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Subject: 2 player mining rss

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Luke S.
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Is it just me, or does the mine seem very unbalanced for a two-player game?

Played a few with the wife, and so far the winningest strategy is to pump as many tents into the mine as you can until it's exhausted before even leaving town. This usually means the player with more skill points has at least half their tents out before they step foot onto the map.

The rewards from the mine, combined with the rewards from placing tents, and the points you get makes this an unbeatable (and boring) strategy. There is just no other way to get tents out that fast that early in the game.

This would be less of an issue with more players as there would be more people fighting over the mine, but we are considering implementing a house rule to reduce the size of the mine by half.

I hate house rules, but it seems wrong that half of this game is spent bouncing in and out of the mine. Am I the only one experiencing this?
 
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Mark Levine
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You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.
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C&H Schmidt
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I agree that the mine size should scale with player number.
We didn't like that so many tents got placed in the mine, so what we do when playing two-player is to cover up the lowest row from the start with tents of an unused colour.
That way, spots in the mine are tighter and we are both forced to place more tents outside town.
Normally we don't do house rules, but we really like the game better that way.
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Peter Cooper
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When we started playing we used the mine a lot, but after a while it became less important. Placing tents away from the town is usually a better strategy.
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Jake Staines
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I'd agree with the others. If I could change a single thing in all copies of Near and Far I'd be tempted to remove the mine entirely. Not because I think it's an easy-win strategy or drains tents or whatever, but because it would stop people new to the game from being distracted by the mine and missing the entire rest of the game!

It's appealing because you know exactly what you need to do in order to get stuff out of the mine and you know exactly what you get out of it... but it's one of the less-efficient sources of points and resources in the game. You get the same number of points for placing a tent wherever you do it, and you can easily set your party up to get more resources from the field than from the mine... plus if you venture out of town you get faction banners from quests, which allow you to complete artefacts, which are really the source of high scores in Near and Far in my experience.






If you find that the mine is stopping you from enjoying the game, there's easy ways to house-rule it to prevent that from happening. As others have suggested you could pre-fill the mine with tents... but to be honest, it should be just as effective to just only score tents that are placed on the map, rather than tents in the mine or on threat cards (which are the other common "this game is broken because you can just X and get all the points" complaint). If you don't score points for your tents in the mine, then you're falling behind in your overall score every time you get resources from the mine, so you should have more of an impetus to venture out of town instead.
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Jason
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The Amber Mines expansion (being printed) has a module that completely revamps the mines. It now requires bread and other resources to explore the mines.

Of course, if you're playing with the expansion, you probably either have enough experience to know the base mine isn't very lucrative, or the owner of the game can teach you that.
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Luke S.
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I think that's exactly it, by the time we get our of town the mine is half full and we are really seeing very little of the rest of the map. Turns the game into a pretty boring worker placement.
 
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Luke S.
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KoolKow wrote:
You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.


Fair point. I get that there are ways to get tents out faster, and for bigger payouts, bit not that early in the game. It takes a few turns to accumulate enough search points and swords, but you can be scooping up spots in the mine as you work towards that at practically no cost.

Also, i think you might have a hard time creating a party with enough hearts and search points and swords and skill points to create an engine that is more efficient.

 
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Mark Levine
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UsefulGrain2 wrote:
KoolKow wrote:
You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.


Fair point. I get that there are ways to get tents out faster, and for bigger payouts, bit not that early in the game. It takes a few turns to accumulate enough search points and swords, but you can be scooping up spots in the mine as you work towards that at practically no cost.

Also, i think you might have a hard time creating a party with enough hearts and search points and swords and skill points to create an engine that is more efficient.



It only takes 1 hire to get the 2nd search icon to make the map equal to the mine, 2 hires to get to 3rd search icon to make the map better than the mine and to get to 6 health, and 3 hires to get to 9 health.

Another way to look at things - the first person to go to the mine gets 1 coin, and unlocks their opponent being able to get 2 coins/gems from the mine. Once you've hired once, you could instead go out to the map for the same 2 coins/gems, without unlocking the better spots on the mine.
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Jason
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KoolKow wrote:
UsefulGrain2 wrote:
KoolKow wrote:
You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.


Fair point. I get that there are ways to get tents out faster, and for bigger payouts, bit not that early in the game. It takes a few turns to accumulate enough search points and swords, but you can be scooping up spots in the mine as you work towards that at practically no cost.

Also, i think you might have a hard time creating a party with enough hearts and search points and swords and skill points to create an engine that is more efficient.



It only takes 1 hire to get the 2nd search icon to make the map equal to the mine, 2 hires to get to 3rd search icon to make the map better than the mine and to get to 6 health, and 3 hires to get to 9 health.

