Mrs. Mystery Blog

My gaming history, thoughts, and interests from a female gamer's perspective. I am an anomaly: a gaming female with a non-gaming husband.
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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Mystery McMysteryface
United States
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I interrupt my regularly scheduled post to bring up an urgent matter: I have a desperate itch to buy more board games!! And……..I am back on the wagon of trying to find a meatier game for my husband and I to play. (Yes, yes, I know………pitiful!)

After much searching, rules reading, hand wringing, pep talks and admonishments (both self-inflicted), I have decided to try for medium-weight titles that are less than 90 minutes long.

These are my criteria:
1. Must play VERY GOOD with just 2 players
2. Must NOT be over 75 minutes
3. Game must have interesting decisions and gameplay
4. Game must be challenging
5. Possibility that the game might be approachable for an 11-year old
6. Does NOT have to be New! and Shiny!

These are the titles I have narrowed it down to, but am terrified that I would find any of them to be mediocre or boring! I will express my concerns, if any, and would love to hear any of you chime in!

Notre Dame – A title I have been interested in for years and one that when I read the rules I was completely bowled over and ready to buy.
Concerns: Replayability and possibly that it can be “solved” which if so, my husband would figure it out and never play again. I am also concerned that it requires the expansion to complete/correct it.

Ninjato – Recently read the rules and found this to be somewhat interesting, thematic, and different.
Concerns: I don’t like the “combat” aspect, (i.e., robbing from the houses), which seems to be a central part of the gameplay. I also feel like it might be a bit of “get these things, to trade them for those things, to use them to get points” type of game.

Takenoko – Very cute and fun looking title that I have been eyeing since before it was available.
Concerns: All cuteness with not much of a game—too light.

Village – This one came to my attention recently and I must say I am intrigued. It does seem pretty intricate and thematic.
Concerns: That it would be dry and boring and just another cube pusher/cube conversion game. Also, that there might not be much variability from game to game.

Samurai – Another game that I’ve had my eye on for a while, especially since it is almost an abstract. It also looks gorgeous, which is NOT REALLY that important to me.
Concerns: Too light for me to find it challenging, especially against a child. That it might be solvable and that it might be boring/dry.

In order to foster better discussion, here are my top games—which I have played more than a couple of times--and what I like about them:

Louis XIV – 10 plays. I enjoy the tension of this game that comes primarily from every turn being important and every decision affecting how well you do in the game. I also enjoy the tactical aspect of having a main strategy, a backup strategy, and still having to scramble to find another viable strategy, based on your opponents’ plays. I like the four-round limit and knowing exactly when the game will end because I feel I can try and plan for that and somewhat control what I am doing. It is engaging and interesting during the entire game.

Hive – 42 plays. I enjoy the challenge of finding optimal strategies and adjusting them as you go. I also feel this game is just the right length for what it involves. I find it challenging and rewarding. My daughter enjoys this……..a lot.

Saint Petersburg – 7 plays. I enjoy the changing game plan that occurs with this game as you first need to focus on getting money, then investing it wisely in buildings and aristocrats that help you get the most money and/or points throughout the game. I like the competition for cards plus the combinations that allow you to save money on purchasing more cards. I also enjoy the different options available that can be exploited to get something you didn’t have before. The end game is easy to predict and I still have NOT beaten my husband at this game. There is tension and challenge and I am fully engaged throughout the entire game.

YINSH – 8 plays. This game is easy to learn, but difficult to master. I enjoy formulating my strategies and watching how my opponent will react. I enjoy scanning the board and finding the odd combination that I missed upon first glance or the optimal move to thwart my opponent. I enjoyed watching my daughter go from losing to me for 3 rounds to winning 1 round, to winning 2 rounds, to finally beating me at the game. She was so proud and I was very proud of her. I like that in this game you are always learning and cannot take anything for granted.

Thank you for your input. I may not end up buying anything at all. I have been trying to show the different games to my husband, but he has not had the time to “humor” me.

Please try to focus on the games I am considering, but other recommendations fitting my criteria are welcome. Please do NOT recommend the following: San Juan, Dominion, TTR, or Parade.
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