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Hi all,

Looking for a few games that meet the following criteria:

1. Fairly interactive/competitive - no multiplayer solitaire types
2. Plays great with two (will play mostly with my wife)
3. Turns can/should be reasonably short, to keep all players constantly engaged (cool combo turns, or the odd difficult decision lasting a couple minutes is fine)
4. Plays in under 60 minutes (around/a bit over is fine if it really drills the other criteria)

Bonus:

1. As much depth/strategy that can fit with the above criteria, and not too reliant on luck
2. If that interaction is a little cutthroat/attacking/etc
3. Scales well to 4
4. Ideally closer to 30 minutes, with relatively quick setup/cleanup
5. On the cheaper side

We don't care about theme whatsoever, and some of our favorites that are at least close to these criteria are Lost Cities, Battle Line, and Innovation. Also in the range, but not quite as enjoyed are Jaipur (a bit too light/luck based), Ingenious (not enough depth/variables), Carcassonne.

Purchases that I'm currently considering are Agricola: ACBAS, Morels, Patchwork, Biblios, Istanbul, Castles of Burgundy (I know that not all of these fit).

Thank you, as always!
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Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Hanamikoji is closer to 15 minutes and it's 2 players only, but otherwise fits your criteria very well. Should be available again soon, I hear.
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Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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You are looking for Samurai.
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Jeff Johnson
United States
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Have you tried these?
7 Wonders Duel
Android: Netrunner
Patchwork
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
Crokinole
Star Realms
Jaipur
Summoner Wars: Master Set
Carcassonne
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
BattleCON: Devastation of Indines
Claustrophobia
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Phillip Harpring
United States
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Ninja Camp
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Canada
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TheGodsMustBeCrazy wrote:


Wow, quite the list!

7 Wonders Duel - own it, haven't played enough yet to judge
Android: Netrunner - own it, wife hasn't played enough yet to judge (might be a bit too much)
Patchwork - no, but on the list
Star Realms - own it, enjoy it
Jaipur - own it, enjoy it
Carcassonne - own it, enjoy it
Agricola: ACBAS - no, but on the list

I'll take a look at the rest; thank you! Your post also made me realize I should maybe add a bit more detail to the criteria.
 
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Garrett X
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
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Seasons 2-4 but best with 2
Revolver 2: Last Stand at Malpaso 2 player only or the regular Revolver has tons of expansions
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Mark Jackson
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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Omen: A Reign of War... it's the most cutthroat 2p game... like it made my wife so angry she won't play it any more.
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Harv Veerman
Netherlands
Zoetermeer
Zuid-Holland
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Try out Welcome to the Dungeon.

Babel if you can find it.
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Rebecca Jensen
United States
Washington
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My wife and I love Patchwork (and I'm getting her Cottage Garden, the "up to 4-player version" for Christmas), though the interaction (in Patchwork) is somewhat weak. You can buy up patches that your opponent wants, but this is rare in our games, as we mostly concentrate on what we want (multiplayer solitaire).

We also love Splendor, and the "buy up what your opponent wants" strategy is more beneficial and happens more often here, so there's a bit more interaction than Patchwork.

But if you want to be stressed out on your every turn because the card you discard may very likely benefit your opponent (or you want to keep it badly for your own set), then go for Arboretum! This is a tight game, and I love it. My wife likes it too, even though she sometimes asks for a game that's less stressful (when we play in the evenings) instead. We have to play Arboretum over breakfast or brunch.

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PlayBosco wrote:

But if you want to be stressed out on your every turn because the card you discard may very likely benefit your opponent (or you want to keep it badly for your own set), then go for Arboretum! This is a tight game, and I love it. My wife likes it too, even though she sometimes asks for a game that's less stressful (when we play in the evenings) instead. We have to play Arboretum over breakfast or brunch.


Arboretum sounds right up our alley. This is a definite buy; thanks!
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Rita
Canada
Alberta
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I'm assuming from your username that your name is Ryan and you live in Edmonton -- I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure of my guess -- so hi, fellow Edmontonian here!

