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Subject: Looking for "sweet spot" in games - part I rss

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fishhaid
United States
Downers Grove
Illinois
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Hi there, Face here!
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Hi,

I'm looking for the sweet spot in my games when it comes to number of players.

A little background: I've been gaming since I was kid, everything from Monopoly, Risk, Euchre, Pinochle whatever. It always seemed to be up to me to come up with a game depending on the number of players available. Back then if it was just me and one other - chess, backgammon, gin. If it was more, I'd figure it out. It's where I learned that you really couldn't play poker with seven people (this was before Texas Hold'em unfortunately) and that the sweet spot for Monopoly was 4 players (this was the 70's so keep the Monopoly comments to a minimum, okay?).

Fast forward to today. With BGG, ebay, and a job where I could indulge in my hobby, I have over 500 games. Unfortunately, my gaming time is limited so many of them are unplayed languishing in storage until the time and players are available. That leaves me with a dilemma: When I do have an opportunity to play, I want to grab a game that plays well with the number of players I've got. I've done a lot of research on BGG, especially the Geeklists from alot of people on games for X players, but there are some games I haven't either seen, or I'd just like additional opinions.

Help me by giving your opinion on my first set of games. Which games play well with how many players? Some of them are older games, some newer that I'd love to know what you think. All opinions are welcome whether you just want to weigh in with a number or add a comment, I appreciate it.

Railway Rivals - 2-6 players listed
Settlers of Catan - 2-4 players
Rail Baron - 3-6 players
Acquire - 2-6 players
Plunder - 2-4 players
Traders of Genoa -
Chinatown
Katzenjammer Blues
Drunter und Druber
Marracash

Thanks,

Chris
 
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Richard Irving
United States
Salinas
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Quote:
Railway Rivals - 2-6 players listed

It depends on which map you are playing. And the maps you may have depends on which set you own.

Generally, I would not recommend this game for 2 players, but otherwise it helps to choose the right map. More open maps are better for more players, in general. Ones with a lot of mountains and tight spots are better for fewer players.

Quote:
Settlers of Catan - 2-4 players

This game can be expanded to 6 players, but most people think the game plays best with 4.

Quote:
Rail Baron - 3-6 players

0 Players. This is a game that has REALLY been surpassed by better games. The problem with it is that essentially it essentially it often decided by destination which you have no control over.

Quote:
Acquire - 2-6 players

3-5, but 4 is considered best. 6 players you start having a problem, because the number of tiles used in the game is roughly the same (70-80) regardless of the number of players, so each player makes fewer plays. This means practially speaking you get 12-14 turns in the entire game and often some players will not run out of money. Also each additional player reduces the control--more tiles come onto the board between turns so you can't do as much long term planning. More players=more of a crap shoot.

Games like Carcassonne, Union Pacific and Alhambra

Quote:
Plunder - 2-4 players
Traders of Genoa -
Chinatown
Katzenjammer Blues
Drunter und Druber
Marracash


Not familiar with the games to say where their sweet spots. When in doubt it is usually about 4 if it is German game. Having Played Chinatown and Marracash afew times several years--the maxim is true.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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Just to start (of course you know that you're goning to hear everything and its opposite in such a thread, don't you?):

Settlers of Catan - 4 (and is listed as 3-4; 2 is a "house rule" variant and isn't that good; the "Catan card game" is only for 2 and is a different game). I'd still play it with 3.

Traders of Genoa - 5 (listed 2-5), in general "more we are, better it is" (being a negotiation game, each "missing" player removes potential offers and dealing and thus tension). I'd still play it with 4, but not with 3 or 2.

Have fun!
 
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Eddy Bee
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Marin County
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Here's yet another set of opinions for you:

Settlers of Catan
I used to think Settlers should only be played with 4 players, but after playing hundreds of games on BSW with only 3 players, I've come to enjoy it much more as a 3 player game. Yes, the trading opportunties are slightly reduced, but that's compensated for by the fact that you get to take your turn more frequently. Also, the map is more open with only 3 players, and I find that the final scores tend to be closer. With 4 players it's easy to have one or two players get "locked out" of the running.

Rail Baron
Back in the day, I used to love Rail Baron, but the game has some severe problems: usually by mid-game it's pretty obvious which players don't have a shot at victory, and the end game is overly long and mostly luck based. That said, the only way to play Rail Baron in my opinion is with 3 players. That way, at least each player has an opportunity to purchase one of the big rail lines, and there is more parity in the game.

Acquire
Acquire scales really well with any number of players. Believe it or not, my group has even played it with 7 players - giving each player 5 tiles instead of 6 - and it's worked just fine. With more players, the board fills up a quicker, but the basic dynamics of game play aren't severely affected.

Chinatown
Ah, one of my favorite games of all time. Since this is a negotiating game, the more players the better. My group has even played it with 6 players (see my post in the Chinatown forums for a description of how to do this), although 5 players is really best.

Marracash
This is one of those games that works really well with 3 players, but 4 players is good too.
 
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Ben .
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Afraid I'm going to disagree with Luca about Traders Of Genoa. I'm not a huge fan of 5-player - I find that in 5-player, one person will nearly always be able to use one of the immediate actions, and so is always able to offer more money to the tower player. This takes away a noticable chunk of the negotiation and decision making. It makes the game more luck-based, as the actions you need are mainly controlled by card draws and the actions offered in a particular turn are substantially controlled by a dice roll. It also leads to frustration as some players simply cannot do anything at all in some turns.

In 4-player, these problems all vanish.

5-player Traders is a good game but REALLY needs the right kind of people.

4-player Traders is fantastic and more open to new players. Traders is my only 10-rated game. It went up from a 7 to a 10 when we started playing with 4 players instead of 5.

As always, YMMV, of course!
 
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Railway Rivals is at its absolute best when played with the postal rules, using simultaneous movement.

The game handles any number, depending on the map; it will take 3 to 8 with ease, except that it can be a long wait if you play with 8 face-to-face.

A good number for ftf Railway Rivals is 4.
 
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fishhaid
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Downers Grove
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Hi there, Face here!
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Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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cfisher wrote:
Settlers of Catan - 2-4 players


4, unless you are playing one of the scenarios from Das Buch or similar, in which case follow the book.

Quote:
Rail Baron - 3-6 players
Acquire - 2-6 players
Plunder - 2-4 players


Don't play -- there are better games out there.

Quote:
Traders of Genoa


4 players. There are very slight balance problems with 5 players. Many groups won't hit them, but some groups will.
 
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