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Subject: London as a 2 player game rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This review is part of my series of reviews on how games work with just 2 players - see My 2 Player Game Reviews for the full list of games I've reviewed.

I'm not normally a great fan of Wallace games, although I'll play the shorter ones, but this one grabbed me from the first play. It has something of the same feel as Race for the Galaxy, while having totally different pressures.

Rules - how are they different with 2 players?

There is only one rules change with 2 players, and that is that there are only 3 slots available on each row of the discard area, instead of 4 for 3 players and 5 for 4 players. All other rules are unchanged.

How is the game different with 2?

The basic play of the game is unchanged with 2 players, but the feel of the game is rather different due to the change in availability of cards. In the multiplayer game, the 4 player game in particular, cash seems very tight, and keeping your poverty and loans level with the other players is a key part of the game.

Conversely, in the 2 player game, your cash flow may be lower at times and it may be to your advantage to take a loan, but the strength of many of the cards that give you money per district you own is greatly increased, and you can get a vast amount of money from a card like the Omnibus (1 cash per district, doesn't flip). Also, there are so many more cards per person that it's easier to find cards to get you cash, and you can have more piles at any one time, so in the cash pressure just isn't as much of issue.

Also, as you gain so many districts over the game (there are 10 each, effectively, although they could end up split 11-9) poverty really isn't an issue - you can gain a huge number of poverty early game and be reasonably sure that you will have no problems removing it late game. You can also have many more piles in front of you - getting 10 piles in the 3 player game puts you under a huge poverty pressure, but in the 2 player game it's probably a really good move, assuming that you can use all the piles every run!

Verdict

London works really well as a 2 player game, and I can see it getting a lot of play this way (unless my husband, who is my main 2 player game opponent, takes a dislike to it at any point!). It maintains the general feel of the game, although the strategies/card strengths differ and it loses the tightness that is a feature of the 4 player game in particular.
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Nick McElveen
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Well said. Your experience has been exactly the same that I've had so far playing it with my wife 2 player, ie good fun but not tight or stressful like the 4 player game.
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Hannu Sinisalo
Finland
Tampere
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I prefer 3 and 4 players just because the cash flow and issues with poverty are so much easier to handle in 2 player game. 2 player game feels a bit too relaxed. It's well worth playing, though, and I wouldn't throw away a chance to play London even if I didn't get 3 or 4 players.
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Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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Thanks for this Sharon! One of my worries are the "engine" cards that seem to create potential runaway victors... Makes me consider bringing this out for my wife and I to enjoy.
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Frank M.
United States
upstate New York
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Just played our first 2-player and there was but one poverty cube amongst us at the end. Four Underground cards got played, and all districts were bought. I had 10 sites in my city, my partner stuck with 7 and won by 3 points on the last play of the game. It is indeed more relaxed as a 2P, but we enjoy it just as much 3P and 4P.
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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Omnibus is certainly very strong in a 2 player game, and our last game I got two of them, which meant my income was ridiculously high, and although initially it also made my poverty huge, that was easy to remove late game. Apart from that I haven't noticed any other cards get out of control in a 2 player game.
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Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
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This moved up a bit higher on the wishlist because of your 2P recommendation. Thank you.
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Colin Sham
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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That's exactly what a Cylon would say!
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Given the difference in poverty from 3p and 4p, do you find this game similar enough to RFTG that you end up choosing RFTG when given an option?
 
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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
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I don't find London and Race for the Galaxy compete at all - they don't seem at all similar ot me. London is longer and is played when we're wanting an hour-long game of that style, whereas Race for the Galaxy is so familiar to us all, that it plays in under 20 mins easily, and is usually picked as a start or end of evening filler.
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