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Subject: Why doesn't the game scale for fewer players? rss

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Dick Hunt
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Most games of the same general ilk of Ships provide some sort of scaling function for different numbers of players. If Ships does so, however, I must have missed it.

Why don't the rules pare down the number of cards with fewer players? It seems rather excessive to have a 12 card display whether you're playing the game with 2, 3, or 4 players. Why isn't the card display set at, for example, "number of players times 3?"

And why aren't portions of the map pared down for fewer players as well? It seems like the game would be nice and tight if four players are fighting for real estate in the various areas, but that the tension would be greatly reduced for 3 or 2 players.

Given the design and play-testing processes used for many eurogames these days, this had to be a deliberate decision, and that makes it all the more puzzling. Scaling a game for fewer players is such a common thing to see that I'm curious as to why it was ignored for this one?
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Daniel Indru
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Because the designer decided so.
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Christian Fuerst-Brunner
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I don't know the answer, but after playing a very tense two-player game, I also don't see the need for it. Ships works wonderfully in two player games, as it does in three or four player games.
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Chris
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djdano wrote:
Because the designer decided so.
what a pointless response.

Martin just isn't good at doing this really. Many of his games technically support 2 but are kinda rubbish without doing the kind of thing you are talking about. London and Brass excel at 2p once things are tweaked, and like you say I can imagine ahips could benefit from tweaking for 2 as well. But that said, 12 cards is probably fine if the area / age costs don't vary as that'll still broadly relate to the number of turns, sobthe ratio of cards to turns would roughly stay the same. Maybe you'd want to reduce navigation costs by 2 across the board inline though, but there would then not be much contention for goods spaces and that'd be crappy to modify... Just block the last sqaure in each row?
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MC Crispy
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
djdano wrote:
Because the designer decided so.
what a pointless response.

Martin just isn't good at doing this really.
Same answer really.

There only seem to be two answers: 1) because it doesn't need it, or 2) it does need it, but it didn't happen because the designer didn't/couldn't. As to what the designer's reasons are, we don't have insight to that other than speculation. If the OP's Q had been "how do we scale for lower player counts?" there might be a different conversation/response.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
London and Brass excel at 2p once things are tweaked, ...
Perhaps a little pedantic, but out of the box Brass doesn't support 2 players: it's for 3 or 4. Or was that what you meant, like 'If Martin had put his back into it, he could have put a '2' on the box!'?
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Martin Wallace is a specialist in this matter.
To me, most of his designs are better played at their maximum configuration. Even if part of it is due to my tastes, it doesn't change the cold truth : there is no adaptation, should it be needed or not.
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Cyberian wrote:
I don't know the answer, but after playing a very tense two-player game, I also don't see the need for it. Ships works wonderfully in two player games, as it does in three or four player games.
I don't think the game works "wonderfully" with two players. For me (!) this is not a 2player game. I assume that it is best with 4 players because the game does not scale. So the question here seems justified to me.

With 2 players it is quite long (we played 150 Minutes ) as the costs of navigations points need to enter a new ship age or new area are the same as with 3-4 players. That means that they are simply too high. If you play with 4 players you will quite fast have a lot of discs and a lot of ships and the amount of navigation points is low. I guess the players can go through the ages and the areas quite fast.

With 2 players you can't do this. You always have very high costs, so you can collect navigations markers which would take its time or you have to place all of your ships for low navigation costs. If you have done so, you are not able to advance fast anymore since you don't have ships left. So you have to remove and place or upgrade and this is quite boring. Game has been too long for us.

I asked myself why this game does not scale. With the cards I'm fine but not with the navigation points. Maybe a changing of the navigation points would do the trick to scale the game concerning the amount of players.
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Christian Fuerst-Brunner
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Ships with two is not the same game as Ships with three or four. If you expect your games be "equal" at any player count, Ships simply isn't for you.

Personally, I like the fact that you have to adapt your strategies to the actual player count. But I understand that not everybody does so.
 
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I definitely don't want my games to be equal - where did I say that? Quite the contrary, I play a lot of games just with my wife which feel really different with two players compared to plays with 3 or more players. That is not a problem for me. I just think that ships does not really work with two and could need a scaling. Indeed with a scaling the feeling of the game with two players would still be another experience as with 4 players.

2 different things in my opinion.
 
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Anthony Rubbo
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Higher relative navigation cost and having access to relatively more cards is a bit of a balance, for the two player game, I'd say. You need more stuff, but you have access to more stuff.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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It seems a simple matter to come up with something to try. Reduce the nav token requirements by 25% for 3 players and 50% for two players.
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Chris
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DarrellKH wrote:
It seems a simple matter to come up with something to try. Reduce the nav token requirements by 25% for 3 players and 50% for two players.
Got 0.75 of a navigation token going spare?
 
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David Muñoz de la Peña
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We played today with two players and used only six cards and reduced the navigation costs simply by reducing by two points by ship/city instead of one. The game finished in about an hour and seemed to work fine, more o less as with four players.

David
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davidmps wrote:
We played today with two players and used only six cards and reduced the navigation costs simply by reducing by two points by ship/city instead of one. The game finished in about an hour and seemed to work fine, more o less as with four players.

David
I guess you need to know the full player count game better to get a proper feel for how it translates with changes. Certain strategies might disappear... Which might be fine... But might not.
 
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