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Bruno Faidutti has official rules for variants involving 2 or 3 players. Here is the text, culled from his website. These rules allow for a lot more intrigue when fewer players are involved in the game. Highly recommended.

2 and 3 players rules
from the 2nd german edition:
These rules were developped by the Hans im Glueck team, with the help of Andreas Seyfarth, the author of Manhattan. I haven't played them yet, but they look great:

2 players: Player A (the oldest player) receives the Crown card. He shuffles the 8 Character cards and places the top card face down at the center of the table. Of the remaining 7 cards he chooses one for himself and passes 6 cards on to player B.
Player B takes one card for himself and places another card face down at the center of the table. That leaves 4 cards which he passes on to player A.
Player A takes one of the four cards, stores one further card at the center and pass the last 2 cards to B.
B takes one card and places the last card at the center (still hidden). Each player plays with 2 Characters.
As King will player A start calling for the Characters.

3 players: Player A (the oldest player) receives the Crown card. He shuffles the 8 Character cards and places the top card face down at the center of the table. Of the remaining 7 cards he chooses one for himself and passes 6 cards on to player B.
Player B takes one card and passes 5 cards on to player C who also takes one card before passing 4 cards to player A etc.
When all players has taken their second card will player C place the final card face down at the center of the table. Each player plays with 2 Characters. As King will player A start calling for the Characters.

Course of the game: As with the standard 4-7 players game, but each player plays two times every turn. A player can therefore, for example, keep the money earned by his first character to build an expensive district with his second one.
These rules work only with the new german rule stating that, f the King is assassinated, the player who had the king card nevertheless takes the crown.
 
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