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Subject: Setup for 2 player game rss

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Keng Leong Yeo
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A good friend of ours introduced Dominant Species to my Significant Other and I last weekend. It was a 4-player game.

I found the game a little chaotic depending on i) the Dominance Cards drawn, ii) who managed to snag the Dominance Cards and iii) on whom are the cards used on (usually on the leader to pull him/her back into the chasing pack). I can imagine this will be exacerbated with 5 and 6 players.

What we both liked a lot about the game is the theme and the rest of the gameplay. We played the 2nd edition and looking it up online, we found the 3rd edition with much improved artwork. zombie *Salivate*

Having read through some of the forums here, I found out that the game is more strategic with 2 players. Primarily because of the greater control. That alleviates my concern on the chaotic play.

Our other consideration was game length. Most of our games have long play times and we would like to get a game that is playable in 2 hours. Our 4-player game took maybe 3.5 hours. As before, the forums here suggested that with 2 players, 2 hours or less seems to be the norm (assuming rule familiarity).

Based on the above research, we have decided that our next board game purchase will be Dominant Species (preordered with a local shop)!

Onto my main questions. This is for BGG-ers who usually play this game as a 2-player game.

How do you set up your 2-player games? Is it necessary to ensure that the two animal types picked are adjacent to each other? Would picking animal types directly opposite of each other reduce player interaction drastically?
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Luke Stirling
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When playing with my partner, we mix it up with the animal choices. Sometimes they end up close together at the start, and sometimes far apart. It makes almost no difference as to level of interaction though. Speciation can have you putting cubes down anywhere despite having nothing in the immediate vicinity beforehand. And if one player tries to turtle in a particular part of the map, they are especially vulnerable to glaciation. And these are just two of the subsystems that come to mind that encourage interactivity, no matter what starting locations are chosen. If you look through the Dominance cards, and just get a feel for the general flow of the game after your first game or two, you'll get a much better understanding of how starting position doesn't affect the long term development of the game all that much, despite it having some affect on what actions are more useful in the very first turn of the game.
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Don't Blink
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We shuffle the tiny animal pieces (the squares that site on Initiative track) and pick one. Random is fun. It ensures you never know what you're going to get, and makes you try to maximize your animals advantage.
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Fabian L
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We have been playing with the official variant where each player plays multiple animals and the winner is determined by only considering each players' lowest scoring animal. These matches have been surprisingly tense. However, I do think the game really shines with 4+ players.

You just have to embrace the chaos or play the cardless variant (where cards are only used as a timer, but not for their effects).
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Benoit Dugal
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I played quite a few 2-player games of DS and like it just as much. It has a very different feel. I don't agree that 4-player is less strategic. To me, a 4-player game is more about survival (seeing what could hurt you the most and insuring that you mitigate the worst-case scenario, while two-player is more aggressive (screwing over your opponent is just as useful as not being screwed).

As Paralipsis said, any 2 animals will work just fine. It won't take long before you're fighting each other for sexy sea tiles.

Hopefully you will have different results but I'm afraid my 2-player games are NOT shorter than my 4-player ones. The two modes have a similar number of actions to take in a round but with 4 you have more time to think about your next move before it's your turn to play, so it generally plays quicker in my experience. I've had absolutely EPIC 4-hour 2-player duels.

In any case you have made an excellent decision. I was amazed at how well DS plays with only 2 players.
 
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birchbeer
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Back wrote:
I played quite a few 2-player games of DS and like it just as much. It has a very different feel. I don't agree that 4-player is less strategic. To me, a 4-player game is more about survival (seeing what could hurt you the most and insuring that you mitigate the worst-case scenario, while two-player is more aggressive (screwing over your opponent is just as useful as not being screwed).

As Paralipsis said, any 2 animals will work just fine. It won't take long before you're fighting each other for sexy sea tiles.

Hopefully you will have different results but I'm afraid my 2-player games are NOT shorter than my 4-player ones. The two modes have a similar number of actions to take in a round but with 4 you have more time to think about your next move before it's your turn to play, so it generally plays quicker in my experience. I've had absolutely EPIC 4-hour 2-player duels.

In any case you have made an excellent decision. I was amazed at how well DS plays with only 2 players.


Is it necessary to play 2-player with two species each? How is it with just one species each? I'm thinking of buying the game for me and my wife to play, but concerned about how it works with 2-players.
 
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Nishchay Kumar
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bamonson wrote:
Back wrote:
I played quite a few 2-player games of DS and like it just as much. It has a very different feel. I don't agree that 4-player is less strategic. To me, a 4-player game is more about survival (seeing what could hurt you the most and insuring that you mitigate the worst-case scenario, while two-player is more aggressive (screwing over your opponent is just as useful as not being screwed).

As Paralipsis said, any 2 animals will work just fine. It won't take long before you're fighting each other for sexy sea tiles.

Hopefully you will have different results but I'm afraid my 2-player games are NOT shorter than my 4-player ones. The two modes have a similar number of actions to take in a round but with 4 you have more time to think about your next move before it's your turn to play, so it generally plays quicker in my experience. I've had absolutely EPIC 4-hour 2-player duels.

In any case you have made an excellent decision. I was amazed at how well DS plays with only 2 players.


Is it necessary to play 2-player with two species each? How is it with just one species each? I'm thinking of buying the game for me and my wife to play, but concerned about how it works with 2-players.


It plays really well with 2 players, its not necessary to have multiple animals, My usual gaming partner is my wife and she loves the theme and the effects of dominance cards. This is an absolute must buy. The game scales well from 2-6 players(using the AP with great effect). I have never played more than 2, which i hope to change this week.
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Chad Jensen
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bamonson wrote:
Is it necessary to play 2-player with two species each?

No. The default - and recommended - way to play is always with one animal per player.

There exist optional rules for (advanced) players to try out in which they can control multiple animals, but they are just that: *optional*.
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birchbeer
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Thanks for the info: 2-player good!

Second question: It looks very Euro, but I've also seen a couple of references saying it's very 'cut-throat'. A little vicious interaction is tolerable for my wife, but not too much. Is this game going to have me sleeping on the sofa? cry

I'm actually on the fence between DS and Keyflower for my next buy.
 
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Keng Leong Yeo
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bamonson wrote:
Second question: It looks very Euro, but I've also seen a couple of references saying it's very 'cut-throat'. A little vicious interaction is tolerable for my wife, but not too much. Is this game going to have me sleeping on the sofa? cry

We have since gone on to purchase the game. Most of our plays are two-players with one animal type each. That works well and I echo the views above.

As for the bit about it being "cut-throat", that's true as well. At least for us. We are ok about it because we remind each other this is just a game. Nonetheless, she does seem a little sad when I remove some of her species (for whatever reason). ninja
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