Monday night I got a chance to play Horizons and Raiders of the North Sea. These were both games I shared my initial impressions on last week. This past week I got to try both of them with three players and I was not disappointed.
Now, the big thing that happened this past week was the fact that Deanna and I attended Queen City Conquest in Buffalo NY. Enough happened there that I’m going to be talking about that in a seprate post. We will also be recording a podcast episode all about QCC, so watch for that.
Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. As an associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you and we get a small kickback if you buy something through one of these links. Using these links helps to keep this blog and our podcast going. As well, both of the games mentioned in this post were provided to me by publishers for review purposes.
Horizons is much better with more than two players.
I am not a big fan of games that require some form of special rules for playing with two players. My least favourite version of this is the “ghost player.” I was pleased to see that Horizons from Daily Magic Games doesn’t have one of these AI driven players. What it does have though are some special rules based on the number of players.
The main thing is that the mission cards each list a player count on them and some get eliminated if you are playing with less than five players. This just makes sense as some scoring conditions are going to be very dependant on player count and the number of systems that are in play based on the number of players. I have no problem with this rule.
There is one additional change for two player and that affects end game scoring and affects it a lot. Besides mission cards the main way players gain points in Horizons is through area control of each system. When you play two players this shifts to area control of each planet. Area control scoring with only two players is never all that great and Horizons is no exception.
What you really need for a good area control game is at least three players, and that’s what we had Monday night. It was Deanna, Sean Hamilton (not Sean from Hamilton) and myself playing. We used the beginner races (every player board has two sides, a symmetrical side and an asymmetric side) for this game since it was Sean’s first time playing.
I’m pleased to say Horizons is much better with three players than two. With two players it was okay and was great for learning the rules but I don’t think I will be playing Horizons with only two people ever again. With three players there’s more interaction, the area control scoring works much better and there are more options and viable strategies due to there being more systems in play.
What I’m really looking forward to next is playing with a full player count of five. I think this is where Horizons will really shine. I also need to play with some people who have played before so we can check out the asymmetric races.
Raiders of the North Sea is just as good with three players as with two.
One of the things I really liked about playing Raiders of the North Sea with two players is that it doesn’t have any of the special two player rules I was just mentioning. There’s nothing you need to do to adjust the game at all for player count. You just set up and start playing. I love games like that.
The other thing that is really interesting about playing with more players in Raiders of the North Sea is that you still have the same number of options. In most worker placement games the more players you add the more congested the board becomes and the higher chance that a spot you need is taken already.
Due to the unique “place a worker, take a worker” core mechanic in Raiders of the North Sea, this isn’t the case. Well, at least for the spots that are in the village that you use to build up your forces for raiding. This isn’t true for the raiding spots, here there is significantly more competition as you add more players. Each spot can only be taken once and now you are competing against more players for those spots.
I loved Raiders of the North Sea on my first play and enjoyed it just as much on my second play. I’m looking forward to playing with four players at some point, but I fully expect it will be just as good at the max player count as it is at two or three.
So a couple games got to the table for a second time this #WhatDidYouPlayMondays for me. How about you?