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Subject: Looking for recommended games to get my wife into gaming rss

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Jeff
United Kingdom
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Does anyone have any recommendations of games that may be good to get my wife into board gaming.

I've tried and failed a couple of times before and she was put off by the more competitive games that I tend to like, probably along with their fantasy/sci-fi themes which are just not her thing. She started to get a bit more interested again now that our two boys are starting to show some interest so I thought I might give it another shot.

So your recommendations for good 'gateway' cooperative games with a non-fantasy/non sci-fi theme that play well with two players in under 60 minutes are welcomed.
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nithos nithos

Iowa
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What games does she like or is at least willing to play? What does she like about those games? What doesn't she like?

If a game is overly fiddly, highly luck driven, or has convoluted rules; my wife is out. She will voluntarily play Qwirkle, Sushi Go, and Ticket to Ride.
 
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Manisha DS
Canada
North York
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These are a few great couples games that got us started and we still enjoy together:

Lost Cities
Patchwork
Jaipur
Biblios
Fungi

Edit: Missed the co-op part. These are not very competitive though so still might work.
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Evan
United States
Longwood
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+1 for Jaipur and Patchwork is atop my wish list. My wife tends to favor co-ops, even if its the harder to grasp ones like Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game. She's a nurse by trade, so she loves Pandemic. Fury of Dracula (third edition) can be cooperative as long as your wife isn't playing the role of Dracula.

The key you need to think about is what resonates with your wife and what doesn't. For instance, my wife likes Dominion. It's simple to grasp, yet interesting and intellectually challenging. So I thought it was a natural that she would like Star Realms, right? After all, it's basically the same game, but with head-to-head combat. Well, she didn't even want to try it. "I hate the science fiction theme" she said. So I guess Cosmic Encounter, Forbidden Stars and all those Fantasy Flight Star Wars games are out. Oh well.

If she doesn't like high fantasy, or space exploration or whatever, you are going to lose the battle before it starts no matter how good the game is.
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Chris Graves
United States
Oregon
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My wife doesn't like playing games, but I got her to play Betrayal at House on the Hill, and she loved it! You may give that a shot.
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Antarctica
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+ 1 for Pandemic
But maybe a simple card based game may be fun for her to try
like
Love Letter
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Daily Grind
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How about pirates ? Dead Men Tell No Tales
Or student wizard that are in no way like Harry Potter ? The Big Book of Madness
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Dianne N.
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I am a woman, and someone's wife...

Co-operative games:
+1 for Pandemic (though you'll lose more than you win)
+1 for Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert (though easier to win with 2 players, they're good for the whole family)

I also very much enjoy Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game as a cooperative game - there's a lot of story involved, not just zombies, and my husband and I enjoy it as a 2 player game.

Not co-op, but not overly competitive either:
Seeland (super cheap on Amazon right now)
Small World (as long as she accepts that she will get attacked and is expected to attack every round, because losing territories and changing races is the main part of the game)
Viticulture Essential Edition (haven't played, but it's on my list, and is probably the #1 game I see when people comment "my girlfriend/wife loves this game")

Update: Another non co-op game that many people like (I do not, personally), that is not at all competitive (very little direct player interaction) and is an excellent gateway game: Splendor
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Deb Wentworth
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Sanssouci

It's pretty and peaceful. Design gardens and walk through them.
 
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Dianne N.
United States
Seattle
Washington
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GoingTopShelf wrote:
...my wife likes Dominion. It's simple to grasp, yet interesting and intellectually challenging. So I thought it was a natural that she would like Star Realms, right? After all, it's basically the same game, but with head-to-head combat. Well, she didn't even want to try it. "I hate the science fiction theme" she said.


I said the same thing to my husband for about a month, and finally gave it a try. I now LOVE this game, and my husband doesn't want to play anymore because I usually win.

(If you can get your wife to read it, I wrote a "review" of it on the game's page, talking about how much I dislike sci-fi games and how hard it was for my husband to get me to play, but how this one surprised me. I like Dominion well enough, but I love Star Realms.)
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Drew
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Dallas
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The games I used to get my wife into the hobby were Ticket to Ride, Jaipur, Dead Man's Draw, Trekking, and Alhambra.
The two player rules for Alhambra include a dummy player, but I just handled all those steps so she didn't have to worry about it.
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Gary Salazar
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The games that made all my friend's wives gamers are Sleeping Queens and Dixit.
 
