I keep forgetting to post this. Gah.
Anyway, over the summer I played Drowning and Falling with a friend of mine. Just one friend. We were sitting around wondering what to do, and I hadn't read the D&F rules closely enough to realize that it's not supposed to work with two players. So we made up some rules for that.
- When exploring, instead of choosing right or left, we rolled a die. If it came up odd, I put down an encounter; otherwise, he put down an encounter. Next encounter, the other person went. Then we rolled the die again.
- When figuring out who got to determine the second positive attribute to use for rolls, we rolled a die. Odds I got to specify, evens he got to specify. This meant that individual rolls were usually either really easy or really hard, depending on who got the second-attribute right.
While playing out an encounter, we would take turns specifying things for rolls. I guess it was kind of like some of the rpg-warm-ups that people have posted about. e.g. I'd say "You are drowning in a waterfall... of MOLTEN CHOCOLATE!" Then he'd say how his first attribute was helping to save him, then I'd say "but" and describe how his negative attribute was hindering his efforts. We rolled the die for who got second attribute, and then whoever won would say "but" and describe using that to help things. Usually we forgot to narrate little things like, say, the final outcomes of the encounters, or the transitions between encounters. Which made it seem more exercise-ish.
Unsurprisingly, there wasn't much party play since there were only two of us. Whenever one person was facing an encounter, the other person was busy providing challenge. I know I usually forgot I had a character to play while running an encounter. When I did remember, it was a little awkward. That meant we didn't get to experience the party cooperating/backstabbing dynamic, which was kind of a shame.
Neither of our characters died before we got tired of playing. (We played three short rounds with 3, 4, and 5 cards dealt out respectively.) I'd have liked that to happen, because once I figured out some of the best/worst stats for my friend, it was easy to always target them. It was also kinda boring. Part of the fun was in guessing which stats were bad, and I guess a little bit of hiding information. I'm not sure my friend was playing that way, though.
Playing as an exercise was fun, but the fun wasn't very long-lived. Having only two players really eliminates a lot of the interesting parts of D&F. Maybe if we'd come up with a more interesting way to determine who got second-attribute-picking rights? Definitely if we'd remembered to narrate in transitions and closures and things like that, to give more of a sense of continuity.
So yeah, Jason, D&F plays really weird 2-player.