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Subject: First time play, 2P game rss

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Jayson Smith
United States
San Diego
California
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Here's a snapshot of the final state of the game.


My opponent's money is unfortunately out-of-frame to the right, but it was about half of mine.

This was our first run-through of CE. My friend and I usually play Axis & Allies so this was a change of pace for him. I love train games but usually can't find opponents so I only have one game of 18AL under my belt.

Two things really surprised me about this game:
1) It really does take about an hour. With 20 minutes for rules, the game time ran about 70 minutes. This was really important for me as Silverton and 18AL take too long for my casual opponents.
2) We obviously had no idea what we were doing.

I knew things were bad on the first auction. I bid minimum for red and blue and my opponent passed them to me. There was a little bidding war for green where I eventually relented. He then bid minimum for yellow and I let him have that (let's see how he likes having no capital!)

I built red north to a city to make a blocking move (expending all its capital), then he took green over the top. I started out west with blue but expended the capital in one move there too. I had to bid for a second share of blue to just fund it, which made me nervous because it put me behind in money.

My opponent kept driving green westward, so after the first dividend I went to work on purchasing a piece of green. It went for way too much (something over $20), but I got it. By the end of the game green's coffers were overflowing. So first thing I did with a share was to send green on a great forest-hunting expedition, finding the most expensive tiles. My opponent found the cities he was now nearer too tempting and helped finish green off by sending it further astray -- before the 3rd dividend there was no way for green to reach Chicago.

I drove blue west pretty much uninhibited, having to fund it again by auctioning a share to myself, but miscalculated the amount so I barely had enough to get past Pittsburgh. Now I had 3 shares but not enough to get to Chicago. That was quickly solved by my opponent finally wanting a piece of blue, and this time my initial counter-bid was enough to get me to Chicago. He bid a dollar more and I let him have it. This brought him down to $7 cash.

The game was pretty much over at that point -- I had a small slice of green who was dead in the water, 75% share of blue that was definitely Chicago-bound, the sole share of a dead red, and my opponent had pretty much ignored his yellow.

I took a share of yellow for $7, and when I hit Chicago, took Wabash for enough money to get it to Chicago (learning my lessons this time). Finally I purchased the last Wabash share at $7 to trigger the game end.

This was only my first play-through with an opponent. I think the lessons I've drawn from it are:
- Don't let your opponent get equal or greater shares of every company with more cash in hand, which I eventually had. Game WAY over at that point. This might just be a 2-player dynamic.
- Under-bidding can be more deadly than over-bidding. I hated having to spend actions to repurchase shares of companies where I already had sole ownership. I think the bid needs to account for how far you want to drive the company. And obviously you can't drive it to Chicago with bids in the first round. This might be the trickiest part of the game.
- It's not clear to me once you're "behind" (if you can find out you're behind) how you can come back.
- We each fortified companies that'd only benefit ourselves, which is trivial in 2P; probably tougher with more players.

I'm really eager to try this again, and with the short play time I hope it's attractive to others. I kinda don't want to read too many strategies to spoil it for myself, but it's hard not to think about this game right now. The next play can't come soon enough.
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Edward Rustin
United Kingdom
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Thanks for this - I've been wondering how it would play as a 2 Player game for a while.

Has anyone else played 2P?
 
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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
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There were a couple of threads about this already. The consensus was puzzle-like, and missing the inter-player incentives that are the heart of the game with more players.

B>
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JR
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Memento ferrugo
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I've tried a couple games of 2p and the feedback you get is generally pretty accurate. It's missing a lot of what makes this game great.

That said, 2p could stand a chance as long as both players are very experienced at the game and also good at it. If the two players are not at the same level of ability with this game, it will quickly turn bad. My opponent made one slight error which put him at a bad cash position against me and I ran away with the game on that single mistake. Keeping a 2p game competitive will require a good amount of calculation and thinking ahead by each player. Moreso than in a typical 3-4p game.
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