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Subject: Tikal as a 2 player game rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Tikal is one of the early Eurogames we got, and it saw a lot of play in the first couple of years we owned it, including many 2 player games. More recently it has stopped coming out so often, partly because I overdosed on it playing on SpielbyWeb a couple of years ago, and partly because we've got so many more games to chose from. We never play the auction version nowadays, having tried it a few times in the past and disliked it.

Rules - how are they different in a 2 player game?
There are no rules differences with just 2.

How is the game different with 2?
The main difference is that the game turns from an action point management game to a man-management game. In a 4 player game in particular, you're likely to have enough men for your wants, but not enough action points to do it. In a 2 player game your men become the limiting factor. The 3 player game falls somewhere between the two.

Apart from that, the main differences are obviously the zero-sum nature of the game. Controlling the 10 temple can be quite important, if you can manage it without too many men - but if you throw in a lot of men to guard it, you're likely to not have enough men for the later 5 and 6 temples that will be all over the board, and so the relative points you've gained are low. Generally number of temples is more important than size - if you can monopolise an area of the board with lots of temples, then you're in a good position.

Collecting treasures can be more valuable than in the 4 player game, as you're more likely to get sets naturally, but your partner will be doing it too, and the bonus on swopping is low if you're also giving them a pair - less likely in a multiplayer game, but much more likely with just 2. If only one player goes for treasures in a 2 player game they are likely to win - those points, in addition to a few temples, can easily outweigh the larger temple bonuses the other player gets, and treasures don't tie your men up later in the game.

The last strategy that changes is the placement of base camps. With 4 there is a lot of competition to build a base camp in the few spaces that are available. In 2 player the more important factor is where you want it, and how likely it is to get boxed in. It can be quite easy for one player to block off a whole area of the board for themself with a strategic base camp placement, and equally it's all too easy to have your base camp blocked from all the useful things if you place it too early.

Verdict
Although the gameplay is identical, the strategies vary quite dramatically with the 2 player game. Some people I know prefer it that way, but for me, although the reduced chaos from the 4 player game is nice, the change from action point management to man management is a bit too severe, and so my preferred number of players to play with is 3, then 4, then 2. However, I'd happily play with any number, and have done, many times, on SpielbyWeb.
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Alex G

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How long is the 2p, face-to-face?

This is "in the mail" to us, and we're wondering if we're likely to just end up playing the supposedly fantastic Mini-Tikal variant 90% of the time.
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Sharon Khan
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Shefford
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Tikal is a game where the length very much depends on the players - it's a game that's very prone to analysis-paralysis. My husband and I are fast players so can get a 2 player game done fairly quickly - 45 mins, maybe less? But when we play multiplayer it's usually over an hour, and can be longer with certain opponents!

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kevin long
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2 player is especially needy of the auction mode- must do auction mode! Also to get rid of the AP don't play scoring rounds - just score everything as it sits - playing out the tedious scoring rounds take twice as long as regular rounds and add an extra half hour to a game (for 2 player - add another half hour for a 4 player game) that does not suffer from nixxing scoring rounds at all - adds excitimenet of anticipating those volcanoes
 
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M Hellyer
United States
Aurora
Illinois
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treece keenes wrote:
Also to get rid of the AP don't play scoring rounds - just score everything as it sits


I haven't played TIKAL in probably 18 months, but would like to start playing it again. Could you please explain more how you go about scoring "everything as it sits"? Thanks!
 
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Goo
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Yorba Linda
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Well done. I agree that the zero-sum aspect of the 2-player game takes away from Tikal. I do not play it 2er at all. Then the problem becomes that the 4er is too long. Unless you have 4 players on the ball and thinking between moves, it can really drag. Tikal is just one of those funny games that is great, beautiful, and fun... but I'd usually rather play something else. But, let me say again, it's a great game.
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Alexander Winnefeld
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Thanks for the review! So far, we've only played Tikal as a 2 player game. We liked it, but most of the time we rather play something else. I'd like to try it with 3 or 4 players as I have the feeling that this would be a step up from the 2 player experience, but I fear it's too dry/too unthematic for my RPG/gaming-group.
 
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