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Subject: I do NOT recommend this game for two players rss

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Dave
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With two players, resource contention (cards and properties) is next to non existent, leading to a downright boring game.

This was my first game with a friend, we didn't even finish it - we were 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through, I think, but we cut it short as we were bored.

I love the rules and mechanics - London is a simple and elegant game, but I am shocked that it was tested and okayed as-is for two players. I cannot wait to try it with 3, or even better, 4 players, but it won't hit the table until then. It is really perplexing, because when playing the game, you almost immediately get a sense of what it would have taken to make it more interesting for two.

* The most obvious change would be to the deck. The deck should be different depending on the number of players; a number next to 'A' 'B' and 'C' would indicate what cards get included (similar to 7 Wonders).
* The number of boroughs one can buy should be limited; either by closing out portions of the map, or reducing the number of building available, or some combination of the two.
* I think the game could use additional end trigger(s), such as a limited pool of victory points (a la Race for the Galaxy).

That said - I humbly recognize that I am not a game designer, and may be completely off the mark with the suggestions above. I don't think I'm wrong with my estimation of the two player game though; I've read other people giving it a pass, and I understand they don't mind that it becomes a completely different game, but it just does, and that's something you should take into account before making a purchasing decision. I really wish Tree Frog Games would post alternate setup rules for 2 (and maybe 3) players.
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Ken Dilloo
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I love this game, but I agree, not the best with 2. Check the forums, though, someone posted some good varients for 2 players. If I have time, I will try to post a link.

Surprisingly, it plays incredibly well as a solo game. Someone posted a solo varient as well.

3 is the sweet spot, for sure, but also plays well with 4.
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Jimmy Okolica
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For me, the larger issue is the lack of poverty pressure. While I think London is playable with 2, I think there is more pressure for boroughs with more players, making poverty more of an issue and the game takes a more appropriate amount of time. Therefore, the variant I play with is that when one player operates their city, the other player puts a neutral marker on a borough and draws the appropriate number of cards placing them on the discard pile (not the board). This makes properties a lot more scarce and prevents players from getting all of the cards they want. With this variant, London is one of my favorite 2-player games (of course I also love Puerto Rico 2-player).
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Neil Christiansen
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The two modifications posted here have been heavily playtested.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/621605/the-ben-luca-2-pl...
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Ben
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ScoobyG wrote:
With two players, resource contention (cards and properties) is next to non existent, leading to a downright boring game.

Try it with three and four first before you blame it all on the player count. I've never found this to be a contentious game at any number. In every game, all players rush to build all the borroughs; in every game, I have little knowledge of or control over what cards my opponnets play. Player count doesn't impact those dynamics much. As others have noted, poverty and a few particular cards tend to be the most mischievous aspects of the two player game relative to other counts. If you are looking for a tight game in which players are stridently vying over territories/cards, however, I would suggest looking elsewhere.
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zollom
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As I do agree with your assessment of no conflict or resource contention as you put it, I still think this game is excellent with two. It's just a different game as a 2 player than, let's say, a 4 player (3 player is kind of in the middle of both(duhh)). I think we all agree with Buttlerfly0038 that there is a huge rush for boroughs to mimimize poverty, but for me it's the possible combination of cards that can change the game dramatically. You can still go small city/ large city, cards that flip/ cards that don't and can continuously run your city, with the amount of money you can generate you can afford some of the larger, blue point monuments that you normally wouldn't in a 4 player. You also get to large victory scores. Try to keep track and see who gets a higher score over 3 games or so. Which leads me to another point. The games are significantly shorter with two, great for trying to get in multiple games in a night.

I realize certain games are not for everyone's taste but this one is perfect as a 2 player for me.
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Dave
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zollom04 wrote:
I realize certain games are not for everyone's taste but this one is perfect as a 2 player for me.

And that's great - I just wanted to point out the issues with it. Clearly these may not be issues with everyone.
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Dave
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chris1nd wrote:
The two modifications posted here have been heavily playtested.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/621605/the-ben-luca-2-pl...


These sound interesting. I still feel something like this should have been part of the base game though.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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My wife and I have played the heck out of it as a 2-player game. We have a couple of house rules:

- One player may not own both Omnibuses.
- Players start with 15 poverty instead of 5.

There's obviously not a whole lot of interaction in the game either way (we play Innovation when we want to beat the crap out of each other). The interaction is more subtle, like trying to discard a card in your hand and keep them from getting it. The (few) cards in the deck that do attack your opponent always come as a surprise. I've had her play Fire Brigade on me, draining my money and/or forcing me to take a loan - worst of all, throwing off my tempo. And London is a game of tempo.

Anyhow, I think London is fine as a 2-player game, just depends on the kind of experience you are looking for. Note that I have never played the 3 or 4-player game.
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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We haven't played it with more than two players yet, so it may well be better with more than two, but we had no issues with it as a two player game.
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Justin
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My first play was with 4P, and I found it to be a downtime-fest. Second play was with 2P, which I enjoyed much more. I found poverty easy to avoid, though, and think the "Ben-Luca" variant would do a lot to improve it. If I were to play again, I would want it to be 2P with that.
 
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Nate Milbrath
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Finally got a 3 player game in today. I enjoyed London much more as a 3 player game. It felt more tense and didn't add too much downtime. I can't wait to try that 2 player variant now. I was kind of lukewarm on this game when I first played it, but now that I've got a couple more plays under my belt, I'm starting to really like it. Definitely finds its sweet spot as a 3 player game.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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As a side note: my wife and I now play the 2-player game with no duplicate Omnibuses and 20 starting poverty. This feels about right.
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Richard L
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Only played this once and it was 2P.

We found it quite a struggle to keep poverty under control. Newbies being conservative, we did not use debt at all and this will be the biggest change to the way we play next time I'd say.

Running the city always generated more poverty for us until late in the game. We found the Underground cards too expensive for what they delivered in VPs. Removing the lowest total poverty points in the end scoring certainly helped!

Looking forward to more plays and further delving into the complexities of this game.
 
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