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Subject: Games for odd number of players only? rss

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Markku Soikkeli
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Are there games designed for odd number of players only? For example games where it is essential that players repeatedly choose their side between two powers, and to make sure one side will have majority?

This question came to my mind while playing Dakota, which has quite exceptional setting between powers (cowboys and natives), but can be played also with 4 players.

Any other suggestions how to use this kind of setting with odd player count?

 
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Joe Salamone
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I can't remember the name of the game (I think it is in one of the Dice Tower Top 10 videos), but it requires a player count of EXACTLY 3.

 
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Joe Huber

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There are over one hundred games for three players only - Familiar's Trouble, Eggs of Ostrich, and Cosmic Eidex, to name three offhand.

There are no ranked games which only handle five players, but there are a few - you can find them by doing an advanced search, player range 5-5, exact.

There are even fewer seven-only games, at least one of which is (not surprisingly) a Diplomacy variant.

Oddly enough, there _is_ one ranked game for nine players only, Death Wears White. Assuming, of course, the data on BGG is correct - which is not always a safe assumption.

Edit: And, of course, there are lots of solitaire games...
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C Witcomb
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San Marco? From memory it's a "one player cuts the cake, others choose their piece" game for 3... X
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Treefrog created some three player games, probably most notably God's Playground (though there was a Spilish four player version).
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Sven Weiler
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Three Kingdoms Redux is a 3 player only worker placement game that features a temporary "alliance" by 2 of the three players every game turn.
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B C Z
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If you go to the top of the main page and look in the search box, you'll see a link to 'advanced search'.

In there, you can specify an absolute value for # of players.

3-3 (exact) is probably going to yield the best results, since that's the most popular multi-player odd number, but you can play araound with it as you need to.

Some that immediately come to mind:

Star Trek: Ascendancy (3)
Churchill (3)
Trieste (3)


And then some games really play BEST with an odd number.

A full table of Diplomacy is great.
Die Macher plays best with 5.
Battlestar Galactica is best with 5.

I find that when players have to pick sides, having an odd number tends to even things out properly.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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joe_salamone wrote:
I can't remember the name of the game (I think it is in one of the Dice Tower Top 10 videos), but it requires a player count of EXACTLY 3.



Was it The Bottle Imp?
 
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Joe Huber

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bwingrave wrote:
joe_salamone wrote:
I can't remember the name of the game (I think it is in one of the Dice Tower Top 10 videos), but it requires a player count of EXACTLY 3.



Was it The Bottle Imp?


Shouldn't be - Flaschenteufel plays just fine with 4, even if it is better with three. I find the difference there smaller than with Schnäppchen Jagd, which really benefits strongly from only having three players.
 
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Richard Irving
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idoru wrote:
San Marco? From memory it's a "one player cuts the cake, others choose their piece" game for 3... X


No it can handle 4. However the only correct San Marco is 2 (Which is NOT one of the options)
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Bleicher
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joe_salamone wrote:
I can't remember the name of the game (I think it is in one of the Dice Tower Top 10 videos), but it requires a player count of EXACTLY 3.


Besides the aforementioned Three Kingdom Redux, Martin Wallace has a couple of games with mechanics specifically designed for exactly three players - After the Flood and God's Playground.
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Richard Irving
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byronczimmer wrote:

A full table of Diplomacy is great.


With the standard game, Diplomacy only plays with 7--any other number is really bad. With a different number, any of the various variants that handle that number is preferred.

Simply game companies lie on their player count ranges all of the time--if a game is great for 4 and only kind of works for 3 or 5, it'll say 3-5 players on the box.
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Russ Williams
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Soikkeli wrote:
Are there games designed for odd number of players only?

As many comments note, there are very many games for exactly N players, where N is an odd number (e.g. games for exactly 3 players).

But if you mean, are there are any games which work for any of several odd numbers, and no even numbers (e.g. a game for exactly 3, 5, or 7 players), then I cannot think of any offhand.
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Robert
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I'll flog a dead horse by again pushing one of my favourite games: The Other Hat Trick.

It's a print-and-play by the same designer of Elysium and Divinare. It's very light, and it has mixed reviews, but I just love it to bits.

And it is for exactly three players.
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Joe Huber

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russ wrote:
But if you mean, are there are any games which work for any of several odd numbers, and no even numbers (e.g. a game for exactly 3, 5, or 7 players), then I cannot think of any offhand.


The logical possibility here would be a partnership game which requires a moderator/judge/dungeon master/etc.. I can't think of any, either...
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Robert Wolkey
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My list of games for Odd People only:

Assassin
Wadget
Munchkin
Killer Bunnies
Anti-Monopoly
Global Survival
 
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Markku Soikkeli
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russ wrote:
Soikkeli wrote:
Are there games designed for odd number of players only?

But if you mean, are there are any games which work for any of several odd numbers, and no even numbers (e.g. a game for exactly 3, 5, or 7 players), then I cannot think of any offhand.


