Playing Partner Profile: Please Propose Possible Purchases
Murray C
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My main gaming partner is my wonderful fiancé, Jasmine. We got engaged this summer (wedding's next summer) and we spend practically all our time outside of work together. As such, she has been indespensable as a gaming partner (and for other reasons, naturally).

I'm good to go with almost any game, so for the most part, I cater to her preferences. However, she has been a bit of a hard case to crack as games become hits and misses with her for a wide variety of reasons. Games that I think she would love turn out to be ones that she despise and ones that I think she would have little to no interest in, she would somehow discover on her own and get me to buy with little to no playtesting.

The games that I have right now have been enjoyed quite a bit and I think we're ready to have a few new ones hit the table. I've already taken her out a few times to a FLGS to test out some games in an effort to see what would pass her acid test, but I personally don't know that many games myself. So, I thought I would turn to and ask the powerful BGG collective for some helpful suggestions.

Below is a profile of my beloved gaming partner. Games that are Hits are listed and in the item description are Misses, or games that are similar in some way that have failed to make an impact. Some item descriptions will also have Mehs, which are games that she wouldn't mind playing but wouldn't go out of her way to bring it to the table.

Please put suggestions as replies to similar items on the list. Thanks in advance for your help!
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1. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:123]
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Hit: Go

We actually started dating because a long promised game of Go was postponed and extended to after high school graduation. While it was popular with asian parents to toss piano lessons at their kids in North America, apparently the "in" thing to do in Taiwan was Go.

Jasmine has many years of experience playing Go while I got interested in the game near the end of high school because of the manga, Hikaru no Go. She noticed me playing a game with friends and eventually we played some games together outside of school.

The first few games we played, I took advantage of key mistakes and won, but after she shook off some rust, she dominated me. I haven't won a game since. More recently, this game hasn't been brought out too much because of the time it takes to play a game and the number of pieces to clean up afterwards. It also doesn't help that all my other games are stacked up on top of it, making it a hassle to dig out.

Miss: Chess
 


On the opposite side of the spectrum, I was taught to play Chess by my father at a young age. I started beating my dad at around the age of 11, after much studying and online play.

Though Jasmine knows how the pieces move (what beginners think is "knowing how to play Chess"), the difference in level of our games is simply too great for her to enjoy the game. Unlike me, my fiancé is not so keen on self-guided practice.

In terms of abstract games, we need to be at about the same level for her to willingly play a few games. At this point, anything I research and learn, I can demostrate or teach to her and we will both advance on the learning curve and will continue to enjoy the game.
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2. Board Game: Othello [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:2391]
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Hit: Othello

Except we call it Reversi

This is somewhat similar to the cases above. Jasmine had a pretty cool grandfather and learned to play this from a young age. We both enjoy playing this, but it is very clear that she's better than me. While I understand vital areas to control and such, Jasmine knows it so well that it is second nature to her and she can just let her intuition fly and play without really thinking.

I can beat the AI on the iPhone app that I use as a training partner for this game pretty consistently, but Jasmine is able to completely obliterate it, leaving only a handful of pieces in their name by the end of the game.

Whether it is because she goes easy on me or because I'm just used to her playing style, we can still manage decent games of Othello.

Miss: Connect Four


Again, on the flipside, I have a strong history with Connect Four, having played it throughout my childhood with friends and even on paper during highschool. I have played it to the point where I have a good sense of how to control the game so that I would have the advantage once it gets to the point where both players can only make moves where they avoid a deadly column.

Against equal opponents, there are often ties. However, Jasmine doesn't really feel like dedicating so much time into a game just to force draws. That's fine by me, I'm kind of done with the game too
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3. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2544]
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Hit: Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates

I mentioned Jasmine's cool grandfather above, in the Othello item. Well, when we first started dating, she knew I liked video games and dug out her old SNES for some games. Since my first console was the N64, I was totally unprepared for the ass-whooping I got in Baseball and other games.

When Jasmine was studying abroad or visiting her extended family overseas, we would often help each other pass the time with Bejeweled or Hexic over MSN. She is a fair bit better than me at Bejeweled and I am a bit better than her at Hexic.

