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Subject: Recommendations for complex 2-player eurogames? rss

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Lynne Shayko
United States
Parma
Ohio
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My husband and I play games several times a week. A few times a month we play games with other people, but most of the time it's the 2 of us. We are becoming increasingly particular about the types of games we will play. Our favorite designers are Feld and Rosenberg. Unfortunately, most eurogames play better with more than 2 players. We keep searching for good options for 2-player games.

By far our favorite game to play together is Agricola. We own all the occupation/minor improvement expansions (except Farmers of the Moor, yet). We love how each game of Agricola is different based on the occupations we draw. My husband invented a form of drafting occupations/improvements which we use each time.

Recently we acquired Fields of Arle which is a great eurogame and right in our niche of games. But since there are not many options for buildings, after only 6 plays of the game we're already finding certain strategies that seem to work best and we keep repeating. The problem with a lot of these 2 -player games is that we gradually figure out the optimal way to play and score victory points and then we feel like we have to keep playing that way if we want to win. The cards that come out dictate the best way to play. Out of the games we own, Agricola affords us the most variety in our game play. With Agricola we are inventing new strategies each time since each time we have a different hand of occupations and improvements. I wish we could find another Eurogame that lets us be so creative. Do you have any recommendations for games to try?

We own these games that we feel work well 2-player: (though some of them we're already burned out on)

Agricola
Fields of Arle
Glass Road
Castles of Burgundy
Bruges
Copycat
Race for the Galaxy
Splendor
Power Grid
Dominion
Ticket to Ride (various expansions)

We own these games that we love and feel don't work as well 2-player:
(either they have dummy players or are lacking enough competition as a 2-player game, or in the 2-player version one strategy is more powerful and whoever chooses that strategy wins)

Tzolkin
Russian Railroads
Last Will
Le Havre
Trajan
Stone Age

We also love games like Nations, Belfort,and Bora Bora...

We have debated buying Caverna but since the same buildings are out every time, I'm afraid we will decide what seems to be the optimal strategy and play that strategy each time. We want more variety. We play Agricola 3 times a week now, we have played it hundreds of times...

So... any suggestions? Thanks!

Lynne
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ys xxx
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Troyes is one of my favourite 2p game and could be something you like. The expansion Troyes: The Ladies of Troyes adds even more variety and replayability.
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anthony elmer
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Terra Mystica definitely doesn't get stale, but it does lose something as a 2-player. I still love it. I have 3 games rated a 10; Agricola, Terra Mystica, and Dominant Species.

Dominant species works great but its not exacly a Euro and you need to play multiple species to get the tension

AquaSphere scales well too.
 
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Kent Reuber
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Most of the Kosmos two-player series are quite good. And, they're designed for 2. Most recently, we played Lost Cities.

Other great 2 player games are: Battle Line and Jaipur.
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Lynne Shayko
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Ah, a friend taught us Troyes a few months ago. We both really liked it but haven't tried it 2 player. That's a good idea, we should try that out 2-player and see how it goes.

We do enjoy Terra but it's hard for area-control games to work 2-player, I think it would lose a lot.

I played Battle Line once, I liked it ok, it's just not complex enough for us. I want to try Jaipur, I've been reading about it.

-Lynne
 
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Marc Hawkins
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Quote:
I wish we could find another Eurogame that lets us be so creative.


Creative is the magic word! (and my favorite characteristic of games). I'm going to recommend two particular designers which I think are phenomenal at providing creative experiences: Carl Chudyk & Wolfgang Kramer.

For 2 players I would recommend:
Innovation (Chudyk)
Impulse (Chudyk) - see my "creative" review here!
El Caballero (Kramer)
Torres (Kramer) - and my very personal favorite even as I approach 300 plays (between online and F2F)
Java (Kramer)
Cavum (Kramer)
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Thomas
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CO₂ or Asgard might work
 
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Karan R
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How come no one's said Polis: Fight for the Hegemony yet? It is the most ruthless 2p euro I've played till date

CO2 isn't fun with 2
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Lucas Smith
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Richard Ham
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CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
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's taste is similar to yours.
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Lynne Shayko
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Polis sounds intriguing, but you say it's ruthless? I don't like games with much attacking.

Lynne
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Musta Ninja
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Me and my spouse have very similar taste to yours.

We too love Agricola and based on what you said about Fields of Arle, i'd say stay away from Caverna.

I'd suggest

Twilight Struggle - dont be afraid of cold war theme, its a great game. First games could take 3 to 5 hours but its worth of effort.
Keyflower - works fine with two player.
Android: Netrunner - you dont need to spend money on extra cards to enjoy this one. There is lots of variety in base game.
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Jesse
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musta ninja wrote:
Me and my spouse have very similar taste to yours.

We too love Agricola and based on what you said about Fields of Arle, i'd say stay away from Caverna.

I'd suggest

Twilight Struggle - dont be afraid of cold war theme, its a great game. First games could take 3 to 5 hours but its worth of effort.
Keyflower - works fine with two player.
Android: Netrunner - you dont need to spend money on extra cards to enjoy this one. There is lots of variety in base game.


