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Subject: 2 player viability rss

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Francisco Correia
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Now this has been discussed and many say it is better with 3/4 players. Is this because a 2 player can be much of a predictable outcome early on or not at all?

Mainly looking as a 2 player game
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Fotis Giakoump
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I do not really understand where this misconception (imho) about Gentes being a sub-par 2 player experience comes from.

Removing tiles & closing one area is enough of a scale down. Maybe cards could scale as well but i don't believe there is a need for a special mode or another board.
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Ferdinand Xaver
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2p is perfect
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Bill Buchanan
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Sounds like they might be doing a 2-player specific bord on the reverse side of the regular board. At least that's what they insinuated in the comment section of the Kickstarter campaign this morning.


From Lance Myxter:
Quote:
@Sebastien - the plan is to have a double sided board for the 2 player game
 
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Ken B
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Donnin wrote:
I do not really understand where this misconception (imho) about Gentes being a sub-par 2 player experience comes from.

Maggiebot & Rahdo both had comments (particularly the former) suggesting that it was a less than optimal 2-player experience.
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TooOld4Games2 wrote:
Donnin wrote:
I do not really understand where this misconception (imho) about Gentes being a sub-par 2 player experience comes from.

Maggiebot & Rahdo both had comments (particularly the former) suggesting that it was a less than optimal 2-player experience.


I don't really bother taking Rahdo opinions to the heart since our taste & opinions about boardgames are very different (and i have no clue who Maggiebot is) but out of curiosity, what was the reasoning behind their arguments?
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Matt Curtis
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Rahdo's main argument was that he wasn't convinced by the scaling at 2 players. He was disappointed that a whole region was removed (he suggested perhaps reducing locations in all regions might be more fun instead). He also felt the number of cards should be scaled down to increase competition.

Despite that he was very positive on the game, even as a 2p experience, so hopefully not an issue but I'd also love to hear thoughts from anyone that's tried it!
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Bill Buchanan
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mattcurtis89 wrote:
Rahdo's main argument was that he wasn't convinced by the scaling at 2 players. He was disappointed that a whole region was removed (he suggested perhaps reducing locations in all regions might be more fun instead). He also felt the number of cards should be scaled down to increase competition.

Despite that he was very positive on the game, even as a 2p experience, so hopefully not an issue but I'd also love to hear thoughts from anyone that's tried it!


In slickerdrips (Poor Tom, nobody ever mentions him. Probably because they can't remember his username, ha) playthrough he also felt the cards didn't cycle fast/well enough in a 2-player game, and thought there should be some mechanic to "burn" extra cards.

Personally, I don't think anything has to be done with the cards. But, I think the biggest issue is completely blocking off of Africa in a 2-player game.

I haven't seen heard anybody say that the 2-player game is bad. But it seems a pretty general consensus that the 3/4 player game is better than the 2-player game. It'd be awesome if they could find a way to turn that opinion on its head ...
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Ken B
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Maggiebot (whose review is linked on the KS campaign page) didn't give a reason, as far as I can recall.

I've never played Gentes, but I had watched portions of a couple of 3- or 4-player games, and when I learned that they blocked off one of the regions for 2-player scaling, I had the exact same reaction that Rahdo did (before seeing Rahdo's RT). To me that does seem to lessen a bit the entire portion of city building (or whatever it's properly called).

OTOH, I didn't agree with Rahdo about removing cards in the display. There are always 8 (?) cards available to someone during their turn no matter how many players are playing; why should that be reduced in a 2P game?
 
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Ken B
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WBuchanan wrote:
slickerdrips (Poor Tom, nobody ever mentions him. Probably because they can't remember his username, ha) also felt the cards didn't cycle fast/well enough in a 2-player game, and thought there should be some mechanic to "burn" extra cards.

Aha! Thanks for answering my question before I even asked it.
 
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Bill Buchanan
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TooOld4Games2 wrote:

I've never played Gentes, but I had watched portions of a couple of 3- or 4-player games, and when I learned that they blocked off one of the regions for 2-player scaling, I had the exact same reaction that Rahdo did (before seeing Rahdo's RT). To me that does seem to lessen a bit the entire portion of city building (or whatever it's properly called).

OTOH, I didn't agree with Rahdo about removing cards in the display. There are always 8 (?) cards available to someone during their turn no matter how many players are playing; why should that be reduced in a 2P game?


Ya, I'm not a huge fan of just arbitrarily "blocking off" things in a game just because you are playing with 2-players and you want to make things tighter.