After coming across Puzzle Pirates one summer, I thought back to our parallel solitaire sessions of puzzling together and thought that she might like the MMO game and I was right. The cute graphics and friendly players (it helped that the average player for YPP is older than most other MMOs) won her over and we played together religiously for several years.

Miss: Team Fortress 2


...or any other FPS for that matter. They tend to give her headaches/motion sickness. As well, blood and gore never really appealed to her and whiney, high-pitched players of most other games turned her off from expanding on her experiences with online gaming.

She has, however, started enjoying a female-targetted MMO called Faunasphere and, prior to YPP, liked Neopets.
 
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4. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:15470]
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Hit: The Game of Life

Jasmine has fond childhood memories of the Game of Life. Having never really played it myself, I couldn't really see what the big deal was. Still, we played a few times after picking it up at a toy store. But I think she got the hint that I found the game dreadfully boring and rarely suggests that we bring it out.

Miss: Monopoly


This was my first commercial board game. I worked hard at chores at home to earn it myself when I was little and played it a fair bit with my friends and family. Like with Chess, I found a book of Monopoly tips and strategies at the library and absorbed its knowledge, becoming a powerful player.

I don't know why people complain about Monopoly's length. Against a group that isn't fully aware of my history with the game, a game rarely lasts an hour. One time Jasmine's family got a Deluxe or Anniversary edition of the game for whatever reason and I sat down with them to play and wrapped up the game in half and hour, despite the remaining three players joining forces after I knocked out one player.

Like with other games that have a level disparity, this one isn't that popular with Jasmine, although she has allowed a game or two to slip by before remembering why she doesn't play it with me anymore
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5. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1524]
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Hit: Scrabble

Jasmine's interest in Scrabble stems back to that period of time when we were trying out different games over MSN messenger. One of those games was Upword. Jasmine was both flustered and amazed with the ability to earn massive points with just a few well placed tiles. She bugged me for a long time to get Travel Scrabble for long excursions.

We're both well read. In fact, Jasmine is a high school English teacher now and I work as a freelance writer on the side of my day job. We're pretty even in Scrabble and play the game aggressively, blocking the bonus spots and taking whatever we can. Some games can get quite bitter and Jasmine has a nice Threadless t-shirt (http://www.threadless.com/product/297/Well_This_Just_Really_...) that depicts her love/hate relationship with the game quite well.

Up until this point, we still have yet to dive into, what I call, the "contemporary games". In recent times, this game has seen less play.

Miss: Trivial Pursuit


Jasmine hates this game. While she has a good head of knowledge on her shoulders, my reading selection and interests as a child simply covers a much wider spectrum of topics. As such, I tend to dance about the board answering an endless series of questions, making the game full of downtime for her.

Needless to say, we've only played this game once.
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6. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2544]
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Hit: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

By now you probably have a pretty good idea of what my fiancé is like. She likes to be challenged, but needs a ray of hope in order to press on. As well, cute pictures and non-offensive themes are very important to her. Finally, games with little to no "screw-you" mechanics are preferred.

You will be surprised then, that she enjoys Advance Wars a lot. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, she was bugging me constantly for a few games. This is in spite of the fact that I am much better than her, the game involves direct conflict, and Days of Ruin features much more grittier art than the previous iterations of the game (of which she has never played and has declared never will play).

I have taught her a lot about the thinking and strategy behind Advance Wars. Having enjoyed many games on Advance Wars by Web by amarriner, I shared my knowledge on early game capture procedures and money management as well as how to position defenses and time offensive pushes.

Jasmine eagerly learned everything and, early on, we played handicapped games where she used her favourite character, Penny, in a scenario that is heavily leaning in her favour. Now, she gives me a good challenge in even match ups and wins a good third of our games. The fact that she still loves the game and still wants to play the game baffles me, as I have been getting no luck pushing other video games on her. Hopefully the upcoming Pokemon Rumble game for WiiWare will catch her attention.

