D&D players get a little freaked out by the idea of playing an RPG with just 1 GM and 2 players. Partly it's social proof ("Well, if we couldn't find anyone else who wanted to play, this activity must suck") but a big part of it is that D&D has the whole 'you need a whole party of adventurers to survive' thing.
Unfortunately, the attitude rubs off on other RPG's - I know at least a couple guys who like RPG's but refuse to do it with only two other people at the table. "Well, maybe if they're GM-less," one of them said - but that attitude doesn't make sense to me - in fact, the way I see it, the more players you have, the more of a burden the GM becomes. Because games with GMs typically take the form of the player telling the GM what they do, and the GM responding, in any game with a GM the GM is going to spend about 50% of the time talking. In a three player game, the players still get to participate 25% of the time - but in a five player game it drops to 12.5%.
But I digress. My point being: if a three-player game is to be avoided, what must these guys think of a two-player game? That must be completely nuts!
And - usually - I'd agree. For the most part when I've done two-player role-playing, there's been a noticeable lack of momentum. You're both straining to come up with ideas. When it's your turn, you're put on the spot - you can't just sit back and let one of the other players fill the void. And that pressure makes it even harder to contribute.
Which is why the new Murderous Ghosts is such a pleasure. When playing it, I never felt like momentum was lacking; I never felt stuck.
I'm not sure how it achieves this. It's sort of like a two-player Choose Your Own Adventure, where you each have a book to consult to tell you what to do next, but, completely unlike one of those books, it leaves the actual description for you to invent. It's the structure of a story without the details - bones without skin. And ... maybe because it tells the GM how to prepare for a minute before play starts ... or maybe because it holds your hand so carefully as you go ... or maybe because it gives you a solid foundation to build off of ... like I said, I never feel stuck.
Not to mention, it takes under an hour to play, and the subject matter - intense horror - is just cool.
So it's easily my new favorite two-player RPG.
Really interesting analysis of people being so resistant to small group PnP gaming.
Personally, I think 4 people is the perfect gaming size. 3 and 5 are fine also. 2 (with a GM) is too small, and 6 with GM starts too be too much.
Posted by: Muckbeast | October 27, 2011 at 12:09 AM