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Subject: Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant rss

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Stephen Michael Hickey
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Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant for Puerto Rico which makes for a great 2 player game.

Play with the 6 main character roles and no prospector. The governor chooses the first role, the opponent the second role and the governor the third and final role for the round.

Then add 1 token to each of the 3 remaining unused roles as in the 3+ player version. The opponent now starts as governor and gets the advantage of the first and third roles.

In practice, this means that both players get alternate choices of roles throughout the game but it plays more like the original 3+ player game.

 
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Brent Ross
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Steve99 (#6193),

Actually, we tried this here once. The game was overly money rich. I was playing a Builder strategy, and for the last few rounds I had over 20 dubloons each builder phase (which I was taking as fast as possible)... and it was still growing (another round and I'd have over 30).

My opponent was playing a cheap corn strategy. He had no problems with buying any building he wanted at anytime and had more than 10 dubloons on most of the last few builds (over 15 at game end). He felt no money pressure despite the fact that his play would normally have caused money problems.

We've never played two player since. The Alea version gives double turns, and this "solution" to that introduces too much cash too quickly.

If I was to try it again, I'd want to keep the dubloons down... basically, the governor would place only one or two dubloons on the remaining jobs of his choice. I say "one or two", since although two looks right, it might be too much (the Alea rules give the second via a prospector, which is only a potential dubloon). I say "governor places" because that's the player who will not be getting the next job pick (and will only be getting one in the next... this gives them a bit of influence).
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Stephen Michael Hickey
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
bwross (#6209),
I agree that there tends to be more money available in the 2 player version, but it has always been scarce enough in the games we've played. Usually, there is rarely more than one of the large purple buildings in play by the end of the game.

If too much money was the problem, I'd probably just allow the governer to choose one role to top up at the end of each round as you suggest.

I would still strongly recommend the 2 player variant when you haven't got enough budding venturers at hand for a larger game.
 
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Anne Risch
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
We played the two-player variant yesterday and it was also our first game of PR ever, so - lack of experience, but anyway.

We did play two rounds the day before but it was too late, so we just tried to figure out the basic rules to have a smoother start the next day.

The first thing I did suggest was instead of having each player take three roles, reduce it to two roles each, leaving three roles on the table each round.

It worked pretty well, especially since the amount of dubloons on the roles left didn't really change our decision, which role to take. This decision was still made basically because of strategy-thinking.

Without any wider experience with this game, I would recommend the each-player-two-role-variant.
 
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Matthew M
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Building would become over emphasized with such a varient. Choosing only two roles apiece and adding coins to the remaining three roles effectively DOUBLES the amount of free money in the game.

Consider than in the 3, 4, and 5 player versions of the game there is a coin per player per turn available through role selection - a coin on each of the three remaining roles plus prospectors for 4 and 5 players. This balance is maintained in the official 2 player version - one coin and one prospector.

Having played a not insignificant number of 2 player games of Puerto Rico I must say that the balance need not be tweaked. If you insist on drawing only two roles apiece I would recommend you use an additional varient that involves the current Governor choosing which of the remaining roles receives a single db to keep the financial balance intact.

-MMM
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Octavian (#9513),

All my two player games now use a modified version of the official rules (which I read here on the 'geek somewhere).

Play with all 6 roles and no prospectors. The governor picks three roles, the second player picks two, and a single piece of gold gets put on the remaining role. One-half dubloon per player enters the game each round (one less than in the 3 player version), however it is important to note that the 'one gold per player' influx of gold is only true in the 4 and 5 player games if the prospector cards are chosen every turn (because the gold bonus doesn't accumulate). The actual amount of gold available for free per turn is 3 + (# of prospectors chosen).

This 3-picks, 2-picks rotation is also nice because no one gets to pick twice in a row. If I was the second player, I'd always want to pick craftsman for my final pick, because captain would be available to me immediately afterwards.
 
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Matthew M
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Captain_Physics (#9520),

I should have mentioned that the one coin per player per turn is an average.

I dislike the 3/2 varient. I find that the role selection becomes a bit more cyclically predictable than in the 3/3 version. I also like the choices created by being able to select roles twice in succession. Both players get this opportunity so it is not unbalancing and it forces defensive play to avoid giving opportunities like the one you detailed to your opponent.

