Advice on cut-throat games for 2 players
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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Newbie here. I bought my first game - LOTR - the confrontation a few months ago and have since purchased Memoir'44 & Odin's Raven. In playing, I have discovered that I like games that are cut-throat in nature. Can the experts here please advise me on the top games which are cut-throat/competitive ( & fun) for 2 players? Below is a list of games I am thinking of purchasing but I do not know if they are competitive in nature. Thank you.
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1. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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euphrat & tigris
 
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2. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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goa: good for 2 players?
 
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3. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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samurai
 
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4. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:132] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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yinsh
 
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5. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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through the dessert
 
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6. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
christina schmitz
United States
seattle
Washington
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hive - cut-throat enough?
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7. Board Game: Kahuna [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:914]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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The most cut-throat of the two-player Kosmos series of those I've played. Probably the best of the series too.

Place a bridge to steal the opponent's island. Blow up all the islands the opponent already has going into that island. How much more cut-throat do you want to get?
 
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8. Board Game: Babel [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1042]
Chris Morriss
England
Loughton
Essex
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This can be a very cut-throat 2 player game. You consistently use most of your cards' special powers against your opponent (and use only a few to help yourself).
 
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9. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
Andy Coles
United Kingdom
Bournemouth
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Citadels works well as a 2 player game and can be quite cuthroat thanks to the theif and assassin cards.
 
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10. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:565]
Dave Eisen
United States
Menlo Park
CA
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The resource and action management is not cutthroat, the race to use productive parts of the board very much is. In any event, very good game, works very well with 2 players.
 
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11. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2281]
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
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You take the other player's cities by direct confrontation. Greater number of soldiers wins combat, but god cards can change the result.
 
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12. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Tiny Epic Trickster
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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For nasty competition I like Magic. Fairly involved rules and complex tactical possibilities keep your brain engaged. Games are quick. Enough randomness to shield your ego when you lose (so long as you win once in awhile). Easily handicapped to keep experienced (or faster learning) players from running away.

...and no need to go broke. Four preconstructed decks played off against each other will keep two people busy for a long time, and then you can make new decks from those. Used cards bought cheap can liven things up.

Warning: Quickly seek counseling when you start thinking about buying boosters. It's all downhill from there.
 
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13. Board Game: Camden [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3922]
Michael Van Biesbrouck
Canada
St Catharines
Ontario
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If it isn't cutthroat with two players, then you aren't playing it right.
 
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14. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1001]
Brian Schlichting
United States
Elk River
Minnesota
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Pun intended. Quick and simple, but changing the order of the line is always the move that hoses your opponent. Your goal on every turn is to change the line so your opponent must play special cards to do well. Even if you have a good head to take this turn, you can play a card to change the line so your opponent will get something lame on their next turn.
 
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15. Board Game: Alexandros [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3193]
Brian Schlichting
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Elk River
Minnesota
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This game has such a cut throat element that you spend more energy on screwing your opponent than furthering your own position.
 
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16. Board Game: Castle [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2832]
Brian Schlichting
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Elk River
Minnesota
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In each turn of this game, you play a card, which furthers your position. However, the playing of the card often has a side effect, which causes your opponent to get some of his cards back. Probably my second highest recommended in this list, next to Babel.
 
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17. Board Game: Scarab Lords [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:3057] [Average Rating:6.05 Unranked]
Brian Schlichting
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Elk River
Minnesota
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This game plays like a CCG with a set mix of cards. Basically, your opponent will often meet the win condition, and you have one turn to stop the win. It's like
"I'm winning"
Whack "No, you're not, I am now"
Whack "Nope, me now"
Whack "Me now"
Whack "How do ya like them apples?"
Whack "I've got it now, and you're out of cards. HA Ha"
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18. Board Game: Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1510]
Thomas Eager
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Few games can match this old classic for quick and deadly fun for two players. Shoot down your opponent before he/she does the same to you! Though long out of print, it's pretty easy to find on the internet.
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19. Board Game: Senjutsu: Dynamic Samurai Combat [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:5649]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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Cut throat sure can mean a lot of different things, but in Senjutsu, it's fast-paced, action-oriented Samurai fighting. What could be more cut throat and tense than that? I've been looking forward to Senjutsu for a long time, ever since playing demos back at Gen Con a few years ago. It has customizeable (but not collectible) aspects that increase replay value considerably, while retaining the simple-to-learn mechanics.
 
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20. Board Game: Fightball [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:8012]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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If you and your friends are all about the same in terms of twitch reflex, then Fightball is a fabulously twisted game. You have to rely on lightning fast recognition skills while still following some basic order-of-operations rules in this incredibly fast-paced game of future sport. This is a big hit in our group, where we can even set up mini tournaments. It's incredibly tense and chaotic, adding to the cut throat component. After a few games, though, if you realize that one of the players just doesn't have "it" to be competitive, then the fun disappears pretty quickly.
 
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21. Board Game: Hera and Zeus [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1410]
Andrew Faehnle
United States
Cincinnati
OH
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Fantastic card game with a ton of strategy in a small package. This game is a fantastic reworking of the concept of "Stratego" or "War".
 
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22. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2405]
Felix Adam
Canada
Sherbrooke
Quebec
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Shooting, cutting-throat.... what's the difference nowadays

A big favorie in our group!
 
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