I play games with my partner, too, and would recommend Patchwork, Morels, and Castles of Burgundy. Be warned, they're a little multiplayer solitaire. The main type of interaction is denying the opponent a piece or tile that they need by taking it first -- which can indeed be very spiteful at times. They may still be good choices for you, though. None are as luck-reliant as Jaipur -- obviously things like card draw and dice rolls add in a luck factor, but this is all input randomness, and after that it's all open information; you decide what to do with what you've got. The dice rolls in Castles of Burgundy can be mitigated a lot.

All three have short, engaging turns with a well-delimited decision space but several possibilities to consider. Patchwork especially has a lot of depth for a very simple ruleset. Castles of Burgundy is probably the deepest game of the ones you've mentioned, and it's interestingly complex while still feeling quite simple and elegant to play. Probably my favourite game, especially if you enjoy cool combos. In terms of time, I'd say that Patchwork and Morels play out in 30 minutes, while Castles of Burgundy is more like an hour (once you've got the rules/setup down). I've only played Castles of Burgundy 2-player, but have mostly heard that more players add extra time without more interesting decisions.

I second the recommendation for 7 Wonders: Duel, which is a bit more confrontational than the aforementioned games. You take turns drafting out of various card-pyramid setups, so you're constantly hoping the other person doesn't take the card you want, taking the card the other person wants and saying, "Hah!", choosing your picks so that they can't possibly get what they want, etc. Some cards have effects on the opponent, like forcing them to discard cards/money and the constant tug-of-war of the military track. People say this can be played in 30 minutes, but it always seems to take us an hour.

Lots of other great suggestions in this thread -- I'll be looking into them too!
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ozzy perez
United States
Hialeah
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ryanedmonton wrote:
PlayBosco wrote:

But if you want to be stressed out on your every turn because the card you discard may very likely benefit your opponent (or you want to keep it badly for your own set), then go for Arboretum! This is a tight game, and I love it. My wife likes it too, even though she sometimes asks for a game that's less stressful (when we play in the evenings) instead. We have to play Arboretum over breakfast or brunch.


Arboretum sounds right up our alley. This is a definite buy; thanks!



Arboretum is one of the finest games I have played in a while, so agree with that one! It is phenomenal! Soooo much tension in that card play, never played anything like it. Other recommendations are Samurai, 7 Wonders Duel, Targi, Trambahn, Luna, and Grand Austria Hotel (interaction is very indirect but it's an amazing 2p game).
 
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Garrett X
United Kingdom
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Greater London
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I was going to add Grand Austria Hotel as well but when he said interaction (read: cutthroat) I didn't think it would fit the bill. Superb game though!
 
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Paweł Bedz
Poland
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Maybe try new game from Carl Chudyk? In my opinion it is his best 2-player game (although it works up to 5 if you combine 2 copies - but for me too much chaos). It is cutthroat - you may spend few turns setting "your" birds to score them and then opponent grabs those birds from you (via stealing plumage card from you)... Ouch! Beside game looks awesome and is really eye catchy! It is on kickstarter right now (english edition, Polish is already available so no worries about not delivering it).
Check it out here: The Bird told me to do it
 
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Igor Larchenko
Russia
Ivanteevka
Moscow region
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The Great Zimbabwe
No luck, cutthroat, short turns, the best for 2 players (and up to 4).
 
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Garrett X
United Kingdom
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Pard wrote:
The Great Zimbabwe
No luck, cutthroat, short turns, the best for 2 players (and up to 4).


Definitely not 'on the cheaper side' though and nowhere near close to 30-60 mins.
 
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Kevin S-D
United States
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Hey, That's My Fish! fits almost all your criteria, including your bonus list.

Where it might fall short:

Depth - might not meet your definition of depth. It has a very simple rule set, but tactical positioning of your pieces becomes important very quickly and remains critical throughout.

Relatively quick setup - this is where the physical board game might most depart from your wish list. Many people find setup to take longer than the game itself. I don't find this to be the case, but there is an app version of the game that eliminates this concern, and is a relatively cheap way to try out the game to boot!
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Peter Steinberg
Australia
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One more vote for Glüx from me. I also like Carcassonne, but you know that already,, of course. There are also good extensions on Carcasonne...
 
