Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
41 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: A deep 2-player game with minimal analysis paralysis? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rita Chen
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My partner is a smart, smart guy who suffers from terrible analysis paralysis. When we're playing in a group he doesn't take things too seriously, but when it's just the two of us I think he can relax and play the way that's most satisfying to him intellectually -- which is to say, grinding through every single possibility on a turn, eking out every last VP, etc. He's an engineer.

I want him to have fun, and if this is what works for his brain then that's OK with me & I don't want to push him to play faster. But I often I take my turns in a fraction of the time and all that waiting ends up being kinda less fun for me. So I was wondering: Are there games that naturally minimize analysis paralysis? Other than real-time games, which I'm not really interested in.

I'm not sure what form this would take. Maybe:
- Certain mechanics, like simultaneous play? (Though I think I'd still be waiting, since I do most of my thinking on his turn anyway.)
- Hidden information/a healthy dose of chance, so that you can't math things out?
- Limited decision space/limited options for moves?
- Tactics rather than strategy?

Our favourite games:
- 7 Wonders: Duel
- Patchwork
- Imperial Settlers
- Castles of Burgundy
- 7 Wonders (though not for 2p)
& I'd like to go a little heavier than these, not lighter.

What didn't work for us: lighter weight games (Tides of Time, Jaipur, Cottage Garden). We'll still play Lost Cities on occasion.

Games I'm considering: (any comments on AP-ness, play time, and depth would be appreciated)
- Five Tribes (have heard it provokes AP though)
- Mottainai
- Race or Roll for the Galaxy (too similar to Imperial Settlers, which we already own?)
- Grand Austria Hotel (too similar to Castles of Burgundy?)
- Keyflower or Agricola (might run too long)
- Kingdom Builder
- Akrotiri or Islebound
- Last Will or The Prodigals Club
- Deus or Elysium (perhaps too similar to 7 Wonders?)
- Steam Time
- Seasons (maybe too similar to CCG-style games; he already plays a lot of Hearthstone)

Other criteria:
- Interaction & table talk would be great
- 30-45 min preferred, since our playtime is usually double the average (so a 45m game would end up being 1.5h)
- Depth: we'd like to replay a game 20+ times
- 2p only and 2p+ scaling both work

Thanks all! Much appreciated.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shane Larsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Grand Austria Hotel is the best game on your list, but unfortunately, it's also the most AP inducing.

I think the best game for your situation is one you haven't listed:

Glass Road - In Glass Road, you make most of your decisions simultaneously, by selecting the cards you want to play for that round. So this forces you to have something of a plan going into the turn. Then the turns themselves go very quickly. It's also highly interactive because if you have a card in your hand that your opponent plays, you get to play it also, making his action slightly less awesome. So you're always trying to think of what your opponent plans to do. What's more, it induces the table-talk component because you get to talk about how you were hoping they'd play that card, etc. Add to this the fact that each and every little decision you make in the game, feels like a heavy game because the resource conversion is so clever. Planning for certain buildings and getting them onto your player board is a struggle (the good kind). Huge benefit that it plays quicker than most medium-weight games too. Whenever somebody asks for the heaviest game in the shortest time frame, this is always the game I think of first. It's a heavyweight with a gateway time frame.

Highly recommended for you because it will give you both something meaty and highly interactive to chew on, but it still manages to play very quickly. My niece and I once played a two-player game in 30 minutes (box open to box shut).

Enjoy!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If oyu haven't already, check out the
"What couples have been playing" Geeklist
Here is January.
There are links from there to earlier months. And to the metalist.

My partner suffers very badly from AP too. So do I whistle

We are finding Viticulture works well for two and is not too bad on the AP front. Early days yet though. We have only played a few games.

Also we play cooperative games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases (Can be payed either co-op or competitive) and Pandemic As you come to a consensus AP can be limited. Also you are discussing options and therefore engaged.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
stellarc wrote:
- Race or Roll for the Galaxy (too similar to Imperial Settlers?)
Race for the Galaxy would be my recommendation.

Our regular game group also includes an extreme AP player, and RftG is about the only game we can finish in under an hour with everyone enjoying it. It also has incredible replayability.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guillermo Jorlington
Belgium
Brussels
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
jhaelen wrote:
stellarc wrote:
- Race or Roll for the Galaxy (too similar to Imperial Settlers?)
Race for the Galaxy would be my recommendation.

