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Subject: Light-medium game that works as well for 2 as it does for 5 rss

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Dan Mansfield
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Poway
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I've got some unused Amazon credit and am looking for something new. My group is usually four or five players, but sometimes I will play with just one other friend who is more into the hobby. I'd like to get something that works great for two but also for the larger group, without too much messing around with the rules and mechanics.

These are the ones we like for 2P:
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Patchwork
San Juan
Jaipur
Splendor

These are the ones we like for 4-5P:
Ticket to Ride (everyone loves this one)
King of New York (fun, but I'd like to avoid player elimination)
Carcassonne
Catan

A little luck (whether from dice rolls or card draws) is fine, and the game should be fairly easy to learn and teach, along the lines of Ticket to Ride. A history or adventure theme would be great. Max playing time for a larger group should be less than 90 minutes. Player interaction (trading, stealing, attacking, etc.) with no obvious hostility is a big plus.

Thanks in advance!

SV
 
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mark downie
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My first thought would be Race for the Galaxy.

Add a few expansions, Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm and Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium and you can play up to 6 players and you have an option for increased direct interaction from takeovers. It isn't as simple to teach as Ticket to ride but i enjoy it greatly with 2 or 4 players.
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Mark Blasco

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Lords of waterdeep?
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Andrew Shafer
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Istanbul

Maybe Small World
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Mark Jackson
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Roll for the Galaxy

Great with any count 2-5, easy to learn, quick to play, and interactive in interesting/nonhostile ways. Plus you get so many cool dice!
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Eric Buzzell
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Alhambra
7 Wonders
6 Nimmt
Mamma Mia
These represent four med/light games with very different mechanisms that play wonderfully well at 2 and 5 (and in between).
 
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Luke Wunderlin
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7 wonders is great, and plays the same up to 7
Eminent Domain is fantastic, and with the expansion plays up to 5, and has the follow/dissent mechanic

meeple
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Goldfinger
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+1 Istanbul
+1 Eminent Domain

Fleet + Fleet: Arctic Bounty
Hacienda - very good but underrated game
Airlines Europe
Pandemic + Pandemic: On the Brink

Good luck!
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Dan Mansfield
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Thanks for the answers so far. I was looking at Instanbul. I have Race for the Galaxy, and my friend has 7 Wonders.

How about Evolution? I like the theme but am not sure it will work well with two players.
 
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Scott O'Brien
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Fleet: Arctic Bounty
Among the Stars
 
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Morten K
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Keyflower
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HenningK
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I'm a little surprised Stone Age hasn't been mentioned yet. It is about as complex as Ticket to Ride, has dice, but still rewards good strategy and has some replayability. Also, it has a historic theme, great components and looks gorgeous.

There are only two downsides:
1. There is not much interaction, it is mostly blocking other players, but no trading or attacking.
2. If you want to play with 5 players, you need the expansion which actually makes the game worse in my mind. But for 2-4, the base game is excellent.
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Saibo Ter
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I would suggest:

Istanbul
Royals
Rococo
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Thanee
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Alien Frontiers
Belfort
Agricola or Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Bye
Thanee
 
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John
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Sredni Vashtar wrote:
I have Race for the Galaxy.

If you want to play with 5 I'd recommend Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts rather than the first arc expansions. I'm guessing it doesn't meet your "easy to teach" criteria.

Have you tried Carcassonne with 2? I'd rather play it 2 player than 5 player, though I can understand if you'd rather play something else when playing with 2-players.
 
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Lucas Piccoli
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In my opinion, Forbidden Desert meets all the criteria described. It scales well with all numbers and it certainly is in the light-medium weight end.

Another one that plays well with 2-5 is Rise of Augustus. It's fast, it has a wide appeal and it's very easy to learn, so it his the table often.

Alhambra is an all-time classic along the lines of many titles you have in your list. It has a variant with a dummy player for 2, that I haven't tried but heard it works well. Really simple and fun.

I'll add more if anything else comes to mind.
 
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John
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Bohnanza is good with 3-7 and has a 2p rules which I've never tried (or even read) but I've read some good things about.
 