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Dianne N.
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I forgot about Alhambra, that one is good too (not a co-op though). Very zen, very little direct player interaction, just focusing on building up your garden and having more of some color than other players. Also good for the whole family.

A couple of annoying things as a two-player game, though: 1) having to remove 1 of each money, especially if you just played a game with 3+ players and it's all shuffled; 2) the "dummy player" - we use the dummy player to deplete tiles so the game doesn't drag on forever, but ignore it when it comes to scoring (doesn't make a huge difference in the end, at least when we've played this way).
 
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Evan
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Longwood
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PerpetualFX wrote:
GoingTopShelf wrote:
...my wife likes Dominion. It's simple to grasp, yet interesting and intellectually challenging. So I thought it was a natural that she would like Star Realms, right? After all, it's basically the same game, but with head-to-head combat. Well, she didn't even want to try it. "I hate the science fiction theme" she said.


I said the same thing to my husband for about a month, and finally gave it a try. I now LOVE this game, and my husband doesn't want to play anymore because I usually win.

(If you can get your wife to read it, I wrote a "review" of it on the game's page, talking about how much I dislike sci-fi games and how hard it was for my husband to get me to play, but how this one surprised me. I like Dominion well enough, but I love Star Realms.)


Great, I will definitely urge her to read it. Thanks so much!
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James C
United States
Great Falls
Virginia
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Yeah, gotta figure out all the stuff that she hates rather than what she likes. For instance my wife won't play anything much longer than an hour, any scifi themes, any fantasy themes, any games with dice or with a lot of different cards that are text heavy. That right away gets rid of 78% of games. Then go from there.

Or Ticket to Ride.
 
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Garrett Frick

Iowa
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The way I did it was I focused on art styles she loved. Once see was intrigued by the art it was easy to get her into the games. Dixit is a good starter as is Stone Age. Castles of burgundy was what pushed it over the top though. Excellent game that really ignighted both of our loves for gaming and still one of our favorites to this day. The card game isn't bad either.
 
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Nerdy Octopus
United States
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I second Forbidden Island. It's a great starter game with not too many mechanics though it's still complex enough to be interesting.

I had to set aside table top gaming until very recently. My boyfriend had never really been into that kind of thing, but we tried Forbidden Island and were super addicted. We now have Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert and Pandemic. All made by the same guy and all super addicting and fun. We now play every night. =)
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D S
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You want a game that meets the following criteria:

1. Short.
2. Simple.
3. Nice bits.
4. Theme-light.
5. Solid art.
6. Plays well with 2.

Splendor. Spendor is the game you are looking for. Many of the above require more time or more people than you want; others have heavy and/or dark themes. I would not get a coop yet unless you think that your two personalities would work well together on the same team, starting this board gaming adventure. If she's going to feel like it's your thing and she's just watching you play, then don't start there.

If she likes Splendor, I'd consider Castles of Burgundy, Dominion, and/or Forbidden Island down the road. My 2 cents.

Happy hunting, and please let us know what you decide and how it goes.
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Jeff
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Thanks to everyone for all the recommendations and advice. I think I'll start having borrowing/acquiring a few of the suggestions (pandemic, forbidden island, Splendor, etc).

I'll let you know how it goes!
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Simon Maynard
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I'm in a very similar situation with my wife very reluctant to play games.

Games that have gone down well in the case of my wife are Carcassonne and For Sale.
 
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Ian Williams
Wales
Ammanford
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Takenoko. Different theme. Great art. Simple gameplay. Mildly competitive.
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Lee Broderick
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Paperback is worth a look if you think she might like wordgames. It can be played cooperatively as a couple.

For more ideas, see What Couples Have Been Playing - September 2016.
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Pasi Ojala
Finland
Tampere
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Having a theme or setting that interests the person is always a good starting point.

What are her hobbies, interests, favorite TV shows, movies or books?
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Jeff
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Thanks cornishlee! loads of great ideas in that thread
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