Our regular game group also includes an extreme AP player, and RftG is about the only game we can finish in under an hour with everyone enjoying it. It also has incredible replayability.


I second this. Race fits all of your criteria, except the one about interaction. There's only indirect interaction*, and most of it you aren't even able to predict in your first few plays. Also, a little word of warning: The cards have tons of different symbols, which is quite confusing during the first play(s), so in your case expect a much longer first game.

But if you don't mind those things too much, Race for the Galaxy is a truly terrific game. Roll is very good as well, but in my opinion it is less interesting for 2 players.

*The second expansion of the game introduces some degree of very situational direct interaction, but that's not worth considering overall.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John
United Kingdom
Southampton
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Duche of Jorlington wrote:
I second this. Race fits all of your criteria, except the one about interaction. There's only indirect interaction*, and most of it you aren't even able to predict in your first few plays.

Yes - the interaction is "how do I avoid helping my opponent?" and "what do I think my opponent going to do and how can I benefit from that" and sometimes "can I persuade my opponent that I'm going to do something I'm not or discourage my opponent from doing something that isn't going to help me?"

Duche of Jorlington wrote:
The cards have tons of different symbols, which is quite confusing during the first play(s), so in your case expect a much longer first game.

Yes, the best way to play your first game or two is to figure out the easier to understand cards and just play those (using the complex cards as payment), however if your partner doesn't want to do that then looking though all the cards together beforehand might be a better plan.

You can certainly play it a lot - I've played the base game ~90 times and ~300 plays with expansions and lots of people have played it far more.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Ruby
United States
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I saw Kingdom Builder on your list, and I think that might be a good fit. The games play in about a half hour, and some of the moves are dictated by location of previous placement. There is some AP, but not too bad. My wife and I play this game as 2 player a lot and enjoy it.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 Lucky Texan
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
if you think you'd like a word game, locate or make a copy of Tisby

the first person to be comfortable with their player-card sets a 90 second timer for everyone else.

maybe some other game with a timer?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mitch Willis
United States
Kathleen
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Elysium scales well (from 2 to 4) and I don't think it's all that similar to 7 Wonders...since the god cards will vary from game to game, it's got good re-playability as well...

Splendor also scales well from 2 to 4 and I haven't experienced many folks having AP with it...might not be as deep as you're looking for though...

Harald scales well from 2 to 4 and has been described as heavy for a filler...fairly simple and straightforward rules with meaty decisions...

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Linn Schifano
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
Considerations List:
+1 Race ftG
+1 Carcassonne w/ two, if you haven't played in a while
+1 Five Tribes. The AP-induced worries are overstated in this game, as most of the great choices become clearly evident after a few plays. The first few games will likely be a bit rough, but my wife and I often knock out 2p games in 45ish minutes. And we've played ~10-12 times.

New Choices, so things to consider:
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Manoeuvre
I would also as in the Wargames forum, as those guys are excellent resources for 2p games (but will probably run a bit longer in playtime).
I know you're not crazy about real-time, but: Space Alert Love this game!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Amy Ash
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I also have an extremely AP prone partner (and suffer from AP myself, although to a lesser degree). I am surprised Castles of Burgundy worked for you guys--I love that game, but it's a fairly intense 3 hour affair at our house and doesn't hit the table that often as a result.

Comments for your list:
-Race for the Galaxy is fantastic, on the lighter side, but still very satisfying
-avoid Agricola--very unforgiving and AP inducing
-Kingdom Builder is not a bad family game, but probably lighter than what you're looking for

Other thoughts:
+1 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Galaxy Trucker! So liberating for those of us who want to control everything, but also provides a fun (and time contrained) spatial puzzle

Other Felds that might work for you: Amerigo (choices meaningful but constrained by cube tower), Oracle of Delphi (no points to calculate and moves pretty quickly), and Bruges (fun but on the light side)

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Harv Veerman
Netherlands
Zoetermeer
Zuid-Holland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Babel if you can find it...

