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I love the game "Ora et Labora" by Uwe Rosenberg. It is has especially a nice 2 player mechanism.

In 3 and 4 player mode the game ends after a certain number of rounds. Which I like very much.

However in the 2 player variant the game ends, when there is only one building left to built. I find this troublesome. My first problem here is that if both player focus on the production of goods, the game can be very long. Moreover, some of the buildings (yellowish) have to connect to your main building complex. If you have been not careful, it can be costly or impossible to get rid of these building-cards.

I am interested in alternative ending rules. What about stopping after a fixed (how many?) number of turns. Should there be a final settlement phase in the end? What was the intention of the game designer to have a completely different 2 player game termination rule?

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Two options that we have considered: 1) randomly removing a tile (card?) or two from eah round, or 2) playing until X tiles (cards) remain, where X is greater than zero. –  The Chaz 2.0 Jul 19 '12 at 16:16
    
@TheChaz This is probably as close as you can be to the original rules. I still wonder what is the advantage of the "X card left rule" over the "fixed number of turns" rule in the 2 player version. –  A.Schulz Jul 19 '12 at 17:13
    
It might just be a matter of taste, but I prefer the way that player interactions are affected by "until there are X (maybe 0) left". Navegador has a "whichever comes first" end condition. –  The Chaz 2.0 Jul 19 '12 at 18:49
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1 Answer

The "extra turn" mechanism in Ora et Labora is something Uwe carried over from Le Havre. The intention is to avoid the The Kingmaker Dilemma, where a 3rd player is unable to win himself, but is able to choose between two actions that decide the winner. During the "extra turn", players can't be blocked out of actions, so each player acts in his own best interest to put the finishing touches on his board. There's a big stochastic factor in 3-4 player, where other players just happen to get in your way by accident; this is largely missing in 2 player.

Most of the points in the game usually come from buildings, and building them in a checkerboard pattern with settlements. Late-game buildings can be as many as 15-20 points just by sitting on your board between 2 or 3 settlements. If you're finding that 2-player games tend to find cycles which create lots of points (through relics, or wonders), you could try limiting them. Wonders are already limited at 8, but you could limit the relics (and pottery, books, and ornaments) to 16.

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