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Subject: El Grande Decennial for 2 player? rss

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Kevin Goodman
Canada
Ottawa
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I thought El Grande was game for 3-5 players but the Decennial edition box says it comes with a bunch of expansions and supports 2 player also.

I've never tried El Grande but the high ratings I see here on this site make me keen to give it a try 2 player with my wife. So far she has enjoyed Tikal, Yinsh, Ingenious, Lost Cities and Alhambra but we only got about 30 min into Caylus before she announced that "this game makes no sense" and that was it.

So... is El Grande too heavy a game as a next step? Am I asking for trouble? Is 2 player El Grande kinda weak compared to other 2 player options out there?


 
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Philip Johnson
United States
Boonville
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I wasn't aware of 2p El Grande support, but as a genre, area control (or area majority) games are very weak without at least 3 players, and are usually best with their maximum. I don't think El Grande is too heavy for you, but it's definitely not the game you want to try next. Try doing a Geeklist search for 2 Player games.
 
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Patrice Pelletier
Canada
Quebec
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2 player El Grande is not much fun. I tried it with my wife and she did not like it much. It's ok with 3 but much better with 4 or 5.
So, to answer your questions:
- It's not too heavy but not a good next step.
- Yes, you are asking for trouble
- 2 player El Grande is weak compared to other 2 player options

Here's a list of games me and my wife enjoy a lot as 2 player game:

- Hansa, our current favorite
- Attika
- The Downfall of Pompeii
- Schotten Totten
 
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Well, my 6-year-old likes 2-player El Grande, and I would sure rather play that than his other favorite, Monopoly.
 
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Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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I like El Grande with 2 players, though more is better
 
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Kevin Goodman
Canada
Ottawa
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Now *that* makes me curious! Is it typical for a 6 year old to enjoy El Grande??
 
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T. Rosen
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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I'll echo the others in saying that you should try to get four or five players together before giving El Grande a try, it really is much better with more people, plus there are plenty of great two-player games to play.

Check out:

-Fjords
-Hey That's My Fish
-Through the Desert
-Lord of the Rings: Confrontation
-StreetSoccer
-Louis XIV
-Torres
-San Juan
 
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Stew Woods
Australia
Cygnet
Tasmania
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My $0.02:

I picked El Grande up from our FLGS last week. Since then we've played a 2, 3 & 4 player game (In that order)
I can see why some would say it 'doesn't work' with 2, since so many of the more interesting dynamics in the game have to do with placing 2nd or 3rd in a given region. Clearly it is a better game with more players (Our 4P game last night was fantastic fun!)
But, IMHO, the game is so beautifully designed that even with 2 we found it perfectly playable, if not exceptional. If you're regularly going to be able to add a few more to the table, I can't recommend it highly enough (even after so few games), but if you want area control that works better with 2, maybe have a look at the 'mask' games (Tikal, Java, Mexica) or maybe Torres, though I haven't played this.


Edit: Ooops! You've already played Tikal...I'll be quiet again now blush
 
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ZyronEnder wrote:
Now *that* makes me curious! Is it typical for a 6 year old to enjoy El Grande??

Well, I don't know, as he's the only 6-year-old I hang out with but that seems like the right age for the reading & math skills needed for the game.

(We use a handicap--when scoring, he gets half again as many points as normal. The game before last was a tie! but last game, he stomped me horribly, so we may need to adjust the handicap some. Apparently I'm not as clever at this game as I think.)

For young kids, I think the game itself doesn't matter (exhibit A: two-player Monopoly) as much as the fact that you're spending time with them, gnashing your teeth & shaking your fist at them when they hose you. El Grande is fine for that, but I'm not sure it's something you want to buy specifically for two-player play with your wife.

(I'm only vaguely familiar with the expansions which come with it, but if "Intrigue & the King" works 2-player, that might be better with an adult opponent, as it sounds like that has a more strategic deck-building element.)
 
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Kevin Goodman
Canada
Ottawa
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Thanks all for the feedback and ideas. I went out and picked up Torres today and I have Battle Line (supposed to be like Shotten Totten) and Through the Desert on order. I need to do a bit more digging on Hansa and Attika.

Incidentally, the guy at the store was trying to sell me Jambo, China and Mykerinos, after looking at the geek ratings maybe I should have listened!

Any thoughts on these, btw?
 
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