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In French rules, playing at 3 means having two characters at every rounds. One character card goes face down then crown owner chooses a character and pass the rest to next player.

If the crown owner takes Assassin, he will assassinate without any risk because he can deduce two missing character cards. I'm thinking a 100% hit ratio by Assassin is nonsense, assassination is a risky task and thus should not be at 100%.

Also, this can be extended this to the Thief with a 100% hit rate if taken by crown owner (and if Assassin is face down).

What do you think about removing Assassin and Thief and inserting Artist to make a more balanced 3 players game ?

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  • My math is not matching yours here. There are 8 cards. 1st player removes 1 and takes one. Then everyone takes 1 twice. so the last player has 2 cards to pick from. He hides the last card. No one knows all the cards in the round – Andrey Sep 18 '15 at 13:32
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    @Andrey The OP didn't say that the first player would know all the cards in the round. He said the first player would know for sure two of the cards that were chosen (these are the cards which the other players chose in the first time round) and would therefore be sure to hit a target. – Mike R Sep 18 '15 at 13:55
  • @LeFlou - the ability to deduce two of the chosen character cards is not unique to the first player. – Mike R Sep 18 '15 at 13:57
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    @MikeR but he is the only one able to take out one of them completely. – Alexander Sep 23 '15 at 14:18
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If you are adding the 9th role, there is a different solution for the same problem. When we play a 3 player game, the roles are distributed as follows:

  • Player 1 puts one card face down (1), and picks one (2).
  • Player 2 picks a card (3)
  • Player 3 picks a card (4) and puts one face down (5)
  • Player 1 picks a card (6)
  • Player 2 picks a card (7) and puts one face down (8)
  • Player 3 picks up the first face-down card (1) and chooses from this card and the last (9). The remaining card goes face down.

This method of picking up the first face-down card is based on the 8 player rule from the Dark City expansion. With this, there is no 100% knowledge.

Alternatively, if you don't have the 9th role, you could let the first player choose which card to place face down, but it has to be either the thief or the assassin. This doesn't solve the problem, but takes some weight off the circulating 100% knowledge.

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  • Very interesting I'll test it. – Richard Dally Sep 23 '15 at 16:32
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I think this would actually be less balanced.

Assassin From the perspective of the choosing player, the main strength of the Assassin is rarely the actual assassination. The Assassin's main strength is actually that since he plays first, he is able to avoid attacks by the Thief and Magician. (Occassionally the Assassin's player will benefit directly by eliminating the Magician or Warlord)

The player who generally benefits most from an assassination is the non-involved player, since (unless he took Warlord) is the only one who can take two actions towards city improvement.

Thief The thief in a 3-player game still has a lot of things that can go wrong.

  • He could be killed by the Assassin prior to being able to steal.
  • If one opponent has coins and the other does not, he has a 50% chance to choose the wrong player and get no money.
  • If he only sees roles late in the rotation, (ex: Merchant and Architect), there is a good chance the target will also have an earlier role and have spent the money already.

Probable Effects of Removing Assassin and Thief This would be extremely unbalanced. Can you imagine a game where the Magician goes first every round?

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  • The biggest reason it would be unbalanced, is because it would just become a race to get the merchant and archatect – Andrey Sep 18 '15 at 14:05
  • I understand your point, but I'm looking for a workaround to avoid 100% hit ratio for Assassin. – Richard Dally Sep 23 '15 at 16:30
  • Assassin allows you so many options, in a 3 player game as well as a guaranteed kill and immunity etc. it also allows you to pick thief if it is left available ensuring a guaranteed steal and weakining both opponents. – NibblyPig Oct 31 '16 at 13:38
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I've played a lot of 3-player games and no, I don't agree. Here's why:

The Artist is actually a crappy character. He doesn't do anything except defend some of your districts, which he doesn't even do for free. Whenever my playgroup tried using the Artist, nobody would pick him at all.

The Assassin does get a 100% hit rate, but crucially there is no guarantee on who he hits. For example, say the three players are Alice, Bob and Charlie. Alice has the crown counter and picks the Assassin. This means she can guarantee a hit on either Bob or Charlie, but she can't guarantee a hit on Bob or Charlie. Say Bob is currently leading, so Alice wants to hit Bob. But she might end up killing Charlie. Since the Assassin (like the Artist) doesn't add any extra value, this just ends up extending Bob's lead. The Assassin is great in a 1v1 game, but in a 1v1v1 game, you have to stop both opponents from winning, not just one. The upshot actually is that my playgroup considers the Assassin pretty bad, and he's not usually picked first.

The Thief can be played around by using as much gold as you can each turn.

If you remove the Assassin and Thief, the most severe consequence is that ganking gets much weaker. Near the end of the game with one player threatening to win, what the others will generally try is to pick the Assassin & Thief to stop the player from winning, because these are the strongest gankers. If you remove them then the only gankers you have are the Magician (and that doesn't even work unless you have weak cards in hand) and the Warlord (but since the Warlord moves last, the player might have build 8 districts already, and the Warlord cannot gank).

tl; dr: don't remove the Assassin and the Thief, and if your friends want to keep picking the Assassin, let them.

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