We had four players willing to play Rattus again today, but lost one to make the numbers on Endeavor, so we ended up wiping two of the initial rats of the darkest areas and trying out a 3-player game.
Blue played first and this was the state of the game after the initial placements and a couple of turns. The Peasant was the first card drawn by Red, followed by Green, and we'd had the first outbreak already which did remarkably little to the affected region in the lower left.
While Red mostly maintained the peasant from this point, using it to dump more cubes onto the board, Green kept the King and used it to slowly suck cubes off the board acting almost as a helpful game-clock (useful for writing the review, anyway)
Even ensuring we were playing the King correctly (can only remove cubes from an area with zero rats) those regions seemed pretty common for a lot of the game. Usually plague survivors are a good bet for it.
The huge pile of cubes in that single northern province were placed and moved there, as everyone decided the other players had too much at stake to send the plague figure in. I was a little worried that such a large collection of cubes might prove game-breaking.
It was around this round that Blue picked up the Witch and started trying to swap tokens around. It helped only a little.
Finally, red had only four cubes left in his supply, forcing the other two players to trigger the plague in strong red regions, regardless of collateral damage, simply to avoid the fast-win conditions. With so many cubes, most of the character cards out and 3 rats in the region, the plague had a really significant effect. The middle red-heavy region was hit as well.
The northern region suddenly became a nearly-blue-only enclave, a very dangerous situation indeed, and Red started pouring cubes into the lower part of the board. Green, as you can see, is trying to keep his head down, moving the odd cube to safety and staying out of the worst regions (although happily dropping new rat tokens into blue's northern area)
Another trigger in the crowded North province brought Blue's population down even further. Everyone was crowding into the southwest region, which seemed comfortably far away from the plague, at least for now. The Plague figure was moved to Italia in the south and devastated the blue and red population there.
In the final round, a few cubes moved around, but for the most part players reaped the rewards of their choices to have their players in regions with few or many rats. Oh, and in Blue's case, of having far too many character cards that noone else wanted to take away.
This was the final game state. Green had only 7 cubes not on the board by the time the plague had finished. Red had 12 and Blue had a startling 15, mostly due to being hit really hard by rats for having multiple character cards.
Again, it was amazing how well the game scales in terms of the board crowding which seemed very similarly between 2, 3, and 4 player. What does really change among the different player counts is the amount of role-changing that happens, as well as the utility of certain cards. On the smaller map, the knight seemed to be less powerful.
It's clear that not all the roles are equivalently powerful. The king is quite powerful (if you leave it with someone), but it's not clear that it's something people should fight over. On the other hand, the witch, while seeming moderately cool, simply wasn't useful enough in the 3p game to make it more useful than harmful to be something held throughout the game.
It was interesting just how effective the plague rats were at nearly-completely depopulating a region that started out with 25 cubes. Quite alarming really, we can probably cross that type of turtling off the list of useful things to do.
I understand that there will be many more roles coming in the expansion, which I'm quite looking forward to, because it would be interesting both to give people more opportunities to have multiple roles as well as more temptation to be multiply vulnerable. Still a cute and fun little game.
Nicely done report.