The first expansion of a collection (or good 2-4 player games)
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Beyond the initial copies of Risk, Monopoly, chess, Scrabble, and the like, people often first acquire some kind of gateway game to get into the hobby, whether it be Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, or perhaps Catan. The question is, where do you go from there. Here is a GeekList of a decent-sized order I placed when I was at that stage of collecting, and why I selected these particular titles.

In general, I've found that games playable by two is good, as my wife and I can play, and what are especially good are games that scale from that up to four, so that when we invite a couple over for dinner, we can play a cool Euro with them. Of course, these are typically non-gamers, so anything terribly complicated doesn't really fit the bill. Please feel free to add to this list if you find games that qualify!
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1. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This game is a wonderful lighter game to teach others. Hand management is simple: just match the color of the money on the tile you want, and then the object is also simple: collect tiles of the same color. The color of money versus color of tile can be a bit confusing, but most people catch on pretty quickly. My mom, a certified non-gamer, really enjoyed playing this, and did a great job of telling my dad where his building could and could not go, according to the walls on the tiles. This game also is decent with two, although much better as a couples' game.

I also picked up Alhambra: The Treasure Chamber, but haven't had a chance to get it on the table.
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2. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This game is awesome. Again, rules are not terribly complex: there's only a few different kinds of tiles, and they each exert one of three different kinds of influence. The endgame scoring is a little strange to the uninitiated, but I put it to newbies this way: "Make sure you have the most of a particular kind (otherwise you lose), but then get as many other pieces as possible, since that's the only way you win." Essentially, you can't just go after one thing, but don't try to be too balanced.

When I invited a couple over, the husband managed to pull of a three-tile move to totally snag some points from his wife. I was impressed by the move as well as his wife's good sportsmanship about it.
 
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3. Board Game: Masons [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1463]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This also is not too complicated: roll the dice, then place a wall and two colored houses. The connection between that and the cards takes a little bit, although after the first city or two is made, people catch on. I've been disappointed, though, that my wife does not like this all that much, despite her fondness for dice.
 
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4. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Now we move up a little bit on the difficulty scale. People seem to easily grasp the souks and how the camels and gold allow you to build buildings. What is more tricky, however, is the caravan. I almost recommend not playing with it the first time with the uninitiated, and as the game is pretty quick, having a second go adding the caravan.
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5. Board Game: Hacienda [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:709]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This game is slightly more complex still, although at its heart, it really comes down to playing land and animal tiles to make money to put down more land and animal tiles. It takes a little longer to play, so you have to know that people will be willing to make the investment, but it looks gorgeous as you're playing it.
 
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6. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1352]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This doesn't really fit into the category of a 2/4 player game, but it is a good one to play with a good-sized group. I'd recommend playing with at least six, since then you get plenty of trading and chaos.
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7. Board Game: Metro [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1452]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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I wanted to add a couple more games that fit the bill, although they were not part of this order. I stumbled upon a wonderful gaming store in Harvard Square and picked this up and really, really enjoyed it. I love how all the tracks make a maze across the board, and my wife loves the turn-of-the-century Parisian theme.
 
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8. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Jason Leveille
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Again, not part of the order, but I added this a couple of years after Metro. Personally, I prefer this greatly to Ticket to Ride, as I like the different roles. My wife loves to clear the board with the Administrator, and when we taught another couple the game, they loved it, and actually played twice: back-to-back!
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9. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:565]
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Why not add eh?

I enjoy this one a touch more than hacienda. The rules are a little smoother and the victory conditions add some spice.

If you haven't given it a go, I recommend it. The rules are easy to pick up and the player aids are nice.

The actual play is resource management and efficiency planning.
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10. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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Well this is the obvious one, A great game for spouses in general and plays very well with any number between 1-5. Besides I know you like this one.
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11. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:336]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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And the not so obvious but it realy does scale realy well.

My wife will actually play this one with me suprisingly, since it doesnt take too long, is easy to understand, and most of all is alot of fun.
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