Just the Nerdy Bits "Games with Two" (APRIL UPDATE!)
Toni Catino
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Florida
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A Bit of Background
I've been a member of the site since early 2010 (and just got my five-year microbadge in 2015!).
Having come from a background of CCGs going back to the year 2000 or so, the transition into hobby gaming wasn't that much of a stretch for me.
Somehow, though, I coerced my previously non-gaming fiancée into playing with me, and we've both been hooked since~
We've begun to explore the hobby around us, sharing with family and friends, but games that play well with just two players are still what we prefer.

Why This List?
I love reading geeklists as a way to find recommendations for new games.
I've always enjoyed the review and ratings lists the most since they're always full of interesting opinions, so I figured it was time for us to make our own.
The way I see it, there's never too many opinions to be given on a game, especially when there are so many underappreciated gems out there.
I'm not saying we'll have any grand insight into the games we play, but we play with only two players 99% of the time, so we're hoping this list will be useful for other couples like us.

The Big Idea
We've been going strong at this for a few years now, so with just the first play, both my fiancée and I will know if a game is for us (one or both).
Our plan is to play through every game we own, not necessarily in any hurry or order, even as we add new games to our collection.
This list will be updated as soon as a new game gets played.
Also, as time goes by, our opinions will surely change, so I'll be keeping this list up-to-date with those changes as well.

How It Works
My fiancée really likes the smileys here at BGG, so she's come up with a ratings system revolving around them.

meeple - Absolutely love it. Can't imagine getting tired of this one. (5 out of 5)
- Really like it. Wouldn't turn down a chance to play. (4 out of 5)
- Like it and enjoy playing it now and again. (3 out of 5)
snore - Would only play it if you really wanted me to. (2 out of 5)
shake - I would practically have to be forced to play this. (1 out of 5)
yuk - I will not play this again. No, really. I hate this game. (0 out of 5)

Closing Thoughts
This won't be a list of super deep, complex games (we just don't enjoy them).
It also won't be a list that explains the rules or how these games are played.
This is just two gamers' opinions on the games we play; what we like or didn't like about them.
Hopefully, it's at least entertaining, if not useful for other gamers and gaming couples to find some new titles to try together~
So, if you like what you read, feel free to leave us a comment!
Thanks for reading!
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1. Board Game: 10 Days in Asia [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2020]
Toni Catino
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Florida
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He Says:
"I really see this as a quicker Ticket to Ride, minus the actual route-building, and with a bit more spatial recognition required. It's different enough that I like it, and it plays excellent with two, but it can feel a little too hollow."

She Says:
"It's kinda like set collecting, ergo, I like it a whole lot. It's a pain in the ass figuring out how to get from Tajikistan to Malaysia, but it's still a lot of fun."

Numerical Rating: 7
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2. Board Game: A la carte [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1628]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"I snagged a copy of this online, knowing that it would be a smash hit. It's ridiculous; it's as fast as you want it to be; and it's just a mess of fun. I'd really love to get my hands on the expansion and promos!"

She Says: meeple
"Everything about this game is just so silly and cute! It's got a lighthearted theme and nothing needs to be taken too seriously, which is always a plus in my book. It's just a really fun game."

Numerical Rating: 9
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3. Board Game: Above and Below [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:190] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Toni Catino
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He Says: meeple
"There isn't a Red Raven game we own that I don't thoroughly enjoy, and Above and Below has done nothing but blow my expectations further out of the water. Knowing that there's going to be more story content released, this game will stay a prize in our collection."

She Says:
"I really like that you're telling different 'stories' every time you play in a way that fits the game's theme. There's a lot to take in as far as ways to spend your turns and earn your points, but I'm sure my understanding of the game (and how much I like it) will get better with time."

Numerical Rating: 9
 
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4. Board Game: Adventure Time Love Letter [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1177]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"What TIME is it? Time to get my butt handed to me repeatedly because I keep drawing the Gossip when she has the Lady or the Princess in her hand! I stayed away from Love Letter for a long time, but the Adventure Time version just begged me to buy in. I'm glad I did, as it's easily the fastest game we own to play, but there's a reason it only really comes out during travel."

She Says:
"It's ADVENTURE TIME! And it plays in less than five minutes! I don't love it, but it's hard to say no to a game that takes so little time. It can be pretty frustrating when you keep getting the same cards each round, but again, it's so fast that you can't get too bent out of shape over it."

Numerical Rating: 6
 
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5. Board Game: Age of War [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1576]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"It's fast, it's light, and it's a fun time. The art fits well, but there's really nothing to be said about theme. Even still, for its size and portability, I think it's got a place in our collection."

She Says: meeple
"I like it a lot! I don't really care about the lack of theme since the game still looks nice and has good components. The push your luck aspect is fun and it never bogs down, even with more people."

Numerical Rating: 9
 
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6. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:209]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"I enjoyed the decisions to be made, once I wrapped my head around just how much there is to do (and how little time there is to do it in). The animals meeples are great, but the rest is begging for a micropimp of some kind."

