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Subject: 2p game based on our preferences rss

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Steven Backues
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Dear knowledgeable mind of the Geek,

It is time for my wife and I to get another game to play with each other, and we would appreciate your advice. We tend to prefer medium-weight, low-luck eurogames or sometimes abstracts. She's not into sci-fi, horror or political themes. But instead of trying to list preferences, let me just tell you what has worked and what hasn't and you can go from there:

Our favorite 2-player games:

1) Caylus - 0 randomness makes this a winner
2) In the Year of the Dragon - Lots of tension, and a surprising amount of depth for a relatively short play time
3) Goa - Auctions that work well with 2!
4) Hey, that's my fish! - more strategy than might appear at first glance
5) Blokus Duo - simple but satisfying
6) Concordia - very cozy

Honorable Mentions
1) Vikings - Not enthralling, but satisfyingly enjoyable
2) Reef Encounter - I like this a little more than she does; good tension and interesting on-board play
3) Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Generally hidden information isn't my thing, but this game is both strategic and thematic. She has more mixed feeling, though.
4) Legends of Andor - Generally we don't go for cooperative games, but this one is engaging enough thematically that we enjoye it
5) Small World - Light and amusing
6) Ingenious

Major Flops
1) Go - I love this, but she detests it. Too abstract.
2) Agricola - At first I liked this, but with each play I began to despise it more and more. Just doesn't have the right kind of interaction - see my comments if you want to know more.
3) Pandemic - One play taught us that we aren't really into cooperative games. Without competition, it's just kind of boring. With other people who like it, this game is fine, but for just the two of us it falls flat.
4) Carcassonne H&G- The randomness in the tile draw makes this very frustrating for me

Finally, games that we both like but don't work well for 2: Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, Advanced Civilization, Power Grid, Homesteaders.

Okay, hopefully that's enough data to establish the parameters and come up with some good suggestions. Thanks in advance and I look forwards to hearing what you have to say!

 
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Trent Boardgamer
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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A no luck abstract 2p game my wife and I love is Hive. Should fit with your criteria.
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EGG Head
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Patchwork
Targi
Hanamikoji
Any of the GIPF Project
Onitama
Traders of Osaka
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P.D. Magnus
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Elendil wrote:

Finally, games that we both like but don't work well for 2: Puerto Rico...


The Puerto Rico 2-p variant is actually pretty good. I would recommend that you try it if you haven't.
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Justus
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pmagnus wrote:
Elendil wrote:

Finally, games that we both like but don't work well for 2: Puerto Rico...


The Puerto Rico 2-p variant is actually pretty good. I would recommend that you try it if you haven't.


Agreed, 2P PR had a bad rap earlier in BGG, but I think its got pretty wide acclaim as a solid 2P game nowadays. I certainly believe its a fine 2P game.
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Tobias R.
Switzerland
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One of my wife's and mine absolute favorite Euro-style games to play when we are alone is Rococo. I only bought it because it was a really cheap offer - I thought it would be a unthematic cube-pusher-game with a pasted-on theme that does not appeal to me at all. But I was totally wrong.
It's about running a business in the 18th century, hiring new people and sending them out to do stuff, all to become the most respected tailor. There are always interesting decisions to take. The mechanics are really nice and built around something like deck-building, but you can hand-select the cards you want to have in the next turn... and it's really great looking.

The board has 2 sides: one for 2-3 players and one for 4-5. It works good with all numbers.
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Meghan Naxer
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Kent
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+1 Hive
+1 Patchwork
+1 Targi
+1 Puerto Rico + 2-player variant

If you can find it, I would highly recommend Fjords. I'd also recommend Morels (set collection), Tides of Time (2-player drafting that works really well), Arboretum (very thinky with tough decisions), and Matcha (set collection and some bluffing).
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Steven Backues
United States
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Bearhug78 wrote:
A no luck abstract 2p game my wife and I love is Hive. Should fit with your criteria.


