Adelin Dumitru
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Bucharest
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Cry Havoc, El Grande, Inis, Blood Rage, Kemet, Cyclades, Chaos in the Old World, Shogun, etc....So many great games that for many people are insta-buys. Nonetheless, is there any area control game that feels epic but still works well at low player counts? I guess games that rely on bidding as a main mechanism are excluded form the start (Cyclades). However, is there something fundamentally pro-high player counts within the area control genre? Or are there exceptions?
 
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Roger Dodger
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River Grove
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I don't know if it's epic but how about Small World?

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Jeff Connell
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Delaware
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AdelinDumitru wrote:
Cry Havoc, El Grande, Inis, Blood Rage, Kemet, Cyclades, Chaos in the Old World, Shogun, etc....So many great games that for many people are insta-buys. Nonetheless, is there any area control game that feels epic but still works well at low player counts? I guess games that rely on bidding as a main mechanism are excluded form the start (Cyclades). However, is there something fundamentally pro-high player counts within the area control genre? Or are there exceptions?


Area control (majority) doesn't work well with 2. You will always have the problem of "I'll just go where you're not", so the whole tension of that style of game is lost.
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Joey Minter
United States
Scottsville
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Have you tried Twilight Struggle? If you have access to an iPad or Steam, I would say go that route first then if you like that then gothe boardgame route.
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Matt Brown
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Okemos
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2-player area control games tend to lean towards wargames. A good midway point for many people would be something like BattleLore.
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Matt Brown
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jsc19702 wrote:
AdelinDumitru wrote:
Cry Havoc, El Grande, Inis, Blood Rage, Kemet, Cyclades, Chaos in the Old World, Shogun, etc....So many great games that for many people are insta-buys. Nonetheless, is there any area control game that feels epic but still works well at low player counts? I guess games that rely on bidding as a main mechanism are excluded form the start (Cyclades). However, is there something fundamentally pro-high player counts within the area control genre? Or are there exceptions?


Area control (majority) doesn't work well with 2. You will always have the problem of "I'll just go where you're not", so the whole tension of that style of game is lost.


That actually doesn't work. Certainly not against an aggressive player.
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Adelin Dumitru
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Oh, I'm not asking necessarily for a recommendation. I was just curious about this.
 
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Ron
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Small World works quite well with two (though many people disagree). I haven't played Cry Havoc yet, but since it comes with separate boards for different player counts, I would expect it to be at least okay with two as well.
As mentioned, Twilight Struggle is an exceptional two player game as well.
And I actually found El Grande quite passable with two. Definitely not great, but certainly playable. Then again, not good enough to actually ever get played 2p
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Julien K
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Kyoto
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I heard that Eight-Minute Empire: Legends works well
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Jacob Schoberg
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Elkhorn
Wisconsin
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Sun Tzu is an area control game exclusively for 2, and it's good!
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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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I just came up with a game idea. I mean, just this second. So yeah, soon, there will be one. (No, really, I'm not kidding, I think it might be a good idea. It has cards.)
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Michael Drog
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Ponte Vedra Beach
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Hmmmm...You want an epic area control game that plays well with 2 people....You are a closet grognard...See the Wargamers subdomain and prepare to go down the rabbit hole...
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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AdelinDumitru wrote:
Cry Havoc, El Grande, Inis, Blood Rage, Kemet, Cyclades, Chaos in the Old World, Shogun, etc....So many great games that for many people are insta-buys. Nonetheless, is there any area control game that feels epic but still works well at low player counts? I guess games that rely on bidding as a main mechanism are excluded form the start (Cyclades). However, is there something fundamentally pro-high player counts within the area control genre? Or are there exceptions?


I don't think area control games need higher player counts. Most games have mechanisms that restrict your placements and force you to take control in the right place at the right time.

One mechanism I think works very well with smaller player counts is the double majority mechanism, where you play to "control the controllers" by having a majority in a color that has a majority in an area. Examples includen Carolus Magnus and The King Is Dead.
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James Wahl
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Another vote for Sun Tzu and The King Is Dead (or rather Dynasties and König von Siam.) They're both exclusively two-player, and as purely El Grande-style area control as can be found.
 
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Mark Jackson
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+1 for Sun Tzu

You could also try Battle Line, which fits if you look at it from the right angle

Oh and definitely Kahuna
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Orion Free
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Reston
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We love Clockwork Wars!

It's a fantastic epic area control abstract that, I believe, work well at all player counts. I play with my partner 2 player a bunch, and it's awesome. We also love Eclipse at 2 players, for what it's worth.
 
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David Buckley
England
Bath
Somerset
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I have tried El Grande with 2 on yucata. In my opinion it works surprisingly well at that player count. As others have mentioned Twilight Struggle is essentially an area control game. However it might be that the particular qualities that make area control games appealing to you are not reproducible in 2 player games.
 
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Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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pharmakon wrote:
Another vote for Sun Tzu and The King Is Dead (or rather Dynasties and König von Siam.) They're both exclusively two-player, and as purely El Grande-style area control as can be found.


And to add to this great list, the third game in this trifecta is Power & Weakness (which, like Sun Tzu, is designed for 2 and quite well at that).
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Keith B
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Katy
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Hyperborea works well with 2 players.
 
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Kyle
Canada
Toronto
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Dominant species is solid with 2
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Clinton Sattler
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Knoxville
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Here are a couple more that work well with 2

2 de Mayo - Which includes elements of area control with hidden movement and special powers.

Louis XIV - Which uses a clever and non-obtrusive third player to mke the dynamic work well.
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Justin Strickland
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The Woodlands
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Forbidden Stars is good with 2
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Adria D
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Victoria
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My go-to area control game for 2 is War of the Ring (Second Edition). I've never played the game with 3 or 4 players, and don't particularly want to.

Runewars also works well with 2; the map size scales based on the number of players, so space is always tight.
 
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Bill Eldard
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Burke
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Ah_Pook wrote:
+1 for Sun Tzu . . . Oh and definitely Kahuna


I totally agree on those two, and especially Kahuna. \

Also, +1 on Carolus Magnus (if you can find a copy -- it's been OOP for many years.)
 
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Jacek Dąbrowski
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have you considered Metallum?
 
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