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Subject: 2 player variants rss

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Alan Kwan
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The official 2-player rule works fine, since the players alternate starting anyway. But there is the question of whether the current rule gives too much advantage to the second player (who actually chooses his plan first) in a round.

Current rule:
1. 1P places block
2. 2P places block
3. 2P chooses plan
4. 1P chooses plan


So 2P in effect chooses his plan against one block (5 out of 6), but 1P chooses his plan against three blocks (3 out of 6). The question is whether this is really balanced, or is it putting 1P at too big a disadvantage for the round. For example, if 1P blocks the 4A plan, 2P can choose one 3A plan and block the other, so 2P can always get more actions than 1P.

On the other side of the argument, there is the notion that the player who picks his plan after his opponent can "finesse" the turn order, so the current rule is needed to prevent 1P from getting too big an advantage in the round. If we agree to this notion, then of course there is no need to consider the variants below.

I have thought of two ways to alleviate 1P's disadvantage.

Method 1:

Make 2P place his block before 1P.

1. 2P places block
2. 1P places block
3. 2P chooses plan
4. 1P chooses plan


This way, 1P can place his block after seeing where 2P is blocking, and 2P can't effectively place his block after choosing his plan.

Method 2:

1P's blocker blocks only 2P but not 1P himself. 1P can choose the plan he himself blocked. Naturally, if 2P wants to block 1P from choosing that plan, he can place his blocker on the same plan.

1. 1P places block
2. 2P places block (may place in blocked space)
3. 2P chooses plan
4. 1P removes his own block, then 1P chooses plan


This is probably a bigger change from the current rules. Now 1P is choosing his plan from 4 out of 6 (instead of 3 out of 6). This might be fairer, considering that 2P is choosing from 5 out of 6.
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Jordan Robbins
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The two player variant that my wife and I use is:
Player one block
Player two place
Player one place

It's a little less cut throat than other variants, but I think it feels more like the three player game than the original rules.
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Alex Fiedler
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Why not just roll a die to determine the first block?
This would kind of simulate a 3rd player always going first, and you never know where a real 3rd player would go, which is why it's random.
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Jordan Robbins
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The 3rd player will almost always select the "best spot." Now that best spot might vary and be different for different players, but it is far from random. I like the blocking element, I just like a slightly more open board.
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Corey Hopkins
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I haven't played this game yet, but it is waiting for me at home. I was reading these variants because I primarily play 2p with my wife. I like the idea of only working against one block, as though there were 3 players. I also like the idea of using a d6 to place the block, to avoid brain burn (I can see where some enjoy this, so to each his own, but I personally would rather spend more time collecting cards and doing actions).

So anyway, my thought is to take the "third player" just one step further. In a regular 3p game, the first player would rotate among the three players. For example, with players A, B, C:
Round 1: A, B, C
Round 2: B, C, A
Round 3: C, A, B
...and so on.

So what if you followed that pattern, including the third player (the block) in the rotation? Then the rounds would follow this pattern (assuming the block starts as first player):
Round 1: Random Block, Player A place, Player B place
Round 2: Player A place, Player B place, (no block necessary)
Round 3: Player B place, Random Block, Player A place
...and so on.

It's somewhat more "fiddly" than other variants, but it would more closely mirror the placement round of the three player game, since you are sometimes choosing from 6, 5, or 4 plans instead of 5 or 3 plans (official rules), or 5 or 4 plans (one-block rules). As a reminder, just set a neutral color board to the side and remember to include it in the start player rotation.

Hopefully this will get to the table this weekend so I can post my findings next week.
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Alan Kwan
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joro30 wrote:
The two player variant that my wife and I use is:
Player one block
Player two place
Player one place

It's a little less cut throat than other variants, but I think it feels more like the three player game than the original rules.


I think this probably gives player one too big an advantage. (I believe that choosing the plan after the opponent is an advantage unless the board is quite crowded.) Probably my variant (player one removes his own block before choosing plan) is better. Your variant is equivalent to mine, except that player two is forced to place his block in the same space as player one's, so it gives player one a bigger advantage than my variant.
 
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Corey Hopkins
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I never tried the variant I suggested above. We just don't use the blockers, and the game works perfectly.
 
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Dragon Milenario
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Same here.

I think the use of blockers for 2 player game is not neccesary at all.

The rule that says the more on the left starts the turn it´s IMHO good enought.
 
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