I've played hive, and like it reasonably well. I'm not sure if she'd like it, but I was actually planning to pick it up anyways to play with another friend, so I'll certainly try it with her.
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Steven Backues
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pmagnus wrote:
Elendil wrote:

Finally, games that we both like but don't work well for 2: Puerto Rico...


The Puerto Rico 2-p variant is actually pretty good. I would recommend that you try it if you haven't.


We actually have played it, maybe half a dozen or a dozen times, a few years ago. I prefer the 3/2 over the 3/3 role selection so that no-one gets the back-to-back.
I actually like 2-player Puerto Rico pretty well, and would gladly play it, but she says that whenever she plays it just makes her feel sad that we aren't playing with more people.
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Steven Backues
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Lowpass wrote:
One of my wife's and mine absolute favorite Euro-style games to play when we are alone is Rococo. I only bought it because it was a really cheap offer - I thought it would be a unthematic cube-pusher-game with a pasted-on theme that does not appeal to me at all. But I was totally wrong.
It's about running a business in the 18th century, hiring new people and sending them out to do stuff, all to become the most respected tailor. There are always interesting decisions to take. The mechanics are really nice and built around something like deck-building, but you can hand-select the cards you want to have in the next turn... and it's really great looking.

The board has 2 sides: one for 2-3 players and one for 4-5. It works good with all numbers.


Interesting suggestion. I played this game once with a local game group, and I strongly disliked it, but that might have been a product of player number. We had 5 players, and my issue with it is that I felt like I spent all of my time waiting around to see whether or not my plans would be destroyed by someone taking what I wanted before I could (which they always were). Very annoying; player interaction in all of the wrong ways (and yet a common mechanism).

However, with two players the dynamic is very different, because of course you are playing directly against each other, and so it wouldn't feel like someone "happened" to take what you wanted; it would be your opponent directly outthinking you. Vikings is like this - I don't really like it at all with 3 or 4 because it feels random and un-interactive, but with 2 players there is more direct confrontation and so it is fine.

I suppose it would depend in part on whether or not the other aspects of the game pulled me in to a sense of direct competition (as Caylus does) or gave the impression that I was "doing my own thing" (as Agricola does). But it is certainly worth revisiting.
 
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J H
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Missouri
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+1 Patchwork

Battle Line

Jaipur

 
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Steven Backues
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Just looked up Patchwork; that definitely seems like it might be a good option. I think some people in our game group have it, so I might be able to try it out.

Same with Targi - definitely worth investigating further.

The GIPF project I am mildly familiar with, and have sometimes considered picking up Yinsh, but it has never quite made the cut. She would probably be more interested in one of the economic games like patchwork.

Still working on looking up some of the others that have been suggested.


 
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José Giménez
Paraguay
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Have you considered 7 Wonders Duel?

It seems to fit your description!
 
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James
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Elendil wrote:
Bearhug78 wrote:
A no luck abstract 2p game my wife and I love is Hive. Should fit with your criteria.


I've played hive, and like it reasonably well. I'm not sure if she'd like it, but I was actually planning to pick it up anyways to play with another friend, so I'll certainly try it with her.


I would suggest getting Hive: Pocket.
It's cheaper, more portable, has a smaller play footprint, and plays just as well if not better.
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Steven Backues
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Random Order wrote:
Elendil wrote:
Bearhug78 wrote:
A no luck abstract 2p game my wife and I love is Hive. Should fit with your criteria.


I've played hive, and like it reasonably well. I'm not sure if she'd like it, but I was actually planning to pick it up anyways to play with another friend, so I'll certainly try it with her.


I would suggest getting Hive: Pocket.
It's cheaper, more portable, has a smaller play footprint, and plays just as well if not better.


Thanks for the tip - I wasn't aware of that version, but it might be the one I want. More portable would be major plus, unless the pieces are small enough to interfere with playability.
 
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Justus
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Elendil wrote:
pmagnus wrote:
Elendil wrote:

Finally, games that we both like but don't work well for 2: Puerto Rico...


