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Subject: Light-Medium Weight Games for the Wife rss

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Zach Nuss
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Hello fellow BGG users!

I am in a predicament that I am sure many of you have found yourself in as well. A few months ago, I got into Hobby Boardgaming and have watched my wishlist do a rollercoaster as I found which games my wife has enjoyed playing with me. She enjoys playing some games with me, but as I would be happy to play every night, she would be fine with once a week. We probably play an average of 2-3 games a week. Further, she REALLY hates learning new games, especially those that tend to have an higher than 2.5 complexity on BGG. So below is a list of games she enjoyed, and others she didn't:

Enjoys:
- Carcassonne (her favorite game, the one game she will actually ask me to play)
- Clank! (she thinks it's fun, but even this game she didn't like learning the first time)
- Lords of Waterdeep (probably the longest game she will play, usually once a month)
- Ticket to Ride (she actually really enjoys this, but we play it on the firestick now since it's much quicker "setup")

This should give an idea of the games she will like.

Does not enjoy:
- Shadowrift (this is one I was really hopeful for, but she hates the fact you never know when the game will end and it feels anti-climactic throughout. She feels it is very repetitive too and more time is spent shuffling and laying out new cards rather than playing)
- Sentinels of the Multiverse (She despises this game. It's too fiddly, and she thinks it is very boring. Drawing one card a turn and many times not being able to do very much on her turn.
- Castles of Burgundy (I wouldn't say she hates it, she will play, but this pushed her to her complexity limit I think)

The types of games she prefers would probably be:
- Play well with two, with the option for more
- Games that have a set type/rounds so you know when it will end
- Probably 2.5 complexity BGG rating or lower
- 30-60 min games

I really enjoy the hobby, and though I don't expect her to care for it as much as me, I do hope to present games she will actually enjoy.

So BGG community, what are some games you would recommend based on the above info? Some future games coming out in the future I want to try with her would be Dice Forge, and Diceborn Heroes. I also am interested in Rolling for the Galaxy, Above and Below and Ethnos.
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1 Lucky Texan
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Here's some that my wife really enjoys;

Potion Explosion

Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

Splendor

Fresco (probably the most 'weighty' game she enjoys)


a coupla of those are OK at 2 player, particularly Koi Pond
 
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Lazy Mountain

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Tokaido and Kingdomino would be the best fit of games we play at that lighter end of weight. Also a few games into Saint Malo, which is light, no conflict.
 
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Christine Harrison
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Hi there,

I am a board game wife - at least I started that way and now I play just as much my husband does. It's great that you are thinking about games that won't be too overwhelming - when we first started playing games my husband was more into it than me and started to jump to complex games that put me right off board games - we went from Carcassonne ( I loved) to Agricola (I tolerated) to Caylus (I hate to this day). Luckily for him I came back to board games after a brief hiatus of about 3 years

Light to medium weight games I recommend:

Lost Cities - 2 player card game exploring...well...lost cities. It can be played once or best of three rounds so you have a good idea of when it will end. It takes about 5 minutes to learn the rules (if you read them first and then explain them to her) and after a few hands it becomes quite intuitive. Takes us about 30 mins to do three rounds.

Odin's Ravens (second edition) - Another two player card game where you race ravens around a row of cards. It's more complex than Lost Cities, but only a bit, and it's a really lovely game to behold - really beautiful artwork and nice cards to shuffle - they are long and thin, very elegant. Again you can play just one round or best of three - three rounds takes my husband and I about 40 mins. One of my favourite quick games.

Forbidden Island - have you tried a co-op game together yet? We play this one with my husband's family who like games but don't play except when we are around so we need something quick to explain and get into. It is 2-4 player and involves collecting cards to gain treasures before the island you are on sinks. If you like it,Forbidden Desert is very similar but a bit harder, and after that you could think about Pandemic.

Bärenpark - a nice game if you like a bit of tessellation. Involves building a bear park using tetris style pieces. It plays 2-4 players.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - I suggest this one cautiously, but might be an idea if you want something a bit meatier. Plays 2-5 player. It's similar to Carcassonne, which is why I am suggesting it, but it is a step up in complexity. It involves bidding for the tiles, and also the scoring criteria change each round. I don't know if that will put your wife off but maybe one to consider?

