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Is this game crap for 2 players?


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#1 Pvthudson01

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:55 PM

 Every review on Board Game Geek points to this game as being garbage for two players

 

Does it fail miserably since that's the only way I would be playing it is 2 players or is there a certain set I need to get with the core set to make it work?

 

 



#2 SethB

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 07:54 PM

 I prefer it with two players. So, I'd say no.



#3 Ratatoskr

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 07:58 PM

Pvthudson01 said:

 Every review on Board Game Geek points to this game as being garbage for two players

 

Does it fail miserably since that's the only way I would be playing it is 2 players or is there a certain set I need to get with the core set to make it work?

 

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: No, not at all.

*Sigh*. Okok, I'll give you a proper answer. It's just that I heard this "crap for 2 players" nonsense so often I am slightly exasperated by it. It has become some kind of internet meme, especially on BGG.

I have played way over 400 games of AGoT in my life (yes, I do keep stats, I'm anal like that). 17 of those have been multiplayer (Melee, as we call it in AGoT speech). I like Melee. A lot, actually. I just like 2-player (Joust, as we say) more. In competitive play, Joust is the far more popular format. Also in casual play, there are more players who prefer Joust over Melee than the other way round, as far as I can see. The game used to be a pure 2-player game before the Melee format was introduced. All that should be enough to tell you that no, Joust is by no means "crap". Some prefer the one, some the other.

What you have to keep in mind about BGG is that the vast majority of users there are, as the name of the site suggests, board game players, not CCG/LCG players. Many of the reviews and opinions you're reading relate to the core set alone, not to the entire game. And it is true that the pre-built core set decks are slanted toward multiplayer somewhat. That doesn't mean that the 2-player game is "crap" even with CS decks. I fell in love with the game playing 2-player with CS decks, and many, many others did too. Take it from me: You can have untold amounts of fun even if you play the game exclusively 2-player with one core set. Don't let anybody tell you different.



#4 Professor Nomos

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:20 AM

Pvthudson01 said:

 

 Every review on Board Game Geek points to this game as being garbage for two players

 

Does it fail miserably since that's the only way I would be playing it is 2 players or is there a certain set I need to get with the core set to make it work?

 

 

 

 

 

Ratatoskr pretty much nailed most of it but I want to add a critique about BGG reviews: This isn't a standalone product.  

 

 

so yes  the basic decks are rather slow and to be honest a bit craptastic, but having a good group for melee makes playing crappy decks fun.  However, as BGG users prefer standalone products, they are going to react negatively to joust which is rendered as less than fun with non-optimized decks in the starter.



#5 dboeren

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:42 AM

Just to add…  I'm a BGG user and also an LCG player (Call of Cthulhu) and I prefer 2p in most games.  In fact, I was worried that multiplayer was the dominant mode of play because it's too hard to get a bigger group together and I was concerned about the usual mp issue like kingmaking, collusion, ganging up on the leader, etc…  

Thank goodness that 2p/Joust is popular and good, now I don't have to bother with multiplayer unless I feel like it.



#6 Ratatoskr

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:57 AM

Professor Nomos said:

 

so yes  the basic decks are rather slow and to be honest a bit craptastic, but having a good group for melee makes playing crappy decks fun.  However, as BGG users prefer standalone products, they are going to react negatively to joust which is rendered as less than fun with non-optimized decks in the starter.

One addendum: What the Professor wrote there is strictly from the viewpoint of the experienced CCG/LCG type player (and that's the kind of player you're likely to encounter on these boards here). None of us who play competitively with a full card pool would want to go back to playing with core set decks. But I have to say I disagree with the "less than fun" part. Even if I'd never bought anything beyond the core set, I'd have gotten more mileage out of this game than of many other board games I own.

I still maintain: This game can be played out of the box with CS decks as a 2-player game. Lots of fun can be had playing it this way. I know. I did it.



#7 Pvthudson01

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:02 AM

Ok is JOUST a mode where you have to strip certain components out though?

 

can it be played 2 player right out box with the instructions? I noticed near the back of the book you do not use TITLES is that it?



#8 Staton

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:11 AM

 Joust is still the primary way to play AGoT so you don't have to strip anything out. The only difference in Joust and Melee is the use of titles. So other than not using titles there aren't any differences. Although some cards work better in Joust than Melee and some work better in Melee than Joust.



#9 Ratatoskr

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:17 AM

Pvthudson01 said:

 

Ok is JOUST a mode where you have to strip certain components out though?

 

can it be played 2 player right out box with the instructions? I noticed near the back of the book you do not use TITLES is that it?

 

 

There is one mechanic (titles) that is only used in Melee.

It can be played out of the box with 2 players without any problems. You just don't use the titles mechanic. There are some cards (3 plots and 1 character) that have effects which require you to have more than one opponent. You can use these cards just normally in a 2-player game. Their effects would not be active - they'd just be normal plot/character cards with normal stats but without special effects. That would not be a problem at all, they're perfectly legit cards. At least one of those plots has been used in competitive tournament Joust decks as late as 2011, just for the good stats.

There is one plot card (Condemned by the Realm) in the Targaryen deck that is a bit awkward in a 2-player game. You can still play it, it's just that its effect will hurt the Targ player himself. This is somewhat offset by the generally good stats of the card. You can learn to play around its negative effect (in fact it adds a bit of a strategic challenge) or you can sub it out with one of the plot cards from the decks you're not using.

The game is easily playable (and tons of fun, IMO) out of the box as a 2-player game.



#10 Professor Nomos

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:23 AM

Ratatoskr said:

 

Pvthudson01 said:

 

Ok is JOUST a mode where you have to strip certain components out though?

