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Subject: Complaints with the 2P Game and an Idea for a Simple 2P Variant rss

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Carl P (Chazzmo)
United States
Garnet Valley
Pennsylvania
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I very much enjoy Greed! It's the perfect combination of strategy and simplicity. It's best with 3P and 4P, and even 5P is really enjoyable, even if it's a little nutty and difficult to plan for cards getting back to you. However, it is the 2-player game that I feel needs improvement, somehow.

My main complaints with 2-player Greed are the following possibilities in play:
1) Symbol Scarcity - With 6 symbols and only 24 cards in play, there's a decent chance one symbol will only be available to one person or possibly even neither player at all. Realizing you never even had a shot at playing something is no fun and quite frustrating, especially for a casual gamer.
2) Cash Scarcity - The 24 cards in play could be cost-heavy/penalty-heavy but not cash-heavy, leading to not enough money being in circulation and either more discards occurring, or useless penalty cards played.
3) Less Powerful Cards In Play - Let's face it... some Greed cards are inherently duds, in my opinion (I can provide examples later, if you're interested in my thoughts on this, but I'd say 6-8 cards of the 80 card deck are "duds"). If 4 or 5 of these make it into your 24 card sample, it brings the game down.
4) A Boring Finish - The best games of Greed have a climactic ending! Greed is at its best when a game-long strategy pays off... a master plan uses Master Plan.... someone reveals a deadly final card that they took in the very first round... etc!! I have found in my experience that this endgame glory is much more rare in the 2 player game. At least two things seem to cause this: You have so much knowledge of what's going back-and-forth, and you only have to beat one player, that there seems to be more "hate drafting" and more game theory, leading to lower scores... And/or any one of the #1-3 above can be in play, and cause the endgame to just be a slow burn of weak cards or even discards.

All that being said, please tell me what you think of this simple 2P Variant Idea:

Deal out four hands of 12 cards instead of two, pretending that there are four players at the table. The two "real" players sit across from each other, with the "ghost" players adjacent to them on their left and right. Then, each round, the two real players play the game as they normally do, passing their hand to the ghost player to the left, but also discarding a card AT RANDOM from the ghost player hand coming to them from their right. Play continues, basically as a 4p game, with one exception - your one human opponent must be considered your only "adjacent player" and only "opponent" for any cards that mention them (or "player to your left"). For example, if Shakedown is played, you only gain $10,000 more if your human opponent plays a thug.

While this obviously won't play out like a normal 4P game, I think this could be more fun for 2P because more cards are in circulation, and more possibilities and combos will emerge.

What do you think?


CP
 
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Ben Hamilton
Australia
North Geelong
Victoria
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We found just having one dummy hand as a third player was enough to keep the game interesting, as long as you keep the discard pile face down so you don't know what that dummy player randomly discarded.

My brother managed to build the ritz, play the double-money-next-turn card and then get the discard-a-holding-with-each-marker-worth-$15k and made $150k on the last turn.
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Neil Robinson
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Buxton
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The resource scarcity in the two player game can be a pain. It certainly makes you work hard when you are drafting the first three cards of the game.

Both one and two dummy hands sound like they are worth a try. At least there is a minimal amount of maintenance involved if you are just randomly discarding.
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Board games addict
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I like the dummy player idea, will try it next time in a two player game. I agree with the general comment that there aren't enough cards in play in the two player game, which can lead to bad games with an unlucky draw.
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Mark Turner
United Kingdom
Farnham
Surrey
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napalmbob wrote:
We found just having one dummy hand as a third player was enough to keep the game interesting, as long as you keep the discard pile face down so you don't know what that dummy player randomly discarded.

My brother managed to build the ritz, play the double-money-next-turn card and then get the discard-a-holding-with-each-marker-worth-$15k and made $150k on the last turn.


If there is only one dummy, one player will always be passing to the dummy, while the other player will be passing direct to their opponent. This seems to be an inherent imbalance in this approach... Unless the drafting direction changes each round.
 
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Morten K
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I actually really enjoy the zero sum nature of the two-player game. Having to work hard to get your money is also something that I like. Only problem might be lack of symbols with fewer cards
 
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