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Subject: An unforgiving 2 player experience rss

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Anthony Wilborn
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EDIT: It has been pointed out that the significant mistake of counting "each" connecting river parcel as an income of $3 for the mine was causing some of the issues we were experiencing.

I was able to get around to playing some two player games the other day and I wanted to leave some remarks for remarks sake. All games were played on the "river" side of the board and with all yellow character tiles aside from an orange Sheriff and and orange Mercenary.

Another reason I would like to post is to see if anything sticks out as blatantly "not possible". I am pretty decent with rules, but I won't leave out the possibility that something was done incorrectly.

First off, I really didn't enjoy my first 5 player game. There was too much down time while placing cowboys and resolving duels all over the map before actions began.

Two players was FAST!! I mean lightning fast. Four rounds. And. your. done.

I like this quickness, but it did make things feel a bit unforgiving because it's perfectly feasible to score 20 odd points in the first turn if your opponent lets you.

... Take a good mine placement, double its income, secure the $3 victory point trade in space...

I think to some, the response to the grocer pick should be an automatic Mercenary pick with the intention of dueling away either the nice cheap mine, or more importantly the $3 victory point space. The problem here is that even if you choose the Mercenary you are still forced to choose the 3 revolver action space and there is still a possibility that you lose the duel at the 3 revolver action space. If you do, you've lost your first round essentially, 1/4 of your game.... ONE FOURTH!
- While your opponent has put 20 points on the board. -

Additionally, it felt like there really wasn't a lot of map development. Beginning mine placement was key. If you didn't pick and place a good mine spot, you lost. This was especially true when the city center happened to be place near mountains. At the end of both games, I had nothing except mines and ranches, no houses, and my opponent who both times opted for mines and buying mountains and houses near the river. No saloons, no drugstores, no time for them. Mines are out turn one and they are generally always making 15+ dollars.

This had the effect of making the road action spots more or less useless, the three revolver spot a must take, and the draw of the building particularly important. If one player managed to get both mines, which happened to me game one, the game was already over.

Finally, the victory point sale spaces on the action board just seemed to be it on strategy. If you were making money you were taking these spaces. If you weren't, you were forced to duel for these spaces. If you won the duels, you had a chance, but if you lost even one of them, you were generally out of the game.

All in all, I found the 2 player for be like playing a game of chess where, if your opponent new the correct, programmed response, you could have a close game. If in the case they felt like experimenting, you won by a land-slide.

Thanks for reading.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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If you vary the role sides there should be variability, moreso if you have the expansion roles. Having said that I believe 4-5P is the way to go. I've played at 5P several times and I do not believe there is a lot of downtime since you place your workers one by one in player order, and I find it fascinating to watch how the duels play out.
 
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DomaGB
United States
Green Bay area
Wisconsin
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I owned the game for maybe 7 months without playing it. Then about 5 weeks ago played a 2 player game. I knew quite quickly it wasn't a good 2 player game. Then a couple weeks ago we played a 3 and 4 player game, both were great. It is currently my 14th favorite game.

It's younger cousin "Deadwood" also suffers the same fate, bad 2 player game, but with more its great. Deadwood is currently my 18th favorite game.

Some games are great as 2 player games others are not.

Favorite 2 player games:

1. Mini Tikal: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/25463/mini-tikal-101pdf
2. Runebound 2nd Edition (good with 3 players as well)
3. Exodus: Proxima Centauri
4. Alien Frontiers 2 is ok/good, 3-5 great, 6 ok/good
5. Belfort 2 seems good, 3 great, 4 good, 5 ok
6. Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games works great with any player count, scales well
7. The Pillars of the Earth (variant: 2 player, fewer MB spots)
8. Memoir '44
9. Stratego
10. Heroes Incorporated works good with any player count
11. Mille Bornes
12. HeroQuest
13. Lord of the Rings: The Search

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Ken Bush
United States
West Linn
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konicki wrote:
Mines are out turn one and they are generally always making 15+ dollars.


$15? This is not usual. That means the mine is placed next to 4 mountains and the river. I hardly ever see a map with that many mountains in that close of proximity. Certainly can't be more than 2 of those spaces so in two player game you should surely take one of them.

In addition, what makes mines doubly good is the bank, which requires house & road.

Saloons & hotels are a great combo that makes a lot more money than mines too.

Churches mitigate the mercenary as does the Sherriff. I usually only play 4 or 5, but often win without ever taking another gun past the starting one.





