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Subject: A simple idea to increase tension in 2-p games (and maybe 3-p too) rss

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Ken Thibodeau
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We played our first game of yokohama as a 2-p game and we both felt a certain lack of tension/competition in our assistant placement and president movement. It may well be because it was our first game and we didn't have a clear sense of what to do, but we never had to reassess our strategies because of the restrictions of the other president. It was quite multiplayer solitaire on the main board. And yes, we used the 2-p setup.

Then we played a 3-p game and felt added competition compared to 2-p, so here is an idea I got: use a dummy president that moves at the end of each turn. To make it predictable, start him on the upper left tile and move him one tile to his right each turn, then on the lower row and so on, cycling back to tile one once it reaches the last tile.

I'm not sure this tweak would be necessary in 3-p or 4-p games, but if it works well in 2-p, I'll give it a shot with 3-p just to see how it goes.
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Bruce Bacher
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I see where you're coming from, but our 2-p experience DID have some tension. Several times I had to change my plans and do things in a different order than I'd hoped to, or work around something no longer being available.

There are multiple long-term strategies to pursue during the game. Maybe there's more tension if the 2 players are on similar strategies? That's just a guess.
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Tyler DeLisle
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I haven't felt a lack of tension yet, the 2 player board is very tight, it's pretty easy to tell where an opponent wants to go and block them, or at least position yourself so they will have to pay you a coin to get there. With 2 players, and alternating first player, someone being on the space you want blocks you out for 2 rounds, it's pretty painful. I don't know if I'd also want a dummy automaton getting in my way.

Seems like an easy variant to try though.
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Ken Thibodeau
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TyDeL wrote:
I haven't felt a lack of tension yet, the 2 player board is very tight, it's pretty easy to tell where an opponent wants to go and block them, or at least position yourself so they will have to pay you a coin to get there. With 2 players, and alternating first player, someone being on the space you want blocks you out for 2 rounds, it's pretty painful. I don't know if I'd also want a dummy automaton getting in my way.

Seems like an easy variant to try though.


Unless I misunderstood the rules, the first player token isn't alternating. You just take turns one after the other until a game end trigger is activated.
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Dave Moser
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fardoche wrote:
TyDeL wrote:
I haven't felt a lack of tension yet, the 2 player board is very tight, it's pretty easy to tell where an opponent wants to go and block them, or at least position yourself so they will have to pay you a coin to get there. With 2 players, and alternating first player, someone being on the space you want blocks you out for 2 rounds, it's pretty painful. I don't know if I'd also want a dummy automaton getting in my way.

Seems like an easy variant to try though.


Unless I misunderstood the rules, the first player token isn't alternating. You just take turns one after the other until a game end trigger is activated.

That's correct. The first player token never moves. It's only to remind everyone who started when the game end is triggered.

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Brian Pierce
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I've only played the game twice (2 player and 4 player), but we felt the 2 player game actually had more tension then the 4 player. While neither was extremely tense by any means, the fact that there are so many duplicate locations in the 4 player game meant that players could stay out of each others way to a certain extent. However, in a 2 player game we both needed access to the same resources and were bumping into each other more often.

Again, just based off of two plays. I would imagine the board layout could have a dramatic impact on the degree of competition.
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Matthew Mayes
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Generally speaking I hate dummy players in games. I like the simplicity of your suggestion. However I don't personally believe this game needs it.
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Armand
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Three 2p sessions, very infrequent moments of tension.

On BGG the knee-jerk reaction to any proposed variant is, "No, my hot, expensive new game is perfect as it is!"

I will definitely try the dummy variant the next time we play with 2, but honestly there are a lot of games we're more excited to play. Hopefully your idea will help.

Thanks for posting it, Ken!
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Seth Jaffee
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doctoryes0 wrote:
On BGG the knee-jerk reaction to any proposed variant is, "No, my hot, expensive new game is perfect as it is!"

To be fair, the only reason you'd see a knee-jerk "No, my hot, expensive new game is perfect as it is!" reaction is in reply to a knee-jerk "I played this game 1-2 times, and I think I'll try a variant to "fix" it." post.

While it might not always be the case, I'd like to think the designers, developers, and publishers who put many hours into creating these game might be better informed about them than a player who played them once or twice as learning games, so I lean toward giving the design team the benefit of the doubt.

That said, there is a place for house rules for players who find a game more fun with them. I don't begrudge home grown variants, but in my personal opinion, it's probably worth giving the game a proper shot before jumping into them.
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Armand
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You know what? I've said the same thing word for word when (jaded) gamers in my group start suggesting improvements while I'm still explaining the game.

I think I'm caught between two pet peeves here. I really do hate it how every variant suggestion on this site gets pissed on. Why have a Variants Forum if the boilerplate response is "Doesn't need it".

Personally I like it best when designers add tested variants to the rule book.

"If you like more interaction..."

"If you like a shorter game..."

Etc.

Anyway, point taken, Seth. Maybe I just woke up grouchy.
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Matthew Mayes
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I wasn't trying to shoot down this variant. I was just simply stating that I dislike dummy players in games. I do think it's an interesting idea and would be easy enough to implement.
 
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Ken Thibodeau
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Actually I'm very well aware that posting a variant for any game is bound to getting flamed by purists. Sacrilege!

I was not trying to fix the game but just to share an idea with others that maybe felt the same thing I did. I'm not looking or expecting to gain general approval, even less so by the designer/publisher himself. Again, I posted to share and it was in no way a disguised critism.
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Seth Jaffee
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fardoche wrote:
Actually I'm very well aware that posting a variant for any game is bound to getting flamed by purists. Sacrilege!

