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Subject: 2-players variant? rss

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Daniel Zhou
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I usually play games with my wife, and we both enjoy the game quite a bit. One major problem with 2-players game is that it's hard to convince the other player to trade, which is an essential part of the game. Is there a 2-player variant to solve that problem?

My thought is to have 6 cards in the middle of the table, and each turn players alternatively trade with those cards. Or, instead of trading, a player can discard the 6 cards and redraw another 6 cards. For example, A trade a card with the middle, and then has to wait for B to trade (or discard) before she can trade another card. Whoever moves first becomes the starting player to trade. I haven't tried this variant yet. Will report back when I do.

Any thoughts?
 
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peter jackson
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Hi Dan,

My wife & I play ViaB fairly regularly as well. The trading issue kind of resolves itself if you play to 30 points instead of 20--the slightly longer format will simply lend itself to making strategic trades (as opposed to hoarding etc., which is encouraged by the shorter 20-point game).

I had a friend over on Tuesday night and we wound up playing ViaB 1v1 as well. We noticed the Character cards make it much more interesting for 1v1. The other variant I would suggest is just playing until the cards run out, then declaring the high scoring village the most awesome village ever. Again, this makes the game a little longer format and opens up strategies that are more gracious than a short-game tactical mindset allows.

When I was developing the game, one stage it went through was to have a central bank like you suggested. The problem was that, as you said, it allowed people to completely avoid trading--and one of my goals in this game is to force players to trade with each other. Mechanically, though, the way the bank worked when I was toying with it was that instead of drawing 6 and discarding down to 2, players simply took turns selecting 1 of 5 face-up cards from the deck, holding as many cards as they wanted. I don't recommend that approach--it turns into a long game of waiting for that last Woods...
 
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Daniel Zhou
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Thanks Peter. Trading in 2-player games is tricky because your gain is my lose. There can't be win-win because there's only 1 winner. Then why should I trade with you? This problem is in other trading games such as Catan or Bohnanza, where they introduced some 2-player variant to address this.

Right now my wife and I play in a not so competitive way, and we just enjoyed building the village. But it seems not rational to trade with the other player unless we have different assessment on who's benefiting more from a trade, which don't happen that often...
 
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peter jackson
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Yep, I hear you. Trading in 2-player games really is tricky. ViaB with 2 players isn't usually super competitive, which is probably why it's never seemed too much of an issue for me.

A lot of times, it just comes down to making legitimate trades: as you said, I'm not going to be able to trick you into making a bad trade, so I'm going to have to offer something you actually want.

For example, a trade that seems to happen somewhat often is the following: I have two farms, you have two fields; I offer you a farm for a field and we both wind up with a Farm-field combo. Another example: I have a road, you have a field (which I need for a farm). The road is worth a point, so I offer the road for your field; as a result, you gain a point from the road, and I gain a point from my farm. Obviously, this only really works if, in both cases, you didn't really need that field.

I guess I point out these examples because I feel like I've often found mutually beneficial trades in ViaB, whether with 2 players or more. However, if you're finding it difficult to arrive at these kinds of trading situations, I guess I should sit down and try to think up a variant for you!
 
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Robin S
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I just got ViaB and my Mom and I have played it about 4 times. The first play we decided to go to 30 points but we got there so quick that we just kept going because we wanted to experience the game a little longer on the first run through. Well, we decided we liked depleting the entire deck that our subsequent plays have used the entire deck. We like this because we don't keep track of points, we add them up at the end to see who came out on top. We also do quite a bit of trading because we are building quite a bit and checking out each others village. Our final scores have been close and the game has been fun each time. It also seemed that this increases the strategy a little bit but perhaps we are just becoming a little more familiar with the cards.
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peter jackson
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TheMangoDuck wrote:
Well, we decided we liked depleting the entire deck that our subsequent plays have used the entire deck.


I enjoy that, too! If you have the time, I agree it's a really fun way to go--just keep building until the cards run out. It can be interesting trying to figure out the best way to arrange the high-level cards to maximize points, too.

Glad you're enjoying the game; thanks for the feedback!
 
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