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Subject: Is this game good with 3 or more players? rss

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Finland
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I've noticed plenty of solo reviews, and the "best" count seems to be 2.

Is 3 or 4 players "as good as with 1-2 players" in your opinion?

How does the gameplay experience change when there's 3 or 4 players?
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Brian M
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Thornton
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I've played it with 1-4 and it plays really well at any player count. Higher player count games tend to take longer, and its often hard to keep track of what's going on with everyone as the island gets bigger, so sometimes with more players it feels more like you are just playing your own game on your side of the island. Overall a good game with any player count though.
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Evgueni K
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I enjoy it at 3 and 4 as much as I enjoy this at 2.

Only real difference is that you need to learn to trust the others at 3-4 to take care of their lands and not try to analyse all 3 or 4 boards every turn, otherwise the game can get slow.

But if it's played properly, there's very little extra time added for a 3-4 players and it's really fun to see all the extra synergies between the spirits.
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Shelby Babb
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Springdale
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I've done it solo (with two spirits) and I've done it at 3.

It's a co-op, but it feels closer to a true co-op and not just "multiplayer solitaire". By which I mean it's hard for an alpha to keep up with every player's visible information, let alone hidden player cards. And there's just so many options and variables (and non-variables!) to keep up with that it'd be hard for a single person to solve a game. Especially as you add more islands and spirits.

Anyway, I think the interaction between players and the choice of sequence for spirit actions ("can I smite these invaders first, and then you go?") would make a 4 player game feel different from a 2-players-each-with-2-spirits game. And a three player game has both more spirits and island pieces to deal with than a 2 player game.

Of course, a bad group is a bad group....
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Ted Vessenes
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Somerville
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I personally prefer 3 players to 2, but all player counts are good. I'm a big fan of the archipelago rules at 4+ players as a way of helping keep players from needing to think about too many things at once.
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Kirk Monsen
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Player experience is more important than player count. The more new people you add, the longer the game will take. Try to have one or less new people, with all other players having played (and won) it a few times.
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Yan Bertrand
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I've played with 3 and 4 (as well as solo) and I really liked all games. Like others mentioned, the more new players around the board, the longer the game. I'd like to add it's true for coordination: player groups which don't manage to coordinate well will need more time to converge on a strategy (and those who go analysis paralysis, well, will take time too.)

A recommended "way to coordinate" (should you need it) would be to name the "big problems" of the round and for players to say which ones they think they can handle (without saying how, so you don't get into long details to explain or alpha-ing).
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Alex Martinez
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I've mostly played it with 3 or 4. I'll echo that this can be a problem if you have one of those alpha players or players who need to coordinate every single move. If you trust the players to handle the little problems then it can be very fun.

In fact, I did a 3P game last night, and it all went smoothly because that's exactly how we played. We even beat a Difficulty 3 game, which is the first time I've managed that.
 
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Robb S

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TheMob wrote:
I've noticed plenty of solo reviews, and the "best" count seems to be 2.

Is 3 or 4 players "as good as with 1-2 players" in your opinion?

How does the gameplay experience change when there's 3 or 4 players?

Short answer: More players = more complexity.

The game scales up extremely well; unlike some other games, 3-4 players is the same difficulty level as 1-2.

Where 3-4 players really makes the difference is in complexity level. Even with one player, on any given turn you could have 2-5 different powers that you want to activate, and a dozen different options on how/when/where to use those powers.

With 2 players, each of you have that number of choices, and the choices you make might impact how the *other* player puts together his/her turn.

With 3-4 players, now 3-4 of you have that number of choices, and each of your choices could impact neither, one, or all of the other players.

The number of decision trees expands exponentially with the number of players. If you're into detailed planning it's great, because the more players, the more opportunities for interplay, bouncing powers off of each other, etc.

However, it can also lead to "analysis paralysis" as 3-4 people all try to figure out the optimal solution among dozens of possible choices. At some point you have to step back and say, "Yes, we'd like to win, but I'd rather take 90 minutes, lose, and try again, than infinitely analyze each possible choice and take 4 hours to eventually win." I've heard of some people instituting move-timers or other ways to prevent over-analysis. Depends on your group/mix of personalities.
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Bone White
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I've played it from solo to 6 players, multiple times at all player counts. I must be over 200 games by now, mostly in 3 or 4 player games.