I don't necessarily dissuade people from using varients, but I find more often than not that they are used to "fix" parts of games that are aren't actually problematic. I view them as features that the player needs to find ways to manipulate rather than flaws that need to be repaired.

-MMM
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Anne Risch
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Okay, modification to my last reply.

Today we played PR with the 3/2-variation and it worked really fine. We didn't like that with the 2/2 or the 3/3-variation, one player always got to choose two roles in a row, so we changed it.

I think the money-problem is not really a problem, since - at least the way we played, the dubloons on the roles weren't a really a factor in the choice-making of which role to take and besides - no matter who took any dubloons from the roles (and I think it was pretty balanced), the amount of money we had always was a result of the basic strategy we chose, e.g. Peter was short of money throughout the whole game, because he hardly ever sold goods and focused on shipping and I was always piling stacks of coins, because I kept on selling coffee and tobacco and had several buildings that had me get extra-money.

As for now, I recommend the 3/2-variation, because it never lets a player do two moves in a row and still assures a well-balanced game.
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D.L. Ferenda
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
jamie.anne (#9570),

I've tried - and consider using as a standard setup - 3/2 but with seven roles (6+1) to choose among. When the Governor has taken his third role he places one doubloon on any one of the two remaining roles. In this way, there will not really be more money in the game per player than in a setup for 3-5 players. It seems to me (although I could be wrong) that with the 3/2, 6 - rule, cash shortage will almost inevitably become a factor for one player, more predominately than if it were a game for 3 or more players (and thus the "one runs for goods, the other runs for cash" risks going to the extreme). In addition, the 3/2, 7 implies that 4 or 5 of the 6 main roles are chosen each turn, as opposed to always 5, which I think arguably better resembles the design that forms the basis of play for 3 to 5 players. Thirdly, the Governor's selection of one role (out of two) that will get a doubloon adds a strategic element. Any views on this?
 
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Randy Cox
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
That's interesting about the large purple buildings. We played 2-player twice this weekend and in both games, all large purple buildings were taken. In the second game, I had 4 of them because, as noted, money can be plentiful in the 2p variant. Still haven't completely decided what I think of it. A shipper can lock up both ships and a builder/trader can make unlimited money and buy all the big buildings. The up side is that these two strategies are about equal in victory points (one game was a 62-62 tie, with a 14-11 tiebreaker and the other game was 47-43).
 
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jbrier
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
i've played multiplayer pr over 300 times, mostly on brettspielwelt. just over a month ago, i tried the official 2 player variant from alea. after playing a couple times over the last few weeks i like this variant quite a bit, and disagree completely with the opinion that the twice in a row selection of roles is a drawback - on the contrary, it makes the game very much like the multiplayer game where there is ebb and flow with the advantage that each player has with respect to role selection. i feel that if it werent for this mechanism, there would be holding back on production on part of both players that would make the game irritating. if anything, the presence of only 2 boats is a little annoying, and makes the warehouses and wharves much more important buildings, while the lighthouse and harbor are rendered nearly useless, unless accompanied by a wharf. i've also heard comments regarding the advantage of the second player and his corn which supposedly makes the game unbalanced. coincidentally the corn player in the games i've played has always won, but i'm not sure if there is a substantial advantage that makes the game unfair. in conclusion, although the multiplayer game is definitely superior, 2 player pr is one of the cooler 2 player games, and i enjoy it very much. the increased importance of buildings like the office and the wharf is also very cool.
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T C
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
verandi (#18123), i recently got the game, and have played quite a few 2 player official rules games, but every time the corn player has won, out of about 15-20 games. granted we are all newbies, but it hasnt mattered who the corn player was (in all the games we have swapped who got the corn and have played with several different opponents), but even someone who is playing their very first game has beaten the some what more experienced player. i would chalk this up to bad play on the more experienced players part except that as soon as the other player gets to start with corn he wins... so anyone have a good strat for winning with indigo with the official 2 player rules?
 
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TL Wiswell
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Re:Recommended change to Aleas 2 player variant
Steve99 (#6193),

We played a horrible two player game in which we ran out of money 1/3 way through and neither of us could afford to buy a new production building so that we could break through the logjam in the trading house. This was kind of scarring for us and has resulted in an excessively money focused strategy for us ever since.

We have since moved to using the six roles AND the prospector but only ever letting the prospector be worth one doubloon. This seems to work as far as keeping the total amount of money under control, but also above the complete collapse level we reached.
 
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