Definitely Twilight Struggle--brilliant two-player game that is a mashup of a war game and a Euro. It feels way more Euro than war game. There is direct conflict, but it doesn't feel like attacking. It's more like an area control Euro about with TONS of tension and difficult decisions.

Android Netrunner is also amazing. Although it is not exactly a Euro, I would say as a nearly pure Euro player, it's one of the best designed games of all time. It's not for everyone, though. You have to be okay with the theme, more direct conflict (though, it doesn't feel like attacking), and deck construction. Deck construction can seem tedious, but it's quite a lot of fun once you wrap your head around it.

I've long since retired from Netrunner as a competitive tournament player, offloading everything. I do have a hankering to pick up a core set and force my fiancé to learn it--or maybe just a friend.


Someone recommended Jaipur. Although it's a nice game, it's about a simple as they get. For someone looking for complex/heavy Euros, avoid this and any games in the 2-player Kosmo line. Light fluff.


One more recommendation of a game I've never played but is a heavy/complex/super long Euro for only two players: Roads & Boats. I'm not sure how available it is--it goes in and out of print. Pretty darn expensive at $100+ when it's in print.
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Lynne Shayko
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I would like to try Keyflower. I've seen people play it but haven't tried it myself. It looks like a game I would like. It's good to hear that it works well 2-player, I will have to check it out.

I've tried Netrunner, the theme was a turnoff for me, and, well, it is about attacking. Haven't tried Twilight Struggle but my husband doesn't think I would like it.

Lynne
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Harv Veerman
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My wife and I share roughly the same taste as you. We enjoy Macao A lot, especially with just two players.
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Rebecca Carpenter
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I loved the Twilight Struggle and Netrunner suggestions.

But then you mentioned that you don't like attacking games. Its not always fun to be tearing down your loved one, I agree!

Why Netrunner is fantastic for couples is through deck building you've got endless ways to counter the other person's optimal strategy. If after dozens of deck trials you both find your peak build and strategy development becomes stagnant, all that you have to do is buy another data pack.

You don't have to play Netrunner to achieve this though.

In Blue Moon Legends you compete to attract dragons, and you never damage anything. BML is a former CCG by the European designer Reiner Knizia. Every card ever designed, including promos, 9 factions in total, were re-released in one box by Fantasy Flight last year. After you've both played each faction a few times and against every other faction, then you can choose to start deck building. You could each have your own deck from 9 different factions! There won't be more content released, so this isn't a money sink like LCGs can be. Bonus, the artwork is incredible, its easy to set up, and has elegant rules.

If you haven't considered it already, the ultimate 2 player that will give you a life time of optimizing your strategies is Go.

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Kasper Lauest
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musta ninja wrote:
Me and my spouse have very similar taste to yours.

We too love Agricola and based on what you said about Fields of Arle, i'd say stay away from Caverna.

I'd suggest

Twilight Struggle - dont be afraid of cold war theme, its a great game. First games could take 3 to 5 hours but its worth of effort.
Keyflower - works fine with two player.
Android: Netrunner - you dont need to spend money on extra cards to enjoy this one. There is lots of variety in base game.

Exactly the games I wanted to suggest, as well as Dominion.
 
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Thomas
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nukeu666 wrote:

CO2 isn't fun with 2


That's subjective, we find it very fun with two as did Rhado
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Aaron Gelb
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I just picked up this 2-player ONLY game: Akrotiri - check it out...its a brain-burny, pickup/deliver, tile laying game with Euro-y mechanism and VP conditions. Its a nice, compact game that offers lots of depth, plays in about 45 minutes.

My fiance' and I like playing Thurn and Taxis, beautiful game that plays nicely for 2 players. We also love Kingdom Builder, which isn't that complex but expansions do add elements.

I also hear Glen More plays well 2 player as well!
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James C
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Suburbia. We've played it 100 times and it hasn't gotten old. If it does for you then you can get the Suburbia Inc expansion.

My wife and I also like Glass Road and TTR as two player games like you two.
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Steve
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Stone Age scales well. I wonder why you two didn't like it.

Caylus is a great 2-player game.
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Mark Jackson
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+1 for Caylus, Keyflower and Suburbia.

But my #1 recommendation is Dungeon Petz. Incredible game, lots of variability, very fun with 2.

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Muhammad Azwan Dahlan
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Kepala Batas
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Medium to heavy euro-games with two players
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Goldfinger
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Occasionally, it is just me and my wife playing. I will reinforce a few suggestions already made, and add a few more we find enjoyable and offer high replay value for 2p.

Goa
Luna
Troyes
Bora Bora
Ginkgopolis
Tikal
Torres
Core Worlds
Arkadia
Seasons
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Thomas
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Dungeon Petz
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Benjamin Benson
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Targi

You can also get Caverna: The Cave Farmers but instead of having all the buildings out put them all in a bag and then just draw some, like 15 or something and then play based on those being your 15 options, that way the options change each game. There is a variant for the game that explains this.

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