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Subject: I read that some people have issues / complaints for the 2p game. Is this true? rss

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Justin Gortner
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Hi,

This game has been on my radar for a long while. But I read in a few places that the game is substantially less good with only 2 players. Some people went as far as to say that the game is a bit broken with 2. While they didn't provide details, the way it was spoken came off as though it was a well known fact.

Is this true? Is there some inherent mechanic or available strategy that breaks the game with 2 players?

Thanks in advance!
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Itai Perez
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A few places ? The only place I saw this is here.
Slashdoctor thinks that the game is less enjoyable at 2 players, but he doesn't call it broken in any way.

I played a few times at 2 players, at the game was quite enjoyable. It seemed a bit less tense than at 4 players as quests are easier to take, and there was less choice in the available cards. So the feeling was a bit different, but the game was just as enjoyable for me.

And in the Dad vs Daughter and Grey Elephant videos, they play 2 players and seem to enjoy it.
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Tim Bresnan
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Thanks for the plug Itai.

I think the game scales well since in the 2 player game you don't use as many cards and only 2 quests (which is sometimes a game of Chicken on when to take the Quest you need.)
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I was one of the players that has mentioned this (but I never called it broken!), maybe I did not make it sound clear in my review, so I'll give more detail here. Here is why two-player game is highly affected in Elysium and can either be really good, or really bad, simply based on card draw:

Elysium has 8 different families/gods, each family has 21 cards and each family has around 12 unique cards in it.

In every game a draw deck is built from five family decks, which means that there is a deck of 105 cards used in every game. This allows for a lot of variety as you can have different gods in different games. This is great and I love it about the game.

BUT, here's the problem:

At the start of the game you draw ([player count]x3)+1 cards from that deck, in two player game this means that one round shows you (usually) just 7 cards from a deck of 105. There are five rounds in the game, which means that you'll see (usually) just 35 cards out of that 105 deck.

What does this mean? Well, this means that luck dictates the two-player experience more than with higher player counts (each new player adds 15 cards to the game, four player game has 65 cards from the deck of 105, which is much better).

This means that because you only see 35 cards in a game, then the chance of seeing a card you are relying on or can build synergies with is pretty small. There's a big chance that you won't even see number 3 cards for some of the family decks in the game. You can also have games where most of the cards are pretty dry in their effect, which turns the game into simple set collection with a winner of who just grabs the correct numbers/colors before the other player - making cards own effects a sideshow.

My fiancee actually said after one game that she did not even bother with the card effects because they did not give her anything of real value. She only focused on colors and numbers and won the game - while I was trying to do interesting combinations with cards that never came out of their decks.

This does not mean that two-player experience is bad. It totally is not. About half the time the card distribution is pretty interesting and GreyElephant playthrough video showed one of the interesting distributions. But I highly recommend variants (that don't exist yet) where players can build the draw deck (or at least half of it) beforehand that will be shuffled, also making sure that there are enough cards of different families.

But let me give you the killer argument why this deck card distribution is a problem with Elysium two-player experience:

Have you played 7 Wonders? 7 Wonders also has different families of cards that have synergy with one another. Each card in 7 Wonders has a player count listed, so you simply use the cards meant for specific player counts, Antoine Bauza used this to make sure that the game is still balanced when new players are introduced or players removed from game.

If 7 Wonders did not have that, the game would be an incredibly chaotic luckfest. Yes these two games are different, but the deck distribution problem would be the same in 7 Wonders if it did not do that.

This is what is the problem with Elysium two-player experience. I assure you that this does not happen often, but there is a chance that the two-player games of Elysiyum can have a really dry card distribution out of that deck of 105 cards.

Please do not let it hold you back from buying the game! It is a great game and well worth playing and with the game being pretty short it won't frustrate too much.
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Justin Gortner
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Have you played 7 Wonders? 7 Wonders also has different families of cards that have synergy with one another. Each card in 7 Wonders has a player count listed, so you simply use the cards meant for specific player counts, Antoine Bauza used this to make sure that the game is still balanced when new players are introduced or players removed from game.

If 7 Wonders did not have that, the game would be an incredibly chaotic luckfest.


This is actually a really good argument (sadly, against the game).
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Keith Turner
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I reached out to a few others who are in the know to see what they think. I also reached out to the designers. Perhaps they can speak to how much the 2p experience was tested.

There is a good chance I will be able to play this 3p, but I'd like to confirm the 2p is really solid as well. I've had some issues before, with the Donald X game Greed for instance, with people saying a game was good for 2 when the lack of variety at that count just killed it for me. I ended up having to trade it.
 
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I really think that the two-player experience can be fixed. Three-player is not effected as much (but this game is certainly the best with 4 thanks to the most balanced card distribution).