One last thing, I've commented on a few of these spouse recommendation threads as I'd personally like to see more women playing games. However a few times now I have been disheartened when I have seen people come a long and made comments like "why don't you just try asking your wife what she likes". I just want to say that I would found that very unhelpful in my early years as a board game wife. Whilst I expect to have a say in what I play, there are so many games and different play mechanisms out there that I wouldn't have known where to start if I was just asked a big open question like that ten years ago. I found it really helpful when my husband or friends were able to narrow the choices down and help me discover new games that I wouldn't have known existed. So I'm just saying, don't be put off if anyone stops by making comments of that nature. I am sure you don't need our advice on how to communicate with your wife! Oh, and have fun!
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April W
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Based on your post, I would suggest these games:

Splendor - plays in about 30 min, not overly complex, works well with 2 or more.

Biblios - when the cards are out, the game ends and there are no surprises that can drag the ending out. Plays will with 2 or more.

Artifacts, Inc. - a smaller Ryan Laukat game, play time is around 45 min to an hour, scales well.

San Juan - if you're interested in Roll for the Galaxy, this game is similar, but without dice, and it's easier to learn. Great for two players or more. Plays in 45-60 min. Good amount of strategy without being too heavy.

Pandemic: The Cure - lower complexity and shorter playtime than Pandemic, plus DICE!!! A fun co-op. A little harder to win with 2 players versus 3 or more, but rewarding when you do win and has that working together feel that I enjoy in co-ops with my husband.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - two players only, but plays in a set amount of rounds and lasts about 30 mins. Excellent little game. Warning on this one though, it's OOP, but if you keep an eye out you might be able to get a copy for a reasonable price.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - like Carcassonne, this one is tile placement. Players are building castles to score the most points. Playtime is 60-90 mins. Complexity is 2.66, so it's a little higher than the others I've mentioned so far, but it's not difficult to teach or grasp, and the appeal of building a castle is part of the fun!

You mentioned Roll for the Galaxy, so I can't leave it unsaid that I love that game. It's in my top three and I can play it every single night. That being said, it is NOT easy to learn, so if you're looking to teach the wife try to get a grasp on it first yourself before introducing her. Once you do learn it plays quickly and smoothly. Highly recommended, but maybe not for your wife at this point.

I was a boardgame wife once too... now my husband is a board game husband and I'm the crazy game addict.
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Zach Nuss
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serendipity2003 wrote:
Hi there,

I am a board game wife - at least I started that way and now I play just as much my husband does. It's great that you are thinking about games that won't be too overwhelming - when we first started playing games my husband was more into it than me and started to jump to complex games that put me right off board games - we went from Carcassonne ( I loved) to Agricola (I tolerated) to Caylus (I hate to this day). Luckily for him I came back to board games after a brief hiatus of about 3 years

Light to medium weight games I recommend:

Lost Cities - 2 player card game exploring...well...lost cities. It can be played once or best of three rounds so you have a good idea of when it will end. It takes about 5 minutes to learn the rules (if you read them first and then explain them to her) and after a few hands it becomes quite intuitive. Takes us about 30 mins to do three rounds.

Odin's Ravens (second edition) - Another two player card game where you race ravens around a row of cards. It's more complex than Lost Cities, but only a bit, and it's a really lovely game to behold - really beautiful artwork and nice cards to shuffle - they are long and thin, very elegant. Again you can play just one round or best of three - three rounds takes my husband and I about 40 mins. One of my favourite quick games.

Forbidden Island - have you tried a co-op game together yet? We play this one with my husband's family who like games but don't play except when we are around so we need something quick to explain and get into. It is 2-4 player and involves collecting cards to gain treasures before the island you are on sinks. If you like it,Forbidden Desert is very similar but a bit harder, and after that you could think about Pandemic.

Bärenpark - a nice game if you like a bit of tessellation. Involves building a bear park using tetris style pieces. It plays 2-4 players.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - I suggest this one cautiously, but might be an idea if you want something a bit meatier. Plays 2-5 player. It's similar to Carcassonne, which is why I am suggesting it, but it is a step up in complexity. It involves bidding for the tiles, and also the scoring criteria change each round. I don't know if that will put your wife off but maybe one to consider?

One last thing, I've commented on a few of these spouse recommendation threads as I'd personally like to see more women playing games. However a few times now I have been disheartened when I have seen people come a long and made comments like "why don't you just try asking your wife what she likes". I just want to say that I would found that very unhelpful in my early years as a board game wife. Whilst I expect to have a say in what I play, there are so many games and different play mechanisms out there that I wouldn't have known where to start if I was just asked a big open question like that ten years ago. I found it really helpful when my husband or friends were able to narrow the choices down and help me discover new games that I wouldn't have known existed. So I'm just saying, don't be put off if anyone stops by making comments of that nature. I am sure you don't need our advice on how to communicate with your wife! Oh, and have fun!


