What’s wrong with a strictly 3-player game?

I designed a 3-player card game. It’s gone by a number of names, including Five Deadly Venoms, Ternion, Lucky, and the current, 2v1. The game does not require a theme, so the name is not important to me. That might be a misstep. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

Strictly 3 players. <INSERT REF holyHandGrenade>

Why that number? Because to me, the odd-person-out dynamic is interesting. As is asymmetrical play. The current name refers to two versus one. In the game, one player always faces off against the other two. Each round, players have the chance to bid to become the lone player for that round, so you never know whether you’ll be competing against both the other players, or teaming up with one.

If you have a Tabletop Simulator account, you can play a version of the game there. It’s listed as public under the name 2v1. The rules are documented in the game, but I recommend downloading the PDF. It includes diagrams and examples of play.

But back to the larger point; the player count. Nearly every time I mention the player count, pundits and publishers suck their teeth and say something like, “Hmmm. That’ll be a hard sell.” But why? I’ve heard similar complaints when pitching 2-player games, but not as, what’s the word… doubtful?

Must every game allow for multiple player counts? Sure, it’s an advantage from a marketing perspective, but couldn’t a game designed specifically to exploit the 3-player dynamic offer something unique?

One thought on “What’s wrong with a strictly 3-player game?

  1. We don’t encounter many play sessions where there’s only three people. There’s almost always 4-6 when we get together, which means 1-3 people would be playing something else or just sitting around. If there’s at least 5 in the group then it’s not necessarily a problem to have two different games going, but then you’re also splitting the party. So for our group 3-player games aren’t really optimal.

    That said, you know where I stand on the game – shut up and take my money! She’s got many names but she’s always 5DV…to me”

    Liked by 1 person

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