Games with Two

Chronicles of playing games with my wife.

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Land of the Lost

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Last night my wife and I had some game time scheduled. However, the littles were being difficult getting to bed so our game time was cut short. What can we play that only takes about 20 minutes to play and is a good two-player game. We have two excellent choices in our collection. We have Hive Carbon and Lost Cities. I asked my wife which one she would prefer (always a good decision to give the lady the option of what game to play). She choose Lost Cities. I was hoping for Hive, but we haven't broken this one out in a while.

Lost Cities was designed by Reiner Knizia. The game play is very simple. The core mechanism in this game is that you play a card either in front of you or in the corresponding color's discard pile. Then you draw a card either from the deck or one of the discard piles. Each card has one of five colors on it and had a number two through ten printed on it, or two hands shaking. You decide to go on different "expeditions" based on the color of the cards. You have play your cards from lowest to highest. You cannot add lower cards to your hand once a higher card has been played (i.e. if you play a six you cannot play a two, three, four, or five now, every card must be higher than six). Once the deck has been exhausted the game is over. You get points corresponding to the numbers on the cards. However, here is the kicker it cost you twenty points to go on an expedition. So you could lose points on some of your "expeditions" if you did not play enough cards of that color. There are also bonuses that you can play to double, triple, and quadruple your points on any one "expedition". However, you can also lose double, triple, or quadruple your points.

There really isn't much theme in this game and that is why I have been putting "expedition" in quotation marks. However, my wife loves this game, and I believe most non-gaming and gaming wives do; at least that is what I have heard from around the board gaming community. This game also is very inexpensive, it only runs about $20. This is a great game to get your significant other into gaming. It's simple, It's quick, It's cheap, yet it is a rich game experience even for an experienced gamer. This game also works great as a filler while you are waiting for other people in your gaming group to show up on game night. I highly recommend this one. Check out more at www.gameswithtwo.blogspot.com
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Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:22 pm
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Research? I Thought I Was Finished with School.

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Tip 2 - Buying a Game

You go to the store your looking around and you find a game that looks fun. Then you get it home and can't read the rules because they are only in German. There are more bits than all your other games combined and the game takes 8 hours to play one game. You can save yourself this heartache by doing a little research before heading off to your friendly local game store.

When I first started buying games I would only buy ones that I had played before and liked. Through the years I believe I have gotten better at making wise game purchases. I am going to take you through my progression and hopefully you will have better gaming experiences overall.

As I stated above I started by only buying games that I had played before. This started with buying a copy of Settlers of Catan on ebay. I didn't know there were friendly local game stores. I finally found my local store in the mall. It was hidden in an obscure corner and was filled with mostly people playing collectible card games and miniatures. Shortly after we got into gaming the store was bought by a gamer. And our store got a lot better. The first few times we bought games we went into the store and found something that looked interesting. We then asked the clerk if it was good game. Oh course, the answer was always yes.

I then began to notice something about Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan when I bought them. They had a little logo on them that said, "Spiel Des Jahres Winner" (in English, Game of The Year). This little symbol made games an automatic buy for me at first. I picked up Thurn and Taxis (2006 Winner) and Ingenious (which didn't win but was nominated in 2004) because of the award. This was a great way for me to pick up games that I believed would be high quality, and I wasn't disappointed.

After browsing the game shelves for award winning games for some time, I found the wonderful website Board Game Geek. On Board Game Geek they have a ranking system that gives a rank for every game. These rankings are determined solely by the users. My thinking was, "these must be the best games, so I am going to get the top ranked games." Don't get me wrong this is a great way to get an idea of some awesome games. However, not every topped ranked game is for everyone. Many of them are gamer's games. They are advanced games for those who like depth in their games. Just getting into gaming this was not the best place for me and my friends to start. However, it did lead to some great buys

After learning about Board Game Geek I began to search around and began to find reviews and video reviews of games. Most notably Board Games with Scott and The Dice Tower. Through these reviews we were able to see more of what these games offered. We saw the bits, how the game play worked, how long they took to play, how complex they were, etc. etc. This was the beginnig of learning how to find a great game.

Finally, I discovered board gaming podcast. This is where I started learning about all different kinds of games. I found out about the newest games and the best games of the year. After listening to several podcast you could really tell what games everyone loved, by how much they talked about them. If it was just a passing mention then I knew the game was not worth looking into. However, if they raved about a game episode after episode. I knew that it was a game worth looking into. Podcasts are the reason I purchased 7Wonders which eventually was awarded a Speil des Jahres award. Currently I listen to On Board Games, The Dice Tower, Game On with Cody and John, Ludology, and The Little Metal Dog Show. Each offers a little something different and they each give you a wide variety of content and style.

The last thing you need to do is combined all of these processes into one giant research project. Or you can use any or all of the processes above. This doesn't work if you want a game of the day of its release. This really only applies for those games that have been out for at least a month. This gives time for the reviewers to review the games, and for the initial reactions to wane a little. Once this occurs you can get a sense of if a game is worth picking up. Another good indicator for a great game is that it is still in print 5-10 years after it's release. See Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Power Grid, etc. And after a game has been out for a long time they start making cool anniversary editions.

