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Joel Oakley
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My wife just expressed interest in getting a new cooperative game, and so I am beginning to search an area I am not especially familiar with (since I prefer competitive games). Of the cooperative games I have played, the most enjoyable has been Hanabi since it has genuinely difficult and interesting game play decisions. My least favorite was Betrayal at the House on the Hill (ugh...).

Unfortunately, a lot of the nuances of Hanabi are lost with only 2 players. I hope to find a cooperative game that is strong in the game play department (and preferably weak in the story/theme department since the two seem to rarely be paired) and that works quite well at 2 players.

Some options I am considering are:

FUSE
Sylvion
Orléans: Invasion (whenever TMG gets this printed)
Burgle Bros. (seems like the game play may be not that interesting)

I welcome feedback on these options as well as others. Thanks!

Edit: we already own Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, Escape, and previously owned Robinson Crusoe. For clarity, I am really looking for deep game play (think Chess, Hanabi, Patchwork, many euro games, etc.) in a cooperative game that works well for 2 players.
 
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Felix Brause
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Pandemic.
Great theme, no story, awesome puzzle and a round is done in under one hour.
It a classic for good reasons
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Freedom the Underground Railroad! The game play tells the story and you don't need to read a single bit of flavor text to really engage with that story. Also, the wife and I really enjoy The Big Book of Madness.

No, Burgle Bros was a little simple in the decision making department. It was fun sometimes, mind you. It's a game I would describe as "cute".
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Andrew
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a very different type of coop game. Very different from Hanabi, which may be what you want, or don't want. The premise is you are all adventurers trying to escape from a ruined temple, within ten minutes, which you will accomplish by rolling dice to move and discover rooms, as well as lay down enough gems to unlock the final exit and escape! The entire game is backed by a soundtrack that keeps your heart racing -- one of our favorite games

Andrew
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Cameron McKenzie
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
I like Onirim better than Sylvion. The other Omniverse games also do two-player coop, I think, but I haven't played them.

Pandemic plays well with two but it's more interesting with three or four. Still it's a good option if you want to support a wide range. Pandemic: the Cure, Forbidden Island, and Forbidden Desert are also exceptional choices for the 2-5 range.

Lord of the Rings LCG is very good if you are interesting in customizing decks. It plays 1-4 but many find it best with 2. There are tons of expansions with very different challenges in each, but the core experience alone may be somewhat lacking so I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for something that feels "complete" straight out of the box.
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Never played it, but maybe The Game ?

Tough question for me, because I love thematic and story-driven games.
 
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Alexandre Santos
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Ghost stories works well 2p.
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Garrett
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
We find both strong theme and gameplay in Dead Men Tell No Tales. Fuse is by the same designer and is a lot of fun, especially with the countdown app, but can be a bit frantic. So if either of you are not into high stress situations I'd look elsewhere...
 
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Pauly Paul
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
How much does your wife like Pandemic? Would you consider Pandemic Legacy: Season 1? I like Pandemic a lot and really enjoy how Pandemic Legacy is the same but different.

I'm not sure Sylvion would work. I think it's mostly designed as a solo game with some added rules for co-op, but not sure it's the type of game that "shines" as a co-op.

I think Freedom: The Underground Railroad was a good suggestion by someone else.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Legends of Andor and Thunderbirds are my favorites. Although they have some theme and use dice, they are very much Euros.
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Brian Franzman
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
How about Sentinels of the Multiverse? There's not a lot of story, but plenty of flavor and interesting artwork. You'll find about a 50/50 split in male/female characters, so even though it's "just" a combat game, she might find some relatable characters.
 
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Joel Oakley
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
First of all, thanks for all the suggestions. Here is some feedback.

Re: Pandemic (Lecgacy) - I should have mentioned that we already own the base game and In the Lab. My wife enjoys it, but finds it can be a bit "samey" (and I agree). Moreover, the decisions are just not all that intriguing to me. We have some interest in Legacy, but I wonder really how interesting the game play is. Will it really be that different from standard Pandemic (with an expansion)?

Re: Freedom the Underground Railroad - This looks very similar to Pandemic. Am I wrong about this?

Re: Escape - Again, I should have mentioned that we already own it. The game is fun, but I would definitely not call the decisions interesting or challenging. I am hoping for something deeper.

Re: Lord of the Rings LCG - I will check it out. Initial impressions are that I am not too interested in deck building or getting heavy into an LCG.

Re: The Game - This looks somewhat interesting, but seems like a worse version of Hanabi.

Re: Ghost Stories - The theme here is a turnoff.

Re: Dead Men Tell No Tales - I know almost nothing about this one, so I will give it a look.

Re: Legends of Andor - I remember having some interest in this a couple of years ago. Maybe I should give it a second look.