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Kerstin
Germany
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Maybe check out Guildhall, I like to play it with 2 with Guilhall and Guildhall: Job Faire all mixed together. Playing with more also works great but then I rather keep it with one set.
There is also the new Fantasy versions of it coming out, which is mostly just different artwork and different mixes of roles.
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Phillip Harpring
United States
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+1 for Hey That's My Fish

It has such simple mechanics and the components are cute and approachable, but strategically cutting off your opponent, leaving their penguins stranded on ice floes feels cutthroat AF.

I nearly posted it myself, but went with Ninja Camp because I've read it's a very similar game but with special abilities that would maybe offer a bit more of the depth that that OP wants.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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ryanedmonton wrote:
1. Fairly interactive/competitive - no multiplayer solitaire types
2. Plays great with two (will play mostly with my wife)
3. Turns can/should be reasonably short, to keep all players constantly engaged (cool combo turns, or the odd difficult decision lasting a couple minutes is fine)
4. Plays in under 60 minutes (around/a bit over is fine if it really drills the other criteria)

At the Gates of Loyang meets all requirements. 1) The interaction may seem dull at first, but once you begin to push harder and harder to reach ever higher scores, cards going to your opponent can seriously bite into your outlook. 2) It is a 2 player-game despite what it says on the box. 3) Turns are short, and cool combos (well, not so cool for the opposition) keep you engaged. 4) Check.

Quote:
1. As much depth/strategy that can fit with the above criteria, and not too reliant on luck
2. If that interaction is a little cutthroat/attacking/etc
3. Scales well to 4
4. Ideally closer to 30 minutes, with relatively quick setup/cleanup
5. On the cheaper side

1) There is a randomness component, yes. Overall I've not found it to be overwhelming: skillful planning still rules the roost. 2) Check. 3) Forget it. Really, forget it. 4) Setup is a tad fiddly (but really just a tad), but playing time will be closer to 60 than to 30 minutes. 5) It's a Rosenberg and those aint cheap unfortunately.
 
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Wilkins Chow
Hong Kong
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Unspecified
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PlayBosco wrote:
My wife and I love Patchwork (and I'm getting her Cottage Garden, the "up to 4-player version" for Christmas), though the interaction (in Patchwork) is somewhat weak. You can buy up patches that your opponent wants, but this is rare in our games, as we mostly concentrate on what we want (multiplayer solitaire).

We also love Splendor, and the "buy up what your opponent wants" strategy is more beneficial and happens more often here, so there's a bit more interaction than Patchwork.


I would also recommend Patch Work and Splendor.
I teach them to new players at the board game very often and they like them very much, esp. for Splendor which works well for 2-4 players.

You can also try Targi if you want a bit heavier game.
It is highly interactive and you have lots of chances blocking each other.
 
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Thank you, everyone! You almost gave me TOO much to work off of.

While I'll still keep an eye on this thread to add to my 'to buy' list, for this go around, I've decided to get:

Arboretum
Patchwork
Targi
Agricola: ACBS
Samurai
Welcome To The Dungeon

Also noting Castles of Burgundy, Gates of Loyang, Revolver, and Guildhall as they all sound great, and definitely keeping an eye on a those Kickstarter/newer ones (Glux/Omen/Bird Told Me).

For any further suggestions, I'll quickly comment on a couple that continue to get suggested: Hey, That's My Fish! and Splendor. Both a little too light/dull for us, although we do pull them out from time to time. Setup is a bit of a drag with HTMF.
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Charlotta
Sweden
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We tend to look for games with the same criteria you listed, and have played countless games of Battle Line and Jaipur.

Given your preferences, I would highly recommend Port Royal. No set up time and plays in around 20 minutes (but we usually end up playing several rounds). Combination of push your luck and engine building, feels interactive and competitive as players have the chance to buy /deny each other cards on each other's turns. Simple rules but interesting choices and very addictive! Oh, and great with 2 but plays up to 5.

(We too find Splendor a bit dull, it always seems to be played in silence. Although Port Royal shares the engine building mechanic, it is much more interactive and fun!)
 
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