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Subject: 2 or 2+ player games with good conflict/tension element rss

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James Travers
United Kingdom
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Hi,

I am still a relatively new board game fanatic (thanks to everyone who posted recommendations on my last post). I am in the category of board gamer I'm sure familiar to many - looking for good games to play with my girlfriend, plus maybe other friends/family (non-gamers).

We recently bought The Castles of Burgundy, following many strong recommendations. While I appreciate the design... it kind of fell flat with us. I almost feel bad saying so, given the glowing recommendations, and we will certainly play it again - I'm sure once it becomes more familiar it will feel more competitive.

While browsing our nearest retailer I couldn't find anything I'd been looking out for, so not wanting to leave empty handed I picked up a copy of Citadels, knowing I wanted to get a copy at some point. I got it more as a multiplayer that 'could still be played with two', i.e. not expecting much from the two player variant. We tried it that evening, and both immediately loved it! Within a couple of turns it was a clear hit - the bluffing, back-and-forth and 'take-that!' elements made for a fun, tense game that is very simple to learn (and at which I was promptly thrashed - apparently I'm more predictable than I like to think).

With this in mind, could you recommend any 2 or 2+ player games more along this line? Given that Citadels is primarily designed as a game for more players I'm sure there must be plenty of games that have a similar feel, but are better designed for two. Games with more tension and player conflict, not too long and simple mechanics. Board or Card games, but not miniatures or CCGs or the sort would be great.

Games I've had one the radar include: Jaipur, Battle Line, Cold War: CIA vs KGB, Hive, Mykerinos, Tsuro, but anything you care to suggest would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading, I know I rambled somewhat.

Games we have: Agricola, Carcassone, The Castles of Burgundy, Citadels, Condotierre, Stratego.
 
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Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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I can't recommend Battle Line highly enough. Jaipur is also fun. Cold War didn't do anything for me, and I ended up selling it. I haven't played the others.
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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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For 2 players only, I recommend Catan Card Game. There's some player interaction in the basic game, and you can escalate it through expansions.

For 3-5 players looking for a lot of tension, I recommend Taj Mahal if you can find a copy. All the bidding tension of poker,
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Andrew
Canada
Burnaby
British Columbia
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All of the games you talk about are fairly quick games, but I don't see a specific request for such. Have you thought about Letters From Whitechapel? It's a bit longer (1.5-2 hours), and can be a bit complex to learn (though if you were able to learn CoB and Citadels, shouldn't be too high of a barrier), but it provides great tension as it's a battle of wits between 2 players (the box says 2-6, but it really works best with 2). One player is Jack the Ripper, trying to get away with his crimes and return to his safehouse before the other player, acting as 5 different police officers, try to find clues and catch him before the 4 nights are up. Each night the noose tightens as the officers close in on the area where Jack is hiding out (he has to return to the same place each night), so the tension builds very effectively!
 
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James Travers
United Kingdom
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I'd forgotten about the various Jack the Ripper Games - Letters from Whitechapel or Mr. Jack. I wondered with these if they are particularly replayable, i.e. is there enough variation between plays to keep it fresh? 2 hours is maybe a bit longer than we'd usually play, but I'm not totally restricted. 1 hour or under is ideal, but not a deal breaker.

Thanks for the suggestions, great advice.
 
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Norway
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Cold War is great. My favorite 2 player game, in fact.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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Long Beach
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BattleCON: War of Indines

Innovation

 
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Scott Nunemaker
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Springfield
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I'm playing Antike Duellum on Yucata right now for the first time. It's a pretty tense game potentially filled with conflict. It's designed for 2-players. It might hit the spot for you.
 
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Alicia
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I own Battle Line and it definitely has that tension. I was put off initially by the somewhat drab look of the game, but it was an instant hit.
While I don't own a physical copy (yet), I've recently discovered Summoner Wars on iOS, which may be an option to look into. The fantasy theme is only portrayed in the artwork during game play and isn't too overbearing. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it after getting the rules down. There is a great Watch It Played video that explains the game play, with additional videos showing a sample game, or you can try it on iOS.
 
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James Johns
United States
Florida
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Summoner Wars, definitely. It's a tense, awesome game with quite a few factions. It plays in about 30-50 minutes.
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James Johns
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I also second Battlecon, especially if you like fighting video games
 
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Dustin
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Summoner Wars. Easy to learn, easy to teach even to non gamers. plenty of options.
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
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I'd recommend my current best-2-player-game-to-date Innovation; each and every game is different - the changing effects of skillful card play (or not!) and luck, swing the game back and forth. Some are like quick T20 games, and some are more like test matches (using cricket as an analogy).
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James Travers
United Kingdom
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Thanks for the advice.

I think I'll pick up battle line - I too was concerned that it looked a bit drab - one of those games where the tension and strategy doesn't instantly come out, but you've reassured me otherwise.

Thanks.
 
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