The only thing that really changes at higher player counts vs lower player counts is the potential for (and the potential to miss) tactical opportunities just by sheer opportunity overload.
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Michael Pureka

Massachusetts
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tedv wrote:
I personally prefer 3 players to 2, but all player counts are good. I'm a big fan of the archipelago rules at 4+ players as a way of helping keep players from needing to think about too many things at once.


I agree with Ted; 3 is actually my preferred player count, though all numbers are good.
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M M

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2 or 3 are my favorite counts, with I think three being my favorite due to the really interesting interactions (although I do love how speedy the game is at two!). I don't like the 4p count at all, because the decision space gets super-wide, the coordination gets fiddly, and you begin to feel like you're only working together with your neighbors... plus, the game slows down. However, if I was going to play with 4, then I'd use the archipelago rules that largely solve the problems I mention by making the 4p play as 2 loosely connected 2p games.

I'd be willing to play 4p with archipelago... otherwise, I restrict my tables to 3p (and I do love this game!). I do think it's okay to play it with 4 if everyone is experienced and knows how to collaborate rather than cooperate. Trusting others to handle their things and ask for help or offer help makes it run much more smoothly and makes 4p work. If you try to optimize or all decide on everything together.. well, even 3p will be torture.
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Andre Oliveira
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3 is pretty good. Personally I think it gets easier with more people due synergies.
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Aaron L.
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Belleville
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I don't like the game with four players. It took so much longer to play, it took so much longer between turns, and there has been a tendency in my play groups for the players on the same side of the table to strategize less with people across the table. At three players, it reduced the the first two negatives and significantly reduced the third, while not significantly reducing the cool synergies among the spirits. I love this game at 1-3 players. At four players, there are other games I would rather play. I am only one player in sea of thousands. There are many that don't have the same critiques as I do at four players. Your group may love it.
 
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Ben Turner
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Also surprised 3 isn't the "best" player count for this one. Maybe some more of us need to vote on the BGG entry and move the needle a bit
 
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Brian Blankstein
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I'll play this game with any number of players, but I much prefer 3-4; particularly when playing with people who aren't new to the game. I particularly like that it doesn't devolve into 3-4 games of near-solitaire (in my experience, at least), and can usually find a good balance of player interaction and speed. That said, I don't usually mind a longer game so long as the pace feels good.
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Brendan Slade
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3-4 players is great. The downtime is not bad because you all play simultaneously. It will take a bit longer but it just means you are having fun for longer.
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Dylan Thurston
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One observation about large (>4) player counts is that in some ways it runs smoother: in such a large game, it's clearly impossible to keep track of the details of what's going on clear on the other side of the map, and so players don't try. (You still pay attention to your neighbors, of course.) In 4 player games, it's just on the border of possibility.
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Alex Martinez
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dthurston wrote:
One observation about large (>4) player counts is that in some ways it runs smoother: in such a large game, it's clearly impossible to keep track of the details of what's going on clear on the other side of the map, and so players don't try. (You still pay attention to your neighbors, of course.) In 4 player games, it's just on the border of possibility.


Actually, that's probably why some people don't like the game with 4. They probably try to optimize and micromanage everything and in a 4P game, that's going to get very complicated, very time consuming.

Personally, I'm with you. I often play 4P games, and I rarely worry about other players at the beginning of the game. Nor do most of the players I play with. But once in a while, I get an optimizer, and the game can drag. Even one of those types of players can really slow the game down.

But if you avoid those players, then the game runs pretty smoothly with 4.
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Finland
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Okay, thanks everybody. Gave you all bit of geekgold.

The conclusion or summary seems to be:
- yes, plays well with 3+ players
- more elements => more tactical opportunities (new synergies)
- takes more time to play
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Patrick Hickey
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I personally prefer four. I like four hand solitaire. I think it opens up a little bit of intended gameplay that gets missed if you only play with a few spirits- spirits have different strengths and weaknesses, and having their territory overlap can help you optimize your late game play.
 
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Michael Pureka

Massachusetts
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Cadfan wrote:
I personally prefer four. I like four hand solitaire. I think it opens up a little bit of intended gameplay that gets missed if you only play with a few spirits- spirits have different strengths and weaknesses, and having their territory overlap can help you optimize your late game play.


I'm not doubting your preferences, but everything you said is true at 3 players or even 2, so there's probably more to it than that.
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