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Subject: How does it work with 2 player? rss

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UA Darth
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Any thoughts?
 
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Jimmy Okolica
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shadow9d9 wrote:
Any thoughts?


I think it's excellent with 2. With 2, it's very much a Chess match. Each player can control at most 4 steps in the distribution process so there still is plenty of room for the tile placement aspect to be interesting.

With 3, there's much more a "who's ahead? let's gang up on him" since players can often choose between two different player owned distribution channels. I find this one the most interesting, but I can see the argument made for 4 player being more balanced.

In any case, I think 2 player is very interesting. For some reason, it gives me a Patchwork vibe, though I have yet to figure out why.
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Stefan Alexander
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As the designer, I'll comment a bit on the development. I actually really like the 2-player game, but it's a somewhat different game.

There's a large part of the 3-5 player game where you're manipulating the entire board, often helping others, to make it in others' best interest to move cubes through your facilities. There are "murky shared incentives".

However in the 2-player game, it's zero-sum, and very tactical. So on every turn, you'd rather make 1 and have your opponent make 0, than have you both make 10. So you'll never help each other. You might move cubes off their group, but it would only be to "steal" them to move them through several stages of your own groups. There's lots of blocking, and it can be pretty cutthroat.

I chose to make the rules of the 2-player game the same, and have it turn out as a different game, rather than add some rules for a dummy player and try to make it play somewhat similarly. This was because none of those extra rules worked very well, and I liked the (different) 2-player game. I think the 2-player game is quite a good game, and I've played it many times (and still continue to play it).

Think of it sort of like 2 games in 1. King Chocolate is a 3-5 player game, with a bonus separate "2-player version" called "The Warring Prince-Lords of Chocolate" that you can play with the same components.

That's my take on it, but I'm interested to hear other's impressions of how the 2-player game feels for them, and which they like best
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Clinton Sattler
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I really like it 2 player (full disclosure, that is the only count I have played at). This game feels like one of those games that is very group dependent, and by that, I mean that my observations may only apply to my games because of the group-think between me and my opponent.

The early game, when tiles are scarce, are dominated by each of us maneuvering to control choke points in the production chains. We place and select tiles to ensure that it is difficult to contest our little hegemony.

As more and more tiles come out, it becomes easier, though less efficient, to "end-around" the big production blocks that other players own. For us, a timing element becomes important... you have to decide when it is best to pull your cubes off their tiles (and thus pay them) in order to ensure you control the downstream business. It can become maddening to watch your opponent load up, say a set of II tiles, then dribble them out to small un-owned III tiles when you own a big block of III tiles yourself. You have to do the cost analysis on the fly to determine if it is better to gain the upper hand by having your opponent bleed actions to ear small sums of money, or whether you want to pay them to maximize your profits per turn.

Though the 2-player game is a zero sum affair, in my experience, it is a very murky zero sum affair. This is not a tit-for-tat game, since actions help control the end game, and you may not reap the big rewards for your actions until a couple of moves down the production chain.

In some ways, the 2 player game probably gives you a little more strategic control, especially when trying to control the pace of the game, and which production tiles your opponent has access to.
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Trent Coombs
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Playing with two players, I felt that control of an area was inconsequential. You get $ when you produce when you control a group or if you produce from an uncontrolled area, so what's the difference? We both set up similar sized areas that we didn't control and just avoided the other player. What are we missing?
 
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Clinton Sattler
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Try it again and aggressively try to control 1 stage in the production. Select all (or at least the largest majority) of tiles that correspond to 1 stage of production in an attempt to "force" the other player to move cubes to your area if they want to make money efficiently (or at all). If you can do this with two stages of production...even better.

Try to be ruthless in setting up and controlling choke points in the game. In my experience, you will be most successful setting these choke points up earlier in the game. By late game, there is generally enough tiles available that you will gradually lose your monopoly. There will likely be ways for the player to bypass your hegemony.

Basically try to force the game into imbalance. I fully agree that a balanced game of King Chocolate would be a pretty boring affair.
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Stefan Alexander
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That's exactly right - I'll add that you want to aggressively block your opponent from expanding in certain stages (the ones you have that feed into/out of the ones they have). And when you do have a monopoly on one stage, make sure you take advantage of it by leaving your cubes there and making your opponent use their action to move them.

If they won't play ball, and they're only taking 2-4 cubes from unowned groups (instead of many more cubes from yours), that's still OK, since they're using actions inefficiently.
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