What Couples Have Been Playing - February 2017 - Anniversary Edition
Ryan Olden
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A Couple of Gamers Welcomes You To

What Couples Have Been Playing
February 2017
Happy 1st Anniversary






Hello everyone and welcome to the monthly "What Couples Have Been Playing" Geeklist.

This is very much a geeklist for couples by couples, We can't wait to see what you have been playing. Feel free to post geeklist items, comments on other peoples items and mingle with the community in the comments below.


What you need to do

1/ Play a game as a couple within the month of February.
2/ Post a geeklist entry after you've played.
3/ Let us know how it played.
4/ Provide feedback for others (and give them a thumb).


Previous Geeklists


What Couples Have Been Playing - January 2017

What Couples Have Been Playing - December 2016

What Couples Have Been Playing - November 2016




Resources for Couples

A Couple of Gamers Guild



Couples of the Geek

Newbie Couples Games

[geeklist=170487]Cooperative Games For Couples[/geeklist]

What Couples Have Been Playing Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

A massive thank you to
Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
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for creating our very own aggregator, please check it out here


Tasks and Challenges


We as a community have been keeping this list going for one year now and I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has offered support and contributed to these ever growing lists.

For this month I would love it for us all to look back on this past year of gaming with our partners and recall any fond memories you have. The reason I started this list was for us to offer up our thoughts on how games play with just two but have in doing so also created a repository of fun moments that we can all look back on and get the warm fuzzies. Let's hear from you about some of your favourites these past 12 months.
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1. Board Game: Take Two! [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!


This month being the quintessential 'couples month' we are playing 2 player only games. I thought I'd do a generalised MEGA entry first as some things in my posts will change slightly.

Shorter posts – I know...thank God right!?! In general, due to the nature of 2 player only games, they tend to be shorter/play faster/be fillers etc. This means that we'll (potentially) be able to get more games played in our game time. With 20 games on the docket (and half of them new to us) I'd prefer to spend the time playing rather than typing. I'll generally just be keeping it brief and highlighting what I liked or didn't like about it if something particularly stands out. If you want more info though please feel free to ask me to elaborate. I'm never short on words! *LOL*

Recommendations – As we are usually playing multiplayer games, my recommendations are based on whether or not the game is suitable for 2 players. I have quite eclectic tastes so many of the games the masses like mostly don't tend to match up to games I consider fun, so I try to be as neutral as possible to account for all tastes. This month my recommendations will be on personal preference only so instead I'll provide a star rating which indicates how much I liked it...subsequent to change on further plays. If you've been reading my posts over the last several months and my taste matches up with yours then feel free to investigate further if I like something. I assume that all the games will be suitable for 2, but of course some might be suitable with zero players...

Star Rating
1 Pretty Terrible/Hated It – never want to play again
2 Not a Fan – could be convinced to play again though
3 Neutral/Undecided– it's OK, could take it or leave it
4 Very Good
5 Amazing/Perfect

And finally, as a person who has played my fair share of 2p only games, here's a list of games which will not be included this month and my corresponding star rating as a benchmark:
7 Ronin
Aether Captains: The Search
Aton
Autumn (1-3 players but too good not to be mentioned)
Day & Night
Detective Graves Against The Mastermind
Dragonheart
Drako: Dragon & Dwarves
Hemloch
Hnefatafl
Island Siege
Le Havre: The Inland Port
Longhorn
Mijnlieff
Oshi
Outlaw (2-3 players and SO fun!)
Patchwork
Quarto
Raptor
Six Sons of the Sultan
Surakarta
Tally Ho!
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2. Board Game: Flowerpower [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2830]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Ingenious with flowers. Rare Kosmos 2 player tile placement and area control game that can be peaceful or cutthroat. Make the largest flower beds of each type of flower as you can on only your side of the board and extending into the central zone. 3 times during the game you can use your tiles as weeds to plant in your opponents garden usually trying to cut them off from expansion. Fight over dominance over the central strip is inevitable at some point. Feels similar to Ingenious but different enough that we are keeping both. The small board and tiny tiles are adorable and portable. Loved it from the first time we played it, still love it today.