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Dan Mansfield
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zabdiel wrote:
Sredni Vashtar wrote:
I have Race for the Galaxy.

If you want to play with 5 I'd recommend Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts rather than the first arc expansions. I'm guessing it doesn't meet your "easy to teach" criteria.

Have you tried Carcassonne with 2? I'd rather play it 2 player than 5 player, though I can understand if you'd rather play something else when playing with 2-players.


Race for the Galaxy might be a bit difficult to teach to a larger group, even though I enjoy it when there are just two players, since it's easy to go back and forth and discuss options on the first few plays.

Carcassonne for two players is one of those that works well for the range I specified. I've got the big box edition, but we usually play just the base game.
 
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Kyle
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Tigrillo wrote:


I'd say Keyflower is a medium/ medium-heavy. There is a lot that goes into that game given the 4 currency (worker colors) and the combo activation/bidding. The rules are simple (summer boats exempt), but playing the game, not so much.

Kingsburg might be a good light-medium worker placement style. It is quick and enjoyable. Not sure I agree the expansion is required, but it adds some neat bits to fiddle with.
 
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Donald Walsh
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Possibly hold out for

Mission Red Planet 2nd ed?
 
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Mark Raciborski
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Airlines Europe this is a great gateway game.

Lords of Waterdeep

OOP
Notre Dame if you can find it, Boardgamebliss usually has a German imported copy or two, the expansion for it is tough to come by.
 
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Eric Matthews
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markblasco wrote:
Lords of waterdeep?


Absolutely unbalanced at 2 without major changes, like removing all attack intrigue cards. Luck of the draw can totally demolish an opponent in a 2 player game, esp if one person draws a couple mandatory quests and the other player draws no attacks at all.

E
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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If I were in your shoes, I would rather be looking for 4-5-player games and 2-player games separately.

1) because different people need different games to have the most fun.
2) because different games need different people to give the most fun.
3) because games usually do not really work with 2 as well as with 5. They either work well with one or the other, but not both. Games that support large number of players also rarely work as well with the extremes. However, you might find a game that feels quite different when played with 2 players than when played with 5, which is just fine (like Citadels and Core Worlds).
4) because then you get more variety for the games you play.

If you insist, I have one game that you can play with 2 as well as 5, and that is Imperial Assault. You can play the campaign game with 5 players and also down-to 2 players (1 imperial vs 4 rebel hero characters), and you can play the skirmish missions with 2 (possibly with more).
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Eric Matthews
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Totally agree with the above post (except I'd look for 3-6 player games and 2 player games separately).

2 player games really are designed differently from games that are 3-5 players. This is why a lot of game will have one set of rules for 3 players plus, and another set of rules for 2 players.

Worker Placement games that winnow down space options based on player count do tend to work OK at 2 (caverna, Viticulture, Agricola), but even then there's just something about 2 player games that really benefits from a focused design. (Also Worker Placement games with lots of interaction and any direct attacks tend to NOT work well at 2.)

Alternatively many 2 player games can work as a team game so can be great at 4 player count (but Almost never work at 3 no matter what the box says). This still ends up with the 2 player experience being quite different from the 4/6 player experience, though.

Any game that is "one vrs many" can work too, however the balance can be thrown off because many of those are designed so that they are a challenge for teams to work together against the "Overlord"; if the "team" is one person then "working together" is no challenge whatsoever.

Finally, Coops and hidden movement games really are the one reliable exception (Letters from Whitechapel, Spector Op, Mr X). They tend to work great at 2 player counts, sometimes better even than the 3-5 counts they seem to be indented for.

There's a reason there are SO many great 2 player only games. And so many games that say they are 2-5, but really are 3-5 with a special 2 player variant.

E
 
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In response to above mentions, I personally feel that Lords of Waterdeep is a great 2-player experience (as well as 4 player), but I STRONGLY dislike the 2-player variant for 7 Wonders.

Recommendations I have:
Castles of Burgundy
Hanabi
Splendor

Unfortunately these only go up to 4 players. If you're looking for a game that works well for more than that then the chances are strong that the 2-player experience will be lacking.
 
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