She Says:
"The little animal meeples are adorable, but there's so much to do! I'm trying to keep up with how many animals are in my pasture, but then they breed (or maybe not!), and I don't have room, unless I can build a feeding trough, but I already used my wood to put up new fences..."

Numerical Rating: 6

UPDATE: Being that she is a bit of a craft geek as well, we've decided to pimp our copy straightaway! And here's the pictures of our new bits! So far we've redone the stone, wood, wheat (still needs colour), and start player marker. And it's not pretty (a cut-up popsicle box), but this tray divider sure beats piling everything up all over the table!

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7. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:788] [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"It's simple and fun; an excellent example of a children's game that's good for the adults, too. It's hard not to like this game, but it's best played with a small group. I would still love to get the extra pieces from the others in the series!"

She Says:
"I love the little, wooden animals! Stacking them is just a bonus~
There's not much to it, though figuring out which piece will fit without knocking the whole thing over is fun, but it is still a children's game. I'm glad this is one we can pass down to our own kids."

Numerical Rating: 6
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8. Board Game: Arcana [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2895]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"I had read mixed reviews of this game, but I decided to give this odd deck-builder a chance. Thankfully, this game was surprisingly enjoyable, if not one that I'd pull out all the time. The art reminds me of concept art from Jim Henson or Brian Froud on some cards, but the style really grabs me."

She Says:
"I don't care much for bidding usually (and I'm not a fan of deck-building games), but there's so not an overwhelming amount of options here with what cards are available, so I don't feel cheated when I don't win every stake. As for the art? It isn't bad, but some of the personalities are pretty grotesque."

Numerical Rating: 6
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9. Board Game: Archaeology: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1256]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"Set collection at its most pure. There's really nothing more to it than that, but that's not a bad thing! Quick to play, with pleasant artwork, and great for only the two of us."

She Says: meeple
"Set collecting games are my favourite! Also, thumbs up for the Egyptian artwork. My only issue is with the Thief cards, but only with two players. If we had been playing with more, and there was more choice in who lost a card, I wouldn't mind them as much."

Numerical Rating: 9
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10. Board Game: Atta Ants [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:9573]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"Ants? Love it. Boring discs? Not so much. That aside, though, this was a really fun game that was DEAD simple to teach and play. My only real issue is that an unfortunate cluster of spiders can slow things down considerably."

She Says:
"Despite having SUPER boring components (which I will be upgrading for sure), it's still a cute game about ANTS! The tile-laying was easy- the whole game was super simple, really- and I even liked keeping away from the spiders!"

Numerical Rating: 8
 
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11. Board Game: Batik [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:5629]
Toni Catino
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He Says: snore
"It's fun, for what it is, which is to say very little of anything. It can be played ten times in as many minutes, but there's just nothing much to it. Good filler, and good with the kids."

She Says:
"As simple as it can get, which is also its biggest flaw. It's super easy to play several rounds in a row because it requires so little thought. It's a great "filler game"! See? I know these things."

Numerical Rating: 5
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12. Board Game: Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:4375]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"As much as I liked the game, I couldn't shake the feeling that having another player would have picked it up through the slow spots. Toward the end, gameplay turned into a scramble for her to do whatever possible to stop me from taking over enough blocks to win. It was okay, but I'm not in any hurry to play again."

She Says:
"I don't dislike it, but it took much longer than I was expecting to finish playing. I mean, it's Batman, which is a given plus for me, and the idea of playing as the villains was really neat. I just think I might have an aversion to these area-control games, though, and this game is pretty purely in that camp."

Numerical Rating: 6
 
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13. Board Game: Big Points [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2785]
Toni Catino
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Flip Florey
United States
Saco
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He Says:
"I picked this up after hearing about it from Flip Florey on the "Relaxing Games" episode of the Dice Tower, and I really enjoyed it! Setup is part of the fun, and it plays super fast, with endgame scoring coming down to a point or two."

She Says:
"The spatial part of the game is neat, and the random nature of the path-making is fun, too. Also, set collecting..! I admit, I have a problem. It's okay."

Numerical Rating: 6
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14. Board Game: Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1717] [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Toni Catino
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He Says: snore
"The video game style artwork always makes me smile, but the game just bores me. It's super light, and plays relatively quickly, especially once each player has their dungeon built. Still, there is some fun to be had in this game."

She Says:
"The building and placement of your dungeon rooms is a lot of fun, and I like that the game doesn't last forever. But now that we've had it for a while, I can see that it's a bit more flawed than I first thought. I do still like it, though!"

Numerical Rating: 6
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15. Board Game: Burger Joint [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:5192]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"I enjoyed this lesser-known two-player euro. The cube-juggling was fluid and simple, but all the actions made sense. I can't say that I see too many paths to victory, but there's a bit of difference in how you earn those 12 points."

She Says:
"It's cute, but I can't help feeling like the pizza player is at a disadvantage throughout the game. I was always a step behind, and his publicity kept stealing the cubes I needed to advance. It was okay, but my first impression was pretty sour."