Winner kiss 21 v 19
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3. Board Game: Trambahn [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1287]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Play# d10-1
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Lost Cities with trains. Helmut Ohley of the excellent First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express! seems to have a thing for trains. So do we! Play your multi-use cards as passengers, stations or money to make the most points from 10 scoring rounds, and plan to trigger extra scoring rounds for yourself only during the game. Seems highly luck dependent in the card draw. cool was getting yellow and green cards galore which allowed him to build up his lines fast and trigger multiple scoring rounds quite quickly. I had very few of those colours and he pressed his advantage. His scores from the first 8 rounds – 20, 0, 20, 26, 0, 26, 3, 26. My scores from the first 8 rounds – 2, 6, 0, 4, 8, 8, 2, 10. I built up all of my lines slow and steady and used conductors to fill out my trains and ended up triggering 3 extra scorings for myself while he had none.

Winner kiss 179 v 171
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4. Board Game: Babel [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1195]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Play# d10-1
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Highly aggressive, cutthroat Uwe Rosenberg set collection offering. Build up your temples, watch the other person tear them down or steal your work using the powers of their biblical tribes. Repeat until one person has 15 points and the other less than 10. If one person already has 10, then the first to 20 wins unless somebody drops below 10. Different and clever system of play which relies heavily on the right cards at the right time. Was enjoyable, but not completely sold on it yet. Definitely needs more plays.

Winner cool 15 v 8
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5. Board Game: Ingenious: Travel Edition [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1034]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Play# d10-1
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Dominos with colours. The cutest little hex shaped tiles snap on to a portable 2p only board. Score the higher of the lowest scores of your colours to win. This, surprisingly, feels nothing like Flowerpower . Always a quick, fun time to be had. A firm favourite in our collection.

Winner cool 8 v 6
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6. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:858]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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Our first game of the month was serene rather than passionate.

It had been a hard day with a lot on.

A wind down with this quick gentle classic was just what the doctor ordered. Even if I didn't win.

kiss
arrrhcry

Not sure what happened here. Not that it matters. We never regard winning or losing as important. But I have the better spatial awareness so I usually win this game. Instead, I went out about halfway through. She kept going until her very last tile which took her out. Much better than her usual result.
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7. Board Game: Dingo's Dreams [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:3387]
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
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I received a parcel today containing One Deck Dungeon, The Oracle of Delphi and Dingo's Dreams.

The rules to the last of these are so short that Jan and I tried Dingo's Dreams this evening. It's a neat simultaneous puzzle game played on a 5x5 grid, where you reveal animals each turn and then push tiles in your grid (Amazing Labyrinth style) trying to manoeuvre them into a specific configuration. First to do so shouts "Dingo" (or should that be "Bingo") and wins the game - or round if you're playing to a certain number of target wins. Very simple and quick but fun for a really short game. Jan won.
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8. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Rita Chen
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Hi all! I've been around the guild for a while, but this is my first official post to the What Couples Have Been Playing geeklist. Look forward to reading this month!

A game of Castles of Burgundy, in which I was (sigh) beaten 180-207. We played boards 9 (me) and 4 (him).

I had quite a few 1- to 3-tile regions, and focused on completing small regions early. But I didn't plan my last few rounds very well, which was my downfall. Because I had a neat combo of two very specific knowledge tiles -- take 4 workers instead of two + take 1 silver, in addition to workers -- I fell back on a totally bizarre strategy of doing nothing but taking workers + silver during the entire last round. It ended up getting me more VPs than doing anything else would have! (7 VP from silver, 14 VP from workers. Still not enough to win.)


Calvin managed to fill up a lot more of his board than I did, thanks to brown buildings which let him grab extra tiles. He had more flexibility, too; early on, he grabbed the knowledge tile that gives you a worker plus a silver for every mine, and ended up swimming in free workers. In the last round, he completed a couple of the big brown-building regions, which netted him a lot of points. I despaired. We'd been neck-and-neck up till that point!