I usually stay away from games that do that actually. So I'm excited to see what becomes of the 2-player specific board on the reverse side of the regular board!
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John McCloud
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One of Rahdo's comments was that there is less competition for cards since the same amount are out. However, the reduction in action tiles tightens the game for two players and can make it harder to grab cards (or take other actions).
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Bill Buchanan
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TaijiJohn wrote:
One of Rahdo's comments was that there is less competition for cards since the same amount are out. However, the reduction in action tiles tightens the game for two players and can make it harder to grab cards (or take other actions).


Rahdo's comment was that they felt that with 2-players it didn't matter if the card you wanted was taken by your opponent, you could just take the one or two other cards that were almost just as good instead.

That's why he felt that reducing the amount of cards in the array would tighten things up.

Not saying I necessarily agree with that, but that's what he said.

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Bob D
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TooOld4Games2 wrote:
Donnin wrote:
I do not really understand where this misconception (imho) about Gentes being a sub-par 2 player experience comes from.

Maggiebot & Rahdo both had comments (particularly the former) suggesting that it was a less than optimal 2-player experience.


Not to be too dismissive but they are just enthusiasts who post videos on the internet. Their opinions are not really anymore valid than any other enthusiast on BGG — the one difference being they are more well known. But they have their individual, and distinct, biases and preferences just like everyone else. Rahdo typically says as much.

Also, if removing Africa is bothersome, don’t do it. I’ve actually played a few games that way and it was fine. Is it open? Yep, sure is. But I’ve never been blocked out of any region in any of my 4-player games. I may have lost my first choice of city but I simply took another one. It wasn’t, and isn’t, the end of the world.

I’ve played plenty of games that lose something at 2. Gentes — as it is - isn’t one of them. However, if better 2-player rules come out of all this, great! Improved the heck out of Brass...
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Ken B
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WBuchanan wrote:
TaijiJohn wrote:
One of Rahdo's comments was that there is less competition for cards since the same amount are out. However, the reduction in action tiles tightens the game for two players and can make it harder to grab cards (or take other actions).


Rahdo's comment was that they felt that with 2-players it didn't matter if the card you wanted was taken by your opponent, you could just take the one or two other cards that were almost just as good instead.

That's why he felt that reducing the amount of cards in the array would tighten things up.

Not saying I necessarily agree with that, but that's what he said.


And that was what I remembered (and didn't agree with). Whereas I agree with TaijiJohn's take on it, as it does seem that in a 2P game the card display would be much more stagnant than at higher player counts.
 
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Bob D
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TooOld4Games2 wrote:
WBuchanan wrote:
TaijiJohn wrote:
One of Rahdo's comments was that there is less competition for cards since the same amount are out. However, the reduction in action tiles tightens the game for two players and can make it harder to grab cards (or take other actions).


Rahdo's comment was that they felt that with 2-players it didn't matter if the card you wanted was taken by your opponent, you could just take the one or two other cards that were almost just as good instead.

That's why he felt that reducing the amount of cards in the array would tighten things up.

Not saying I necessarily agree with that, but that's what he said.


And that was what I remembered (and didn't agree with). Whereas I agree with TaijiJohn's take on it, as it does seem that in a 2P game the card display would be much more stagnant than at higher player counts.


Yeah, this is totally spot on. The card row is definitely stagnant compared to higher player counts.
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Seth Jaffee
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WBuchanan wrote:
TaijiJohn wrote:
One of Rahdo's comments was that there is less competition for cards since the same amount are out. However, the reduction in action tiles tightens the game for two players and can make it harder to grab cards (or take other actions).


Rahdo's comment was that they felt that with 2-players it didn't matter if the card you wanted was taken by your opponent, you could just take the one or two other cards that were almost just as good instead.

That's why he felt that reducing the amount of cards in the array would tighten things up.

Not saying I necessarily agree with that, but that's what he said.


I cringed a little bit when I heard that comment. If it's true, then it's true no matter the player count!
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David Cunkelman
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Thus far I've only played Gentes 2p and enjoyed those games very much, attempted to hunt down a copy, but balked at the $100+ price tag initially and then was very excited that TMG picked up the reprint and better yet, deluxified it!

We didn't block off any part of the cities (mistakenly) in the first game, but there wasn't a huge rush for them either - I went after all of one group the first game missing the rule about one of each at the end of the round, then picked up one of each the next game.

As for the issues of the card row being stagnant - I'm surprised by that as there is a mechanism for cycling the cards (twice in the game? don't have the rules and my plays were months ago, but I know we tossed cards away during the game) AND in two player its a risk/reward going back and forth on the card grab actions - do you wait knowing it's only your one opponent to take the card you want or do you pay more time and coins and go for it now? I liked the give/take ebb/flow of the game... I'm picking the the KS knowing that I will play the game a lot 2p only and looking forward to it.