I'm sure that there either will be an official variant by the designers or that our wonderful gaming community will come up with one. The game itself IS NOT BAD and it is NOT BROKEN, it's just the probability that throws a wrench into the machine and there are ways to control that.

Anyone that has the game can try and see what happens if you do this:

* Pick the five family decks yourself or randomly.
* Only take one unique card from each of those decks into the game.
* Shuffle and play.


This should, in theory, cut the card distribution and combination opportunities to somewhere around what they would be with four players, while increasing the odds of 'rare' cards showing up in games.
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Justin Gortner
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I just really hate when a previously released game fixed a basic problem, and a new game comes along, and for no good reason ignores the fix.

I just don't see a reason for it.
 
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Derek Thompson
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jgortner wrote:
I just really hate when a previously released game fixed a basic problem, and a new game comes along, and for no good reason ignores the fix.

I just don't see a reason for it.


While I can't make the argument for Elysium, if you take, for example, Sushi Go!, the reason it's just "shuffle and play" is the target audience. For families with kids, you want the rules to be as simple as they possibly can be. 7 Wonders has rather clunky rules relative to its depth and time of play. So there are valid for reasons for "ignoring fixes".
 
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Justin Gortner
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aldaryn wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I just really hate when a previously released game fixed a basic problem, and a new game comes along, and for no good reason ignores the fix.

I just don't see a reason for it.


While I can't make the argument for Elysium, if you take, for example, Sushi Go!, the reason it's just "shuffle and play" is the target audience. For families with kids, you want the rules to be as simple as they possibly can be. 7 Wonders has rather clunky rules relative to its depth and time of play. So there are valid for reasons for "ignoring fixes".


I agree with your sentiment as a whole. There is a place for simple games.

But adding a numeric player count to cards would hardly make the rules to this game more complex. And I think this argument becomes stronger when you consider the target audience and existing complexity of the game.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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jgortner wrote:
aldaryn wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I just really hate when a previously released game fixed a basic problem, and a new game comes along, and for no good reason ignores the fix.

I just don't see a reason for it.


While I can't make the argument for Elysium, if you take, for example, Sushi Go!, the reason it's just "shuffle and play" is the target audience. For families with kids, you want the rules to be as simple as they possibly can be. 7 Wonders has rather clunky rules relative to its depth and time of play. So there are valid for reasons for "ignoring fixes".


I agree with your sentiment as a whole. There is a place for simple games.

But adding a numeric player count to cards would hardly make the rules to this game more complex. And I think this argument becomes stronger when you consider the target audience and existing complexity of the game.


However, I do agree that it is something worth considering.

I'm far more inclined to leave 7 Wonders, Among the Stars and Legendary in the shelf than a game that doesn't require that much tinkering to be able to play it with a variable amount of players.

Set-up time and take-down time are elements that have made or broken many people's decisions to purchase games and retain them.
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Milena Guberinic
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okami31 wrote:
[q="jgortner"][q="aldaryn"][q="jgortner"]

However, I do agree that it is something worth considering.

I'm far more inclined to leave 7 Wonders, Among the Stars and Legendary in the shelf than a game that doesn't require that much tinkering to be able to play it with a variable amount of players.

Set-up time and take-down time are elements that have made or broken many people's decisions to purchase games and retain them.


+1
This "tinkering" for setup is precisely what I despise about Among the Stars.
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okami31 wrote:
jgortner wrote:
aldaryn wrote:
jgortner wrote:
I just really hate when a previously released game fixed a basic problem, and a new game comes along, and for no good reason ignores the fix.

I just don't see a reason for it.


While I can't make the argument for Elysium, if you take, for example, Sushi Go!, the reason it's just "shuffle and play" is the target audience. For families with kids, you want the rules to be as simple as they possibly can be. 7 Wonders has rather clunky rules relative to its depth and time of play. So there are valid for reasons for "ignoring fixes".


I agree with your sentiment as a whole. There is a place for simple games.

But adding a numeric player count to cards would hardly make the rules to this game more complex. And I think this argument becomes stronger when you consider the target audience and existing complexity of the game.


However, I do agree that it is something worth considering.

I'm far more inclined to leave 7 Wonders, Among the Stars and Legendary in the shelf than a game that doesn't require that much tinkering to be able to play it with a variable amount of players.

Set-up time and take-down time are elements that have made or broken many people's decisions to purchase games and retain them.


This is a good point, games that are easier to set up are more likely to come off shelf. But I still prefer games that require some setup if it means for a better gaming experience in the end.

This is proportional with the game length though, if a game is not too long, then this setup time will be an annoyance.
 
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Justin Gortner
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I am not sure taking out cards that say "3+" or "4+" from a small deck constitutes more than 30 seconds of setup.
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Tim Norris
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Let me begin by saying, this game is fantastic.