Re: Thunderbirds - I had pretty much written this one off since we already have a couple of Matt Leacock games. Maybe we should check it out anyway. Is it similar to his other games?

Re: Sentinels of the Multiverse - I know very little about this one, so I will check it out.

Edit: Auto-correct error.
 
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J M
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Shadowrun: Crossfire is my favourite co-op game, and ideal for two players. A lot of people seem to think it's unfair, but almost always you can reassess the game and what different choices you could have made. It is a tough one. I personally think that the gameplay really fits the theme but others don't feel that the "Story" is there for them. It really is mostly about the tough choices each turn on how to play your cards, and which to gain.
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+1 The Big Book of Madness.
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Re: Cooperative game with interesting game play (NOT story heavy)
Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Legends of Andorra - I remember having some interest in this a couple of years ago. Maybe I should give it a second look.

Andor. You may like it. Most criticism it gets is that it feels like a puzzle and killing monsters advances the clock, thus you can't kill them at will.

Quote:
Re: Thunderbirds - I had pretty much written this one off since we already have a couple of Matt Leacock games. Maybe we should check it out anyway. Is it similar to his other games?

No, very different from Pandemic (which I dislike) and his Forbidden games. It's an engaging logistic puzzle.

Quote:
Re: Sentinels of the Multiverse - I know very little about this one, so I will check it out.

I recommend against it. It's all about theme. You basically play your best card (obvious decisions), crunch numbers and keep track of numerous modifiers. It's the most annoying cooperative game I have ever played.
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Brad Keusch
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Fuse is amazing, though I don't think I would call the gameplay deep. You need to be seriously in tune with each other to even have a chance to beat it on the higher difficulties.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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You might check out ...and then, we held hands. which is a strictly 2-player cooperative game that does not allow talking.
 
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All time fav The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
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Joakley815 wrote:
My least favorite was Betrayal at the House on the Hill (ugh...).

What, specifically did you not enjoy about Betrayal?
Especially since:
1) It is generally not fully co-operative
2) Does not work at all for 2 players

Joakley815 wrote:
I hope to find a cooperative game that is strong in the game play department (and preferably weak in the story/theme department since the two seem to rarely be paired)

I don't always find this to be the case for co-ops. The introduction of thematic randomness, when done well, can add positive elements of risk management and/or push your luck to games, where the absence of such elements can make the game too puzzle-like (including game play not varying enough from game to game) and/or introduce/exacerbate alpha-player/quarterbacking issues.

FUSE
The real time aspect means that there really isn't much time for mulling over decisions. A fellow geek that does not enjoy real-time so much jury-rigged some rules for a non-real-time variant, that I might be able to get a hold of - I don't know if he's posted them here on the geek. The alternate rules have seemed to work reasonably well - if anything, that method might be a better introduction to the game, though the game is light enough that it's not entirely necessary.
You have Escape rated a 6, so I think this will be near that rating for you.

Orléans: Invasion (whenever TMG gets this printed)
A few people in my game group have played this and seem to enjoy it quite a bit. Since you already seem to enjoy Orléans, this seems like a no-brainer.

Burgle Bros. (seems like the game play may be not that interesting)
During each game there are a few interesting strategic decisions, but much of the game is reacting tactically (often, but not always, in very straightforward ways that align with strategic decisions) to what the game throws at you (guard movement, tile reveals, loot). I don't think it plays as well two player, but I think it loses less than Hanabi does for the lower player count.

Least thematic coops:
...and then, we held hands. (specifically 2 player)
Hanabi
The Game
Hoopla
Legends of Andor (plays relatively well with 2) (has heavy theme, except for a highly anti-thematic rule which enforces the puzzle)

Coops that play quite, or at least relatively, well with 2:
Legendary (played purely cooperatively with Challenge Mode(s) from the Dark City expansion) - Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game also has some interesting twists on game play, but much less content available
Bulwark
Dark Gothic (though variant rules are needed to make co-op worthwhile)
Gears of War: The Board Game
Mage Knight Board Game (and thus presumably also, Star Trek: Frontiers)
Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game
Witch of Salem
Ghost Stories
Dead Apocalypse

Note that all of these games are in the Pandemic family, otherwise inspired by, or somewhat derivative (in more than a couple ways) of Pandemic:
Forbidden Island
Forbidden Desert
Defenders of the Realm
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Pandemic: The Cure
Dead Men Tell No Tales
Thunderbirds
Defenders of the Last Stand
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Of those, I would say that the one that is least like Pandemic is Thunderbirds, and the one that plays/scales the best for 2 players is Dead Men Tell No Tales

Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Freedom the Underground Railroad - This looks very similar to Pandemic. Am I wrong about this?
Other than the bulk of the game concerning the spatial element, it is really not all that similar. However, you may run into similar problems of the game feeling "a bit 'samey'", and possibly finding "the decisions are just not all that intriguing".

Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Ghost Stories - The theme here is a turnoff.
It really doesn't come through all that much, during game play you are generally most concerned about colors on dice and chits, and special effects. I just hope later printings have improved the rule book by leaps and bounds.

Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Sentinels of the Multiverse - I know very little about this one, so I will check it out.

I really enjoy Sentinels, however:
It's relatively heavy on theme: the Flash analog wants to get through their deck as quickly as possible, the Lex Luthor/Doctor Doom amalgam analog has a bunch of troops, uses a large amount of tech, and their nemesis is the Superman analog.
For 2 players, Sentinels plays better as Vengeance style (Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance and/or Sentinels of the Multiverse: Villains of the Multiverse) and in general this play style is not as enjoyable as the original.
Sadly, the Steam sale that just ended had the P.C. implementation for quite cheap (~$3), and that would likely have been the best way to try the game.

GSReis wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Legends of Andorra - I remember having some interest in this a couple of years ago. Maybe I should give it a second look.

Andor. You may like it. Most criticism it gets is that it feels like a puzzle
Because it is, except with randomness that can make you fail the puzzle even if you are implementing the correct solution.
GSReis wrote:
and killing monsters advances the clock, thus you can't kill them at will.
Which is exceptionally anti-thematic, you are already limited in terms of actions/time available to deal with the threat, why would defeating an enemy advance doom (progress towards a loss) more than spending the same amount of time/actions in attacking, but failing to defeat that same enemy. This rule exists solely to enforce the puzzle of each of the scenarios.
Additionally, problems of the OP finding the game feeling "a bit 'samey'", and possibly finding "the decisions are just not all that intriguing", considering that there are only 5 scenarios in the base game and only 1 of those 5 scenarios has enough variation to warrant possibly coming back to it once the general solution has been reasoned out.

GSReis wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Thunderbirds - I had pretty much written this one off since we already have a couple of Matt Leacock games. Maybe we should check it out anyway. Is it similar to his other games?

No, very different from Pandemic (which I dislike) and his Forbidden games. It's an engaging logistic puzzle.
This statement seems contradictory; Pandemic is a logistic puzzle.
Also I would disagree, it is fairly easy to see all of the influences of Pandemic on Thunderbirds, even though it may be considerably more different from the rest of Pandemic's descendants.

GSReis wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Sentinels of the Multiverse - I know very little about this one, so I will check it out.

I recommend against it. It's all about theme. You basically play your best card (obvious decisions),
"Your best card" - which is dependent upon which Villain you are fighting, what cards the Villain has in play, what options the other players have, what Environment you're playing in and what cards from the Environment are currently in play. Deciding what card is "your best card" and occasionally what power to use, (or sometimes deciding that your best option is to neither play a card or use a power) is literally the game. Pretty much every hero has at least a couple of cards, that they would prefer to get into play as quickly as possible, but given what the rest of the team has and the threats in play, there might be a better card to play first - and once those cards are in play, or if none of those cards are in hand, you still have to decide what is your best option of play for your next turn.

GSReis wrote:
crunch numbers and keep track of numerous modifiers.
There can be a fair, or even sizable amount of bookkeeping (I would not recommend playing Vengeance style with more than 3 players generally), though there is a token pack and/or an app, to make this easier to manage.

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Cameron McKenzie
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Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game is pretty good.
But the "campaign" is the best way to play. However, it isn't that story driven and actually has a lot of challenge in every quest. The campaign isn't that long (we finished in one night though it was many many hours) and the pretty replayable.
It has a standalone one-off quest as well but I find it rather tedious.
 
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Joel Oakley
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tuckerotl wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
My least favorite was Betrayal at the House on the Hill (ugh...).

What, specifically did you not enjoy about Betrayal?
Especially since:
1) It is generally not fully co-operative
2) Does not work at all for 2 players


I played with 4 or 5 players years ago. It seemed like a complete mess in the rules department (also my experience with Robinson Crusoe). Moreover, the game play seemed very mundane and boring.

Also, thanks for the incredible reply!
 
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tuckerotl wrote:

GSReis wrote:
Joakley815 wrote:
Re: Legends of Andorra - I remember having some interest in this a couple of years ago. Maybe I should give it a second look.

Andor. You may like it. Most criticism it gets is that it feels like a puzzle
Because it is, except with randomness that can make you fail the puzzle even if you are implementing the correct solution.
GSReis wrote:
and killing monsters advances the clock, thus you can't kill them at will.
Which is exceptionally anti-thematic, you are already limited in terms of actions/time available to deal with the threat, why would defeating an enemy advance doom (progress towards a loss) more than spending the same amount of time/actions in attacking, but failing to defeat that same enemy. This rule exists solely to enforce the puzzle of each of the scenarios.
Additionally, problems of the OP finding the game feeling "a bit 'samey'", and possibly finding "the decisions are just not all that intriguing", considering that there are only 5 scenarios in the base game and only 1 of those 5 scenarios has enough variation to warrant possibly coming back to it once the general solution has been reasoned out.