I actually have more concerns that getting the cards you want will be difficult in a 4p game with everyone going for cards every round as their first or second action - especially in light of all the posts that scream you can only win by cards! lol...
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Bill Buchanan
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I actually think I like the idea of the cards being more "stagnant" as it means you will see less cards in a game, and be forced to try different things instead of always looking to do the same strategy, increasing replayability.

 
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Francisco Correia
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Did not meant to create a war lol

Being mainly a solo player but slowly bringing the other half to play has been a very important thing in my game collection. Mostly 1p or 2p games and Genres just sounds cool but didn't want it to become too "stagnant" or " too restrictive" as some games can be. Cheers for the answers people
 
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Bill Buchanan
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Snorrarcisco wrote:
Did not meant to create a war lol

Being mainly a solo player but slowly bringing the other half to play has been a very important thing in my game collection. Mostly 1p or 2p games and Genres just sounds cool but didn't want it to become too "stagnant" or " too restrictive" as some games can be. Cheers for the answers people


I don't think you started a war, just a discussion
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E Thomas
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There is a difference between sub-optimal and not good. Gentes is a better game with 3-4 players than it is with 2, but is a perfectly fine game with 2 players. I would definitely own it even if I was only ever going to play 2 player.

There are several common dynamics in many Euro games when evaluating differences between lower and higher player counts. What you personally like and dislike in games can affect your outlook.

Low player counts often are more amenable to long term planning and hence can be more strategic. There are less players introducing changes between your turns, which means often your ability to plan is increased.
Higher player counts tend to often be a little more tactical as you fight against tensions associated with more game state changes between turns, your need to grab things now because they may not be there next time, etc. Gentes has this dynamic.

The above can be affected greatly by how solitaire the game is. More interactive games tend to rely on more players to bring them fully to life, while solitaire games are more player count independent. Gentes is a mix of subtle player interaction and personal player area puzzle. There are enough action tokens available that you can usually do any action regardless of what other players do, you just may not be able to do them as cheaply as you would like. You can be blocked by other players if they draft cards from the offer that you wanted, of if they put cities on the board in spots where you wanted to go, but there are almost always other good options to consider. So the interactivity is light to medium, and in my opinion skews towards less dependence on player count.

Low player count sometimes can result in a more static experience, i.e., card offers don't get flushed as often, bonuses for leeching are reduced etc. Gentes has this dynamic in the card offer.

If there are limited cards/bonuses/etc. as part of the game component set, lower player counts can often provide more variability from game to game as not all cards/bonuses/etc are seen in any given game. Gentes has this dynamic in the card offer. I like that at lower player counts you will see a different mix of cards each game. At higher player counts, you probably will see all of the cards but in a different order. Both are perfectly fine, just different from one another.

Area control or race elements in games tend to be more zero sum and are often less interesting at lower player counts and more interesting with more players. Gentes has this dynamic in the race for total number of played cards, completed population board and built city achievements. The points associated with these bonuses are enough to make them worth your while, so they are a non-trivial game element that is definitely more interesting with more players. However, it isn't a big enough factor to significantly weigh down the 2 player experience, given the other factors described above.

Good luck and have fun!





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Becq Starforged
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Here's what I think ought to be a very simple solution to the 2-player issues described above:

1) Use all regions.
2) Immediately after any turn in which a player performs a Navigator action, that player must build a city of a neutral color in any empty city spot of his choice in the same region (counting the hometown as a region) he chose for his city.
3) Immediately after any turn in which a player performs a Scribe action, the same number of additional cards should be removed from the game. The card row is refilled, then the players alternate choosing cards to remove starting with the player who chose the Scribe action. Refill the row again once this is complete.
4) Immediately after any turn in which a player performs a Philosopher action, roll a die and move the corresponding training card/meeple (counting from the left) to the end of the track as if it was chosen for training.

Note there are no neutral players to compete with; the above serves only to "consume resources", so to speak. As a result of the players choosing where to build cities or which civilization cards to remove, the game is likely to be more cutthroat than it would otherwise be. If this isn't desired, make choices randomly, instead.

If anyone tries this, I'd be interested to hear how well it works!
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Bill Buchanan
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Becq wrote:
Here's what I think ought to be a very simple solution to the 2-player issues described above:

1) Use all regions.
2) Immediately after any turn in which a player performs a Navigator action, that player must build a city of a neutral color in any empty city spot of his choice in the same region (counting the hometown as a region) he chose for his city.



A normal 2-player game has 12 city building spots + 9 Hometown spots

This variant would boil down to players having only 9 opportunities to build a city + the 9 hometown spots divided by 2 (which itself is problematic since it's an odd number).

Too restrictive maybe?
 
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Darryl with one "R"
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wavedog98 wrote:
<snip>

Nothing to add here. But this is a really good post.
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