The Third and Fourth Players Guideline

third and fourth players

The Third and Fourth Players Guideline

I have been holding this post off for a while because of how difficult I found these characters to make. But if you are like me, or nothing like me at all–I’m sure you too have struggled to find more than 2 players to game with. Significant others are awesome, best friends are great, even brothers or sisters do the job to fill in player 2, but we are all always so busy with our lives that it’s hard to hold a good game night more than a couple times a month. So I would like to introduce you to two very special, and not soo strongly tested individuals, Rando and Christie.

These players bring in two different strategies of play as well as help increase the fun of a board game that has been exhausted at 2 players or just does not do justice playing at 2 players. They integrate two styles that can be fun to have to build strategies against and also just increase the conspiracies behind their hidden talent (and surprising win streaks).

I like to think of these players as NPC enemies or that extra mechanic pushing the game forward.


Rando

Rando is a character that is solely developed around random gameplay. Their move set is always different and they may not always make the best moves. This can create sudden groans all around, bad moves can change the entirety of the game and the outcome. This can hinder MY next move or help my opponent’s next move. This is something I enjoyed with Black Jack tables, surprisingly, a bad player making ill moves can really stir up the drama during gameplay. Below are a couple of links highlighting this very common theme of bad players influencing the game of blackjack. Below are a couple articles highlighting the very popular idea that bad players change the course of the game of blackjack.

Do Bad Blackjack Players Hurt The Table?

More on this black jack myth

There is a reason this myth is so popular; bad moves can influence outcomes. Rando does a great job making mindless moves in order to get their turn over with.

How do their moves work?

Rando is a dice rolling player. I typically use a 4 sided dice, the reason I don’t go higher is that a tighter stretch of moves makes for a more solid and real feel player. For my example I’d like to talk about Tokaido, It’s the easiest way to draft a good image of how Rando works. When his die is rolled, he will move that many available spots forward, this will land him on one of the locations that will either give him victory points, new items from the shop, a chance to donate to the temple, or get himself a painting. Each next point of his move will always be dictated by his die roll, how many coins will he donate? Which card does he want to buy?…

Now as you get deeper into gaming with Rando you can introduce new die based off his options, is it a 5 or 6 card game? Does he need to make multiple decisions? Giving him his own set of dice helps you create the surprising decisions of a real player without feeling like he’s too much of a hassle to play as.

Gaming with Rando

I have tested Rando on a variety of games and I think he does best with:

Linear games

card drafting games,

dice rolling games,

and tile placement games.

Card Revealing

Card Judgement Games

He suffers somewhat with:

Point Salad games,

trick taking,

and modular games

He suffers greatly with:

Resource games

party games

social games

deductive games

Give Rando a try with these couple of games and see if you can’t help fix whatever flaws arise? (Leave a comment with any issues you can solve or questions I can solve.)

Hanamikoji, Cards Against Humanity (and others like it) Tokaido, Takenoko, Ticket to Ride, Pioneer Days, or Heat.

Remember, he is just one of the third and fourth players


 

Christie

Christie is all about convenience (convenient Christie?) her moves are always going to be the easiest move for her. What is great about this player versus Rando is how completely different their playstyle can be against two real players and Rando’s dice moves. While Rando is a battle between getting around his random objections or trying to deal with his awful moves, Christie will choose moves that are a lot more expected, that can create a whole new level of depth and strategy trying to articulate the right actions against her premeditated movement, and when played with Rando their actions in general.

I’ll use Tokaido for an example of her gameplay. Imagine you start your round moving to the Hot Spring, that leaves a few spots open for our artificial friend to make their move. Christie will fill in the very first spot closest to her. If that spot is filled, she will move to the spot directly next to it. With Tokaido, you are now battling against choosing a spot that will benefit you, and not leaving too much room behind you for Christie to snatch every opportunity she can. Imagine her in Sushi Go, she will always take the first card available to her left (or right, depending on how you like to make it). you may already know what card she will take, or will receive the hand of cards and recognize her incapability to be a real player to hinder your chances of scoring Tempura.

I can’t find any articles talking about convenient move-sets, but let me tell you from experience, predicting her moves actually changes the pace of games you play because now you have to prepare for what you KNOW she will be doing next. I’ve even tested her with point salad games, and when you stretch the idea of convenience, you get a solid player to join your game nights.

Gaming with Christie

I have tested Christie and felt she does best with:

Linear Games,

easy movement games,

easy card choosing games,

simple dice rolling games,

Christie suffers with:

Multiple options,

Cooperative games,

Christie Cannot play:

social games,

deduction games,

Party games,

Give Christie a try with these couple of games and see if you can’t help fix whatever flaws arise? (Leave a comment with any issues you can solve or questions I can solve.)

Steampark, Barkers Row, Gold West, Exploding Kittens, Megaland, Bucket of Doom

Remember, she is just one of the third and fourth players available.


Rando, Christie, and others

These players are reversible and can be played with one or both players. Again, each style is unique enough to create different strategies and playstyles. I typically invite Rando to a game before I throw in Christie because I like his randomness, Christie is more of a better element rather than her own standalone–however, she is absolutely possible to use for games Rando might not be that fun with like Steampark for example.

I am currently working on a fifth player who will more or less be built around verbal gameplay, might even create them a dictionary and a word bank for them to be able to interact more thoroughly with the social aspect of gaming, a word bank will help deduce their turn choices better and will eventually be able to run against humans in most games available. Stay Tuned

I hope you enjoyed the guideline to building third and fourth players and would love to hear what YOU have tried?

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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