Re: Pacing Assistants in Buildings in a 2 Player Game
Well, I don't agree that with two players the assistants are less useful than in3 or 4 player game. They bring about as much profit as in games with more people. Let's look:
Tools: In my games almost always all the 7 tools are bought. So if you put an assistant there at the beginning of a phase you get 7 cents regardless of with how many players you play. Which is really not bad.
Market: The market ends up being used 3-4 times a game. It may be used with 3 or 4 players one or two times more than in a 2 player game. But it doesn't matter as I believe that you never want to put an assistant there at the beginning of the phase. (the only moment when I see people effectively using this option is at the very end of the game when they have absolutely nothing to do and they see that someone will use the market at least once. But that is never more than 2-3 cents.)
Castle: Here it is easy. When playing with 2 players the phase ends after 4 orders (sorry, I don't remember the English name for this) are completed and when playing with 3 or more players it takes 5 orders to complete. So when you place an assistant at the beginning of the phase you know that you will get at least 4 or 5 cents. The difference is very small.
Water: This is the hardest part to evaluate. I would say that when playing with two players you should get about 5 cents a phase for this spots, when playing with more about 7-8.
So summing up, the differences are really small, too small to change anything.
One more thing... I tend to use assistants ONLY in a two player game. In a 4 player game the race to get cubes is a lot more fierce and I simply feel that I cannot waste an action to send an assistant. The cubes are taken so fast that every action must be concentrated on how to mine the most efficiently. With two players nothing bad will happen if you spend an action to for example send an assistant to the tools to get the 7 cents in this phase.