Thanks for this! She has played all of those co-op games actually, and at one point she wanted to play Pandemic over and over (forgot to mention that one in my original post). I may seriously have to look at Pandemic Legacy for us as I am burned out on standard Pandemic. I have looked at Isle of Skye as well. It seems to be about the same complexity as some of the other games she enjoys and have been on the fence. But I may have to give it a second look!

I very much agree with your last paragraph. She doesn't know everything that is out there, so how is she going to know what she likes? It may be worth me trying these specific type of game mechanics with lower complexity and finding more challenging games (down the road) with mechanics she enjoys.

It would amazing if she ever wanted to play something like Agricola! Haha.
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Jeffery Hudson
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Tokaido
Takenoko
Kodama: The Tree Spirits

These three are light games my wife has really enjoyed.

There's always Jim Henson's Labrynth if she's an 80's child and loves the show. I've not met anyone yet who was a fan of the show not like the game. It's light, but there are decisions to make and some strategy you can employ. Frankly, i really enjoy the game...especially with the 5th Player Jerith variant.

I plan on getting the Goblins! Expansion for her once it actually arrives.
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Via Nebula
Tides of Madness
Pocket Madness (this is really just a rummy game but I find the special powers and madness cubes to be very fun)
Grifters
Villages of Valeria
Apotheca
Pandemic Cthulhu
 
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Barronmore wrote:
Jim Henson's Labrynth if she's an 80's child and loves the show. I've not met anyone yet who was a fan of the show not like the game...


Something about this makes me feel like you've never seen Labyrinth (psst... It's a movie).
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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+1 Kodama
 
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Bear Ventures
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I would suggest to try and find something thematic that she likes.
A few games that I play with my girlfriend:

Shakespeare is a bit on the heavy side but the rules are somewhat simply and the theme is really nice.
Village is around the same, rules a little bit long but the theme again might convince her (though some people seem not to like aspects of it). Defininetely worth checking it out tough if you have not done so.
Mangrovia has super simple rules but can become a bit thinky. We found out though that people do ok and it's a lot of fun still even if not thinking about every turn too much and calculating everything. + it looks great and is just a real feel good game. My girlfriend and I aswell as our gaming group absolutely adore it.

Also take a look at:
Discoveries
Dice City
7 Wonders Duel
 
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Zach Nuss
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BearVentures wrote:


We actually have 7 Wonders Duel. She likes it a bit, not her favorite but she will play it occasionally. Do you know if Pantheon makes it any/significantly more enjoyable?

Dice City seems interesting. We played Machi Koro (probably with too many people, 6 player variant) and she hated it. I didn't care for it either as my dice rolls benefit other people more than me. This one seems more interesting though and still relatively light.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 
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Zach Nuss
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cbrook29 wrote:
Via Nebula
Tides of Madness
Pocket Madness (this is really just a rummy game but I find the special powers and madness cubes to be very fun)
Grifters
Villages of Valeria
Apotheca
Pandemic Cthulhu


Pocket Madness sounds really interesting as she appreciates set collection type games!

Also, I love the theme of Pandemic Cthulu and it seems about the same complexity as standard Pandemic. I have played (she hasn't) Eldritch Horror, and first impressions makes it seem Pandemic Cthulu is the lighter version of that (HP Lovecraft theme aside). Is that accurate?
 
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Bear Ventures
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Nussknackerz wrote:
BearVentures wrote:


We actually have 7 Wonders Duel. She likes it a bit, not her favorite but she will play it occasionally. Do you know if Pantheon makes it any/significantly more enjoyable?

Dice City seems interesting. We played Machi Koro (probably with too many people, 6 player variant) and she hated it. I didn't care for it either as my dice rolls benefit other people more than me. This one seems more interesting though and still relatively light.

Thanks for the suggestions!

I have not played Pantheon but everyone I know who owns it tells me that they never play without it anymore. It's definitely on my list as well.
Dice City is really enjoyable. It's certainly on the light side but still offers more strategic decisions than it might seem during the first few plays. And rolling what you need gives great satisfaction
Gameplaywise I also really enjoy Castle Dice but it just doesn't look as good sadly.
 
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Zach Nuss
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Soleia wrote:
Based on your post, I would suggest these games:


San Juan - if you're interested in Roll for the Galaxy, this game is similar, but without dice, and it's easier to learn. Great for two players or more. Plays in 45-60 min. Good amount of strategy without being too heavy.