I probably should have struggled harder to get ships; I think lagging behind in turn order all game really hurt my tile grabs. Usually I play better than this. I blame it on playing past midnight. Next time, I'll best him. ninja

Out of curiosity, what do everyone's typical Castles of Burgundy scores look like?
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9. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:551]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Carcassonne Contained. Reiner Knizia's spin on Carcassonne but built for only 2p. Has some different elements to regular Carcassonne such as building within a grid instead of organically, a scoretrack which has stops where you can earn bonus tiles that mix up the scoring conditions and add replayability eg. taking 2 turns in a row, scoring for uncompleted features (which do not score in this game unlike regular Carcassonne), double points for scoring a particular feature etc. I felt it was more interesting than regular Carc, I love the quirky art and the mystery of the hidden tiles plus the puzzle of trying to get to them to improve your scores. The merchants, which work pretty much like farmers, are much easier to score for here so if you don't like the farmers this might be something you are interested in. cool said he didn't see the point of this game if the regular Carcassonne already exists. He found this one boring because his paths were constrained. You know how he feels about pathways devil. I think he screwed himself over because he put out every one of his meeples and then couldn't/didn't complete features (tile placement rules are more relaxed so you don't have to match any features except paths) so he was just placing tiles without scoring for multiple turns.

Winner kiss 86 v 68
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10. Board Game: Haru Ichiban [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2328]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Play# d10-1
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Zen Connect 4. Simple, relaxing, easy to learn, easy to teach, easy to play. I don't usually get along with Bruno Cathala designs as there always seems to be something missing, but I love the streamlined elegance and smooth gameplay of this one. Based on this game, and the posts of Kingdomino to this list, I'm thinking that might be one I'd enjoy as well. I am totally inept at seeing connections or great moves in these types of games so I always lose, but it's short enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome. My goal is to get at least one point on the scoretrack and I achieved that today. Great game to end a fun day of gaming. We're off together again tomorrow so stay tuned!

Winner cool 5 v 1
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11. Board Game: Mille Bornes [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6883]
Kaitlyn Morgan
Canada
Kanata
Ontario
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I used to play this all the time as a kid and loved it. When I introduced my husband to it, he fell in love with it as well. We recently managed to score a copy from a consignment shop for $2.50 and tonight we played it.

Now as a kid, we never used the scoring (basically the person who got to 1000 miles won) but I wanted to play it right this time and used the scoring. I will admit, the game is far better with 4 in teams, but it was alright with 2. My husband won with 5100 points, but I ended up with 3450, which after trailing horribly, wasn't bad.

Overall, I would play again with two, but definitely would recommend playing with 4 in teams.

Update: Played again tonight and scores were much closer. This time I won 5375 to 4150. Still better in teams, but it can definitely get close.
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12. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:220]
Stephen Miller
United Kingdom
Newport
Gwent
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Light and mathy was the order of the day, so we picked this one. I lost 55-50, with my husband going first. I think both our strategies worked, his just worked a little better. Weirdly, he got 3 of the expansion special buildings, while I got three of the base set special buildings.

Wonderful, quick, two player worker placement game.
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13. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:643]
Kevin W
Germany
Wiesbaden
Hessen
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We have really stared to lean towards lighter games rather than longer games recently. And we love this one, also excited for the upcoming expansion. One of our favorites and a great game with a unique theme and great art. Also love the hand crafted bits made by the designer.
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14. Board Game: Axiom [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:4348]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Play# d10-2
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Unique brain bending 3D abstract strategy game that the box says can last 2 mins to 2 hours. Takes some getting used to with the 3D element...a turntable or Lazy Susan would come in handy. Looks and feels like Monument Valley...in a way. Rules were simple and easy, but the associated picture examples contradict some of the stated rules so for more clarity I'd recommend going to the Axiom website or ignore the examples altogether. Our first game took about 3 mins and our second about 20. Experimented with a couple of different setups which can make the game more interesting, or variable, or difficult. As we didn't know what we were doing, we were just playing around. Has a nice level of thinkiness. Components are hella cool. Getting the pieces back in the box can be a puzzle in itself!