Another way to look at things - the first person to go to the mine gets 1 coin, and unlocks their opponent being able to get 2 coins/gems from the mine. Once you've hired once, you could instead go out to the map for the same 2 coins/gems, without unlocking the better spots on the mine.


This, plus there's always at least one trade route that's without a one-turn hop from the city. Those are some major points, especially in a 2 player game where you're more likely to monopolize it if they don't race you to get the other end.
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Keith Jones
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KoolKow wrote:
You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.


This is how I've felt. In fact, I was starting to wonder if the mine only existed to give people options in the 4p game. I've only played 2p twice, but in both cases the simple strategy of recruiting people who add hearts and search, with a sword or two if possible, has enabled me to have multiple 2-tent turns, and drop up to three tents per adventure (before returning to town), picking up tons of coins and gems, by the end game. I can see how the mine is tempting early on, but once you have a party built out, I can't see how it is desirable except as a back-up. In fact, I was wondering if just tent-dropping on the main board was over-powered, because racing to drop tents on the main board has been so successful to me (in my very limited experience).
 
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Andrew Wang
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UsefulGrain2 wrote:
KoolKow wrote:
You're getting at most 2 points (1 for placing a tent, 1 for the 2 gems/coins) every other turn that way... that's not a lot.

If you have 3 search symbols, then placing a camp on the map gets you more resources (or trade route points, which are even higher). If you have at least 6 health, you're doing at least 2 tents every 3 turns. And if you have a few swords, then you can do even better by knocking out threats and placing more than a tent a turn.


Fair point. I get that there are ways to get tents out faster, and for bigger payouts, bit not that early in the game. It takes a few turns to accumulate enough search points and swords, but you can be scooping up spots in the mine as you work towards that at practically no cost.

Also, i think you might have a hard time creating a party with enough hearts and search points and swords and skill points to create an engine that is more efficient.



Let's do this turn by turn, with Mike the miner vs. Craig the camper.

Turn 1: Mike visits mines, gets 2 gold. Craig visits saloon, gets guy with (say) 2 hearts, one search, one skill for 2 coin. (I'm including the gold for first and second camps placed)

Turn 2: Mike visits saloon, gets guy with 2 skill (he doesn't care about anything else yet. Craig goes out of town, finds a nearby gold camp, gets 3 gold.

Turn 3: Mike visits mines, gets 2 gold and 1 gem. Craig comes back, visits saloon, gets guy with skill and search.

Turn 4: Mike visits saloon, gets someone pretty decent. Craig adventures, goes to quest + gold (I don't think it's farfetched to assume one is available at this point), gets basic quest rewards and camps for 4 gold. Or, he could just go to another gold spot - after all, it's already more lucrative than mining.

Turn 5: Mike visits mines, gets 1 gold, 1 gem, 1 reputation. Craig comes back, buys adventurer.

Turn 6: Mike visits saloon (or what? What do you do between mine visits?) and buys some chump with skill - now has access to the whole mine. Craig goes to camp a gem spot, gets at least 3 gems, maybe 4 if he got three guys with search, which you would do with a "camping" strategy if you could.


Goods earned after turn 6: (not including the cost of adventurers or starting gold)
Mike: 5 gold, 2 gems, 1 reputation. 3 placed camps.
Craig: 7 gold - adventurer cost, 3 gems, and possibly one quest reward. 3 placed camps.

As far as I can tell, this is the best Mike could do with the mining strategy and is a conservative estimate of what Craig can do with the "camping" strategy. Even after Mike visits the mines again, he will have at best 7 gold, three gems, and 2 reputation, and Craig still has to take his turn.

If someone tries to bum-rush the mines, the camping strategy looks like just a hard counter-strategy to me.
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C&H Schmidt
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Gswp wrote:
I agree that the mine size should scale with player number.
We didn't like that so many tents got placed in the mine, so what we do when playing two-player is to cover up the lowest row from the start with tents of an unused colour.
That way, spots in the mine are tighter and we are both forced to place more tents outside town.
Normally we don't do house rules, but we really like the game better that way.
I thought I should add that while we still do this when we play two-player, even the reduced-size mine does not fully fill up when we play now.
It is true that you get better stuff elsewhere.
 
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Joe H
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If I recall correctly in our first 2 player game we spammed the mines but pretty much have avoided it since. In today’s game - our sixth in a campaign and our first in a while - my wife visited the mine twice and I didn’t visit it at all. I thought she was trying to rush the end by getting some tents placed during visits to town. In the end, I won by 25 points and triggered the end. I never felt that a trip to the mines was as valuable as other town actions.

 
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