Yes, this was the criteria I tried to formulate: game with a mechanism forcing plaeyrs to make temporal alliances because there's any odd number of players. Maybe an easier way for this kind of mechanism is an odd number of "votes" that are available for players, but it doesn't have same kind of psychological effect.

Instead of war games I'm more interested in simulation games of social life - and about mixing these genres.

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Robert Seater
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Soikkeli wrote:
russ wrote:
Soikkeli wrote:
Are there games designed for odd number of players only?

But if you mean, are there are any games which work for any of several odd numbers, and no even numbers (e.g. a game for exactly 3, 5, or 7 players), then I cannot think of any offhand.

Yes, this was the criteria I tried to formulate.

Well, it sounds like there is a golden opportunity for you to exploit -- game groups who play a partnership game and then kill the weakest link on the losing team are often faced with exactly an odd number of players, and nothing else to play. Today, all they can do is slink home and avoid the impending manhunt for their arrest. But with your help they could play an odds-only game while they wait!
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Robert Seater
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Here are some mechanics that would require odd-only.

Voting without ties. Go around the table. Each player must either nominate a candidate or vote for a candidate. You cannot nominate a candidate if 2 have already been nominated. You must nominate a candidate if you are last and only one candidate has been nominated. Most votes wins and triggers some kind of game effect. In this way, it is somewhat similar to what's done in Chicken Caesar or New Angeles.

Two equal teams plus an agitator. Two equal teams try to win a game, while an agitator with extreme power tries to ensure that both teams lose. In this way, it is somewhat similar to Blood Bound or Catacombs (third edition).

Coalitions within coalitions. Requires 3^N players. Each round, players are grouped into mini-coalitions of 3 players. Each of those coalitions is grouped into meta-coalitions of 3 mini-coalitions. Each of those coalitions is grouped in meta-meta coalitions of 3 meta-coalitions. Repeat until all 3^N players have been grouped into a single giant coalition. Then there is a period of free discussion and diplomacy. Then players vote on how their coalition will vote on how their meta-coalition on how their meta-meta-coalitions will vote...
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Bradley Eng-Kohn
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rseater wrote:
Coalitions within coalitions. Requires 3^N players. Each round, players are grouped into mini-coalitions of 3 players. Each of those coalitions is grouped into meta-coalitions of 3 mini-coalitions. Each of those coalitions is grouped in meta-meta coalitions of 3 meta-coalitions. Repeat until all 3^N players have been grouped into a single giant coalition. Then there is a period of free discussion and diplomacy. Then players vote on how their coalition will vote on how their meta-coalition on how their meta-meta-coalitions will vote...


I don't know what's wrong with me, this sounds fun.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Sequence is playable with three people and so is Ogre.
 
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miror universe
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After the flood was a game for only 3P.

My favorites games for 3 : Gloomhaven, WoW boardgame with the coop variant and Pathfinder ACG.
 
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Russ Williams
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miror wrote:
After the flood was a game for only 3P.

I.e. not for several different possible odd numbers of players.

miror wrote:
My favorites games for 3 : Gloomhaven, WoW boardgame with the coop variant and Pathfinder ACG.


GeoffreyB wrote:
Sequence is playable with three people and so is Ogre.

Yes but they are also playable with even numbers of players.


OP wants games specifically for at least two different odd numbers of players, and not for any even number.

There are zillions of games which work for an odd number of players (and also even numbers), or for one specific number of players only (e.g. 3 players).
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Soikkeli wrote:
russ wrote:
Soikkeli wrote:
Are there games designed for odd number of players only?

But if you mean, are there are any games which work for any of several odd numbers, and no even numbers (e.g. a game for exactly 3, 5, or 7 players), then I cannot think of any offhand.


Yes, this was the criteria I tried to formulate: game with a mechanism forcing plaeyrs to make temporal alliances because there's any odd number of players. Maybe an easier way for this kind of mechanism is an odd number of "votes" that are available for players, but it doesn't have same kind of psychological effect.

Instead of war games I'm more interested in simulation games of social life - and about mixing these genres.



It could happen with a game that requires two equal teams and 1 mercenary type player who isn't on either team, but I can't think if there is any actual such game.
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Markku Soikkeli
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rseater wrote:
Here are some mechanics that would require odd-only.
Voting without ties. Go around the table. Each player must either nominate a candidate or vote [--]
Two equal teams plus an agitator. Two equal teams try to win a game, while an agitator [--].


Ah, wonderful, I like these.

With an agitator the teams could have asymmetric powers and the agitator could have ways to manipulate the information between teams, esp. information about their special powers. The hidden messages for armies (as in Game of Thrones bg) must be sent via Tullius Intrigius, etc.

The goal for designing is that in an odd-only game (oog) you could feel that you have had some partnership in winning, even if you have least victory points. Also, the negotiations between players would substitute the 1 vs 1 -battles (of area majority mechanism), and intrigues and bluffing would substitute the tension of open war strategy. Instead of kingmaking you'd have... princemaking?

I'm not sure if it's adaptable, but after I read about mechanism of The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC I've been wondering how to use it in an oog: if your team is _too_ succesfull, you have to change sides with the loosing team.


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