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Subject: Am I missing something or is 2-player Acquire completely unplayable? rss

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Erik Boyko
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About 18% of the BGG community recommend Acquire with 2-players. The commenters in this thread also suggest that it is playable with two, though not ideal: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/417487

I just picked up the game. My first two plays have been with just my girlfriend and we have found it completely unplayable this way. Am I missing something?

Here is why I don't think it works:

1. The first person to get a merger bonus has too great an advantage. In both our games, this person quickly took the lead [first 10% of the game] and easily held it because...

2. Whoever has the most cash after the first merger can simply out-muscle the other player by buying stock in the other chains to have the advantage in subsequent mergers. This is easy to do because of this...

3. With only two players, you can't hide anything. If you want to merge two chains, but you don't have the advantage, there is no way to attempt to attain it without alerting the other player. If you buy stock in a chain that looks like it will go defunct, the other player can simply buy more before you have the opportunity to merge on your next turn. If players choose to go down this path, whoever has the most money wins.

4. Also, unless the two players have equal stock in a chain that goes defunct, it often happens that the bank wins first or second place in the merger bonus. This means that the more powerful player gets money and the other gets none.

I am very new to this game, so it is entirely possible that we are simply playing poorly. However, I really can't see how 2-player Acquire could possibly work.
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Matt Davis
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I would be similarly skeptical of Acquire with 2 players, yes. It seems like you're just speculating on whether you can draw the tile to merge the chains you want. The full game is somewhat like this as well, but there it's possible to get help from other players...
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Mark Saya
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My wife and I have enjoyed 2-player games by eliminating the bank's random participation in mergers. Bad rule, that. Thus, as long as you own at least one share in every company on the board (keep some cash in reserve to make sure that you do or it's no one's fault but your own!), you won't get shut out when a merger occurs. While not ideal, this will almost always eliminate the extreme cash imbalances caused when one player gets a bonus and the other doesn't, or worse, when one player gets both bonuses.
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Stven Carlberg
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I recommend playing two hands each. One person plays hands 1 and 3, the other plays hands 2 and 4. You can look at all six tiles at once and try to have the hands help each other.

You'll need markers for 1, 2, 3, and 4, or you'll lose track of which hand's turn it is.

The "winner" of course is the hand that comes in with the highest total at the end. But coming in 1st and 3rd is better than coming in 1st and 4th.

I've played and enjoyed this many times.
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Christian Link
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Try the Market Share Variant.

For each share purchased one of that type is set aside as a market share. When shares run out for purchase, market shares may be bought. This effectively allows players to edge one another out or share the earnings during a merger if the market shares has the same or more than another player.

Edit: It also skews the share count, in case players are trying to figure payouts from mergers in the future.

PS Its like the random bank participation, except not random.
 
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Randall Bart
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cptwacky wrote:
For each share purchased one of that type is set aside as a market share. When shares run out for purchase, market shares may be bought.

I am sure you are trying to describe a variant, but so far this is no variant at all.
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Erik Boyko
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Thanks for your tips everyone, I'll try them out. This might be worth a try as well:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/26248
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Matt Davis
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Barticus88 wrote:
cptwacky wrote:
For each share purchased one of that type is set aside as a market share. When shares run out for purchase, market shares may be bought.

I am sure you are trying to describe a variant, but so far this is no variant at all.


I believe he's saying that if market shares still exist when a merger happens, the "market" factors into primary/secondary stockholder.
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