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Subject: 2-3 Player Variant rss

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Jeffrey Allers
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Feedback from 2-3 player games of New Amsterdam is that it isn't as tight--and therefore, not as fun--as the 4-5 player version.

Here are some ways of changing that. Please let me know if this helps:

2-3 PLAYER VARIANT:

Action Tokens:

Fill the cash box with only 4 rows of action tokens each round. The 2-token column with 2 coins is not used.

Land and Ship Cards:
Use only 3 Land and Ship cards every round instead of 4. At the beginning of the round, draw 3 cards from each and place in the appropriate spaces, then draw 1 card of each an discard them without looking at them.

Neutral City Buildings
At the beginning of the game, after each player has placed their 2 starting buildings in the city, each player takes turns placing an additional building in a neutral color in the city. With 2 players, do this for 2 rounds, so that there are a total of 4 neutral buildings in the city.
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ode.
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Thanks for the variant. We tried it today and we think it is better than the old rules.

Can you tell me, why you stated the rule, that the starting player in a 2-player game has to bid on a 3-token row? We found out, that the starting player (maybe) has a (randomly) big disadvantage then. Because he may never get access to the tokens that are randomly placed in the 2-token rows. That may be a problem when the randomness means that very important actions are cut out.

The quastion we were asking us: Why can't the starting player choose what he likes? It is his/hers decision.

Please note, that I do not want to criticize. I am just asking. Because I want to know.

My experience: 2 plays of a two-player game.

Best...ode.
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Jacob Lee
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My take:
3 land and ship cards each feels right. Removing the last column of the auction grid also feels tighter with three, the way it should be. My problem with the original rules, and continues to be with most once-around auction games, is that it irks me when I've placed my one and only bid and the next person only needs to up me by one to win it. I should bid higher, you say? In the next round, I do. Much higher. And the person to my left just ups me by one to win it. Grr.

We've changed this a few ways all of which we like better than the original rules. The most recent way we played it is: the minimum increment for bidding is equal to the number of players still active in the bid. So if all three players are in it and I bid five . . . the next player has to go at least eight. If he passes instead then the third player can take it for seven.

I'm not pushing this on anyone. It's just the way we play with three players. Everything else about the game is perfect.
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Jeffrey Allers
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bayerbube wrote:
Thanks for the variant. We tried it today and we think it is better than the old rules.

Can you tell me, why you stated the rule, that the starting player in a 2-player game has to bid on a 3-token row? We found out, that the starting player (maybe) has a (randomly) big disadvantage then. Because he may never get access to the tokens that are randomly placed in the 2-token rows. That may be a problem when the randomness means that very important actions are cut out.

The quastion we were asking us: Why can't the starting player choose what he likes? It is his/hers decision.


Good question, Andreas!
It has been awhile since I tested the 2-player game with Bernd. I think I recall only that I wanted to keep it simple, and if the starting player did not want the 2-action row, he could always bid 0. Of course, the second player could still let that first player have all 3 actions for free and take a 2-action row for free.

However, I don't see a problem with allowing the starting player to choose a 2-action row for bidding. It would have to be very valuable, of course, as the 3-action row would go to the loser--for free!

Thanks again for your input. Try it out and post your results here!
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Jeffrey, these are both very good suggestions to improve the 2-3 player games.

Regarding the action tokens, an alternative would be to deal all the tokens and let one player (the first one? the last one?) choose one column and remove all its tokens.

Additionally, the city part of the game being a mini area control game inside the game, it would be good to tune that part too. I would suggest to place additional buildings at the beginning of the game: in turn order, before placing his own buildings, each player places 2 (2 players) or 1 (3 players) building(s) of a neutral (unused) color. This would make control and income a bit tighter...

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Jeffrey Allers
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lcg74160 wrote:
Jeffrey, these are both very good suggestions to improve the 2-3 player games.

Regarding the action tokens, an alternative would be to deal all the tokens and let one player (the first one? the last one?) choose one column and remove all its tokens.

Additionally, the city part of the game being a mini area control game inside the game, it would be good to tune that part too. I would suggest to place additional buildings at the beginning of the game: in turn order, before placing his own buildings, each player places 2 (2 players) or 1 (3 players) building(s) of a neutral (unused) color. This would make control and income a bit tighter...


Yes, adding a couple of neutral buildings is also a good idea. I'll add that to the main post so that others see it right away. Thanks!
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bart gamer
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I LOVE this game!!

Jeffrey, It's wonderful that you are appeasing the folks giving you feedback, but don't let them twist your arm either. I prefer to think of the tension of a game with a lot of players arising out of restrictions it imposes on you, whereas the tension of a game with fewer players arises out of the restrictions *not* placed on your opponents. It's all a wash, I say.

However, if you must give people alternatives for minimal # of players, I wonder what they would think of these tweaks on the tweaks you put forth:

1. We each place our two free businesses during set-up as usual. Then, IF there are still vacant districts, a neutral color (if available) will come in just once and place one business in every vacant district, regardless of how many players there are.

**What I like about this is four things:
a) It toughens things in games with two players (or infrequently a little more) in a way you seem to put forth, but the language is expressed universally and not as a "fix" or "alteration" aimed at a specific # of players we fear is less desirable.
b) I'm all for players inflicting screwage on each other, but not *prior* to the official start of Turn 1. Letting people choose where to put businesses they are not responsible for strikes me as a little punitive, especially since the game has not even really begun. Auto placement of any neutral buildings seems fairer to me.
c) Thematically, why are we controlling another color in the game anyway? However briefly, he's another guy (or gal, but in 1620 probably a guy) conducting business in the New World as he sees fit.
d) Also thematically, it makes perfect sense that the neutral color prefers vacant districts. He's not sitting at the table with us, so he clearly doesn't want to associate with us. I would expect him to avoid us in the districts, especially since we never hear from him again.
__________________

2. For two players, if both agree-- Deal out the four Land cards and four Ship cards like normal, and let us see them. Then we simply say that the fourth (rightmost) card in each set is not available unless the other three are gone.

**Now we get a little flavor of what it might feel like to be the guy holding turn order token #4 or #5 in more serious games, but WITHOUT making the number of cards FEWER than the the possible # of action tokens that might be circulating. I don't want the possibility (no matter how small) of cards actually being gone while their tokens are still out there, simply because that would never happen in a game with even the max # of players. I prefer restriction to deprivation--the former gets us closer to the tension of many-player sessions; but the latter could theoretically surpass it.
_________________

I really to enjoy this game tremendously and don't think any alternate options are necessary. I'm just reacting to what was brought up a year and a half ago. I doubt I could ever design a game that actually could be marketed, and recognize that it is far easier to react than to create from scratch. Thanks again.

 
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Jeffrey Allers
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Thanks, Bart, for the suggestions!

Yes, those ideas make perfect sense. Of course, everything will have to be tried to see if it works well when playtested.

I have to get this game back to the table myself sometime soon!
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