I was not trying to fix the game but just to share an idea with others that maybe felt the same thing I did. I'm not looking or expecting to gain general approval, even less so by the designer/publisher himself. Again, I posted to share and it was in no way a disguised critism.

I wasn't responding to your variant idea as much as to Armand's post about a knee-jerk reaction.
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Matthew Mayes
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Can't we all just get along? 😎
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Alice White
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fardoche wrote:
We played our first game of yokohama as a 2-p game and we both felt a certain lack of tension/competition in our assistant placement and president movement. It may well be because it was our first game and we didn't have a clear sense of what to do, but we never had to reassess our strategies because of the restrictions of the other president. It was quite multiplayer solitaire on the main board. And yes, we used the 2-p setup.

Then we played a 3-p game and felt added competition compared to 2-p, so here is an idea I got: use a dummy president that moves at the end of each turn. To make it predictable, start him on the upper left tile and move him one tile to his right each turn, then on the lower row and so on, cycling back to tile one once it reaches the last tile.

I'm not sure this tweak would be necessary in 3-p or 4-p games, but if it works well in 2-p, I'll give it a shot with 3-p just to see how it goes.

Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.
 
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Darryl with one "R"
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Alyiz wrote:
Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.

The knee-jerk : non-knee-jerk ratio in this thread is increasing.

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Armand
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nbread wrote:
Alyiz wrote:
Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.

The knee-jerk : non-knee-jerk ratio in this thread is increasing.


Yeah, I think you may have jumped to a conclusion, Alice. This will be a great 2p game for lots of people, but generally those who don't like a ton of direct interaction.

And that is a lot of gamers.
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Armand
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Sry for the back-to-back, y'all, different subject:

@ Ken, I think Seth may have hit the nail on the head about playtesting. I love the simplicity of your variant idea but I think it's inevitably going to throw off the power curve for techs. Things like Station, Tram, and others that effect movement and payments to other Presidents are going to get a lot more desirable.

That may however be a good thing. Last night my gf took Mining Technology on t1 after a long debate between that and Station. I was definitely hoping she would take Station. Since Mining is a 3 and Station is a 4, we both had the same hunch - without discussing it - that Station is a little underpowered on a small map. Also in the naturally zero-sum nature of 2p, you really don't want to pay to help your opponent even a little (Station adds to both players' power). Or at least we don't!

All of which is just so much group-think. My point is, this may not be a simple case of, 'If you like more interaction, add a dummy Pres". The effects are going to ripple out a bit...

Definitely update this if you give it a try!
 
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Seth Jaffee
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doctoryes0 wrote:
nbread wrote:
Alyiz wrote:
Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.

The knee-jerk : non-knee-jerk ratio in this thread is increasing.


Yeah, I think you may have jumped to a conclusion, Alice. This will be a great 2p game for lots of people, but generally those who don't like a ton of direct interaction.

And that is a lot of gamers.

Side note: Alice is welcome to jump to any conclusion she likes, and if this game doesn't sound like it's for her, then she should probably not run out and buy it.

@Alyiz: if you happen to get a chance to try the game 2p (maybe at a local game store or something), I hope you'll give it a shot. Maybe you'll find that it does have enough tension for you after all.
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Yuri Alvarez
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My first try @ 2p I thought the same as OP, but last night I had a completely different experience, and both were great. Awesome game!
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Alice White
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sedjtroll wrote:
doctoryes0 wrote:
nbread wrote:
Alyiz wrote:
Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.

The knee-jerk : non-knee-jerk ratio in this thread is increasing.


Yeah, I think you may have jumped to a conclusion, Alice. This will be a great 2p game for lots of people, but generally those who don't like a ton of direct interaction.

And that is a lot of gamers.

Side note: Alice is welcome to jump to any conclusion she likes, and if this game doesn't sound like it's for her, then she should probably not run out and buy it.

@Alyiz: if you happen to get a chance to try the game 2p (maybe at a local game store or something), I hope you'll give it a shot. Maybe you'll find that it does have enough tension for you after all.


Oh don't misunderstand, that was just me curbing my impulse to buy it after watching the critical reviews of the game. I'm still planning to play it in the near future to decide if I will buy it anyway. Board gaming as a hobby has just gotten very cutthroat lately. If you don't buy something you want immediately, you may not get it for years or ever.
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Seth Jaffee
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Alyiz wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
doctoryes0 wrote:
nbread wrote:
Alyiz wrote:
Thanks for this. It's all I needed to not buy the game. I'm tired of games advertising for 2P and then not delivering a decent experience.

The knee-jerk : non-knee-jerk ratio in this thread is increasing.


Yeah, I think you may have jumped to a conclusion, Alice. This will be a great 2p game for lots of people, but generally those who don't like a ton of direct interaction.

And that is a lot of gamers.

Side note: Alice is welcome to jump to any conclusion she likes, and if this game doesn't sound like it's for her, then she should probably not run out and buy it.

@Alyiz: if you happen to get a chance to try the game 2p (maybe at a local game store or something), I hope you'll give it a shot. Maybe you'll find that it does have enough tension for you after all.


Oh don't misunderstand, that was just me curbing my impulse to buy it after watching the critical reviews of the game. I'm still planning to play it in the near future to decide if I will buy it anyway. Board gaming as a hobby has just gotten very cutthroat lately. If you don't buy something you want immediately, you may not get it for years or ever.

Yokohama should be readily available, for a while at least
 
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Shane Loader
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Personally I am going to try this if I play this game 2 players again. When playing with your players inner are often times where all the things you want to do are blocked so you have to do something else and it made it more challenging. With two players that is almost never going to happen because you nearly always have at least two things you would like to do so you can do the other and you know the space you want will be open on your next turm.
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