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Subject: 2 Players Variant rss

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Fabio Lopiano
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I originally designed this game with high players count in mind: with a group of five players the choice of euro games that play in less than 90 minutes is usually limited.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of great games that are best with two.
But anyway, lots of people asked for a two players variant, so here you go.

Now, I'm usually not fond of having a 'dummy' player in a two players variant, but I don't see any way around it with Calimala.
The idea is that each player will place discs in their color, in white or in a third, neutral, color.
Discs in the neutral color behave differently and their presence in a stack triggers the automatic placement of cubes in that color wherever the players place cubes in their color

The overall game play is the same as with other player counts, with the following differences:

SETUP
Each player takes
- 12 discs in their color,
- 4 white discs
- 6 discs in a third 'neutral' color.

The 'neutral' cubes are placed somewhere reachable by both players (no other components in the neutral color are required).

Scoring cards:
Deal 4 scoring cards to each player, put one of the remaining two face down next to the board and place the last one back in the box (unrevealed).
Each player looks at their four cards, picks one to keep secret, one to reveal face up next to the board and places the other two back in the box (unrevealed).
At this point each player has one secred scoring card, and there are two face up and one face down scoring cards next to the board: at the end of the game these five cards will be scored and each player knows three of them during the game.

GAME PLAY
Own discs and white discs behave as normally, neutral discs behave according to the following rules:

1. A 'neutral' disc can be placed only on a stack that doesn't have already a neutral disc.

2. When a 'neutral' disc is placed, other discs in the stack are not activated. The player that places the disc takes the actions normally (one action per side, plus any additional cards).

3. 'Neutral' discs are not activated 'directly' when other discs are placed on top of them.

4. For each active disc in a stack that contains a 'neutral' disc`, whenever the controlling player places one or more of their own cubes on the main board, one cube in the neutral color is added to the same space (if possible).

Scoring and tie breakers work as with a three players game, neutral discs can have seats on the council and neutral cubes count for majorities (You can optionally keep the score for the neutral color using the 13th disc on the scoring track).

Rules clarifications
Rule 1.
- A neutral disc can not be added to a three discs stack with a neutral disc at the bottom (i.e. the neutral disc at the bottom still counts even if it's going to be kicked out after the discs above it will be activated),
- There are exactly 12 spaces on the board where to place discs and 12 neutral discs. In the unlikely case where the only disc left to a player is 'neutral' and all the other 11 discs are on the board, that player won't have any choice than placing their last disc on the only stack left without a neutral disc. In that case it might be possible for that player to take two action cards if they can't perform neither action. But normally, if two or more places are available, that player must pick an action space where at least one action can be performed, if possible.

Rule 4.
- When a player performs actions because of a disc on a stack with a neutral disc, it doesn't matter which actions are performed (either directly from the disc, or through cards played while that disc was activated) but for every place where the player places one or more cubes, one extra neutral cube is added.
- This applies also when a neutral disc is placed: the player that placed the disc takes the actions, and then for every set of cubes placed anywhere on the board a neutral cube is added to the same place.
- This applies also when a fourth disc is added to a stack where the neutral disc was at the bottom: the neutral cubes are placed accordingly and only after the top three discs are activated the neutral disc moves to the city council.

EXAMPLES
In the following examples, the first player is Red, the second player is Blue, and the neutral color is Green.

Example 1:
The Red player places a disc on top of a Blue and a Green (neutral) disc, between the Ship and Donate actions.

While the top (Red) disc is active:
- the Red player donates one Wood to San Miniato;
- the Red player has two boats and ships two Cloths to Barcelona;
- the Red player doesn't play any action cards.
After the Red player is done:
- one green Wood is added to San Miniato;
- one green Cloth is added to Barcelona.

While the middle (Blue) disc is active:
- the Blue player donates one Wood to San Miniato;
- the Blue player has two boats as well and delivers one Cloth to Lisbon and one Cloth to Barcelona;
- the Blue player also plays one Artwork card and places one Statue in San Miniato.
After the Blue player is done
- the Wood section of San Miniato is full, so no green cubs are added to it;
- one Green Statue is added in San Miniato;
- two Green Cloths are shipped: one to Lisbon and one to Barcelona.

Example 2:
The Blue player places a white disc on top of that same stack (The Green disc is technically still on the stack, it will be pushed to the City Council only after the top three discs are activated).

While the top (White) disc is active:
- the Blue player donates one Marble and one Brick to San Miniato;
- the Blue player ships twice (4 Cloths) two in Barcelona and two in Lisbon.
After the White disc is done:
- one Green Marble and one Green Brick are added to San Miniato;
- one Green Cloth is shipped to Barcelona and one to Lisbon.

While the second (Red) disc is active:
- the Red player donates one Brick to San Miniato (the brick section is now full);
- the Red player ships two Cloths to Barcelona.
After the Red player is done:
- one more Green Cloth is added to Barcelona.

