on a trip. It can even be played (and has been, by us) on an airplane with the fold-down trays. I highly recommend it.

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Lars Wagner Hansen
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It's a game I've owned since it was first published, and we bring it along on all Holidays. Play both 2, 3 and 4 players, and enjoy all of the games.

I can only recommend it to much.
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Richard Sampson
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Qbaza wrote:
[q="ras2124"]I actually have to disagree. The game is fun, but it does lose a lot when only playing with 2.

The fundamental problem is that with 2 players you take turns each selecting two roles. This is fine except that producing/trading is a two (out of the five) role process, and it is a process that can be completely avoided (even in a 4 player game).

What this means is either both player pretty much take turns getting an inefficient produce/trade role each round, likely benefiting the other player just as much or (more likely) one person has to single-handedly drive their own produce/trade engine while the other pursues a mostly purple building strategy, completely solidifying most choices in the game.

Overall it is still fun with 2. In fact, when I didn't have many games, it got played that way many times. However, with so many great games out there, I think you might be better off with something better suited for two.


Yes, you are correct. I definitely remember playing that way so I think we may have just got it wrong over the years through misremembering the rules and never looking them up again. I have had this game for something like 5 years so it is no surprise.

That being said, while I still agree it is a good 2-player game, I still stand by my point that there are better games out there now.
 
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Greg Taylor
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My wife and I play this game often (2-player), it's great.

You might want to remove the "Library" cards from the deck until you are both good enough at the game. Library can be a bit unbalancing 2-player, until both players know the game well.

I would also recommend trying to track down the San Juan expansion (part of the Treasure Chest). It adds to the depth of strategic options in the game.

If you can handle the complexity and the difficult learning curve, you might try Race for the Galaxy, which is at its best two-player and is similar to San Juan in many ways. My wife and I prefer San Juan, but RftG is excellent for those who can muscle through learning it.
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Len
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It is OK, but one of the main strategies in the game, using production, is not viable in a 2 player game.

So it plays OK, but a big part of the game is not really used in 2p. If you will only play this 2p, find something else....for example, Race for the Galaxy. Similar mechanics, but much better for 2 players.
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Jonathan Morton
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Quote:
It is OK, but one of the main strategies in the game, using production, is not viable in a 2 player game.


This is not at all true. I have both won using production and been beaten by production many times in 2-player San Juan versus the sharks on BSW.
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If you're seeking more digital implementations to test the waters, check out the freeware versions below too...

... Java version for PC:
www.compoundeye.net/jsanjuan/


... or the Android version, which includes the expansion:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kevinquan....
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Tom O'K
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Personally I will only play this game with 2 players.
 
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Greg Taylor
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ackmondual wrote:
If you're seeking more digital implementations to test the waters, check out the freeware versions below too...

... Java version for PC:
www.compoundeye.net/jsanjuan/


... or the Android version, which includes the expansion:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kevinquan....


The iOs version is also rather good, actually. Though I do wish they would add the expansion...
 
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Hubert Figuière
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One more vote: good for two players. that's mostly how I play it.
 
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