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Subject: 3 or 4 player only games? rss

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I was just thinking about how Settlers is the only game I can think of offhand that is specifically meant for only 3 or 4 players. Most games seem to be 2-4 or 3-5 or some other configuration. I'm sure there are other 3-4 only games that I can't think of right now, and out of curiosity I'd be interested to know some of them. (Of course, I know that Settlers has some good 2 player variants and a 5-6 player expansion, but I'm referring only to the main regular game without any variants or expansions.)

While I'm at it, I'm also curious if there are any 3 player only or 4 player only games. Of course there are many 2 player only games, but are there games meant for higher numbers of players that are specific to a particular number? (Perhaps there's a way to search for these things on here? There probably is, as this site has an amazing array of abilities...)
 
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Jeff
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Primordial Soup comes to mind. Obviously, Starfarers of Catan is also 3-4 players.
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Skat and Cosmic Eidex are 3-player only games, and there are many other trick-taking games designed for 4-players only. There are also a number of boardgames designed for 3-4 players, including Doge, Dschunke, and others that probably don't start with the letter D.

I think the advanced search options allow you to search by player numbers. I haven't checked to confirm this, though.
 
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Steve K
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Four 3-4 player games that instantly spring to mind: Ys, Himalaya, Mordred, Brass.

The first two have expansions that add a player or two.
 
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Basari is a 3-4 player game that comes to mind quickly. The Bridges of Shangri-La is another.

There are a number of games that say 2-4 that either really don't work with 2 or significantly change rules with 2 (almost as much as Settlers changes with any of the 2-player variants; players use 2 colors, or some kind of other significant rule change from the 3-4 player game, so that 2-player is more of a variant than part of the actual game). Those include Domaine/Löwenherz, King's Gate, Shear Panic, and Saga. These are technically not "3-4 player only," (I actually enjoy Shear Panic most with 2) but come awful close.

I've heard that The End of the Triumvirate is pretty much a 3-player only game, though it's listed as 2-3. As far as 4-player only games go, partnership card games come to mind; Tichu is listed as something like 3-8 because it has some variants in the rules, but is really a 4-player only game.
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Jeff Wiles
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Medina

and

San Marco
 
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Jeff Hinrickson
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I second San Marco, it is a great game.

Also, I think Arkadia is best played with 3 or 4 even though the box says 2-4 players.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Meuterer plays 3 or 4 only. (Much better with 4, in my opinion.)
 
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Rich P
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Space Dealer is for 3 or 4 only (unless you buy more than one set to expand it).

In the Shadow of the Emperor might as well be for 3 or 4 only - it's terrible with 2.

For 4 only:
Mah-Jongg
Bridge

 
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Stephen Roney
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Tigris & Euphrates says 3-4 on the box (at least my Mayfair copy does), though everyone says it is fine with two.

Gang of Four is really a four player game, but the rules have a three player variant. No other numbers are supported.
 
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Phil Oates
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Friedrich is also a 3-4 player game.

In response to your question about 3-player-only or 4-player-only games; there aren't many which officially fit those categories, as I think many publishers consider it comercially damaging to advertise such a limitation.

However there are several titles which are considered to be so superior with just one number of players that they appear to have been designed that way, even if the marketing on the side of the box tells us differently.

Some of these (off the top of my head), have already been mentioned, such as Meuterer (4-player),and End of the Triumvirate (3-player).

There is also Queen's Necklace, which IIRC both the designer (Bruno Faidutti) and the publisher (Days of Wonder), admit is really a 3-player-only game, but DoW did not feel able to take the gamble and label it as such.

I'm sure there are more.......
 
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Garcian Smith
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Cosmic Encounter the Hasbro Edition

Well you could have 2 player, but the game is simply a cardfest. A lot of powers don't work and negotiation as well as diplomacy is... not there.

3 players is a bit better, but 4 is where it is at. Can't do 5-6 unless you have a custom set and even then, cards might run out.
 
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John Farrell
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Sue Hemberger

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Warumono 2.
 
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