I am looking for a variant to balance out mandatory quests when playing 2 player. I understand that normally they are powerful, and exist as a catch up mechanic, allowing all players to target the leader.

This does not work in a two-player game. In a three-player game when a mandatory quest is played, the biggest winner is the player not involved in the play. In a two-player game the biggest winner is the player playing the card.

What I find bad is not that mandatory quests are powerful, but how weak all the other Intrigue cards are. Instead of getting a boost, they are mostly weakened. Cards that get you agents and points get you less. Cards that give things to opponents, make you give things to "all" opponents.

This seems to make the game much more luck-based, as drawing mandatory quests is just so much better than any other Intrigue card. This is the aspect that I really dislike.

One solution might be to create a dummy player. This player would always do what the person playing the Intrigue card wants, giving agents or VP for instance. I would like to know if there are any other ways that would balance the cards out better.

  • 1
    IMO take them out entirely. And if you ever find a worker-placement game that actually scales down to two players really well, let me know!!!
    – Affe
    Mar 12, 2013 at 20:31
  • Le Havre is great if that counts as worker placement
    – Andrey
    Mar 12, 2013 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


First, I agree that Mandatory Quests can be a little unbalancing. I've never played 2-player, but I can see how they could be even worse in that case. I've seen a handful of alternatives, any of which may work for you and your opponent:

  1. Don't use them. Remove them from the Intrigue deck beforehand, or discard and draw again if you draw one during the game.
  2. Allow, but penalise, completing other quests while they're in play. Make them not mandatory. Allow the receiver of the Mandatory Quest to complete other quests, but any VP reward is reduced by, for instance, the VP reward of the Mandatory Quest, until they complete the Mandatory Quest to remove this penalty.
  3. Allow other quests, but penalise taking time over the Mandatory Quest. Allow other quests to be completed, but at the end of every one of your turns when you have an incomplete Mandatory Quest in front of you, lose some VP. You could lose 1 VP the first turn, 2 the second and so on, tracking with VP chips if necessary (or think of a flat rate per turn - 2 VP maybe? - if you prefer). You could probably ignore a Mandatory Quest late in the game (when they're most annoying, in my experience), but early Mandatory Quests should be completed before they snowball.
  4. Allow counters. You can reveal a Mandatory Quest from your hand to cancel out being given one. Both are discarded. This would reduce how often they're played, since you may keep one in your hand in defence.

Hopefully one of these suggestions will help you out, or inspire you to come up with your own solution that you feel is right!

  • 4. should be "you can play a Mandatory Quest (at Waterdeep Harbor) to cancel both one you have in hand and the one you just played". I.e. if each player has a MQ in play, they each discard a MQ. Mar 13, 2013 at 15:18
  • 2 and 3 sound like they would actually make Mandatory Quests even worse to receive.
    – Jontia
    Aug 5, 2020 at 10:33

Late answer, but how about allow other quests and for every mandatory quest not competed at the end of each round, deduct 2 points. So an annoying penalty that can get progressive worse, but not devastating, and can be ignored, especially late in the game.

  • Hey Dan, welcome to B&CG!
    – Pat Ludwig
    Mar 28, 2015 at 5:23

I like some of the suggestions here and wanted to throw in one more.

My wife and I play with a dummy player specifically for the Intrigue Cards whereby you say, remove Orange from each player - and you get Orange for each player that has none. The "Dummy" player always has none, making these cards worthwhile.

Also, with respect to cards where you're given 4 Gold for 4 points or whatever, we've assigned these values.

White/Purple - 8 points Orange/Black - 4 points 4 Gold - 8 Points

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