Louis Y
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In a two-player game of First Sparks, I found myself in this situation tonight:

After several rounds, I was in the lead with three clan members more than my wife's. In the next round, beginning with the Buying New Technology phase, I chose the Intelligence card (#28), and my wife declined. I bought the technology card and immediately adjusted the player order so that I became the "last player".

From that round onwards, I had the advantage when it came to the hunting, spreading, and technology phases.

I'm still learning to play First Sparks, but this situation seems odd because there didn't seem to be a way for my wife to counter my lead. Perhaps the Intelligence card should be removed in a two-player game? I appreciate any feedback from fellow board gamers.

Thanks!


Note: Edited for clarity.
 
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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I've played this 2p exactly once; the lead player bought Intelligence on the very last turn and won because of it, where they would have lost without it. I think it's very powerful in all low-player-count games.
 
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Martí Cabré

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I think that with 2 players there are some cards removed before starting the game. Check out that this is not one of the removed cards.
 
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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marticabre wrote:
I think that with 2 players there are some cards removed before starting the game. Check out that this is not one of the removed cards.


It is not, though speech and one of the fire cards are pulled.
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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We thought it would be too powerful when it came up in a recent two player game, but the player who had it lost (it was well before the last round though), so we thought wrong cool
 
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Louis Y
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Karlsen wrote:
We thought it would be too powerful when it came up in a recent two player game, but the player who had it lost (it was well before the last round though), so we thought wrong cool


That's interesting. May I know how the "last player" managed to catch up? Did he have the Fire card?

Perhaps I'll just make sure that Intelligence is one of the two cards that are removed from the draw pile.

From the rule book:
Quote:
After placing the starting market, shuffle the remaining cards, and remove 2 random cards face down from the stack before placing the shuffle card on the bottom of the draw pile.


Thanks for your feedback everyone.
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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boysbytes wrote:
Karlsen wrote:
We thought it would be too powerful when it came up in a recent two player game, but the player who had it lost (it was well before the last round though), so we thought wrong cool


That's interesting. May I know how the "last player" managed to catch up? Did he have the Fire card?


From memory, just a better food engine. Which of course is helped by not buying technology cards.
 
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Clement Tey
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boysbytes wrote:
In a two-player game of First Sparks, I found myself in this situation tonight:

After several rounds, I was in the lead with three clan members more than my wife's. In the next round, beginning with the Buying New Technology phase, I chose the Intelligence card (#28), and my wife declined. I bought the technology card and immediately adjusted the player order so that I became the "last player".

From that round onwards, I had the advantage when it came to the hunting, spreading, and technology phases.

I'm still learning to play First Sparks, but this situation seems odd because there didn't seem to be a way for my wife to counter my lead. Perhaps the Intelligence card should be removed in a two-player game? I appreciate any feedback from fellow board gamers.

Thanks!


Note: Edited for clarity.
Ok, I have not played the game yet or anything, but have played PG and am following this game with interest, so I think I know the rules.. You are saying that there didn't seem to be a way for your wife to counter your lead, but instead of declining, couldn't she just have accepted? Would that have been a counter?
 
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Louis Y
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princemousey wrote:
boysbytes wrote:
In a two-player game of First Sparks, I found myself in this situation tonight:

After several rounds, I was in the lead with three clan members more than my wife's. In the next round, beginning with the Buying New Technology phase, I chose the Intelligence card (#28), and my wife declined. I bought the technology card and immediately adjusted the player order so that I became the "last player".

From that round onwards, I had the advantage when it came to the hunting, spreading, and technology phases.

I'm still learning to play First Sparks, but this situation seems odd because there didn't seem to be a way for my wife to counter my lead. Perhaps the Intelligence card should be removed in a two-player game? I appreciate any feedback from fellow board gamers.

Thanks!


Note: Edited for clarity.
Ok, I have not played the game yet or anything, but have played PG and am following this game with interest, so I think I know the rules.. You are saying that there didn't seem to be a way for your wife to counter your lead, but instead of declining, couldn't she just have accepted? Would that have been a counter?


I agree with you that denying the first player from getting the Intelligence card appears to be the best move. However, the second player would have missed the chance to buy a better Tool card to increase his food supply and further increase his clan members.

Difficult decisions = Awesome game. haha.
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Clement Tey
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Ah, I see.. But is there only one copy of Intelligence? If so, she can deny him now and then pick something else up on the next turn once Intelligence is no longer a threat?

PS: Thank you Louis and David for your explanations in helping me to understand the strategy!
 
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Jens V
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We had the same situation yesterday and found the Intelligence card much too powerful for a two-player game, especially if it comes early. Adding to the normal advantages of the last player, you may also place the clan members of the neutral clan when you're second, so you can easily catch up and win, and the other player can't stop you.

(Luckily, I had the Intelligence card yesterday from round 3 on, but now I fear my wife won't play with me any more because she didn't stand a chance after that.)
 
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Geoff Paulsen

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I've played the game exactly once with 2 players. I dislike the Intelligence card in the 2 player game. It has the effect of removing the entire catch up mechanic in Power Grid. I think that if Intelligence was more of a mid 30s card, it probably wouldn't be too bad, but since it's 28, it's possible for it to come out mid-game. When it comes out in my (albeit first game) we still had 3 or 4 more rounds to play, which was enough for it to go from a fairly balanced game, to the leader getting to gain much more resources (almost double, partially due to slightly better engine) every turn, and expand faster (with cheaper placement, because intelligence goes first) with no negative consequence. In fact the game encourages expansion with intelligence, to prevent food spoilage.

I think if someone clearly had a poor food engine, mid-game, Intelligence would help them to come back for an upset, which I could see as being quite fun. But if you're playing a fairly balanced game, and you see intelligence coming out mid-game, you'd really better try to be last player to get it. If it's late enough in the game it might not matter though.

As far as counters to Intelligence, I don't think there are many, other than being last on the turn it becomes available. I also don't think it's too powerful if it comes out late-game, though it could STILL spell the difference between win and loss, but a lot of things could.

One other counter to Intelligence is to be hunting/gathering resources that the player with Intelligence isn't. Unfortunately it's probably late enough in the game that switching food production engine isn't practical at that point, but one could work on this sub-strategy from the beginning in fear of the moment when Intelligence comes out.
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Randall Bart
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In a good multiplayer game, there are non-zero sum decisions. If you play that game with only two players, those decisions all become zero sum. I don't know of any game that is good with two players and also with three players, where there aren't significant differences in the rules. If any game is good with three players, don't play it with two, unless there is evidence the designer genuinely designed a two player version.
 
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