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London (first edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: The Ben-Luca 2 player variant rss

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Francesco Meucci
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What is the average length of the 2 players game using these variants?
Thank you!
 
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Roger Howell
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What would be better for a first time game with 2 players: play without any variants to get the game idea or start with a variant?

Edit: I would also like to know game length with 2 players.
 
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Steve Duff
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Length is tough to say, I'd say it's about the same as usual in the game, somewhere around 60 to 90 minutes. My variant is a little faster than the normal 2 player game, since you're using up more cards.

This is such a simple variant, I'd use it for a first game. It doesn't change or add anything as to how the game play goes, so there's no reason to excluded it.
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Todd
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Length should fall in around 60-90 like Steve said. Could run a bit longer for a first play.

I would always include these variants, even for a first play. If anything it speeds it up as cards are discarded through the neutral player. They also just make the 2-player game a lot better anyway.
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Roger Howell
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I am finally going to get to play London (2 players) for the first time today. I will be using the variant in the OP. One final question: I assume we do not alter the number of starting poverty cubes. I assume this as the variant does not mention it, but other threads have strongly suggested to increased beginning poverty for 2 player games. Thanks again.
 
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Snooze Fest
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Seems like you can decide how much you want poverty to matter. Since it's only relative poverty that affects score, you can go up to 15 or 20 if you want to spend a lot of your time dealing with it, or less if you don't.
 
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Roger Howell
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Thanks for the response. Since I have not played the game I am not sure if I should adjust starting poverty or not. I don't want poverty to be an over bearing factor in the game but I also want it to matter. I guess I'll have to determine through game play what a good starting amount would be.
 
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Snooze Fest
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Never having played the 2-player variant, I'll still suggest ... 15
 
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Roger Howell
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Just finished playing our first game (2 player.) I must say we loved it, will be one of my favorite games of all time. It's simply brilliant and loads of fun. The variant worked great, and I started us with 10 poverty. At the end of the game my opponent had gotten rid of all his poverty in a nick of time, and I was stuck with 12, which lost me the game!
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Greg Lott
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I'll just throw in my two cents. I rarely use variants, but I NEVER do this game two-player without using this variant. It's really awesome.
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Steve Duff
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rogerramjet3361 wrote:
One final question: I assume we do not alter the number of starting poverty cubes. I assume this as the variant does not mention it, but other threads have strongly suggested to increased beginning poverty for 2 player games. Thanks again.


Almost all the testing of my variant by various BGG folks and myself have been with the standard starting 5 poverty.

I don't think it's something that needs to be changed, it works well as it is, one less rule change to think about and possibly mess up.
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Greg Lott
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
rogerramjet3361 wrote:
One final question: I assume we do not alter the number of starting poverty cubes. I assume this as the variant does not mention it, but other threads have strongly suggested to increased beginning poverty for 2 player games. Thanks again.


Almost all the testing of my variant by various BGG folks and myself have been with the standard starting 5 poverty.

I don't think it's something that needs to be changed, it works well as it is, one less rule change to think about and possibly mess up.


I've played about 30 2-player games and agree with this 100%.
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Roger Howell
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Sounds good, we'll just start with 5 poverty next time. Thanks for the feedback. I just realized we goofed twice on the 2 player rules: First, we used all the available card display spaces on the board, and second, we forgot to discard cards when placing the neutral building chits in the boroughs. No wonder the game lasted 3 hours lol - we loved it none the less! Can't wait to try it again the correct way.
 
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Sarah Allen
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Test
Stupid question... When the neutral player triggers a draw and discard, are the cards discarded face up so you know what's gone from the game?

I assume yes as if a third player drew them you'd find out what they were (most of the time) when they played them or added them to the display...
 
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Roger Howell
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I'm not sure what the official rule is, but we discard the cards without looking at them. I suppose there would be no harm in looking though.
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Sarah Allen
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Thanks! By the way, my post above was my first time replying to a thread using the BGG iPhone app and apparently it adds a "Test" subject to replies. Hmmmm!
 
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Steve Duff
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sarah_elton wrote:
Stupid question... When the neutral player triggers a draw and discard, are the cards discarded face up so you know what's gone from the game?

I assume yes as if a third player drew them you'd find out what they were (most of the time) when they played them or added them to the display...


Deb and I are pretty casual players, so we just flip over the requisite number to the discard pile, so we only know the top one. We're just not the sort of players to memorize the deck or care about what's already gone.

My initial thought was by just turning them over, it was simulating a player holding some cards you didn't know about. But you're right, you would find out about them eventually.

I think this is probably a "play it which ever way you like" thing.
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Nathan
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Ok, so I played this for the first time last night, having beforehand watched Rahdo running through the game.