Winner cool
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15. Board Game: Micropul [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2429]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Abstract Tile Placement with Activating Powers. A one sheet Print 'n Play game with many different and varied designs. Try to make/expand large groups of micropul, claim them for yourself, and close them off while earning extra tiles or turns by placing tiles. One of our favourite tile placement games with a good level of hand management thrown in. I've played both solo and 2 player and I like both but will give the slight edge to 2 player...just because I am pants at getting solo games to the table . If you've played Ingenious with the solo rules, then this feels similar. For 2 players it's a light, thinky, but not brain burning game where you can have a decent level of blocking, or expanding your opponent's territory so they can't score as only closed groups score...dependent on tile draw of course. A great game to take on your travels as it packs small and the table footprint is also quite small.

Winner kiss 36 v 22
 
 
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16. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:269] [Average Rating:7.40 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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The only thing stopping this game being my favourite Ticket are the dratted luggage tokens. The game play is brilliant, as are the cards. Every single train card is unique, and an accurate representation of a Marklin model. I love the whole concept of the passengers. But the implementation of the cargo they pick up is just naff. Little cardboard discs (I know I know!) that skitter all over the map. And are nearly impossible to pick up when surrounded by plastic trains. Sigh.

A close game. I thought I had it in the bag, but it turned out I had one ticket not yet completed. Just a single train route to complete it but kiss got there first. At least I now know where the pinch point is on this map.

Still...
arrrh 180
kiss 173 cry
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17. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:173]
Atnier Rodriguez
United States
Monroe
Connecticut
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DUNGEON PETZ



I started on the lead, winning the first exhibition but by turn 4, she had caught up to tie with me and then won by just 1 point!

In the final turn, her very first move with a group of 5 imps was to block the immigration office, denying me the opportunity of claiming all the cousins waiting for the green card. What kind of monster blocks immigration proceedings and separates families?!

I got a lot of negative points due to the missing imps and the fact that I had one very filthy cage with 3 poops on it and she had a pristine dungeon. On top of that, she had 3 artifacts vs my only artifact.

Game took about 3 hours for reteaching and careful step-by-step playing. The game is not that hard once it gets going, but every little corner of it has thematic artwork, so it is very busy and inelegant. However, despite its length, I recommend it. Very few games make you so invested in the mechanics of hand management, because you really start feeling like you are taking care of very demanding pets and you start asking them "Why do you have to poop so much?" or "Oh no...sorry...you are going to have to mutate this turn."

The dummy space-blocking imps for 2-3 player games are far less intrusive than I thought based on the rulebook. You just move them and that's it. Don't be afraid to try this game with 2 players!
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18. Board Game: Dice Heist [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:4579]
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
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Tonight’s game was the fun dice game, Dice Heist, which we played on our Caribbean cruise last year and Jan won it easily. This time, I turned the tables by pretty much ignoring the paintings and going for gem groups. As a result, I ended up winning 50-38.

I also got another delivery today containing Dream Home and First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express. That makes five new games this month already. I need to start playing some more.
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19. Board Game: Revolver 2: Last Stand at Malpaso [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3084]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Spaghetti Western...in a tin! Quickdraw fast cardplay with some multiuse cards and tough decisions – how much firepower to deploy at each location, deciding whether to play a character now at your current location, play them to or save them for a future location, or to keep the card for later use as TNT to blow up the Los Quantos Bridge or for ammo for the Gatling Gun at the showdown in the abandoned silver mine. Some cards can be used for their special ability or as ammo or TNT as well. Super tense and exciting game. Poker game at the beginning feels a bit tacked on though so I can take or leave that aspect. Rules are a bit opaque in some places when you are first learning the game, and the names of the gangs (Malpaso vs Mapache) are horribly confusing until you get the hang of it, but if I only had to own a few duelling card games it would be hands down this, Day & Night and Seasons. One of the few games I rate a 10. Fantastic artwork! Extra props because it stacks nicely with my Forbidden Island tin