The Puerto Rico 2-p variant is actually pretty good. I would recommend that you try it if you haven't.


We actually have played it, maybe half a dozen or a dozen times, a few years ago. I prefer the 3/2 over the 3/3 role selection so that no-one gets the back-to-back.
I actually like 2-player Puerto Rico pretty well, and would gladly play it, but she says that whenever she plays it just makes her feel sad that we aren't playing with more people.


One thing I like to do is to shuffle up the violet buildings and pull out 12 of them randomly (instead of just using one each as per the published 2P rules). I thinks it forces some improvisation and planning that makes it more like a multiplayer game, but I doubt that will get over her desire to play with more humans...
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Tobias R.
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Elendil wrote:
We had 5 players, and my issue with it is that I felt like I spent all of my time waiting around to see whether or not my plans would be destroyed by someone taking what I wanted before I could (which they always were). Very annoying; player interaction in all of the wrong ways (and yet a common mechanism).


What I dislike most in the 4- or 5-player game is that the board gets of crowded and it's difficult to keep the overview.
And of course other players destroyed my plans quite often as well, but I always felt like still having some pretty good options left.
Anyway: I would always prefer to play it with 2 or 3 players - and yes, there is a much better interaction between players.

Another game we really, really like is San Juan. It gives you quite a lot for a card game.
 
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John
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Elendil wrote:
Thanks for the tip - I wasn't aware of that version, but it might be the one I want. More portable would be major plus, unless the pieces are small enough to interfere with playability.


No they are perfectly playable, occasionally pieces might end up not being perfectly aligned (which might be less of a problem with bigger heavier pieces but I've only played the pocket version). The tiles similar size to the tiles in Hey, That's My Fish! (but far thicker). It comes with a bag to put the tiles in so will fit in a reasonable sized pocket. It also includes Hive: The Mosquito & Hive: The Ladybug and is cheaper than the full sized version so I think Hive Pocket is the best version for most people.
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John
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Lowpass wrote:
Another game we really, really like is San Juan. It gives you quite a lot for a card game.


Race for the Galaxy is the other Puerto Rico inspired card game and is excellent with 2. It does have a Sci-Fi theme though - check out http://racepics.tk/ to see if the theme would be acceptable.
 
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Steven Backues
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zabdiel wrote:
Lowpass wrote:
Another game we really, really like is San Juan. It gives you quite a lot for a card game.


Race for the Galaxy is the other Puerto Rico inspired card game and is excellent with 2. It does have a Sci-Fi theme though - check out http://racepics.tk/ to see if the theme would be acceptable.


Both of those I've tried. San Juan I found kind of boring - not meaty enough somehow. Race for the Galaxy was better, but in general I'm not really into card games - too much randomness in the draw.
 
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Heather Stanley
Canada
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This is a risky suggestion - definitely play it first, but Glass Roads might work. It's a Rosenberg but the conflict is much more direct then his other games, especially at 2 players.

There's role selection and you use the roles to maximize your actions while tryinG to actively reduce the number and the effectiveness of the other player's actions. Rah do has a run through if you want to check it out.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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Finca is a fantastic 2-player game.
 
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Erik G
Netherlands
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Since you like year of the dragon:
The Castles of Burgundy works really well with 2 players. Or have a look at Bora Bora

In the lighter games i agree with 7 wonders duel or patchwork.

Another option might be to look trough the video's of Rahdo. All his reviews are 2 player games (he plays them with his wife).
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Meghan Naxer
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Another thought for you: what about Stronghold (2nd edition)? There is very little luck after setup (canon fire and pole attacks are a card draw from 6-ish card deck, ranged machinery like catapults are a card draw that can be mitigated), and it is a wonderful asymmetric 2-player. I highly recommend it!
 
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Cookie Monster
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+1 Hanamikoji Simple, elegant rules yet surprisingly deep. In 15 minutes!
 
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