Games for Couples
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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This was an offshoot of my GeekList http://tinyurl.com/2cq57 which dealt specifically with games for 2-players that satisfied a bunch of criteria. After over 2 years (it's 03/27/06) we've settled on a pretty good set of games. Here's our list and I hope you get some ideas of which games would be good to play with your significant other.

We have found that my Wife really doesn't like tile placing games (like Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers, which I rather enjoy) or abstract games (like YINSH). I think we both like a strong theme and, for the most part, games that can be played in under an hour. Interestingly, Memoir '44 was too intense - I think because of the strong war theme.

A couple great sites for quickly determining availability and comparing prices are http://www.boardgameseeker.com/ and http://www.michaelareed.com/boardgamesearch/index.html. We've spent a lot at http://www.thoughthammer.com. You can usually find free shipping if you order more than $75 or $100. Other sites worth checking out after the major sites include: http://www.superherogameland.com, http://www.toadandtroll.com, http://www.nekosphere.com, http://www.scifigenre.com, and http://www.ccgarmory.com.
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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The official 2-player varient is a lot of fun. We modify it by randomizing the 12 small violet buildings.

This game is all about tactics.
 
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2. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
 
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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The mechanics are simple; the complexity lies in the decision making. My Wife and I enjoy a very quick, modified 2-player varient with 16 cards removed, 3 regions, 3 power plant max, Step 2 at the 6th City, and we play to 12 Cities.
 
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3. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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I think this game sums up a lot of our gaming experience. I doubt I would have had much success introducing this game to my Wife when we first started to play games. I'd hazard that only after getting hooked onto San Juan and subsequently Puerto Rico, could she have then accepted and really appreciated this game. This game also helped to strongly identify specific features that my Wife likes about games: she likes resources and set collection, using those resources to buy buildings or victory points, and prefers the immediacy of tactics over long-range strategy.
 
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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The game is one of my Wife's favorite. Very quick to teach people new to gaming and light-weight without being simplistic.
 
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5. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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One of the few tile-placement games that my Wife likes. The action points mechanism of this Kramer/Kiesling game is much more interesting here than in Torres.
 
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6. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
 
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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We've settled in on removing the Libaries and reducing the Guild Hall bonus to 1 point per Production card. It now feels that the number of strategies has opened up and choice of strategies depends on what cards you're getting and how your opponent is building. Essentially, it feels like a richer 2-player game with the modifications we've made.
 
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7. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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The first new-generation game we bought. We played it to death. I think this is a great game to introduce to a non-gamer.
 
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8. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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We prefer this over YINSH. I suspect all the pretty colors makes this a good gateway into abstract games.
 
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9. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:366]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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Cute and fun. If it weren't for the cute bean theme, I think my wife would be completely bored with the game.
 
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10. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (second edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:397]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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One of the few asymmetric games we play. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to play - it can stay overnight on the kitchen table. What really convinced my Wife to play was the very strong theme - four Hunters searching a map of Europe for Dracula.
 
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11. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:491] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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A light, simple, and entertaining game. There are a lot of specialty cards which gives the game variety and spice; they augment rather than detract from the core game of buying and selling.
 
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12. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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This game is all about theme. The mechanics are fine, but the stress level is all about surviving the journey.

With Sauron starting at 15, we've only successfully destroyed the ring about 50% of the time.
 
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13. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:818]
Gregory John
United States
Austin
Texas
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This card game has simple mechanics and is quick to learn. This game is in the rummy family, so it's mainly about set collection, but there are special cards that help to reinforce the theme; however, you could argue that the special cards like Hideout are a little too powerful.
 
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