Meh: Risk


Unsurprisingly, almost, Jasmine is not a big fan of Risk. Myself, I only became attached to the game after a few sessions with LotR Risk and Clone Wars Risk with my friends.

I'll be honest, I suck at Risk. I haven't bothered to read up on strategies and the like and probably still won't now since the game doesn't get that much play.

However, you may have noticed that Jasmine really likes winning and does not mind playing games where she can let loose on someone. In one of our first games of Risk, Jasmine proceeded to split Asia in half with an ill advised death march with a single batch of troops. She left a crusades-like strip of single infantry troops along the way but managed to completely destroy all my troops in Australia to take over the continent.

I suppose now would be a good point to note that my fiancé permanently has lady luck on her side. Sure, there are some games where she gets a number of bad rolls or draws, but for the most part, when she needs it the most, those double or triple sixes will almost always appear.

In either case, she conquered enough land to make my next turn's spawn pitifully small and I lost shortly thereafter and she has never let it down how badly she beat me. And yet, despite this, she is still not a big fan of the game. I'm guessing it is a combination of luck and the fact that she still doesn't quite understand the mechanics of the game well enough to play well. Also, the theme probably bores her to hell.

Meh: Heroscape


I didn't expect Heroscape to fair that much better, but there was still hope stemming from Advance Wars and the fact that she loves the chomping dinosaur.

In one of our first games, I didn't have the heart to shoot everything I had at her dinosaur on the first turn, since she hadn't chomped on anything yet and I didn't want to turn her off from the game. However, I would later regret my moment of mercy, as the dino rampaged through the middle of my troops and the rest were picked off.

Again, despite having lots of fun initially, Jasmine isn't that keen on playing Heroscape again. I think it has something to do with the set up time and the fact that the video game interface for battle and war games is much better and easier to use and comprehend.
 
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7. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:282] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
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Hit: The Settlers of Catan

Here we go, our first "real" game! (It should be noted that Heroscape was played a few months after we started with Catan). Catan was our gateway game, but it wasn't me that introduced it to Jasmine.

Instead, it was her teacher friends who first taught her the game and, afterwards, she got me to buy it to play. I had played Settlers before but I wasn't that interested in it. Blasphemy, I know, but it probably had something to do with the fact that my first game was played with younger kids. Rest assured, I have since been converted and now love the game.

I think that Jasmine tends to take my suggestions with a bigger grain of salt than with others. She is much more eager to grind through games and give them a second chance if she was the one that discovered it first and not me.

In either case, we are both now fairly strong Catan players, adopting slightly different strategies from each other. The only thing that gets me is, Jasmine can still bear grudges from bitter Catan games but will still be up for another game (those not always with begrudged players).

Hit: Catan: Seafarers


Seafarers gets high marks in both our books. We feel that it keeps the soul of the Catan game while adding tonnes of flair and variety. Jasmine is an above average ranked player on AsoBrain and really likes the different scenarios and maps offered there, especially Forest Escape. Seafarers essentially makes those things happen for her in the physical realm, which is nice.

Miss: Catan: Cities & Knights


C&K, on the other hand, changes Catan dramatically. Jasmine doesn't like the fact that a game she knew so well is now entirely different. Myself, I went through a phase where I disliked the game, then I learned how to play it and loved all the different available strategies, and then I hated it again after many bad/stupid games.
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8. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:320]
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Hit: Citadels

After Catan, we looked around for our second contemporary board game. There was a big desire for a good two-player game, since Catan required three players for its original rules.

At our FLGS, the store clerk made several suggestions, including Carcassonne, Hive, and Citadels. We didn't want to get lots of expansions and didn't want a game that was strictly two-players since we had lots of friends that we play with regularly, so we ended up getting Citadels.

This was a great buy, Jasmine and I are fairly in sync with each other and it's fun to try and play mind games in two-player Citadels. Despite plenty of opportunities for grudges and bitter feelings to form, Jasmine seems to accept it all as part of the game and has never had a bad time. I think the fact that the element of luck is controlled so well really helps here, whereas with Catan, the dice can be very frustrating.

Miss: Bang!


