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Subject: 2 player game for 2 different player levels rss

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daniel balik
Czech Republic
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Hello,

recently my mum starts to like board games so I play with her sometimes. But there is very big game skill gap between us - she is just a casual player with not a deep strategy thinking. There is an issue - in some games she just cannot beat me and it is not fun for me play these games when I know I just cannot lose. there is a list of games we have played recently:

Ticket to Ride - this game is OK, I have just about 60-65% win rate
The Castles of Burgundy - perfect for us, almost 50:50 chances (it maybe grows a little to my side when I get deeper into this game)
Stone Age - this is an issue, she just cannot beat me here, which is not fun for both for us.
Fresco - I also win more games than loose.
Pandemic - cooperative game, so we win or loose together.

Is there some good 2 player game (I don't count cooperative games) which can negate one player skill so weaker player can win relatively often? But there must be also some skill involved, no pure luck based games.

Ideally the winner should feel that his win was deserved by good play, not by random event.

Also the easier rules to learn, the better. (I recently played some The Voyages of Marco Polo games with her and she was overwhelmed by the game difficulty - it would took many game attempts for her to got into this game)

Ideal theme would be something to build, grow, etc.

thanks for replies.
 
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Krawhitham B
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Le Fantôme de l'Opéra has an adjustable track to balance unequal players, doesn't really fit your ideal theme requirements though.
 
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Patchwork

and

Splendor

Both have some luck components but also need some planning ahead.
 
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Simona Dostalova
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Have you tried Quadropolis? It is a city building game. It looks amazing. The rules are very easy and intuitive. It plays in an hour or so. It is so approachable, anyone can get it and play it well, but it do depends on how you play, there is only very little randomness, only in how the tiles-to-buy are laid at the start of each of 4 turns.

And then there is Takenoko which is a game I successfully used to bring someone to the hobby. It again looks amazing. You build the garden so panda can eat (or not eat, depends on your quests). Non-gamers can win it easily and it is deffinitely more about skill than luck.

Also, I heard that Lost Cities is the ultimate game to play with not-that-game-experienced person, but I am yet to try it, myself.

I have had great success playing Camel Up with my mum. It has more randomness than you might like, though...

Let us know what, if anything, you pick!
 
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Almost forgot:

Jaipur
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Gerry Daigle
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Targi -This one is straight forward with your decisions and while its competitive, the choices all work towards you gaining something so the scores are usually really close, at least for my wife and I

Mystic Vale -We found this to be surprisingly good for two. The game is pretty simple in what you do, it has enough luck and push your luck elements to allow for people of different skills to compete and make up for that difference. The game is quite simple and plays quickly for 2.
 
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Russ Williams
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danissimus wrote:
Is there some good 2 player game (I don't count cooperative games) which can negate one player skill so weaker player can win relatively often? But there must be also some skill involved, no pure luck based games.

Ideally the winner should feel that his win was deserved by good play, not by random event.

The usual advice is to play games which are more random/luck-based.

But if you want the win to go to the person who played better, and that the game not be very luck-based, there's no way she's going to win as often as you.

The only other solution I see is to use some kind of handicapping (as is often done in Go with players of different strengths). That way the win will be based on the winner playing as well as they can, not on luck, but you'll both have a reasonable chance of winning.

E.g. if you've played Stone Age multiple times, what is the average number of points you finish ahead of her? Give her that many points to equalize your chances. (And you can track the score difference over time, dynamically adjusting the handicap in case she starts to improve her skill.)
 
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Mike Smith
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Mr. Jack Pocket is a great two player game where the investigator has an easier time winning. It is now OOP, so you could always pick up Mr. Jack, as the investigator typically wins more often.

If you are into abstract games, then here are a couple to consider where the first player has the greatest advantage:

Hive Pocket

Cathedral

Batik
 
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Joe H
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Another thought on Stone Age is to deal your wife a couple of culture cards to start the game. She can keep them face down and reveal them whenever she wanted to collect its immediate benefit.

Two other games that I think can be "handicapped" if need be and involve building are:

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - maybe use a money dividend (though this might just inflate prices) or an extra objective card.

Automania -extra cash at the start might be a good skill balancer. You can try to find the sweet spot.

Both are fun games in their own right.

Another terrific coop is Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Mansion Murders. I know that whatever success my wife and I have had at it is that we think differently and that forces us to really look at each encounter carefully. It does only have 10 plays in it.

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Harv Veerman
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Favor of the Pharaoh

Kingsburg

 
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Kyle A
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Nations has an in game adjustable difficult level (growth phase). It was relatively easy to learn although it felt like a lot at first.
 
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April W
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+ 1 to Splendor, I think it bridges the gap nicely.
Biblios may also fit your needs.
 
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Bill Eldard
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Mondkalb123 wrote:
Patchwork

and

Splendor

Both have some luck components but also need some planning ahead.


What is the luck component in Patchwork? All the game information is visible before the first player moves.
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Eldard wrote:
Mondkalb123 wrote:
Patchwork

and

Splendor

Both have some luck components but also need some planning ahead.


What is the luck component in Patchwork? All the game information is visible before the first player moves.


Of course you are right, all information is visible, but the starting position and the general layout of the tiles might come out luckier for one of the players.
 
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