 

can it be played 2 player right out box with the instructions? I noticed near the back of the book you do not use TITLES is that it?

 

 

There is one mechanic (titles) that is only used in Melee.

It can be played out of the box with 2 players without any problems. You just don't use the titles mechanic. There are some cards (3 plots and 1 character) that have effects which require you to have more than one opponent. You can use these cards just normally in a 2-player game. Their effects would not be active - they'd just be normal plot/character cards with normal stats but without special effects. That would not be a problem at all, they're perfectly legit cards. At least one of those plots has been used in competitive tournament Joust decks as late as 2011, just for the good stats.

There is one plot card (Condemned by the Realm) in the Targaryen deck that is a bit awkward in a 2-player game. You can still play it, it's just that its effect will hurt the Targ player himself. This is somewhat offset by the generally good stats of the card. You can learn to play around its negative effect (in fact it adds a bit of a strategic challenge) or you can sub it out with one of the plot cards from the decks you're not using.

The game is easily playable (and tons of fun, IMO) out of the box as a 2-player game.

 

 

Despite my status as a nattering nabob of negativity…I agree



#11 Amuk

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:26 AM

 

 

Pvthudson01 said:

 

Ok is JOUST a mode where you have to strip certain components out though?

 

can it be played 2 player right out box with the instructions? I noticed near the back of the book you do not use TITLES is that it?

 

 

The Titles are great for the theme because they set up a constantly shifting "politics" of support and opposition. The shifting alliances makes every turn different and adds an extra layer of machinations and tactical decision-making.

But, no, they're not used in Joust. At the most basic level, since they allow for the possibility that one player can't attack another, they'd be unworkable in Joust--I could just always go second and never let you attack me. Other Titles rules would also be clunky or unworkable in 2-player. So the rules exclude them from Joust altogether.

The hard-core AGOT community (at least as represented by these boards and other sites) mostly plays Joust, which is the "main" competitive format. But a lot of us also play plenty of Melee. I started out playing primarily Melee because my usual gaming group is four people (we're all BGG-ers, BTW) . But I mostly play Joust now; Melee is the "casual" format, as it were.

So, no, the game is most certainly not "crap" 2-player; it's fantastic. As with any CCG/LCG, one needs more than the "starter" set to really take the full measure of the game. I'd say the suggestions above that that doesn't sit well with the broader BGG community make sense.


Cordially,

Amuk

 

"Life is a tragedy for those who feel & a comedy for those who think." - Jean de la Bruyère


#12 Fieras

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:52 AM

Most people like joust better.

If you like being competitive and building the monster decks and playing seriously, joust (1v1) is for you.

If you feel like playing more casual in a format that is less competitive and more open for diplomacy rather than "who has the best deck" then you might like the multiplayer variant better.



#13 Maester_LUke

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:01 AM

Staton said:

 Joust is still the primary way to play AGoT so you don't have to strip anything out.

This statement is based solely on those "visible" to the online community.  I assume for this game to be as popular a product, there is a sizeable proportion who play the game out of the core set (and possibly the Martell & Greyjoy expansions) as an in-home boardgame, with little to no customization.  It's hard to paint the game with broad strokes when we aren't privy to sales & production figures.

As has been mentioned, the larger on-line community prefers Jousts (1 v 1) as a competitive format, but there are certainly groups (metas) that play solely (or simply prefer) melee (3 or more) games on a rigorously competitive basis (including individual purchases for deckbuilding).  There is tournament level melee play, and it can get similar numbers (thought not always) depending on FFGs prize support.

The basic decks in the core set can leave something to be desired in head to head play, particularly with certain cards being hard to deal with by certain houses.  On the other hand, multiplayer is great for balancing out the strength of decks.  One person can have a strong deck, but that may just make them more of a target for the rest of the group.  One of the biggest issues with multiplayer tends to be whether the group has a more aggressive or controlling emphasis.  If 3 decks are controlling and one tries to "rush" to victory, the latter individual will have some trouble.  On the other hand, with three "aggro" decks, a control deck will likely have little chance because it can't slow down the game enough to win at its speed, it just can't keep up/slow the all of the others down.

In the end, I heartily endorse the game in both iterations.  The basic equipment is the same (red rubber ball) but it's two different experiences (kickball and dodgeball). 



#14 Asmoridin

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:16 PM

Probably like 90+% of my experience playing this game has been with two players, and I have to say, I enjoy it just as much as I do in its multiplayer form.  It's a fairly different play experience, but it's definitely more enjoyable in some ways.



#15 Stag Lord

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:15 AM

Great post LUke.

I am in total agreement. Both flavors of the game are equally fun and the idea that Joust is more popular is as skewed by the population here as the idea that Joust sucks is as skewed by the population at BGG. if anything, I find Joust less challenging and immersive than melee these days. It’s just that joust is more balanced as a competitive format that keeps me playing it.
 


#16 rings

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:32 AM

I have played a TON of 2-player games (really…to many).  And aGoT is the best I have ever played. 

Not sure what the website was talking about, but they obviously know board games more, so might not have the same point of view as people who would rather play a 1v1 game.  *shrug*


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#17 dboeren

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:36 AM

I've been a BGG user for many years and here's my take…

There certainly is a sizable portion of their users that like multiplayer games because they feel these are more social.  But, there is also a second issue.  Most BGG users play a LOT of different games.  They've probably played well over 100 different games, and probably learn several new games each month.  They're not necessarily accustomed to studying the same game and playing it over and over for possibly several years.  And therefore games that require that level of dedication which they are not necessarily free to give can be viewed as too complex or player-unfriendly or whatever.  They want to get in and be getting lots of fun out of the game after 1-2 plays.  If it takes longer than that to get up to speed, ratings may suffer.






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