Wonderful Games for 3 or More Players

Good 2-player-only games abound – chess, Hive, Lost Cities, Aton, backgammon, Odin’s Ravens, and so on. Yet for some reason, my wife (and I think to a lesser extent, me) don’t care for them as much as we like 3-or-more-player games.

Games for 2
Games for 2

While we prefer to actually have 3 or more players involved in a game, sometimes that just isn’t possible, leaving just the two of us.

We’ve had lots of fun with 2-player Agricola (including Farmers of the Moor), Le Havre, San Juan, Castle, Masons, Carcassonne, Thurn & Taxis, etc.

And we’re just starting to dig into At the Gates of Loyang. However, we don’t like games where you must include dummy players to make it work.

What would you suggest for great fun board games for 2 players – without a dummy – that can also be played by 3 or more?

Games for more than 2
Games for more than 2

We’re not college students, but if you think your suggestion would be enjoyed by college students as well, please say so.

3p+ Games Still Great for 2p

4 thoughts on “3p+ Games Still Great for 2p

  • January 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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    Some of my wife and I’s favorite games in this category are Race for the Galaxy (especially the “experiened” 2p variant which makes it a very different game than with 3+), Dominion, and Citadels, which plays surprisingly well with 2 (there’s a lot more educated guessing/bluffing involved than with a larger group).

    I also wouldn’t discount Alhambra, despite the presence of a dummy player. While I agree that games that require programmed action out of the dummy can get a bit tedious, in Alhambra it actually creates a strategic option for players who want to thwart their opponent by giving the dummy a tile that they wouldn’t have been able to do much with on their own.

    I also think a lot of your enjoyment in a 3+ game played with 2 depends on whether you played it first with 2 or 3+. Many games play quite differently strategically in their 2 player versions, even ones that have no rules changes for a duo. I find that some games (like Alhambra) I prefer with two solely because that’s the way I play it most often. If I don’t play a game with 3+ frequently I don’t have time to understand how the strategies change and enjoy it as much as I do with 2.

    • January 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm
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      Thanks for the suggestions, Vitruvius. (I love your concept of the Vitruvian Meeple.) I think you may be right about the number of players in one’s initial game. I also appreciate your comment on your site about how board games can be tweaked at a moment’s notice, especially as opposed to video games where you are normally restricted to the programmers concepts. I may have to explore that more here sometime.

  • January 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm
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    I can agree with your picks of Carcassonne and Agricola, as well as seconding the recommendations of Race for the Galaxy and Dominion.

    The only game I’d add off the top of my head would be Pandemic, which works remarkably well with only 2 players. My wife and I love playing it with just the two of us.

    • January 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm
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      Thanks for the suggestion, Randomscrub. We have each played Pandemic separately. Maybe we should try it together sometime.

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