I only list this here because it is also a card game. Jasmine doesn't really like Bang! because it doesn't really control luck that well. Your characters are completely random and not all of them are balanced. As well, the spread of the cards in the deck is very poor and makes it hard to play no matter what your strategy is. The theme isn't very appealing to her and, finally, the fact that it is an elmination game really throws things in a loop.

Meh: Cash 'n Guns


Similar to Bang! Jasmine isn't fond of pointing guns at people and directly targetting someone. I suppose Cash 'n Guns is a bit too malicious, though she does like the super powers and doesn't mind the game as much when she has team mates, as in Yakuzas or in Live.
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9. Board Game: 10 Days in Europe [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1604]
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Hit: 10 Days in Europe

Like most new BGGers, I learned a lot from Mr. Tom Vassel and his top 100 games list. Among the games, I took note of the 10 Days series that he mentioned to be a hit with his wife.

Jasmine loves travelling and loves Europe. She took an instant liking to the theme of the game. Though the gameplay is fairly light and a bit mindless, it nevertheless got plenty of play when we first got it. We still enjoy occasional play even today.

I think it really has to do with the theme. If it was not Europe, I am certain that Jasmine would be bored of it fairly quickly.

Meh: Lost Cities


This was another game that Tom noted was popular with his wife. We tried it out at a FLGS and weren't that impressed. A card counting game with oversized cards just didn't interest Jasmine that much. Perhaps a different themed might have swayed her. It also didn't help that one could essentially recreate the game with a basic deck of cards.

Miss: Ticket to Ride


A total miss with this gateway game. The start up card collecting is so dull that it killed it for us right off the bat. Perhaps if we had not already discovered so many board games already it might have gotten a chance to get a place in our heart, but as it is, the game was too simple and lacked tension.
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10. Board Game: Munchkin Bites! [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3176] [Average Rating:6.03 Unranked]
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Hit: Munchkin

A friend of mine really liked Munchkin a lot, probably because of its RPG-based humour. I got a chance to try out a game of Munchkin Bites with a group of friends at a FLGS and Jasmine really liked the vampire theme. Please note that this is a good couple of years before Twilight and that my fiancé, though a fan of the book series, was so totally into vampires before it was cool.

We also enjoy Munchkin Booty, the pirate themed version, due to our shared love of Puzzle Pirates. The pictures were cute and that thrilled Jasmine, she had favourite monsters that she would almost always boost to help them win.

Miss: Munchkin


However, the game is also a bit of a miss with her as well, especially since she hates the backstabbing and severe screw-you mechanisms that drive the game. As a player always willing to lend a helping hand, Jasmine tends to level up quite quickly and hates it when everyone pounces on her when she is the leader, giving an opportunity for the runner up to win the game when everyone runs out of cards.

Of course, it sucks that all the people she helped would suddenly turn against her and instead help a player win when they hadn't done anything for others. Unless it is with a small group of close friends, or a heads up game against me, she would almost always sit out.
 
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11. Board Game: Munchkin Quest [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:3786]
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Hit: Munchkin Quest

As you may see now, theme and cuteness plays a big role and this became quite evident to me when dealing with these items.

We tried out Munchkin Quest at PAX this year with some friends and had a pretty good time. The rules were easy to learn since we already knew Munchkin fairly well. Jasmine instantly took a liking to several of the monsters and didn't mind the quality of components. She also thought the modular board was pretty cool.

Backstabbing didn't make much of a play here since the players kind of paired off a bit with myself and another player teaming up in an attempt to loot a room of a fallen player's stuff, only to fall foul to a super enhanced monster, which led to Jasmine's easy victory. Jasmine mentioned that she wouldn't mind getting the game, but I reminded her that we could just stick with regular Munchkin and get pretty much the same experience.

Miss: Descent


One of the main reasons I said that was because a much better dungeon crawler was on my mind. I have been dying to try Descent ever since I saw it featured in Tom Vassel's vidoes. However, Jasmine simply never took to the theme and barely gave the FFG figurines a second look. I guess she really isn't a RPG gal.

Miss: Zombies!!


