The way I read the rules, it seems that if you are playing a two player game you can only play in 3 areas on the map.
Even on a 5 player game you can only play with 5 areas (and there are 6 on the map)
Am I reading this right?
Correct. Also note that the suggestion that each player choose 1 area to play in is just that, a suggestion rather than a rule, since this is obviously not possible with 2 or 6 players.