Heard of overkill? That was Padre Esteban of the Malpaso Guardians. The Mexican Army were nowhere close. Winner kiss (General Mapache)
 
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20. Board Game: DruidenWalzer [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:5288]
 
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Dancing Druids. Another rare one from the early Kosmos 2 player line, this is an unusual and interesting hand management and point-to-point movement game where one player is the Moon, and the other the Sun, and you are trying to convert trees over to your side by making Druids dance to entice the tree spirits (cards) away from their trees and towards yours. If a tree is left without any spirits for 2 consecutive turns the tree is automatically converted over to the other side. You can actively work to convert your opponent's trees, in which case after the Druid face-off the winning party places one of his tokens on the tree for possible conversion. When the 6th token is placed the tree is converted to the other side. Turn 2 trees (out of 4) of your opponent to win. You have a trade off in the game about whether you want to win at some points or not – if you win, your winning card (tree spirit) leaves your tree to the discard pile so that will now weaken your hold on that tree.

I love obscure and unusual games, and the way that the game works in general, but it's one of those that falls into the “I don't mind playing it, but I don't necessarily get excited about it” set of feelings. With many other games that I do get excited about in the 2 player only or unusual/obscure games categories, I can take or leave this one and will probably phase it out of my collection at some point. I like Day & Night much better and it gives the same type of feeling.

Winner kiss 2 v 0
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21. Board Game: Onitama [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:210]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Like Chess...but with cards that determine movement options. Something that I was interested in since I heard about it back in 2015, but not something that I necessarily would have bought because my husband plays Chess and Go a lot, and I do not play either. I like the idea of perfect information games, but the execution leaves much to be desired. I am more of a tactical player while he is more of a forward thinker so I get creamed in a lot of abstract strategy games. I prefer games where it is fair to both of us and we equally have a chance of winning. Mijnlieff is the only one where I have a chance, and I'm actually leading in wins on that one. Always on the hunt for another abstract that can replicate that equity, so when Onitama became available to me via the PnP route I jumped on it. Just as we keep Outlaw in the box of Oregon because we use the cowboy meeples as the outlaws, we keep Onitama in the Ninja Versus Ninja box as we use the minis for both. Playing was fun even if it was a bit confusing for me having to analyse my move against what moves he could make next. Can be slightly AP inducing. Hopefully I'll get better with more plays, but...

Winner kiss

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22. Board Game: Ninja Versus Ninja [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:4097]
Garrett
United Kingdom
London
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Stealthy sneaky ninjas on a mission. Roll-and-move press-your-luck exercise in precise dice rolling. Try to infiltrate the other person's dojo and score points based on how risky...and subsequently lucky...you are. Try not to get captured by the opposing ninjas. First to 7 points wins. Unique dice and awesome miniatures! More fun than it should be for just a simple roll 'n move game shake

Winner kiss 8 v 2

So...12 games in two days...not a bad start. We'll probably just cycle through plays of these over the next few days and get to the others near the end of next week. Until then, happy gaming!
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23. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:496]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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Two games of Kingdom Builder. One of my favorite games. She won both games by close scores. I did make sure to point out her options although less during the second game.

First game - Knights, Farmer, Merchants
Second game - Fishermen, Citizens, Miners.

Second game was more straightforward, the first combination had more to think about.

Plays very well with two, I like it more with four due to the congestion more players creates, but it is still a great game with two.

It plays quickly for two about 30 mins once you've played it a few times. The varying board lay out and victory conditions make it a unique puzzle every time.
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24. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:430]
Kynan Stuttard
Australia
Narre Warren South
Victoria
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Nice friendly game. Was close in the end, with my fences winning the game.
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25. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:77]
Mike Macdonald
United States
Neenah
Wisconsin
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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.
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Last month we finished Pandemic Legacy and my wife wanted to get her fix in again. Normally we opt to play Pandemic the Cure, but we were playing later at night and didn't want to wake the kiddos with all the dice chucking.

We played at standard difficulty, without any expansions. She was the Medic and I was the Scientist and we won in about 40 minutes, shortly after drawing our third epidemic.
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