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Jimmy Hensel
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Bryan
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Wow! To get 20 points at $3 per point you need $60. In my two plays so far (one 2-player and the other 4-player) the best mine location I've seen was next to four mountains for an income of $12, and that was just two places on the board for that game (without the river). I'm guessing your $15 mine income is from two mines. Even with the $2 per point space $15 only buys 7 points.

In my plays I focused on building in town. In one of the plays I built a Hotel and Saloon and got like $26 between the two. By the third round my income was over $60. In the 4-player game (my second play), my fourth round income topped $60 even with two buildings under attack.
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Tim Rupert
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Syracuse
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I really like A New Beginning because each player has a varied start. It changes any "programmed responses".

I believe you can also limit an opponents mine income by purchasing the mountains around it.
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Anthony Wilborn
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I was hoping that we played it wrong, but under the river variant is says that a mine gains $3 per river space it is in contact with and because diagonal counts as neighboring a mine would simply need to be between one mountain and the river to earn $12. If a mountain falls one space away from a river corner, the initial mine has the possibility of earning $15 and that is still with only one mountain.


Please tell me I am playing this wrong, honestly, I would like it to be so.

wow You played it wrong.
 
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Anthony Wilborn
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As I said in another response, I would love for you to tell me we made a mistake somewhere!!! I really like the theme of this game and would hat to be dissapointed by a misplay.

The $60 was earned on the first game from 2 $15 mines and the grocer doubling the "mine" output for the turn. My opponent was still figuring out the game, but I was able to buy both mines turn 1.


Math may have been right, the play, however, was not.
 
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Mr Avers
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konicki wrote:
I was hoping that we played it wrong, but under the river variant is says that a mine gains $3 per river space it is in contact with and because diagonal counts as neighboring a mine would simply need to be between one mountain and the river to earn $12. If a mountain falls one space away from a river corner, the initial mine has the possibility of earning $15 and that is still with only one mountain.

Please tell me I am playing this wrong, honestly, I would like it to be so.


The rules actually state that you get a bonus of $3 total if your mine is next to the river, not per river space. In your case of a mine next to a mountain and the river, total income would be $6.

We find Carson City to be an excellent 2 player game! But it is very much recommended to use the red side of the characters after a few plays, as quite a few of the yellow side characters are just too unbalanced for a 2 player game.
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Anthony Wilborn
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I reread the rules:

"whatever the number of river parcels in contact"

Thank you blush I was really hoping that we had done (I had done) something incorrectly and this is definitely it. The income from the mines was generally near $6 more than it should have been. No wonder it seems overpowered.

Thank you again. We will try with this as well as use the red side of the tiles.
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Mr Avers
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It has been a while since our first game, but I think we made the same mistake with the river and mines laugh It is a rule that is easy to misinterpret.

Hope you enjoy your next play! If both players play competitively, 2 player Carson City can be a very tight game, as much (and often more) about denial of your opponent's strategy as your own buildup. For example, buying a mountain (or two) is an excellent way to ensure that the mine strategy of your opponent doesn't get out of hand.

But if both players want to keep it more friendly, there is enough room on the map to make it more of a tactical game about making the right choices and the best of your chosen strategy, with some player interaction to spice it up.

And if you do enjoy the base game, we found the Gold & Guns expansion to be a great addition, even though the outlaws can be a bit unfair sometimes. But as you mentioned, it is a quick game so we do not mind that too much.
 
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Peter Hazlewood
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Bromsgrove
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Excellent thread. I've not played this loads of times, but have enjoyed 2, 3 and 4p games. I think it is true that in a 2 player game, if one gets ahead then the other may struggle (unless they have played enough times to figure out a really good strategic response).

But, honestly, how many games are there where there is zero threat of a runaway leader? Obviously there are some designed to have good catch-up mechanisms but it's much easier in most games to fight your way back into contention if there are 3-4 players and you are not the sole victim or target of your opponent's superior play.

I know this full well as I lose a lot more 2p games than I win, but fair slightly better in 3p+ games.
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Andy Powell
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sHifnal
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while i agree it is a better 3 and 4 player game, it still plays well as a 2 player game.
a tactic i use, if you have a favourable mountain placement and you dont get the parcel of land to take advantage, then buy the mountains!
they are worth 2 vp at the end of the game anyway.
it also reduces the mine income.
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Jimmy Hensel
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Bryan
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Buying mountains might be more lucrative than buying points. A $4 mountain giving 2 points at game end works out to $2 per point.

A lone mountain surrounded by empty squares would cost $2, that's $1 per point.

Edit: However, Cowboys are probably a more valuable resource than money, and buying mountains (or houses) takes one cowboy per purchase. Buying points only requires one cowboy for as many points as can be afforded that round.
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