Pandemic: The Cure - lower complexity and shorter playtime than Pandemic, plus DICE!!! A fun co-op. A little harder to win with 2 players versus 3 or more, but rewarding when you do win and has that working together feel that I enjoy in co-ops with my husband.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small - two players only, but plays in a set amount of rounds and lasts about 30 mins. Excellent little game. Warning on this one though, it's OOP, but if you keep an eye out you might be able to get a copy for a reasonable price.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - like Carcassonne, this one is tile placement. Players are building castles to score the most points. Playtime is 60-90 mins. Complexity is 2.66, so it's a little higher than the others I've mentioned so far, but it's not difficult to teach or grasp, and the appeal of building a castle is part of the fun!

You mentioned Roll for the Galaxy, so I can't leave it unsaid that I love that game. It's in my top three and I can play it every single night. That being said, it is NOT easy to learn, so if you're looking to teach the wife try to get a grasp on it first yourself before introducing her. Once you do learn it plays quickly and smoothly. Highly recommended, but maybe not for your wife at this point.

I was a boardgame wife once too... now my husband is a board game husband and I'm the crazy game addict.


Thanks for the suggestions! I may start with a lighter dice game like Dice City, and maybe look at Roll for the Galaxy at a later time.

Thanks for your other suggestions too! I will consider them all!
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Zach Nuss
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Lzmountaingames wrote:
Tokaido and Kingdomino would be the best fit of games we play at that lighter end of weight. Also a few games into Saint Malo, which is light, no conflict.


I will have to watch some Tokaido vids. The theme based on first impressions doesn't really appeal to me. However, it has multiple suggestions. Thanks!
 
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+1 Splendor

Sagrada. This is such a pretty game, it makes me happy just to look at it! But it's also a fun dice drafting game. You can increase the complexity for yourself by choosing a more difficult "window" to complete, while your wife is free to choose a simpler one. Sagrada has gone over well even with non-gamers at my house.

EDIT: I didn't want to recommend too many games because, after all, one of the big complaints was your wife gets frustrated by too many new rules to learn, but I just thought of another one I had to mention:

Seeland. If it's still in print. This is another game that falls into the category of satisfyingly pretty to look at, and the basic rules are super simple to learn.
 
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You might want to try Eight-minutes Empire - Legends.

It has interesting concepts kept simple and great for introducing your beloved one to further heavier games if needed, nice graphisms and the difficulty may be tweaked by adding/removing variants and expansions. It really helps variability and replayability.

It plays in about 45 minutes tops.
 
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Brenoit wrote:
You might want to try Eight-minutes Empire - Legends.

It plays in about 45 minutes tops.


At first glance, this looks amazing! Right complexity, right playing time and I love the theme! It's inexpensive too. Great suggestion, I will definitely try this one out!
 
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ttallan wrote:
+1 Splendor

Sagrada. This is such a pretty game, it makes me happy just to look at it! But it's also a fun dice drafting game. You can increase the complexity for yourself by choosing a more difficult "window" to complete, while your wife is free to choose a simpler one. Sagrada has gone over well even with non-gamers at my house.

EDIT: I didn't want to recommend too many games because, after all, one of the big complaints was your wife gets frustrated by too many new rules to learn, but I just thought of another one I had to mention:

Seeland. If it's still in print. This is another game that falls into the category of satisfyingly pretty to look at, and the basic rules are super simple to learn.


It seems Splendor is an obvious choice for many. Will have to look at it more closely!
 
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Nussknackerz wrote:


At first glance, this looks amazing! Right complexity, right playing time and I love the theme! It's inexpensive too. Great suggestion, I will definitely try this one out!


Among the game I submitted to her, it had the most success with my partner at the time. It seemed to hit a sweet spot for her : player interaction, different concepts that does not make the game dull and some tension in gathering sets and points. As I like the game as well, it was a win-win situation.

I strongly encourage you to give it a try !
 
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serendipity2003 wrote:
However a few times now I have been disheartened when I have seen people come a long and made comments like "why don't you just try asking your wife what she likes". I just want to say that I would found that very unhelpful in my early years as a board game wife. Whilst I expect to have a say in what I play, there are so many games and different play mechanisms out there that I wouldn't have known where to start if I was just asked a big open question like that ten years ago. I found it really helpful when my husband or friends were able to narrow the choices down and help me discover new games that I wouldn't have known existed. So I'm just saying, don't be put off if anyone stops by making comments of that nature. I am sure you don't need our advice on how to communicate with your wife! Oh, and have fun!


I'd point out that what you may have found unhelpful, may be exactly what has helped others. For me, spending time asking my husband how long he wants to play, whether a particular game looks interesting, the themes/styles he finds most appealing, what game length works for him, discussing which games he liked, etc. helped me considerably with being able to narrow down the games to show him and describe to him before asking which he's most interested in purchasing.


