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Subject: Two Players rss

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Ken Kmak
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Parrish
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Can anyone comment on how good this game is with only 2 players?
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Shane Larsen
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It's very, very good with two players.
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Florian Trabert
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"Trajan" is already huge fun with two players, but it plays definetely better with 3 players (I didn't have the opportunity to test it with four players yet, but I assume four players to be best number). This is mainly because of the senate action - one of the six actions each player can perform in her or his turn - and the bonus tiles you get if you are first or second in the senate race after each quarter of the game. If you are looking for a strategy game which plays best with two players, I would recommend you "Castles of Burgundy" by the same designer, Stefan Feld. And if you like Eurogames of this kind, buy both of them.
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Richard Ham
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plays fantastically. my wife and i love it. if you'd like to see first hand what it feels like, you can check out a video I made of 2p gameplay: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/16331
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
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flott wrote:
"Trajan" is already huge fun with two players, but it plays definetely better with 3 players (I didn't have the opportunity to test it with four players yet, but I assume four players to be best number). This is mainly because of the senate action - one of the six actions each player can perform in her or his turn - and the bonus tiles you get if you are first or second in the senate race after each quarter of the game. If you are looking for a strategy game which plays best with two players, I would recommend you "Castles of Burgundy" by the same designer, Stefan Feld. And if you like Eurogames of this kind, buy both of them.

Personally I don't see why Castles would, game-theoretically speaking, be noticably better than Trajan to warrant one over the other. I've played both; both do, again game-theoretically speaking, the same thing, so no problems there... The only issue is perhaps that Trajan is more 'open' at two players, meaning that specialisation is easier, and fallback options easier to be had. But it is still a quiet puzzle race for all involved, so you'll still be hard-pressed to be more efficient than your direct opponent, and that still means that a senate race of sorts can develop. It's just a little less likely, depending on the point value of the senate steps and the bonus tiles up for grabs. Just don't expect the same scores for two as for three or four.

In any case: it's a fine game for two. If two is to be the main player number, you won't be disappointed in any way. And personally I find Trajan to be better than Castles because it plays far quicker, and gives you a fully deterministic mechanism to plan your moves with. Castles is all reactive play, fitting the available actions to the results of the dice; in Trajan skill is needed to walk the wheel efficiently, and ties this neatly to important end-of-round events. I find this more of a challenge in the long run.
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Jack Francisco
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I've played it with two, but I would definitely agree that it's better with three or four.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I've only played it with two, and it's one of my favorite games. If it gets better with more then that's all frosting....
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Ken Kmak
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Thanks for your opinions. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy this game and whether I should buy this game or Macao. Either game will be for 2 players most of the time. Any opinions from someone who has played both?
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Mathue Faulkner
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Panzer2C wrote:
Thanks for your opinions. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy this game and whether I should buy this game or Macao. Either game will be for 2 players most of the time. Any opinions from someone who has played both?

I prefer Trajan, but they're both excellent with 2. You really can't go wrong....
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Panzer2C wrote:
Thanks for your opinions. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy this game and whether I should buy this game or Macao. Either game will be for 2 players most of the time. Any opinions from someone who has played both?

Trajan. The dice mechanic in Macao seems nice and novel, but it still amounts to an uncomfortable gamble which may or may not hinder the 'card engine' you've built up. While there is skill in selecting the proper cards and dice, bad rolls and bad draws can put you out of the running with frightening ease. There is also a certain pointlesness in continuing play once the engines rev up (at about halfway): if there is a noticable difference between the two the weaker engine in all likelihood won't win the game. Compare to Trajan: the influence of random events is much more subdued to the point where the only one to fault for your loss is you; and since the game contains a mixture of short- and long-term gains, it is difficult to say who will win the game until it has been played to completion.

Seriously, if you insist on having dice in the game, I'd select CoB over Macao... But if puzzling out optimal point paths is not your style, instead preferring a certain grimness in dealing with randomness ('this is what it is, see what you can make of it just the same') then obviously Macao needs to be your choice.
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Jack Francisco
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Macao's dice mechanic is great because you can't just sit back with your "winning formula" and let the game play itself. You might have to change tack halfway through the game because the cubes you need just aren't coming up. Many times the first card I draft gets thrown away, earning me the dreaded -3 pt penalty.
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