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Subject: best number of players rss

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Jeff Burdett

Honeoye Falls
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Anyone with more experience have any opinion on optimum number of players? I've played with 2 and 3, and really enjoyed it, but wonder what a 5 or 6 player game would be like.
 
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Doug Palmer
United States
Birmingham
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Actually, I couldn't imagine playing it with less than 4!

I've had the pleasure of playing with 5 and 6 and think that 5 is the game's "sweet spot". 6 seems to wind up with a lot of downtime for some reason. With 5, it seems that you won't end up with several players without controlling interest in at least ONE country, and therefore, keeps everyone interested.

Just my 2 cents
 
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Dave Why
United States
Lexington
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I've also only played with 2 or 3 and it works quite well - it's one of our favorite games. We haven't run into the situation where a player has no country to control.
 
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max pattacini
Brazil
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4 for me is the best number... 5 is very good too...
i don't play with 2 or 3
with 6, someone can without nation for a long time... but is fun too
 
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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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4 and only exactly 4 players, Oh, and without the investor card too.
 
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Daniel Corban
Canada
Newmarket
Ontario
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Four players, only on tuesdays, it must be a sunny day, no investor card, open money, one hand tied behind back, and all players naked. Oh, and using the advanced setup.
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Jacob Lee
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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I find rainy days the best time to play any board game.
 
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Scott Russell
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Clarkston
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I played once with five without investor card and once with four with investor card. Both were good games.

Based on this vast experience, I still am not sure whether I like the advanced rules better than with the investor card or not. My impression is that the game will flow more smoothly with investor card. So I am not sure if the increased flexibility playing without is worth the extra step each turn.

Overall, I am a terrible person to comment on best number of players, because my favorite number in an 18XX game is two.
 
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Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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I think it plays great with its entire range: 2-6. This is because all 6 countries are in play regardless fo the number of players and the money stays about the same as well. The difference is just in the number of controlling players, but the mechanics all stay the same, thus the game is truly scalable.
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Richard Young
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This is an interesting question the answer to which is usually quite subjective. However, as a rule most multi-player games are best played at the maximum design limit because the game's mechanics often have been based on that number. Best example might be History of the World. Other games can have a different character; take The Napoleonic Wars for example, which although designed for five plays best with four.

I personally believe that Imperial falls into the category of games which plays differently but very well throughout the full range of player numbers. Puerto Rico being perhaps the best example of this. I don't think that happens by accident either - the design team should be congratulated for thinking this through effectively.

Imperial is indeed a fine game for any number, and an additional benefit is that at the maximum number no significant additional down-time is encountered so two sessions in an evening is quite possible. I too love this game!
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Colin Hunter
New Zealand
Auckland
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dcorban wrote:
Four players, only on tuesdays, it must be a sunny day, no investor card, open money, one hand tied behind back, and all players naked. Oh, and using the advanced setup.

I would agree here, this is the minimum requirement for the game, especially all players being naked, I mean I never play any game with out that, except maybe strip poker as a filler first.
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Charis
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Bubslug wrote:
However, as a rule most multi-player games are best played at the maximum design limit because the game's mechanics often have been based on that number. Best example might be History of the World.


Not quite true. I quickly came up with two games that don't follow this "rule": carcassonne and runebound
 
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Mark Bigney
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Kingston
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I'm with Tim on this one; 2-6 is just fine. The fact that the people who claim "best with x" or "only with x" cannot agree on what x is tells you something.
 
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Walther Gerdts
Germany
Hamburg
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We even tried 7 players and it still was fun...
 
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David Knepper
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Huntsville
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Our thinking is less than 6. All of our games have been with 6 players and in those games 1 or more players have spent the more than half the game with nothing to do because they lost control of their 'country.' If the 'countryless' player is short of money and has none coming in, there is absolutely nothing for them to do in the game but watch. yuk
 
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Daniel Corban
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Newmarket
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Aging One wrote:
Our thinking is less than 6. All of our games have been with 6 players and in those games 1 or more players have spent the more than half the game with nothing to do because they lost control of their 'country.' If the 'countryless' player is short of money and has none coming in, there is absolutely nothing for them to do in the game but watch.


Since you have never played with less than six, I will tell you a secret: this can just as easily happen with five or four players.

This game requires slightly different thinking. You don't need to be in control to win. I agree that sitting there, doing nothing but waiting for the investor card to come around might be boring (a worst case scenario where you don't have enough money to buy another bond), but at the same time, being able to buy small bonds and intentionally avoiding taking control of a nation may actually be fun.
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Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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Three and four have both gone very well. Three the game moves at a very nice clip and four is perhaps a slightly richer gaming experience.

Two is a good game except it tends to runaway leader in a bad way. Five or six is just too many and too likely for a player to have insufficient influence on the outcome.
 
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