Recommend
94 
 Thumb up
 Hide
57 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Among the Stars» Forums » Variants

Subject: A 2 player variant without neutral players rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: rules [+] [View All]
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Having played and enjoyed one four-player game of Among the Stars, my husband and I moved on to a two-player game, which is likely to be the mode we play the most.

In the official two-player set up you follow the same set up as for four players, including dealing out four hands of six cards, two of which are for virtual players (let's call them Jill and Jack). So in a game, having chosen my card I pass the rest to 'Jill'. Jill's a little slow so I then have to select one of her cards for her (the rules allow either a random selection or a more tactical version where you select a card deliberately), I then pass her remaining cards to my husband, Anthony, who is meanwhile assisting 'John' in his selection, and who will in turn pass John's remaining cards to me.

Now though you don't actually build a space station for Jack and Jill (the virtual player cards are placed in a face up pile which can be examined by players), this all felt a bit 'clunky' to us. I don't enjoy two player variants that make you feel like you're lacking players, and having to deal out and deal with two extra hands of cards achieved exactly this; it just didn't feel very elegant. So we've tried to come up with our own variant without neutral players but without breaking the game. I know many people have commented that they enjoy the two player exactly as it is, in which case read no further, but I thought it might be worth sharing our attempt in case there are others who feel similarly.

O.K here's our attempt, which we've played successfully twice.

Set up as for the four player game, with 24 Special location cards mixed in with the Basic cards. Deal out six cards to each of the two players. At the start of every turn each player draws an additional card from the deck. They then choose one card from their hand to play, and one card to discard (which can be the card they've just drawn if they wish), before passing their remaining cards to their (real) opponent. Their hand size will thus still decrease by one each turn, until on the last turn of the round when they will be passed one card, but will still draw one extra and then choose which they discard and which they play. By the end of four rounds all of the deck will have been played, thus replicating the four player game.

We found this played much more smoothly than having to deal with neutral players hands. You are able to be use the discarded card tactically to deprive your opponent of a card that would be good for them, or else just to get rid of something not too exciting. The hands continue to change as cards are being both played from and added to each hand, but as a hand comes back to you after just two turns there is potential to plan towards cards coming back to you (though of course you may be disappointed!). We also enjoyed the little dose of excitement of adding an additional card to the hand each turn - will it be just what I'm hoping for?

Two games in we haven't hit any flaws with playing it this way (though I think there is one racial ability which will be effected, and thus that race may have to be left out), so we'll not be inviting Jack and Jill to play any more!


  • [+] Dice rolls
Panagiotis Zinoviadis
Greece
Thessaloniki
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Among the Stars:The Ambassadors
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Actually it sounds brilliant.

Will try to give it a go if i convince my fiance to play .
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark P.
Germany
Mainz
flag msg tools
Avatar
I also didn't like the offical two player variant but yours sounds great. I am going to try it next time I play a two player game.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Angelo Nikolaou
Greece
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds too random for my taste, but it's worth trying
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Moonleaf wrote:
Sounds too random for my taste, but it's worth trying


I think it may have less randomness than the basic 2 player variant (where you don't look at the virtual player's cards when selecting one) but perhaps more than the tactical version.

In the basic 2 player version you won't get to see a hand of cards for a second time until 4 turns have passed, in the tactical version you will see a hand after 3 turns, and in the above variant you get a hand back after just 2 turns (although in all cases the hand will have changed by being diminished and in this variant by potentially containing a maximum of two new cards). I think the quick return of a hand somewhat reduces the impact of the randomness introduced by getting a new card each turn.

We're playing this game as quite a light, fun game, so a little randomness to not feel annoyed by the hassle of managing virtual players cards certainly feels worth it, but I can see it would not be to everyone's liking!
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A L D A R O N
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
----[---->+<]>++.+++++++++++.--------.---.>-[--->+<]>---.---.-.
badge
ACT AS IF THE TRUTH IS REAL
Avatar
mb
This is a huge improvement over the 2-player version with neutral players, which we've found to be just unplayable.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Arthur Peterson
United States
Cane Ridge
TN
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LOVE this variant. Much better than the 2-player in the rulebook.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Panagiotis Zinoviadis
Greece
Thessaloniki
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Among the Stars:The Ambassadors
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The variant is actually quite good. Just be careful and draw and discard also before you play a card at the start of each year, otherwise you will end with 8 un drawn cards. Cheers.
8 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wim van Gruisen
Netherlands
Den Bosch
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
entwife wrote:
In the official two-player set up you follow the same set up as for four players, including dealing out four hands of six cards, two of which are for virtual players (let's call them Jill and Jack). So in a game, having chosen my card I pass the rest to 'Jill'. Jill's a little slow so I then have to select one of her cards for her (the rules allow either a random selection or a more tactical version where you select a card deliberately), I then pass her remaining cards to my husband, Anthony, who is meanwhile assisting 'John' in his selection, and who will in turn pass John's remaining cards to me.

But ... But what happened to Jack?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whymme wrote:
entwife wrote:
In the official two-player set up you follow the same set up as for four players, including dealing out four hands of six cards, two of which are for virtual players (let's call them Jill and Jack). So in a game, having chosen my card I pass the rest to 'Jill'. Jill's a little slow so I then have to select one of her cards for her (the rules allow either a random selection or a more tactical version where you select a card deliberately), I then pass her remaining cards to my husband, Anthony, who is meanwhile assisting 'John' in his selection, and who will in turn pass John's remaining cards to me.

