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Subject: exploration and engine building rss

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United States
Wurtsboro
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We always have time for the things we put first.
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Roll Through the Ages with the Late Bronze Age free PnP expansion (score sheet) seems like it might work for you.
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Jordan Booth
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For engine-building:
Once you get familiar with it, you can play Race for the Galaxy in 15-30 min. and IMHO it is best with 2 players as the tempo and strategy doubles when you pick two actions per round instead of one.
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Moe45673
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Homesteaders, to me, is one of the greatest engine builders ever created. It's purely a tableau builder driven by an auction. Resources are tight though a Martin Wallace-style debt mechanic means you're never truly out.

And yes, despite having an auction, the game plays seamlessly with 2-4. It plays in an hour, has high replayability, and really easy to explain rules. Great theme and production as well (Get 2nd or Quined edition, though)

Also, what about Dominion or one of its ilk? Deckbuilding is a form of engine building, after all
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Hardy
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Mesopotamia

exploration: check
engine building: check
not too long: check (45 min)
works well with 2: check
looking good (for wife): check ;-)
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Adrian Iordache
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How about Navegador?
With 2p it can be finished in 60 min.
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