He mentioned the variant but because I felt more comfortable learning by playing we just went with the regular rules but as I was pretty sure the variant was to combat omnibuses being omnipotent I simply took them out.

Question: would taking those two cards out be a pretty good fix also, or are there other reasons for the variant?

Time also seems to be a factor, but as it was our first game I can't really judge, it always takes longer the first time.

I really enjoyed the game last night though, so wanted to figure out why the variant and decide early on how we will play it as I do not like changing rules later on once learned.
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Steve Duff
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Lobotnik wrote:
He mentioned the variant but because I felt more comfortable learning by playing we just went with the regular rules but as I was pretty sure the variant was to combat omnibuses being omnipotent I simply took them out.

Question: would taking those two cards out be a pretty good fix also, or are there other reasons for the variant?

Time also seems to be a factor, but as it was our first game I can't really judge, it always takes longer the first time.


Actually, my primary reasons for the variant were to reduce the map sections a player could own, increase map contention, and to reduce the deck size. That makes poverty relevant again, and the number of turns closer to a multiple player game.

The double omnibus thing never bothered me, that was included because other folks thought it was a problem.
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
rogerramjet3361 wrote:
One final question: I assume we do not alter the number of starting poverty cubes. I assume this as the variant does not mention it, but other threads have strongly suggested to increased beginning poverty for 2 player games. Thanks again.


Almost all the testing of my variant by various BGG folks and myself have been with the standard starting 5 poverty.

I don't think it's something that needs to be changed, it works well as it is, one less rule change to think about and possibly mess up.

Other threads recommending increased starting poverty for 2 player games would be assuming a full length game and a full amount of boroughs available to both players. Then poverty becomes a non-issue too quickly in a two player game, hence the need for adjusting the starting value. In contrast, the Ben-Zen-Luca variant shortens the game by having you discard cards from the deck at regular intervals, and also limits the amount of boroughs you can get, so for the most part it ensures that poverty (rightly) remains an issue until the game end.

However, in the last couple of games we played, both players were able to end the game with practically zero poverty. Is that quite rare, or are other people seeing that happen sometimes with this variant too? It has made me wonder about a marginal tweak to the amount of starting poverty.

By the way, as a general comment, let me add to the praise this two-player variant has received - overall it's a definite improvement over the standard two player game, and works fantastic!
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Javi Santos
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Question about the underground. When you use the underground, is it allowd to put underground markers on the neutral neighbourhoods?
 
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Steve Duff
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barnyams36 wrote:
Question about the underground. When you use the underground, is it allowd to put underground markers on the neutral neighbourhoods?


Sure. Same as the normal game, you put them where you need them with all the regular Underground rules in play.
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James Clarke
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
This is a compilation of two suggestions:

1) No face up duplicate buildings allowed in a single player's city display. Building something, flipping it, then building the same card again later is allowed. This was Ben's suggestion.

2) When a player expends a card forcing a clearing of a row in the card display, that player places a neutral marker of a third colour in a city borough of their choice. The appropriate number of cards based on that borough are drawn from the deck and immediately discarded. This was suggested by Luca. (edit: Actually, as Ender discovered, it appears to have been suggested by Kim Zen)


The particular combination of variants under discussion here, appears to be most attractive and obviously has many supporters. It seems to have become established as the way to go for 2-players.

I'm therefore wondering if the rules for it have ever been set out anywhere? I mean in formal unambiguous rules language, rather than in a describing sort of way as above.

I would like to print the new rules and place them inside the box, so that whenever in the future I want a game, I shan't need to remember about these threads and search through them all again.

EDIT. Does the following wording cover it?

1. A player must never have duplicate face-up cards in their Building Display.

2. If a player expends a card which forces a row clearing in the card display, that player must place a neutral marker of a third colour in a city borough of their choice (following normal adjacency rules). The appropriate number of cards based on that borough must then be drawn from the deck and immediately discarded to the discard pile.



 
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Highland Cow wrote:
I'm therefore wondering if the rules for it have ever been set out anywhere? I mean in formal unambiguous rules language, rather than in a describing sort of way as above.

Yes, it's already on the BGG page for London, under the "More Information" section, and reads as follows.

Quote:
Two Player Variant

The Ben-Zen-Luca variant is widely considered the best way to play with two players:

1. No face up duplicate buildings are allowed in your own city building display.

2. Whenever you expend a card that forces a row to be cleared in the general card display, you place a neutral marker of a third colour in a city borough of your choice, and immediately draw and discard from the draw deck the number of cards given by that borough.

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Chris
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This variant is just excellently thought out. I've not come across another for any other game that merges in so well. Unlike so many you can't hear the annoying clunk of the third player clumsily taking their turn.
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