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Subject: 2p Euro or Strategy games I won't win all the time rss

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Tom Bruno
United Kingdom
Chesterfield
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We have a good selection of luck based / light / party / co-op games. But when playing just me and my girlfriend, we sometimes look for something a bit more involved, strategic or competitive.
Problem is, she always complains that she can only win in the first few games, then I get too good and she can't get a win. Currently she is obsessed with playing Kahuna, more specifically she is obsessed with trying to beat me at Kahuna... and I keep winning by a mile. Neither of us want me to let her win, but even playing halfheartedly I have often ended up ending the game with only my tokens on the board.

Obviously lucky games make things equal for all, but I think I could do a better job of finding a game that suits her strengths:
- risk taking - I tend to be cautious, she will likely do well in a game that rewards risk taking
- social deduction - she can read my intentions far better than I can hers
- chaotic play - I tend to play in a controlled manner, whereas she is happy to scatter everything to the wind, I game with unpredictable moving parts would likely suit her
- luck - she is mostly luckier me, at least it feels that way (she once got 6 yahtzees in a single game most without re-rolling)

in-print/easy to find games are preffered
no pref on size, weight, length of play - infact something a bit longer might be good contrast to what we have
no co-ops please

Thanks guys
 
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Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
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Jaipur - 2 player, reading your opponent, risk taking, luck

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Ray Stantz
Australia
Central Coast
NSW
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Is there any way you could handicap yourself with some of the games you both enjoy playing?
Maybe take less starting resources or giving her a few more, something like that anyway.
Sorry I'm not familiar with Kahuna so I wouldn't know how to handicap that.
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sascha kupferschmidt
Germany
Düsseldorf
NRW
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nice intellectually balanced relationship on your side- my complimentsgulp
 
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Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
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X-wing miniatures game?
 
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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Akrotiri has some interesting mechanisms. You basically have to build a world that corresponds to your maps and travel to the spots identified by the maps before your opponent.

It might work better for a "chaotic" player like your girlfriend. I seldom suffer from AP but in Akrotiri I did.
 
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George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
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To reward risk-taking you should probably look toward card games. The first things that spring to mind are:
Haggis
Lost Cities
Cribbage
 
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Guy
England
Chorleywood
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Sun Tzu. £10 at The Works. Beautifully made game

After you work out the base strategy it's all about guessing your opponents move/play

Once she has you sussed, you will soon be posting for advice on how to beat her!
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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Jugular wrote:
To reward risk-taking you should probably look toward card games. The first things that spring to mind are:
Haggis
Lost Cities
Cribbage


Adding Battle Line to the list of card games for 2 players. Basically you play card combinations to frontier slots but do you take the risk to wait for better cards to arrive?
 
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Mitch Willis
United States
Kathleen
Georgia
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Thebes
Pax Porfiriana
Fleet
Fleet Wharfside
Mr. Jack
Elysium
Odin's Ravens (second edition)
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
 
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Kevin D.
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maybe check out Fresh Fish.
 
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Kyle
United States
Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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High Frontier PBF #17 - Failing spaceward!
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Merchants & Marauders

It sounds like she'd make an awesome pirate.
 
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Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
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I'm sure she realizes what a "catch" you are, with your superior intellectuality. Have you considered next time you guys play telling her WHY you're making each of your moves? Sometimes, it's a lightbulb moment like that that helps a person understand the mind of another. The effect is twofold, you're helping her get better at thinking and understanding like a gamer, and you're being transparent and vulnerable with her, which all relationships could use more of, imho.
 
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April W
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There are a lot of similarities between you two and my husband and me. He's more of a planner, I'm more of a risk taker. I like games with a little chaos, he likes more strategy. And for a long time he usually won because he had a much longer gaming history than me. But I'd like to think I've adapted well. I've learned how to use strategy. It's really only something that experience teaches. If somebody has a history of playing luck based or party games then it takes some adjusting to play the sorts of games we do. Not sure if that is the case with your GF, but it was with me. Something that helped me was that my husband would tell me what strategy he used to win a game. This got me thinking more about my own method.

I suggest San Juan. I am often able to beat my husband at it and I feel like it's one that has really helped me learn the basics of strategy.

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John Burt
United States
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pacman88k wrote:
I'm sure she realizes what a "catch" you are, with your superior intellectuality. Have you considered next time you guys play telling her WHY you're making each of your moves? Sometimes, it's a lightbulb moment like that that helps a person understand the mind of another. The effect is twofold, you're helping her get better at thinking and understanding like a gamer, and you're being transparent and vulnerable with her, which all relationships could use more of, imho.