Raptor might work also.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Casey W

Bonney Lake
Washington
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
La Granja: No Siesta is a new release that meets your top criteria. It has hidden information as you roll 5 dice then each choose 1 die then re-roll the remaining 3 dice and each choose 1 then re-roll final die and each get that die result. It has simultaneous play as your fill in the player sheet with the resources from the die rolls. There are different strategies so the replay ability is good. I've had it for a month and have 14 plays. I would say it's heavier than Patchwork. Plays in 30-40 minutes for 2-4 players.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rita Chen
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks all for the suggestions so far. These are so helpful, especially all of the detail about Race for the Galaxy. I'll pick that (or Roll for the Galaxy) up next, after we've gotten some more plays of the card-based games we already own! Also looking into Viticulture and Glass Road (especially since I play solo sometimes). I'd been avoiding Glass Road because I don't love the art, but maybe I can get over that. I might also get Kingdom Builder -- I think it'd be good for when I play with family, as well as serving as a shorter "filler" game for me and my partner on tired nights.

Can anyone else add to the question of, Would Roll for the Galaxy work as well as Race for 2p, for long-term playability? After Googling, I see there's a lot of debate -- I suspect we could get Roll played with our friends, but not Race, due to the symbols.

GregDarcy wrote:
If oyu haven't already, check out the
"What couples have been playing" Geeklist
Here is January.

I definitely will. I think it's time to pop over to the A Couple of Gamers guild and introduce myself!

Coincidentally, Greg, Pandemic was actually the first game we played together as a couple, and it was the game that got me into board games in the first place. Fond memories there. I just played it solo the other day and had a lot of fun.

amyash wrote:
I also have an extremely AP prone partner (and suffer from AP myself, although to a lesser degree). I am surprised Castles of Burgundy worked for you guys--I love that game, but it's a fairly intense 3 hour affair at our house and doesn't hit the table that often as a result.

No, you're dead on about that! Castles runs long for us, and I've only played it once or twice with him because of that -- sadly. It's just that I LOVE IT, so I put it on the list. I'll take a look at those other Felds -- thanks. I've played his La Isla and quite like it, and have been intrigued by Bruges and Oracle of Delphi.

linn_ wrote:
+1 Five Tribes. The AP-induced worries are overstated in this game, as most of the great choices become clearly evident after a few plays. The first few games will likely be a bit rough, but my wife and I often knock out 2p games in 45ish minutes. And we've played ~10-12 times.

This is good to know, thank you! Sounds promising. I really like the look of Five Tribes, since I own a lot of cardplay-based games and this looks very tactile/board-based/unique. With your recommendation, I will probably cave and add this to my next order.

Though I don't think we'd like the timed games some have recommended, I might make an exception for Galaxy Trucker, just because WHOAH that looks like a lot of fun, and totally different! Reminds me of the video game FTL, which my partner and I have both been playing lately.

Any other comments/suggestions still very welcome! Every time I ask a question here I am overwhelmed by everyone's friendliness, and obsessive depth of knowledge.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Halowell

Maryland
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 for Raptor. It seems to have good depth for it's simple rules and quick playtime. The simultaneous action selection helps reduce AP because you can't be sure what card your opponent will play. It's also asymmetrical which will increase replay value.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brett McLay
United States
South Burlington
Vermont
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
linn_ wrote:

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Manoeuvre
... the Wargames forum (has) excellent resources for 2p games.


+ 1 to this line of thought: Pacific Fury: Guadalcanal, 1942
Can we non-abstract historians get some love? It's not all that bad, yuh know ...

Back in the euro-verse, you might consider the unsung Legacy: Gears of Time ... & expansion.
Plays in about an hour.

Also, Concordia: Gallia / Corsica will accommodate 2P for the *fine* base game, Concordia.
I'm a big believer in this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Forrey
United States
Dallastown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Race and Roll are both excellent two player games. However they do vary in their learning curve. Roll is MUCH easier to teach new gamer's as opposed to race and not because of the symbols. Both are layered and have tons of replay value.

Some things to keep in mind though. If you get Race make sure to just play the base set a few dozen times then move into the expansions. If you get roll be sure to pick up the expansion at some point as it fleshes out the game much more and adds in other ways to score that should always be used.