Another modular game that we tried out at PAX, except this one was a miss. The main factor was, of course, the theme, which both grossed and freaked her out. Jasmine, despite being a bug-collecting tomboy as a child, is quite a squeamish girly girl now and the gruesome and graphic pictures on the Zombies cards did not resonate with her.

Miss: Dungeon Twister


Another dungeon crawler game that I picked up after hearing that Tom's wife enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the complexity and Jasmine's general disinterest in the theme made this game sit on the shelf after one play. While some people prefer the AP system over random dice rolls, Jasmine seems to like a bit of luck in her games (and who wouldn't, with her luck). I have a suspicion that the expansions might have helped, but I wasn't willing to bet $50 on it.
 
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12. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (second edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:403]
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Hit: Fury of Dracula

This is a game that seems to defy all logic. It is directly confrontation, very long, and fairly complex. The only things it has going for it is the vampire theme. It went so well that Jasmine discovered the game on her own and dragged me to the store to get it.

I hadn't even heard of this game until Jasmine pointed it out to me at the store. Despite still not totally confident that I understand all the rules completely, Jasmine loves the game and loves to play Dracula. This is true even though the Dracula player tends to have a lot of downtime and suffers a lot of grief and stress.

This is perhaps because Jasmine plays Dracula well. She likes to be an aggressive Dracula, aiming for a quick kill or bite early on in the game before disappearing through the sea or evasion card and planting new vampires all over the place.

On occasion, she will suffer a really bad beat and will bear a grudge on the game for a few weeks. But her temper will cool and she will always ask for a game of FoD down the road. I really don't get her sometimes

Hit: Werewolves


This is another game that she enjoys in spite of its conflict-ridden nature. I think the main appeal in the game is the socializing with friends ideal behind the game. It really is a good party game. Like with Munchkin, Jasmine enjoys playing this with close friends only and would prefer to sit out and make snacks if there are personalities in the group that she can't stand.

Meh: Scotland Yard


Though similar to FoD, I was quite bummed out by Jasmine's indifference to this game. It plays much quicker than Dracula and is quite fun in my mind. Perhaps I play it too much or perhaps there is a reason why Jasmine prefers an aggressive Dracula over a stealthy one...
 
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13. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:119]
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Hit: Princes of Florence

This is another game that caught Jasmine's attention and caught me by surprise. I'm still not quite sure where and how she is hearing about these games but she does make quality choices. If only I can somehow trick her into thinking that a game I want to play is her "discovery."

The renaissance/euro theme appeals to Jasmine, but she doesn't really want too many games that are similar thematically or mechanically, which would explain her general disinterest in Puerto Rico and Notre Dame. A game would need to have something unique about it in order for it to be brought regularly to the table.

Miss: Power Grid


A friend introduced this great game to us but Jasmine didn't quite take to it. I suspect it was probably because the inherent worth of the factories were over our heads as we were first time players while the veterans in the group knew what they want and what they wanted to wait for.

First impressions are big with Jasmine, as she can dismiss a game just by its cover. Our first session with the game probably wasn't that enjoyable for her, with issues stemming from both ends of the spectrum. Other new players were taking much too long for their turns and veteran players were having too much fun crushing the newbies.

Aside from the fact that the theme wasn't that interesting to Jasmine, I have a feeling that we can live without this one.
 
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14. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Murray C
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Hit: Pandemic

Co-op games are probably the best fit for Jas, in my mind. Our group loves Pandemic and we're particularly good at not bossing people around. However, though co-op games are great for groups, they see less play as a two player game. Or it could just be that we play Pandemic too much and, when it's just the two of us, Jasmine prefers to play something else for a change of pace.

We have the expansion and like it well enough, though we very rarely play the Bio-Terrorist variation as we feel it goes against the spirit of the game (see Catan above).

Miss: Shadows Over Camelot


Somehow someone always pins Jasmine as the traitor, as she can be a bit of a tricky devil when she needs to be. However, in every case so far, they have been wrong. One time we even had a game where none of the seven players were the traitor! It was ridiculous.

