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Is 1-2 players too few?

10 replies [Last post]
monica99's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008

This is a 2 part question about what is a normal player amount:
I'm developing a game for mainly 2 players although it certainly has the complexity that would keep 2 teams engaged if there was more players, but most games I've played had a maximum of 4 so I'm worried that because it's limited to 2 it loses it's mass appeal.
Also is there an interest in solo play? I can work on developing a way to play my game like any other solataire game.

Joined: 07/26/2008
Personally I like games that

Personally I like games that acomodate 2, since its usually easier to find one person willing to play than two (in the case of games for 3+ players) or more.

I think my ideal amount includes 2-4, since I normally play in groups of 2, 3 or 4, but I don't dismiss games based on the fact that they don't play more than 2.

As for solo games - if the game would work that way, I see absolutely no reason why a single player variant shouldn't be included (and, in fact, most cooperative games probably can work that way). A more interesting question would probably be "Is there any market for boardgames designed for 1-1 players as opposed to 1-X players?"

monica99's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
thanks for your quick response

Thanks for your input. It made me think that I might possible be about to do up to 3 players. So far I've been soloplaying & playtesting the game with only 2 players. In my game there is a point where one player can be in control of 4 different characters so that is why 3 or 4 players would be complicated plus they have to remember their cards to trip or hopefully destroy their opponent.

MatthewF's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Two-Player Games

There are a lot of two-player games published every year, including fairly popular ones. It's a niche, but I don't think it's a problem.

lucasAB's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
I like solo games

I like solo games if they include strategy, interesting game mechanics, and historical concepts. Pocket Civ is a good example of my kind of solitare games. In my opinion, Solitare(the abstract card game), is a waste of time. The only thing that makes it different from other solo games is this: you can always win, if you play your cards right.

I would like to create a card game that can be played in 10-15 minutes, teaches valuable history lessons, and is different every time! I think new solo games should be made to replace the current solo game which is abstract, random, and a waste of time.

There may be others who disagree with me, so I would love to here what they say. I can't wait to see what you do monica99!

Joined: 08/04/2008
1 player

I found that games marketed for only 1 player don't do well since most people would buy a videogame if they want to play something solo. Now games that have a solo variant or work 1-x players do sell well still.
I just find that a solo only game has no market ability anymore due to technology.

Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008
Certainly not!

I develop a lot of abstract strategy games, so the standards are a bit different. Purists sometimes argue that abstracts with more than two players are by definition inferior, but themed boardgames are a more social medium, and four players is normal. Three players, as a design issue, invites awkward play and problems such as kingmaking. Four is the next stable amount after two. Solo games are a whole other issue.

I'd suggest following the design, and do what feels proper.

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
There are limits

0 is too few and P+1 where P= “Population of the Earth” is too large.

Now to be serious.

2 players games are often superior to multi player games with just 2 participants and if you can work out a way to play it solo its that much sweeter hitting two niches at a time. The key is that it is a good game for whatever the number of players is. Don't stretch it beyond what works well. I hate it when a game doesn’t live up to its player range.

monica99's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Thanks so much!

I am definitely going to push it to 4 players but I origianlly made it for 2. Solo play only murmers of it's inspriration: the first Oregan Trail. Having to playtest the game for three and four players is going to slow the development of the game even though a part of me would love to see so many eagar to play it.

Joined: 10/27/2008
I'm always out looking for

I'm always out looking for solo hard-based games, and there are very few that I've found.

I think 1-2 players is an optimum number, if that is the number that best suits your game.

A game I'm working on now is optimum at 4-9 players, but I've done a few where the optimum was solo. Pure and simple.

If it makes the game better to play with fewer people, it doesn't matter if it's unorthodox.

Smirky's picture
Joined: 10/30/2008
Marketing 1 Player games

Kodarr's post is very insightful. There are certainly people who play solitaire games and if they love a particular game and didn't have anyone to play with, a viable 1 player set of rules would be well received.

But - I would never MARKET a game as a one player game for the very reason mentioned above. People seek board games as a face-to-face social opportunity and shop accordingly. "What would my friends and I enjoy playing together?"

Solid two player games can be excellent, especially when you can't pull people together in larger groups easily. These games, though, tend to more successful as "Battle of wills" style game play. Heavy strategy.

Three player games, as was mentioned elsewhere, should attempt to minimize kingmaker mechanics - or those that can be bent too easily that way.

The more animated or energetic you want game play, the more players you should build for. (4-6)

And obviously, there is a limit. Too many players (not playing as teams) drag turns and gameplay on forever.

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