If you can play a game of Seasons i think you would probably like it. My wife and i play it two player all the time but it scales very well. There's lots of planning and it is less random than you would think for a game using dice. The replay value is very high and the expansions do a number of very interesting things to vary up the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ty Whisenhunt
United States
Dallas
Texas
flag msg tools
Let me tell you about my boat.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
From your list I'd choose Kingdom Builder and Race for the Galaxy. They are both very satisfying. KB is lighter, RftG is heavier, both seem to have more depth than the games you listed that you're currently playing.
I think the AP warnings on Five Tribes are legit. I love the game, but as an occasional AP'r myself blush, I can tell you the options on a turn are a little overwhelming. I have more fun with the game if I trust my gut, play fast(ish), and "let it go." But it's hard to do at times. If your partner is going to play out every possible move in his/her head first to find the optimal path, you're going to be there a while.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Hobden
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Combat Commander: Europe
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sarah
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 to galaxy trucker - fun game. Another one we find fun with a smaller timed section that reduces play time is [=steam park ][/] although a little lower on the weight.

my mum's ap prone but we have found no problems with Seeland as choices are restricted to some degree each turn. If you wanted something like this which uses similar mechanic but slightly heavier in scale then Glen More might also work.

I avoid agricola and caverna like the plague because of this and wont play these with my mum but a similar game from the same designer called At the Gates of Loyang works much better. It only becomes a problem in the last couple of rounds so we've basically just slashed them out lol!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As far as I can tell - I have neither, the consensus on the Roll Vs Race debate is that while both are OK, Race is better for two players. Roll is easier to learn and works better at higher player counts. And Roll is more colour blind friendly.

The last is why Roll is on my wish list but Race isn't. Even though games I own are pretty much only played two player. The reason it isn't on my "owned" list is the expense. It is not a cheap game here. Maybe I will luck out on my birthday. Or maybe I will trip over a second hand copy for a reasonable price.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Mayes
Australia
flag msg tools
Another +1 for Galaxy trucker. Good but semi-time limited building mechanism - players can speed up the time to build their ship (as it is done simultaneously and in real time, not turn based)which means he will be unable to take too long based on your actions.
After that, there is only basic decision making, so the second part of each round is a lot lighter. That said, being an engineer may give him a huge advantage in the spatial construction phase!

I would also highly recommend 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis. It is sort of a baby brother of Twilight Struggle (Another one that you may like - a lot longer, very strategic but probably prone to more AP than you are after). 13 Days has a good deal of strategy and requires thought and planning, but not too many options that AP sets in. Basically, each round you will have an agenda to complete, as will the opponent, but you will be aware of three possible agendas the opponent has, with only one being the real agenda. So most turns are based on; achieving your agenda, trying to disguise your agenda by looking like you are targeting other locations, preventing your opponent from achieving their agenda. Plays in 30-45 minutes.

Good luck.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Luxton
United Kingdom
Somerset
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
At first I thought this was asking for the impossible but there may be some games where AP impact is not quite as bad.

Someone already suggested Vitiulture, at first I thought you can spend ages juggling cards but then I realised this only at the end of each year. So the most AP prone part gets more infrequent as the game progresses.

The other possibility is Onitama. In this case I think your partner will probably get a bit of AP but there is so much scope for you to consider your moves that you won't notice.

stellarc wrote:

& I'd like to go a little heavier than these, not lighter.
Viticulure is lighter than Castles of Burgundy but if you really want heavier I think you'll have to live with the AP. Grand Austria Hotel is heavier and great with 2 players BTW but AP is gonna happen.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas
United States
NC
flag msg tools
Not quite sure if it is heavier but Mage Wars Academy might be worth looking into. Duels are fairly quick and tactical and with the four mages currently available (more on the way) and the customization possible in the spellbooks, it allows for plenty of replayability.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rita Chen
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Thanks again, everyone! My partner and I played a game of Imperial Settlers today that lasted 1.5 hours, which I suspect is a little long for 2p ... it was much quicker than our last play.

I think I'm going to get Kingdom Builder and either Race or Roll for the Galaxy (this question merits more investigation), for now. And I'm putting Galaxy Trucker (light, but looks like fun!), Onitama, Glass Road, Viticulture, and 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis (I don't usually play historical games, but this looks great) on the to-research/to-later-buy list. Lots to research!

SaggyUK wrote:
I avoid agricola and caverna like the plague because of this and wont play these with my mum but a similar game from the same designer called At the Gates of Loyang works much better. It only becomes a problem in the last couple of rounds so we've basically just slashed them out lol!


Agricola locks me up pretty bad even when I play solo, so I had suspected this wouldn't be any good for my purposes. I had been planning to get Loyang for solo play. Good to know it also works well for 2p. Thanks!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.