I still enjoy Shadows Over Camelot but I have a feeling that Jasmine isn't into the Camelot theme. Also, the card drawing and playing mechanism gets boring over the course of several games. Ever since I picked up Pandemic, this game has been seeing less play within the group.

Miss: Camelot Legends


We won this game through a Z-man contest and I kind of wished we got Fairy Tales instead. However, Jasmine didn't like the cover of that game and so we grabbed Camelot Legends.

The cover and artwork didn't really impress Jasmine, nor did our first session with the game. So, it went to the back of the shelf and never really did come back out.
 
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15. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:372]
Murray C
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Hit: Bohnanza

Jasmine really like the funny bean pictures in Bohnanza and is really eager to get an expansion for the game. She still giggles whenever we see wax beans at the grocery store. (It's double funny because I use Wax Beans and Black Eye Beans in our Werewolf sessions) Both dual play and group play is pretty fun, mostly in part because our group is very nice with the trades and in returning favours.

We discovered that, as long as people return your favours, the person who does the most trades will almost always win because all that wealth gets passed back. Most of the competition is in trying to convince someone to accept your trade/favour!

Meh: Fluxx


Jasmine bought me Monty Python Fluxx because she knew that I loved the Flying Circus (ain't she sweet?). It's funny because she's not that much of a fan of Fluxx, nor Monty Python. However, because she got the game for me, she felt inclined to humour me for a few games.

As the games are typically short, she doesn't mind playing too much, but sometimes the luck factor and the jokes she doesn't get irritates her. Unsurprisingly, her favourite card is "No More Singing!" I tend to only play this with fellow Python fans now but she might sit in now and then.

Miss: San Juan


Bland pictures and overly methodical play makes for a fairly boring game. I, personally, am not that into San Juan/Puerto Rico myself, so it may be a bit of my own indifference projected onto Jasmine here.
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16. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:3209] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Murray C
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Hit: Apples to Apples

We first played Apples to Apples during our first session with a friend's gaming group, which included some less than agreeable personalities. Even though Jasmine didn't win, she still had a great time with the game, which was rare considering the circumstances. I got the game for my birthday and it's a pretty good hit with my group, especially when we're not in a mood for a heavy thinking game.

However, the problem with party games, as with co-op games, is that they're more fun with a group. This is especially true for Apples to Apples, where it is nigh on impossible to play with two people, unless you play the variant where one person puts in two red cards and adds three random ones from the draw deck. Please keep in mind that I'm currently searching for a good 2+ player game for us to enjoy.

Hit: Taboo


Surprisingly, Jasmine and I have fun playing this on our own as we try and see how many cards we can run through before slipping up on a taboo word. As I mentioned before, Jasmine and I are pretty well in-sync and this shows in charades and other games. I'm often surprised by how fast she can guess the words I have when I only provide a few small clues. Again, being good at a game really helps to makes it a winning pick. Even when we're on different teams, we can typically run through 5-6 cards on our turn with semi-decent guessers.
 
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17. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Murray C
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Hit: Stone Age

This pair here is a bit of a conundrum, especially since we tried Agricola first. However, the beautiful artwork and fantastic components of Stone Age is what appealed to Jasmine. This is another game that Jasmine was first to discover and I guess it helps that it has some luck based dice rolling involved as well.

Even through bad luck games and games where my tool/hut cards strategy dominated her, she still continues to love it. As I mentioned before, first impressions are big and, in one of our first four player games, Jasmine lapped me on the scoring track. I think that, no matter how badly I beat her or how poorly she played from then on, she will always remember that one game where she lapped me.

She did make me throw out the smelly dice cup.

Miss: Agricola


Agricola, surprisingly, was not one of my suggestions. Rather, it was a friend of hers, which makes the game one of her discoveries. However, after a demo game at a FLGS, we weren't that impressed. The components and art wasn't very impressive at all and, at that time, we thought the farming theme was boring. If Agricola had cute sheeples, I'm sure it would have made a difference.