That's a bit unfair. Speaking from a similar experience, the problem is not due to "intellectual superiority", but instead differences in play style, gaming focus (what a person likes about games), and motivation and dedication to gaming. For example, someone who prioritizes the social aspects of gaming may put less effort into the strategy thinking required to win a mid-weight euro, and therefore not win those games very often. They aren't intellectually inferior, they just have a different focus and interest that isn't compatible with that type of game.

And frankly, many of our spouses/partners are mostly only interested in gaming because we are really into the hobby. In that case, we can't expect our SOs to be as obsessive and motivated to think as deeply about games as we do, and if there is any benefit to skill, knowledge, and deep thinking in a game, then we will likely win them more often on that basis alone.

To the OP: if you think that there is a big difference in motivation/dedication, then find games that she really likes and stick with them for a while. You will learn the game quicker, and win more often at first, but eventually she will catch up on the learning curve and start to win more.

If she is as dedicated to gaming as you but her interests are different, then find games that provide what she likes about playing games - she'll probably do better at those. Of course, this requires that you ask her in detail what she likes and doesn't like about games. And even better yet: involve her in the selection process so that she will "own" the games you acquire.
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Marina SC
Canada
Vaughan
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Perhaps Innovation? Often described as swingy and chaotic, but with interesting decisions and I've seen it highly recommended as a fun 2-player game.
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Harv Veerman
Netherlands
Zoetermeer
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Have a look at Raptor
 
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Klaus-Gunther Herzog
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The Rivals for Catan. Just get ready to jump right in to the three included expansions right away. That's where the depth is. The "intro" game with just the base set is really just for learning purposes.

And since it's got dice rolling (for resource gathering and events), there's just enough of the unknown that you can't rely on your strategy alone to get you to the finish before your opponent.
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Richard Feather
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I recommend Broom Service. It's great with two players, rewards risky play and there is a huge social deduction element in trying to figure out what cards the other player is planning to play. It's cheap and available too.

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+1 to Jaipur, Lost Cities, Battle Line and Sun Tzu.

I would have added Patchwork, but you already have that.

My guess is that she beats you in Sun Tzu and Mr. Jack Pocket.

If you want something longer with some luck, but still some interesting decisions, maybe something with dice selection like Grand Austria Hotel. Or maybe a deck/bag/pool builder like Automobiles or Orléans.

Really, though, just find something that you both enjoy playing and play that until you are ready to move on to the next thing you will both enjoy playing.
 
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Chris Williams

Seattle
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The OP specifically excludes coops, but you really should try The Ravens of Thri Sahashri or ...and then, we held hands.. Generally, when people don't like coops, it's because one of the players bosses the others around. In both of these games, you aren't allowed to talk about the game. And in both, talking would just break the game, so there's really no desire to do so.

Or, if you don't like co-ops because you like head-to-head, defeat the enemy style games - well isn't that sort of the problem?

But for competitive games, I'd principally suggest Maharaja. At 2 players, it isn't very chaotic. But winning is mostly about guessing what your opponent will do, rather than doing math or anything. With more players, it becomes entirely a game of guessing what others will do, and a fun scramble to run around the board faster than everyone else. She'd probably do well at it at 2 and love it at 5, so it's a nice one to have in your collection.

After that, Gloom is quite good. Just ignore the storytelling aspect, if that doesn't appeal to you. The game is still a good game, without, and while repeated play does make you better than someone who has never played before, there isn't enough strategy to really get ahead of your opponent. If you both play regularly, you'll stay fairly neck-and-neck in win count.

ETA: You could also try to build some Magic decks of different kinds and find a few matchups where you two are tied and that conform to your playstyles.
 
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John Wilder
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Ontario
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Its a three player game, but you can get a 2-player variant on BGG, but I think Revolution! might work. It is a lot about guessing what your opponent would do. It is great because there is no optimal strategy, since it depends entirely on what the other players do.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Mashpotassium wrote:
Perhaps Innovation? Often described as swingy and chaotic, but with interesting decisions and I've seen it highly recommended as a fun 2-player game.

++ super + this

There is real skill in the game but the randomness of the cards make it more a game of seizing advantage of momentary edges rather than grinding away a win. I'm generally the better game player between my wife and me (don't tell her I said so!) but we're pretty even at Innovation. We also just really enjoy the game.
 
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Samuel Hinz
Australia
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Queensland
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could you not teach her your game strategy so she can actively employ it herself or build a counter.
 
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Marco Wong
Hong Kong
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The games that I tried with my wife and are considered successful are:
Caesar & Cleopatra (not sure whether it's still in print or not)
Android: Mainframe (excellent 2 player game, good for more players, very portable with gorgeous components)
Sun Tzu (Lots of double guessing, the only game that my wife would ask for)
 
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