"I very much agree with your last paragraph. She doesn't know everything that is out there, so how is she going to know what she likes? It may be worth me trying these specific type of game mechanics with lower complexity and finding more challenging games (down the road) with mechanics she enjoys."

To the OP: When asked, I'd venture that she can tell you what themes interest her. She can tell you, generally, how long she enjoys playing a game. She can tell you what aspects she did or didn't like about games she played. When people on these threads invariably come in and say "ask your wife what she likes," it is typically because the poster has not generally expressed much about their spouse's interests. Women, instead, are generically referred to as "the wife." Frequently, the post contains a lot of "I" language and information about what the OP want or likes, so people will suggest that maybe the poster find out what is of interest to his spouse. Your post is different from those in lots of ways, as you've clearly paid some attention, not only to what she does or doesn't like, but why.

When people make the suggestions to ask your wife what she likes, they are usually encouraging the poster to do the things that you already seem to be doing and/or to take it a step further to involve their spouse in some of the selection process, such as asking which game appeals more.
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Elankat wrote:
I'd point out that what you may have found unhelpful, may be exactly what has helped others. For me, spending time asking my husband how long he wants to play, whether a particular game looks interesting, the themes/styles he finds most appealing, what game length works for him, discussing which games he liked, etc. helped me considerably with being able to narrow down the games to show him and describe to him before asking which he's most interested in purchasing.


I don't disagree with you at all! My point was not to put her on the spot by asking her for information she may not feel she has, and when I referred to narrowing things down I rather imagined it would take place pretty much as you have described. Eliciting feedback on previous games is in my opinion a great way of guiding future choices, and I certainly did not want to suggest that our OP should choose for his wife! I never presumed everyone thinks like me when I offered my point of view - after all, that is all it is - my point of view. Absolutely, of course what is helpful to some won't be to others. I hope you didn't miss my self-deprecating comment about how the OP doesn't need our advice on communicating with his wife when I had gone and done just that

Perhaps I might have phrased my example better though, as I don't think I have captured the fullness of the comments that dismayed me. I suggest as an example instead "rather than asking on BGG, how about you ask your wife what game she wants to play" I have found such comments to be unhelpful and a deviance from what the original posters requested. Sure there was no sign of that in this here thread until I raised it in my answer, and I'd like to apologise to our OP as I have now caused a similar deviance from his original request.
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Zach Nuss
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serendipity2003 wrote:
[q="Elankat"]
Perhaps I might have phrased my example better though, as I don't think I have captured the fullness of the comments that dismayed me. I suggest as an example instead "rather than asking on BGG, how about you ask your wife what game she wants to play" I have found such comments to be unhelpful and a deviance from what the original posters requested. Sure there was no sign of that in this here thread until I raised it in my answer, and I'd like to apologise to our OP as I have now caused a similar deviance from his original request.


No apologies necessary! In my original post, I laid out some of the criteria I knew she would prefer based on conversations/observations with her. Your suggestion didn't come across as "blindly purchase games and hope they work out." More like I already had a good idea of what she may want, so just pick some up based on that criteria.
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Akrotiri Has gone over very well with my novice game partner, only plays two. Involves tile-laying so the jump from Carc is pretty easy, but builds on it with path creation and action selection. End game is variable but based on public information, i.e. you can easily see at a glance how close your opponent is to building all their pieces at any point and triggering the last round of the game.

Cottage Garden is probably the most requested game that hits our table. It's very close to being a multi-player solitaire, so that may not be your cup of tea. Main mechanic is planning ahead for available tetris-like shapes and fitting them efficiently onto a limited board space. Patchwork is similar but adds an economic engine, while CG is more laid-back puzzle fitting fun.

Star Realms - Makes an excellent introductory deck-building game. Hero Realms is very similar with a different theme and a few more mechanics.

If your partner is a fan of card set collection, Sushi Go Party! or its simpler predecessor Sushi Go! are inexpensive, easy to learn and short.

Jaipur - set collection with a predictable end game, short but with lots of significant choices packed into a simple game. The choice between when and what cards to acquire vs. when to sell is it's main mechanic.

Sylvion Technically a solo game, it does play co-op and there's nothing stopping any group from making decisions together, which is how we play this one. Themed around stopping a forest fire with the help of various animals. The art style is either a big plus or minus depending on your taste, and the gameplay itself is surprisingly robust with a combination of deck building and tower defence.

+1 for Sagrada, Pandemic: the Cure, Kingdomino and either for the Forbidden co-op games.
 
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