Now that we have acquired Stone Age however, it is probably too late. Agricola plays a bit too fast to a Stone Age player, with its set round limit. Additionally, in a full player game, there is very little room for error, which is not an element that Jasmine likes. It's probably what turned her off from Power Grid as well.
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18. Board Game: Wooly Bully [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2601]
Murray C
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Hit: Wooly Bully

Speaking of sheep, this game caught Jasmine's attention and she bought it herself when she got me Monty Python Fluxx. Tile laying games are simple in our mind and we don't mind it when we're in the mood for something light. The artwork here is the obvious winner as the sheep are pretty cute and the pictures on the tiles are interesting to look at.

The game itself is not too bad and there is some good room for strategy. We've played both two-player and four player games and felt that the game overall was decent, though it hasn't seen much play in recent weeks.

Miss: Carcassonne


Carcassonne, obviously, was our first tile laying game and it now sits in the back of the shelf and has been there for some time. Our chief complaint about this popular gateway game is that the luck of draw for each tile is way too much. Wooly Bully we like more since we get a hand of tiles and can plan a few moves ahead.
 
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19. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:205]
Murray C
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Hit: Hive

This was originally a miss, mainly due to the bug theme (Jasmine hates spiders especially). I made my own set using Pokemon stickers and the back of Tantrix tiles and we're both learning to play. I'm determined not to let my habits get the best of me and have so far avoided online strategy discussions and their ilk.

Instead, we're both learning the ropes and showing each other tricks and other things we come across along the way. We're fairly even right now and I'd like to keep it that way. Although, as an abstract game in essence, it doesn't get played if Jasmine is too tired to think.

Meh: Blokus


We played this a lot during a friend's get together and enjoyed it. However, as a two player game, it's not as fun. Additionally, this was before we starting playing more contemporary games and, since then, purely abstract games have fallen by the wayside. We still bring it out for our more casual friends, however, but for the most part it stays on the shelf.

Meh: Ingenious


Ingenious has about the same story as Blokus. We played it during PAX last year and thought it was decent. I got a cheap copy second hand and it enjoys the same moderate play that Blokus does. The score card and scoring bits are a bit annoying though, as they constantly get shifted when you just want them to stay put.
 
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20. Board Game: Wasabi! [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1197]
Murray C
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Hit: Wasabi!

Z-man games publishes some really interesting themed games. We tried out Wasabi at PAX this year and, though I wasn't too impressed, Jasmine thought positively of the game even though she suffered a pretty bad beat. As Vancouverites, with some of the best sushi this side of the Pacific (better Salmon Sashimi than anywhere else in the world baby!), this game is oddly appropriate for any of our gaming groups.

I'm waiting for this game to be shipped, as I just traded for it in a math trade. I think that Jasmine will enjoy it more after I share some tricks I picked up in our first game.

Miss: Primordial Soup


This game is what I traded away in the math trade. Another Z-man game, it also has a pretty cool theme. We bought this after trying it out at a FLGS. Jasmine thought the drawings were pretty cute, at least some of them, and the theme was really interesting, especially to her Sciene teacher friends.

However, the game is much too long, set up and play with all the cubes is a big hassle, and each round feels about the same as the last, which makes for a boring game all around. Jasmine was not sad to see this one go.
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21. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Murray C
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At this point, I will list some games that I have been thinking about getting. Please provide your input, advice and suggestions!

Hit: Dominion

I don't have Dominion yet, but after trying it out at a FLGS, Jasmine liked it and fully approved my decision to grab either Dominion or Dominion: Intrigue. We both dabbled a bit in CCG when we were younger, myself with Magic and Yugi-oh and her with Pokemon TCG. We like the deck building concept and the game plays pretty well for us.

I'm a bit stuck as to whether I should take Intrigue or the original game. Though we may not like using attack cards on each other as much, I do like the variety of choices that are inherent in the Intrigue cards and I feel that Intrigue features a better mix and collection overall. If I end up getting the original game with the fewer and weaker attack cards, I'm afraid that we may get bored of it too quickly, especially after multiple sessions, which is what I'm aiming for.