That about sums up my feelings on Andor. After about 3 attempts to beat the first scenario, my wife and I decided they pretty much designed the quests around a specific solution they had in mind. And the fact that killing enemies moves the doom timer is utter nonsense. It's like playing Rush Hour, but you have to roll dice and can randomly lose. Just go with Castle Panic, Sylvion, or Zombies Keep Out if you want a game with a tower defense/encroaching hordes feel.

I'd give Forbidden Desert a serious look. Yes, it's the sequel to Forbidden Island, which was largely a retheme of Pandemic, but it changes things considerably, and the board is FAR more dynamic. You'll have a lot more surprising situations to deal with in Desert, and it does away with the hand management/set collection goal, which I thought never really fit the theme of Island or Pandemic anyway. It's also very nice looking, and pretty cheap.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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tuckerotl wrote:

GSReis wrote:
Andor. You may like it. Most criticism it gets is that it feels like a puzzle
Because it is, except with randomness that can make you fail the puzzle even if you are implementing the correct solution.

There isn't a single "correct" solution. Of course the dice add randomness, but it's a simple matter of playing the odds. If you only attack monsters that you know you can defeat, bad luck usually just means you will take one or two more battle rounds to win.

Quote:
GSReis wrote:
and killing monsters advances the clock, thus you can't kill them at will.
Which is exceptionally anti-thematic, (...) This rule exists solely to enforce the puzzle of each of the scenarios.

So what? The OP is clearly more interested in the mechanics than in theme. It's a Euro. I'm primarily a Euro gamer. The game is thematic enough for me and this rule does not bother me at all. In fact, it seems that most people who don't like Andor simply expected a different kind of game.

Quote:
Additionally, problems of the OP finding the game feeling "a bit 'samey'", and possibly finding "the decisions are just not all that intriguing", considering that there are only 5 scenarios in the base game and only 1 of those 5 scenarios has enough variation to warrant possibly coming back to it once the general solution has been reasoned out.

Sorry, but this is a stupid complaint that is getting really tiresome. Many (most?) other cooperative games have a single scenario and no-one complains: Pandemic, Forbidden Island/Desert, Defenders of the Realm, Yggdrasil, Witch of Salem, Red November, Knizia's Lord of the Rings, just to name a few. Now, because Legends of Andor includes a few extra scenarios, it gets the flak for having "only" five. Seriously, the game would be perfectly fine if it contained only legend 3, which has a lot of variability. That is the game. Legends 1 and 2 are just tutorials to learn the game, legend 4 uses a totally different board (a very nice bonus), and legend 5 is a more difficult scenario for experienced players.

Quote:
GSReis wrote:
[Thunderbirds is] very different from Pandemic (which I dislike) and his Forbidden games. It's an engaging logistic puzzle.
This statement seems contradictory; Pandemic is a logistic puzzle.

Yeah, because all logistic puzzles are the same, right? shake

Quote:
Also I would disagree, it is fairly easy to see all of the influences of Pandemic on Thunderbirds, even though it may be considerably more different from the rest of Pandemic's descendants.

So, is it similar (with all those influences) or considerably different? I think you are the one being contradictory. Are you disagreeing or agreeing with me?

Quote:
GSReis wrote:
[Sentinels of the Multiverse is] all about theme. You basically play your best card (obvious decisions),
"Your best card" - which is dependent upon which Villain you are fighting, (blah, blah, blah) you still have to decide what is your best option of play for your next turn.

I still found that decision obvious most of the time.

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davidbrit2 wrote:
After about 3 attempts to beat the first scenario, my wife and I decided they pretty much designed the quests around a specific solution they had in mind.

You possibly played something wrong, as it's not supposed to be too hard. It seems a number of people miss, for example, that you can move through the castle like any other space. Legend 1 is just a tutorial and indeed very scripted. You haven't actually played the game until you have played legend 3 or above.
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Joakley815 wrote:
First of all, thanks for all the suggestions. Here is some feedback.

Re: Pandemic (Lecgacy) - I should have mentioned that we already own the base game and In the Lab. My wife enjoys it, but finds it can be a bit "samey" (and I agree). Moreover, the decisions are just not all that intriguing to me. We have some interest in Legacy, but I wonder really how interesting the game play is. Will it really be that different from standard Pandemic (with an expansion)?


I think so, but I do like vanilla Pandemic as well. Pulled back and judged on their basic gameplay you can argue they are the same. However I feel the details are enough to change how this feels to play compared to the original.

The fact that it's not static means there is always something surprising to discover as you play through the different "months". Plus you shape how the game develops. There is something personal emerges which means your Pandemic Legacy experience will be different from mine.
 
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