Numerical Rating: 6
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16. Board Game: Castellan [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3197]
Toni Catino
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He Says: shake
"I was terrible at this game in school, and I didn't fare much better playing this version. The cards were a neat twist, but only getting one back at a time led to a lot of stale play through the middle. It was also very obvious who was winning before the game was over."

She Says:
"I always loved this connect-the-dots game when I played it in school with loose-leaf paper. This was just that much better because of the actual castle pieces. The cards were a nice touch, too, as they kept things a bit random."

Numerical Rating: 5
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17. Board Game: Cathedral [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1631]
Toni Catino
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He Says:
"I used to keep this game on a coffee table because it just looks so great as a table-piece (until we got cats). It's quick-to-play, quick-to-teach, and the resemblances to other puzzle games and abstract games just make it that much better for me."

She Says:
"It's such a fast game, I barely realise when it's over! I'm so focused on fitting all of my pieces (which are awesome components, by the way) onto the board, I lose myself in it a bit. I like it, but abstracts just aren't my favourite style of game."

Numerical Rating: 6
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18. Board Game: Cirque du Monstre [Average Rating:5.80 Unranked]
Toni Catino
United States
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He Says:
"Yet another deck-builder, I tracked this one down to an import store online, and spent about a week creating and printing out paste-ups for it before we got it to the table. I'm glad we did, though! The mechanics are solid, and the game plays much quicker than most other deck-builders."

She Says:
"The art on some of these cards is really cute. I'm kinda bad at this one, but it's not super difficult, I just have a hard time remembering what my cards can do from turn to turn (my problem with deck-builders in general). It was also shorter than I would have liked."

Numerical Rating: 7
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19. Board Game: City of Iron [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:966]
Toni Catino
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He Says: meeple
"The art is what pulls me to any Red Raven title and this was no exception. It turned out to be a tight, interesting game, with a lot of elements that I liked (deck-building, cards as actions and resources, some area control). Easily a favourite."

She Says:
"The variable player nations in this game are cool, though the Cresarians are my favourite. I never felt like anything we did was a bad decision, which gave us plenty of paths to victory. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would!"

Numerical Rating: 9
 
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20. Board Game: Cleopatra and the Society of Architects [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:836]
Toni Catino
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He Says: meeple
"I love this game for the components alone, but it does seem to lose its interactivity with only two. It's not enough to mar my opinion, but it is worth noting."

She Says:
"This is probably the prettiest game we own. It looks a bit intimidating because of all the great components, but it's simply set collection. It would be a 5-star game with just a bit more going on."

Numerical Rating: 9
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21. Board Game: Click Clack Lumberjack [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1627]
Toni Catino
United States
Candler
Florida
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He Says:
"It comes with a plastic axe! And I get to hit things with it? But seriously, I do like this game for what it is. Anyone can learn to play it in seconds. I would like to own the updated version, or at least get printed stickers to give it a bit more depth, but it's still a fun game."

She Says: snore
"It's pretty ridiculous. I used to like playing Don't Break the Ice when I was little and this felt very similar to that game. Not really my cup of tea."

Numerical Rating: 6
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22. Board Game: Construction Zone [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:11163]
Toni Catino
United States
Candler
Florida
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He Says:
"The set collection is interesting, but I feel like it's a little bland with only two. It was cool seeing the better resources cycle through the deck after being used, but they hardly showed up in our game. It's a bit awkward compared to something like Archaeology, but I think it has its place on our shelf."

She Says:
"I like the game, but the theme just doesn't really appeal to me. It's fun, and the choices when making your sets are more involved than some of the other games in our collection, but I think I'd rather play those other games just for their art and more streamlined play."

Numerical Rating: 6
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23. Board Game: Crows [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3340]
Toni Catino
United States
Candler
Florida
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He Says:
"This was one of our first games played together! Reminiscence aside, I do enjoy this one, but we've just got other tile-laying games I enjoy more. If it wasn't for the cute pieces and simple gameplay, I'd pass."

She Says:
"The strategy of the tile-laying is a lot of fun. I love trying to balance blocking your opponent while also pulling in enough crows for yourself. And the pieces are little wooden crows, which are adorable!"

Numerical Rating: 7
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24. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:714] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Toni Catino
United States
Candler
Florida
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He Says:
"I love deck-building games. It's my love of CCGs without the exorbitant costs. I've played plenty of them, but this one was the easiest to teach (and suited our needs for theme). I can feel the close ties to Ascension, but this one will definitely see more play."

She Says:
"I like that it's superheroes, and it's easy for me to understand what each of the cards does, but I just don't really care for deck-building games. I liked this one, but it's probably the theme that cinches it for me."

Numerical Rating: 7
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25. Board Game: DiceAFARI [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:13246]
Toni Catino
United States
Candler
Florida
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He Says:
"This one plays wonderfully with two. The choices were simple, but interesting, and dice-rolling is always a plus. I also liked that there were different tile layouts shaped like different animals! Had I been on Kickstarter more at the time, I definitely would've backed this when it launched."

She Says: meeple
"I love to roll dice, especially if they have custom symbols on them. Also, I like that we get to make cute animal shapes with the tiles. It's just a great little game!"

Numerical Rating: 9
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