In Review in no order in particular:

1. Check without the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store and ask them what game is the best

2. Play games and see which ones you like

3. Check the game for awards

4. Check out Board Game Geek's website.

5. Read and or watch some reviews of games

6. Listen to your favorite board game podcast; what games are they talking about?

7. Longevity - are they still printing that game in 3 years after it was released?

Check out more at www.gameswithtwo.blogspot.com
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Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:40 am
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Does it Play Well?- Tip 1 - Buying a Game for 2

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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So you are looking to purchase a new game. You want one that you can play with your wife, roommate, or other significant person in your life. However, you want to make sure this is a game that they will actually play with you more than once. So my first tip is to find a good 2-player game. This doesn't have to be a 2-player only game, but it must play well with 2. For example, Power Grid plays with only 2 players. However, this game is much more fun with 4 or 5 players. The game loses some of it's luster when only played with 2. I understand there is a new expansion that adds an "A.I" player to the mix for 2-player games. I don't know if that fixes the issues, but it might be worth picking up if you enjoy Power Grid 2-player.

A game that I believe scales very well is the "classic" Carcassonne. My wife and I will play this 2-player all the time. It plays great with just two, but also plays well with 6 players. I love a game that plays this way. A game comes to the table much more often when you can play with a wide number of people. One reason this game scales so well, is that the game time doesn't not increase significantly with more players; since you play with the same amount of tiles with 2 players as you do with 6 players.

So try to find that game that plays well with 2. A quick way to check this is at Board Game Geek. On all of their descriptions of their games they have how many players the game plays with and what is the recommended number of players and best number of players. This has been Tip 1 for purchasing that good 2 player game that both you and your wife/girlfriend/couple's partner/etc. will enjoy together. Check out more at www.gameswithtwo.blogspot.com
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:19 pm
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An Ingenious Sequence

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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A nice Saturday evening at home. Time to play a couple quick games and watch a movie. We played some of my wife's favorites. We started with two rounds of Sequence. This is a great little game. It works great with 2 and you can also play with 12. The essence of the game is a bingo variant. The board has the faces of playing cards setup in a grid. You have playing cards in your hand, and you play a card and cover up the corresponding spot on the board with a chip. The first person to get two "sequences" of 5 chips in a row wins. It's a quick game with little strategy. However, it is one of our favorites. The quick game play makes this game easy for anyone to learn and enjoy. The price on this game is great to, you can grab a new copy for around $10.

The second game we played was Reiner Knizia's Ingenious. This is an abstract game that we haven't played it awhile. So we broke it out. I love this game. It's easy to learn, but has alot of depth. The scoring is unique and I think that is one thing that makes this game great. The game play moves quickly. At it's core mechanism, you play a tile and grab a tile. We both love this game, and I found that non-gamers love this one too. It feels enough like dominoes or scrabble to get people outside of their comfort zone.

Both of these games are good solid games. They are easy to learn and enjoyable through multiple plays. These games are also very easy for the non-gamers in your life to play. You can easily take these games to play with grandma. Out of these 2 games I enjoy Ingenious more because it offers some more depth, but your non-gaming spouse might enjoy either one of these games. Solid games worth picking up and they both have great value for there prices. As I said above Sequence goes for about $10, and you can pickup Ingenious for as little as $25. Check out more at my website www.gameswithtwo.blogspot.com
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Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:37 am
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Dominion Prosperity - Round One

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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This past Wednesday we played the Dominion expansion, Dominion: Prosperity. If you have played the original Dominion this games adds a lot to the original game. There were metal tokens and coins. New victory points and more treasure cards. This game adds more, more, more to the game. When we were finished we both said we felt like we played a new game. A game that brought Dominion to another level. I think we each had more cards than we have ever had in a game of Dominion. And we both ended with more points than we have ever had in a game. Our normal games of Dominion usually end with the winner having 35-50 points. In this game we both had over 70 points and the winner had over 100 points.

I love the variety this game brings to the Dominion series. I am excited to play with the other cards and mix and match with our other Dominion set. We both came away liking the new expansion. I don't think either one of us was trying to win this round. We were mostly just seeing what we could do with the new cards, and how they affected the game. Can't wait to play another round of this one. Check out more at www.gameswithtwo.blogspot.com
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Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:29 pm
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Welcome

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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This is a new blog that I am starting about gaming with my wife. We started playing designer board games starting in 2005 with Settlers of Catan. My wife likes to game with me, but she is not an avid gamer. This blog is going to show our different game experiences and how they may differ from those played with two gamers. We don't purchase a ton of games and we try to play some old standbys. I will be telling you about our new purchases, our gaming sessions together, our gaming sessions with others, and how I decide what game to get next. This last step is the hardest as I try to find a game that I will enjoy and that my wife will play with me. I value your input, so anything you have to add will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading and enjoy the coming post.
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Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:26 pm
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