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Trickerion: Legends of Illusion» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Trickerion as a 2 player game rss

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Sharon Khan
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This is part of my series of reviews of how multiplayer games work with just 2 players. For the full list see: My 2 player game reviews.

Rules - how are they different in a 2 player game?

The only change in the 2 player game is to the number of spaces available. There are 4 spaces at each location to place your workers in a 4 player game, and in a 3 player game this is reduced to 3, and in a 2 player game to 2. There are two different rulesets for this - you can either just block off the middle two in each location, using the basic game rules, or there is a deck of cards that blocks off a different two each game.

There are also special performance cards for 2 players, with grey performance markers printed on the cards already.

How is the game different with 2?

With the basic rules, rather than the card variant, it can feel very frustrating with just 2, if you're the player in second position. In the 2 player game in particular the turn order doesn't shift much - generally one player has a higher VP value early trick and pulls out to an early lead, and for most of the rest of the game they go last in turn order. The problem comes in the basic game with the Downtown area. With the first person in having a +2 bonus, and the other a 0 bonus, the player second in turn order can be completely shut out of all the good actions here for the majority of the game, which can really hamper their game. With the card variant, this problem is largely removed, and it feels much more like the multiplayer game, where the bonus you get might vary from 0 to 2.

In general the card variant mirrors much more accurately the multiplayer game - the neutral pieces feel like the other players taking actions in a predictable way. The start player still has a natural advantage, 2 less cash to publicise each turn, and their first choice of the "best spot" on the board, but this is the natural catch-up mechanism that is present in the game throughout the player counts, and as in Power Grid, playing to be behind to get this bonus can be part of the game, although in this game you also have the urge to get points to get to the 16 and 36 barriers to be able to use the more powerful tricks and cards.

The time taken to play is greatly reduced with 2 players - this is definitely an X minute per player game, where I find X is 30-45 mins, and reducing the playtime from 2-3 hours with 4 players to 1-1.15 hour with just 2 players makes it much easier for the game to table.

The only other difference I found with just 2 players is the lack of shards. If you don't have a trick that produces shards then it can be very hard to get shards at all. In the multiplayer game all players are keen to get shards by the placement of their tricks, and generally quite a few will be handed out. I find in 2 player that shards are generally only handed out when a player does all the work themselves, placing both sides of a shard with their own tricks. In theory this should happen as often, but in practice the fact that it's not a shared bonus means that shards seem to come into the game at a slower rate.

It seems slightly easier to get new tricks in the 2 player game. You roll the same number of dice at all player counts, and although there are options to reroll etc, these take extra actions, which are not always available. In the 2 player game there are 2 dice rolling tricks, and 2 players, so if both roll a trick face then both players can take a trick. With 4 players at most 2 can get a trick. This difference partly accounts for the shard issue above, as players can put two different tricks onto performances from quite early on, rather than having to rely on their opponents helping them out.

It is also easier to keep track of the goods market. With 4 players, each with their own agenda, the goods market can be quite chaotic at times, the goods there changing most turns. With just 2 it is much more static.

Performing is also different. As players are more likely to have multiple tricks, they also often end up placing on a single performance more regularly, so more often perform their own performance rather than shared ones. It is still possible to get your opponent to perform for you, if you can place after they do and there is enough space, but the "scatter approach", of placing lots of tricks and hoping that they'll be performed by other players, and using your magician for other actions, doesn't work nearly as well in the 2 player game as in the 4 player one.

Despite all these minor differences though, the overall feel of the game is very similar at all player counts, and what the 2 player game loses in tightness and competition for actions it gains in speed.

Verdict:

Although I think the 3 and 4 player game is the better overall game experience, the game does work well with 2, at a greatly reduced playtime, which has its own benefits.


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Dylan Bradshaw
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Wow you're finishing the full game (dark alley) in 1.5 hours? I've played quite a bit and can't get it under 2.5 - 3 with 2. We are slow players I see.
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Adrian Schmidt
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It should be noted that the special 2 player deck for placing the dummy players and the performance cards with preprinted grey trick markers are part of the Dahlgaard's Gifts expansion, and not part of the base game. They are included in the Kickstarter version though.

Great review! Although, I can't understand how people are able to play this in an hour. My wife and I play this in 5 hours or more for two players. That does include some minor breaks snacks, but still
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Sharon Khan
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SpecularRain wrote:
It should be noted that the special 2 player deck for placing the dummy players and the performance cards with preprinted grey trick markers are part of the Dahlgaard's Gifts expansion, and not part of the base game. They are included in the Kickstarter version though.[/b]

I traded for the game, and I think it must have been a Kickstarter version as it has it all included - it means I don't know what is and isn't included in the retail edition though.

[b]Great review! Although, I can't understand how people are able to play this in an hour. My wife and I play this in 5 hours or more for two players. That does include some minor breaks snacks, but still


Eek - 5 hours! Even with 4 players we're generally done in 3, and I've even managed one 3 player game in 2. My husband and I are quick players though.

 
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Justin G
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I think it works wonderfully with 2. It's my preferred player count but must be played with Dahlgaard's Gifts.
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Sebastien Maire
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5h??? robot

On our side, we play this as a 2p game within 1h30. Maximum 2h.
And we play the full game with Dark Alley and Magician Powers.
I can't imagine how you guys need 5h with only 2p.

By the way, this game is pure genius, certainly my favorite #1.
 
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Dylan Bradshaw
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We are fairly quick players and it takes my wife and I 2.5 - 3 hours. The last few rounds can get fairly crunchy.
 
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Désirée Greverud
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I suppose if rather than playing the game, you choose to run an excel spreadsheet, it could take longer...
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