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So my brother and I have been playing a lot of scythe lately and totally love it. I think we've played just under 10 games now as 2 players in the last 2 weeks or so.
I've been noticing a trend of how important popularity is in a 2-player game. I was wondering if there was any way to counter the popularity track, or at least slow someone down? It might be hard in a 2-player scenario compared to a 4-player game.
In all of our games, I usually am the one who puts down the 6th star ending the game as I try to end with the most territories (along with the factory), but a difference in 2-3 stars and 3+ territories doesn't seem to make much a difference in a 2-player game while the popularity approach seems to be much reliable.
The one time I tried to purposely put out my workers to deny his popularity is the one time he got Polania and lost zero popularity due to his mech special ability
I would love to hear any strategies or stories out there for 2-players. Also, I am in no way saying that I have played my games perfectly or that I claim to have deep sage wisdom about this game.
Camaraderie only works after combat. Forcing workers back without combat still loses popularity.
You can react in a multitude of ways. If he's grabbing pop he isn't doing other stuff. Personally I like bumping it to 13 myself but it depends on the game, in 2 player you play the opponent as much as yourself.
20+ 2p games under my belt and I think I have seen one person get into the top tier of popularity. Generally the games are over too fast for it to happen.
Generally, a high popularity strategy requires two things:
1. Low population (<6 workers); and
2. Repeated trade actions (to boost popularity) which slows the economy.
So become a despised warmonger:
1. High population (get 8 workers early); and
2. Lots of Mechs; and
3. Lots of Power.
A typical star spread might be:
1 for Mechs, 1 for Workers (get this by turn 5/6), 1 for Power, 1 for (Upgrades/Enlistments/Buildings/Objectives), 2 for Combat.
Your popularity will be low as you always attack unprotected workers sending them to base. Your opponent will counter this by clumping up their units which then become juicy targets for attack . Hit those clumps, steal resources and territory. Try to exploit Disarm, Scout or Artillery to keep ahead in the combat game and interfere with their economy as much as possible.
There is an opportunity cost to maximising popularity, and it is the despised warmonger who makes the most of that opportunity.
For what it's worth, I find popularity is important over all across any number of players.
But the option for advancing in popularity is fairly balanced from what I have experienced. Maybe you can try climbing the power track faster as a counter? Once you reach max power, you have the power to freely spend power and area control.
I think popularity is usually difficult to advance at the same time with power, as in barring rare cases encounter you don't get both in the same strategy.
I find popularity tier 3 to be situational. Usually, it can be achieved with an appropriate factory card and when you get some encounter card with no beter opportunity.