But ... But what happened to Jack?


Well... Jack is a common diminutive nickname for John ...... sometimes he likes us to address him more formally.....!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Congrats to Kim! I noticed this variant is now official, listed in the manual (and accredited) in the new Among the Stars: The Ambassadors expansion!
33 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
"Music That Glows In The Dark"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just picked up this game and all the promos/expansion and was wondering does this variant hinder any of the alien races abilities since some let you look at the other players hands and what not?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
IIRC in the base game there's one alien who becomes a bit weaker, since he can normally look through all the other player's hands to grab a card he wants, and now there's only 1 other hand to choose from. Unfortunately, but still definitely worth playing with the variant anyway, IMO
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
"Music That Glows In The Dark"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rahdo wrote:
IIRC in the base game there's one alien who becomes a bit weaker, since he can normally look through all the other player's hands to grab a card he wants, and now there's only 1 other hand to choose from. Unfortunately, but still definitely worth playing with the variant anyway, IMO


How come you used the other variant in your video, I heard you mention this one but it looks like you were using the one form the base game rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the first vid (gameplay runthrough) I used the standard rules, and in the extended, I used this variant
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
"Music That Glows In The Dark"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rahdo wrote:
In the first vid (gameplay runthrough) I used the standard rules, and in the extended, I used this variant


I was thinking for our first few games using this variant then for more advanced games try the official one which seems more strategic. Which do you prefer?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
makes sense to me!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
rahdo wrote:
In the first vid (gameplay runthrough) I used the standard rules, and in the extended, I used this variant


I was thinking for our first few games using this variant then for more advanced games try the official one which seems more strategic. Which do you prefer?


I think the only reason to play this way is if you find each person having to deal with two hands of cards too cumbersome. For us the experience of playing two player the rule book way made us not want to play with that player count.

If it doesn't bother you at all then just play the 'normal' 2 player way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
"Music That Glows In The Dark"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
entwife wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
rahdo wrote:
In the first vid (gameplay runthrough) I used the standard rules, and in the extended, I used this variant


I was thinking for our first few games using this variant then for more advanced games try the official one which seems more strategic. Which do you prefer?


I think the only reason to play this way is if you find each person having to deal with two hands of cards too cumbersome. For us the experience of playing two player the rule book way made us not want to play with that player count.

If it doesn't bother you at all then just play the 'normal' 2 player way.


I'm confused, which variant did you not like? which do you prefer and why?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Speicher
United States
Potomac Falls
VIRGINIA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
i need to go back and watch these, and hoping to see ambassadors sometime soon.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
entwife wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
rahdo wrote:
In the first vid (gameplay runthrough) I used the standard rules, and in the extended, I used this variant


I was thinking for our first few games using this variant then for more advanced games try the official one which seems more strategic. Which do you prefer?


I think the only reason to play this way is if you find each person having to deal with two hands of cards too cumbersome. For us the experience of playing two player the rule book way made us not want to play with that player count.

If it doesn't bother you at all then just play the 'normal' 2 player way.


I'm confused, which variant did you not like? which do you prefer and why?


Sorry I wasn't clear - I didn't enjoy the two player rule which came with the rule book, and therefore created the two player variant without dummy players which I posted in this thread (see first post).

I was just trying to say that there's no need to worry about using this variant unless you're put off by the idea of each managing two hands. The point wasn't to make it 'simpler', just to make it a less cumbersome. If you don't find it cumbersome then you could just play with two hands each right from the beginning.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
flag msg tools
"Blow up the damned ship, Jean-Luc!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the only way I've played with 2 players. It keeps the turns quick so the game doesn't over-stay its welcome, and the extra inter-action with your opponent by discarding something you know they'd like is an added depth to your decision. And who doesn't like to screw your opponent out of a prize location?
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
"Music That Glows In The Dark"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sodaklady wrote:
This is the only way I've played with 2 players. It keeps the turns quick so the game doesn't over-stay its welcome, and the extra inter-action with your opponent by discarding something you know they'd like is an added depth to your decision. And who doesn't like to screw your opponent out of a prize location?


How does this work with the aggressive variant, are we drawing 2 cards per turn? I assume the mandatory discarding of one doesn't net any gains or rewards. Does it have to happen first?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Noel Llopis
Spain
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
I tried this variant and, while it keeps things moving smoothly, it was too random for us. Especially in the second half of the game, we were often drawing cards that would mean big points in our stations and choosing them right away. The luck of the draw seemed to be more important than good drafting.

I wonder if it would be improved by drawing the card after you choose a card. So the sequence would be:
- Get new set of cards
- Choose one
- Draw a card and add it to the set
- Discard one (including the one you just drew)

I might have to try that.


--Noel
20 
 Thumb up
5.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
llopis wrote:
I tried this variant and, while it keeps things moving smoothly, it was too random for us. Especially in the second half of the game, we were often drawing cards that would mean big points in our stations and choosing them right away. The luck of the draw seemed to be more important than good drafting.

I wonder if it would be improved by drawing the card after you choose a card. So the sequence would be:
- Get new set of cards
- Choose one
- Draw a card and add it to the set
- Discard one (including the one you just drew)

I might have to try that.


--Noel


That's an interesting idea, with out any extra hassle.

I like the thought of the tension caused by picking up the perfect card (that you could have played if only you'd drawn it last turn) and then having to decide whether to discard it or hope that it comes back to you next turn.

I'll try it next time we play a 2 player game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.