While the third (Blue) disc is active:
- the Blue player donates one Brick to Santa Croce;
- and ships the last cloth to Barcelona.
After the Blue player is done:
- one Green Brick is added to Santa Croce;
- Barcelona is now full, so no Green Cloths are shipped.

At this point the Green disc is added to the City Council triggering the scoring of San Miniato:

San Miniato has 2 Red cubes, 4 Blue cubes and 4 Green cubes and the Green disc on the city council breaks the tie so the Blue player gets second places for 2 points and the Red player gets Third place for one point. (Note how the Red Player gained one point by donating the last brick to San Miniato, preventing the Blue player from winning that majority).

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Renjie Zhou
Belgium
Baal (Tremelo)
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I'm gonna have a go at this monday. And tell you how i feel about it.
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Patrick
Germany
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Hello Fabio,

thank you for bringing an alternative 2-player variant.
I played it today with my girlfriend and here is our feedback.

We were in general not sure about one thing by placing cubes on the board for the neutral player:

It is clear that a neutral disc does a follow action if we place a disc on an actionspace but we had problems with the usage of the cards.

But if we activate a card and there is no neutral disc on a connected actionspace to field, do we have to place neutral cubes as well (as follow action)?
Or must at least one field be filled with a neutral disc?

If i place the forth disc on a field and the removed one for scoring is white, i take a disc of my own color and place it on the scoring track and take the white disc to my unused discs. If i don't have any more of my own disc, so only neutral ones, we put a neutral disc to scoring track and took the white disc into players reserve.


The match against the dummy went a little bit strange because we only used the discs of the dummy in the beginning on the ressource fields and only in the late-game. So the dummy was below 15 points, and only had a very small amount of cubes on the field itself. I scored nearly 60 points and my girlfriend 50.

So I think we misinterpreted something with the follow action.

Maybe the dummy always follows irrelevant if there are discs on a field?

Thank you for an answer in advance.
Have a nice weekend.

Best regards
Patrick
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Fabio Lopiano
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Ashe80 wrote:
Hello Fabio,

thank you for bringing an alternative 2-player variant.
I played it today with my girlfriend and here is our feedback.

We were in general not sure about one thing by placing cubes on the board for the neutral player:

It is clear that a neutral disc does a follow action if we place a disc on an actionspace but we had problems with the usage of the cards.

But if we activate a card and there is no neutral disc on a connected actionspace to field, do we have to place neutral cubes as well (as follow action)?
Or must at least one field be filled with a neutral disc?


Hi Patrick and thanks for your feedback.

Neutral disc don't really do 'follow actions', it's more like this:
whenever you place one or more cubes somewhere, and the current stack has a neutral disc, you also place a neutral cube in the same place (if there is room for it).

So it doesn't matter if you are placing a cube because of a disc action or because of a card, it only depends on the active stack.

Note that you can't play a card without having a disc in the active stack (even if you play the card before your disc action, you have to first place a disc and then play the card).

Ashe80 wrote:

If i place the fourth disc on a field and the removed one for scoring is white, i take a disc of my own color and place it on the scoring track and take the white disc to my unused discs. If i don't have any more of my own disc, so only neutral ones, we put a neutral disc to scoring track and took the white disc into players reserve.


Yes, actually I should amend the rules, you can choose what disc to place on the council (either your own color or a neutral one). There might be situations where it make sense to place a neutral one (either for tie-breaking, or just to save one disc in your color).

[q="Ashe80"]
The match against the dummy went a little bit strange because we only used the discs of the dummy in the beginning on the ressource fields and only in the late-game. So the dummy was below 15 points, and only had a very small amount of cubes on the field itself. I scored nearly 60 points and my girlfriend 50.
[/q/

These scores sound about right, the neutral 'player' is not going to win any majorities, but the players should try to 'give' it a second place when possible, in order to gain that one extra point from the opponent.
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Patrick
Germany
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Hi Fabio,

thank you for yesterdays fast response.

After the second explanation I now do understand the "active" stack. We totally missed this before. This makes playing in this variant also even easier because it is clear when to place neutral cubes.

Have a nice day.

Best regards
Patrick
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Karen Knoblaugh
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Would it be possible to put the updated 2-player variant rules in the Files section for download?
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Village Idiot
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Has anyone played this variant enough to give feedback? This game looks fantastic, but 90% of my gaming is just 2 players, so I'll only get this game if this variant is pretty good at capturing the feel of the multiplayer experience.
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Dopey68 Gerty Wouters
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I haven’t played this variant yet, but the one that was published here on bgg by John Priebe did the job for me. And just like Mr Lopiano I’m also not very into a dummy player. But I might give this variant also a try sometime.
 
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Jason Dinger
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wreadsiii wrote:
Has anyone played this variant enough to give feedback? This game looks fantastic, but 90% of my gaming is just 2 players, so I'll only get this game if this variant is pretty good at capturing the feel of the multiplayer experience.


My wife & I played Fabio's variant tonight and LOVED it.
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