Hit: Finca


This is a pretty good game and is one that Jasmine discovered on her own (though, she just asked the store clerk for suggestions while I was reading the rules for Dominion). Still, the game plays well and has some decent strategy in it. I beat Jasmine soundly, but mainly because she didn't use any of the special move tokens. I'm sure next time around she'll come back with a fury.

I'm thinking about getting this or putting it up on my Christmas wishlist, I think it has some real potential and will have long lasting replay value.

Meh: Zooloretto


We tried the two-player variant of the game and thought it was only ok. However, as usual, it turned out that I missed something vital in the rules on my first read through and Jasmine is willing to give the game another shot. Considering it involves cute animals and the game is mostly friendly, I'm keeping it on my list of possible purchases.
 
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22. Board Game: Mr. Jack in New York [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:609]
Murray C
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These are more games that I have been thinking about getting, but they're a bit further down the list than the ones above as I'm not quite certain how Jasmine will take to it. Please weigh in your thoughts.

???: Mr. Jack in New York

We tried Mr. Jack at PAX this year, but I've been playing a good number of games online ever since I came across this gem many many months ago. I showed her some the intracacies in the game, but really there is a lot to absorb all at once and I don't expect her to enjoy the original game as much as I do.

I'm hoping that this game will start us on the right foot as we'll both start from the same page and will climb the learning curve together. Mr. Jack is a really great game and it's the kind of tete-a-tete that I think Jasmine would like.

???: Twilight Struggle


I keep hearing what a great two-player game this is and how even the most pickiest of wives enjoy it. I have high hopes for this and I'm thinking about picking up the deluxe version when it comes out. However, I have yet to test it out for myself and haven't even really read the rules yet. While Mr. Jack is the kind of heads up game that I think Jasmine wouldn't mind engaging in frequently, I'm not sure about Twilight Struggle. Making of the President, by the way, though it has better art, is out of consideration as Jasmine isn't interested in that theme at all.

???: Once Upon a Time


A recommendation to Jasmine by one of our usual retailers. She learned about this game when she bought Wooly Bully and Monty Python Fluxx and it sounded interesting to her. Myself, based on her explanation, not so much, but I'm willing to go playtest it with her at some point. Any thoughts on this one?

???: The Settlers of Catan Card Game


I've heard some good things about this two player game. The length of the game and the amount of space required to play shouldn't be that much of an issue here as we typically have about an hour to burn even for card games as long as it's interesting throughout the experience. The only thing I'm concerned about is the screw-you mechanics in the game and whether there are anything frustrating about it, such as terrible luck elements.

???: Saboteur


More of a large group game, I know, but given how Jasmine enjoys Werewolves, I thought that this might be a good buy. I still need to learn more about it first, however, but in the meantime, it's on my radar somewhere.

 
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23. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:434]
Murray C
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These are the last of the games that I've been thinking about getting. There are pretty much on the bottom in terms of whether I think Jasmine would enjoy them, but they're still being considered.

???: Through the Desert

Given how we both enjoy Go and that Jasmine sometimes feel sentimental about her name and Agrabah-ish stuff, I thought that maybe Through the Desert would be a good game for us. However, she doesn't seem that interested after hearing about the game and I'm not that interested in the game to press the issue.

???: Formula D


I really like this game and I think it would be a blast with groups. However, Jasmine didn't sound too interested in it and I'm pretty sure that constant crashing will frustrate her.

???: Battleground


I'm really tempted with this game as a cheap "miniature" war game. Jasmine has expressed that she would be willing to give it a shot, but I will need to pick the starter packs carefully so that she wouldn't see ugly or grotesque characters. Suggestions?

???: Galaxy Trucker


I'm on the fence with this one as I have a feeling that we would both really enjoy the game or hate it. It definitely needs a test drive.

???: Ghost Stories


A co-op game that has been getting lots of praises and it already has an expansion that has positive reviews. The only thing I'm not sure about is if she would take to the theme. Jasmine really likes horror stories (murder mysteries, Goosebumps as a kid, etc), moreso than I do, but not at night before she goes to bed. Also, she closes her eyes at all the scary/gross parts. If the art is too graphic for this game, then she might be turned off.
 
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