However, I have to agree that with 2 players it's not the same game as it would be with 4 players. It's exactly as described above that you're not going to get through half the deck which will make it tougher for you to create some of the combos that you might be looking for.

Does this decrease the fun? No.

I do believe that playing with the Oracle is very important in 2 player games. It will help guide you on your decisions.
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greyelephant wrote:
Let me begin by saying, this game is fantastic.

However, I have to agree that with 2 players it's not the same game as it would be with 4 players. It's exactly as described above that you're not going to get through half the deck which will make it tougher for you to create some of the combos that you might be looking for.

Does this decrease the fun? No.

I do believe that playing with the Oracle is very important in 2 player games. It will help guide you on your decisions.


I like that there's another vote for including Oracle. I find it a little silly that rulebook says to include it only with Apollo - yes it is needed for Apollo due to their card effects, but reality is that every game benefits from that 50% foresight. This gives the game depth that otherwise would be too singular round to round.

It doesn't change card distribution though. But I'm sure that there'll be a variant that makes it more two-player friendly and reduces the odds of there being a dry game.

I loved your video though, by the way. It made me buy the game (and you had some good card distribution there, it was a tight game).
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Tim Norris
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Slashdoctor wrote:
greyelephant wrote:
Let me begin by saying, this game is fantastic.

However, I have to agree that with 2 players it's not the same game as it would be with 4 players. It's exactly as described above that you're not going to get through half the deck which will make it tougher for you to create some of the combos that you might be looking for.

Does this decrease the fun? No.

I do believe that playing with the Oracle is very important in 2 player games. It will help guide you on your decisions.


I like that there's another vote for including Oracle. I find it a little silly that rulebook says to include it only with Apollo - yes it is needed for Apollo due to their card effects, but reality is that every game benefits from that 50% foresight. This gives the game depth that otherwise would be too singular round to round.

It doesn't change card distribution though. But I'm sure that there'll be a variant that makes it more two-player friendly and reduces the odds of there being a dry game.

I loved your video though, by the way. It made me buy the game (and you had some good card distribution there, it was a tight game).


I'm just embarrassed that I lost that Live Play. Next time I will remember to finish the family vs level. DOH!

Thanks for your kind words.
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Tim Bresnan
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I feel your pain Tim!
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Raph Moimoi
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Great post to read !

I'll try to remove x2 and x3 cards when playing 2 players to reduce chaos.
I didn't play with Apollo for now, but I imagine it's a good thing to know some of the cards that will come next round.
 
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Played this game four more times. As 4 player game, this game is GREAT. But as two player? I don't think I will do it again. The game is quite bad that way.

So buy it! But not if you primarily play it as two players.
 
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Played this game four more times. As 4 player game, this game is GREAT. But as two player? I don't think I will do it again. The game is quite bad that way.

So buy it! But not if you primarily play it as two players.

This makes me . But I still have hope. So getting it.
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Tim Norris
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milenaguberinic wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Played this game four more times. As 4 player game, this game is GREAT. But as two player? I don't think I will do it again. The game is quite bad that way.

So buy it! But not if you primarily play it as two players.

This makes me . But I still have hope. So getting it.


I disagree with the two player experience. I think it plays very well.
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greyelephant wrote:
milenaguberinic wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Played this game four more times. As 4 player game, this game is GREAT. But as two player? I don't think I will do it again. The game is quite bad that way.

So buy it! But not if you primarily play it as two players.

This makes me . But I still have hope. So getting it.


I disagree with the two player experience. I think it plays very well.


Thanks for the encouragement, Tim! My partner pre-ordered it for me for my birthday and we mostly play two-player games. I was hoping it would be good with 2 at least. Your live play made it look great! Not giving up until I've tried it for myself!
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milenaguberinic wrote:
greyelephant wrote:
milenaguberinic wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Played this game four more times. As 4 player game, this game is GREAT. But as two player? I don't think I will do it again. The game is quite bad that way.

So buy it! But not if you primarily play it as two players.

This makes me . But I still have hope. So getting it.


I disagree with the two player experience. I think it plays very well.


Thanks for the encouragement, Tim! My partner pre-ordered it for me for my birthday and we mostly play two-player games. I was hoping it would be good with 2 at least. Your live play made it look great! Not giving up until I've tried it for myself!


Try, you may like it. But if you ever try it with 4, you'll never look back. With 4 it is among the best games I've played. With 2, I'd rather play something else, because it just may be boring and so dry.
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Try, you may like it. But if you ever try it with 4, you'll never look back. With 4 it is among the best games I've played. With 2, I'd rather play something else, because it just may be boring and so dry.


How do you know him so well that you know what he will like? Maybe he likes the opposite of what you like.
 
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