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Subject: Games that allow "master strategist" to play with normal players rss

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Ad Coelum
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My spouse is an analyst by trade and a "master strategist" when playing games. Once a game's weakness is found, it will be exploited to the greatest extent possible. Turns take at least 5 minutes, everyone else is bored, and sometimes we end up with half the players unable to even do anything on their turns. This has rendered useless several games that were enjoyable the first time through (7 Wonders Duel, for example).

We have an entire box full of games that I just will not even try to play (Memoir '44, Risk, Stratego, Squad Leader ...) because I do not want to end up divorced.

Examples of two player games we've liked include Cartagena, Carcassonne - The Castle, Mr. Jack (and Mr. Jack Pocket). We've also enjoyed Takenoko, Tikal, Thebes, Exploding Kittens, and several of the Catan variants, including Starfarers and the original flavor.

When we play with friends, we can avoid the extended strategizing by playing "party" games such as CAH, and I plan to get Galaxy Truckers soon to try out with the friends who will still play board games with us.

So, I'm especially looking for some ideas for two-player games. Cooperative or simultaneous play, that sort of thing. Any help out there?
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Momo Momo
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Play games with multiple ways of winning. Games where there isn't one clear, better way to victory.

Caverna: The Cave Farmers came to mind.
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Momo Momo
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Though, if analysis paralysis is the main problem, forget it. They'll end up staring at the possible actions for days, and then a few more days at the rooms, of they so choose to furnish a cavern.
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Raven Snow
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A few months ago, I asked for similar recommendations from people for trying to deal with an alpha-gamer friend who is just too good at exploiting strategies in board games. It makes playing many games with him unenjoyable, because he's a vocal jerk about the other players playing sub-optimally, or taking too long. Maybe there will be some recommendations in this thread that could apply for your situation. 3-Player Quickish Games to Play with an Alpha-Gamer

From my efforts to play games with that friend, we found that Quarriors! worked really well for us. Maybe this would be a good one for you, too. Your husband might still be tempted to take long-ish turns, but there is only so many finite options of what you can do with the dice you roll. If he can see all the cards easily, possibly he can do some of his optimization plans during set-up? My boyfriend and I play this as a 2-player game, as well, and we have fun with it.
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Nicola Bocchetta
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Real time games are a solution. My suggestion was acquiring Galaxy Trucker, but you thought this on your own. Another addition might be Space Alert, real time coop game.
Also negotiation games might be useful in this case. Archipelago, sidereal confluence...
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L B
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XCOM: The Board Game is cooperative with an app that times the phases.
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B B

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+1 for Space Alert.
Maybe FUSE
Maybe escape room games like the Unlock! The Formula series or the Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin series.

A lot of co-op games won't be fun with a player like that either. The real time games are the best bet.
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True Balance

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Ad Coelum
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Awesome, that looks great. Thanks!
 
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Ad Coelum
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Many thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t heard of a couple of these.
 
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Ad Coelum
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Nice! I’ll check it out.
 
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Ad Coelum
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This was on my list to investigate because we have Caverna already, we just haven’t gotten to trying it out. Glad to know it might work for us.
 
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Ad Coelum
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Ha! Ok, then. I’m definitely considering instituting a timed turn rule whenever we play together.
 
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Ad Coelum
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We work together pretty well on projects, which is why I thought co-op might be a good route. I hadn’t thought about escape room games. They might play to both of our strengths.
 
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Stephen Hall
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Cribbage was the first thing that came to mind. Not only is it an AMAZING 2p game, but masters can play with newbies and not be guaranteed a win. It is possible to be "good" at cribbage (it's actually the only game at which I consider myself to be master-level), but I lose regularly.
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Ad Coelum
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I just realized my replies aren’t threaded. Oh well. Thank you everyone for your help. I’m looking forward to digging into this list ASAP. Heading to the store this weekend.
 
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Mike Watne
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Roulo wrote:
I just realized my replies aren’t threaded. Oh well. Thank you everyone for your help. I’m looking forward to digging into this list ASAP. Heading to the store this weekend.


When you wish to reply to a specific comment and reference it (as I have done here), hit the "Quote" button at the bottom-right of the comment you wish to quote when you reply. the basic "reply" button doesn't reference the post you clicked and just adds your comment to the thread in sequence.

Happy hunting!
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Max Maximus
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I actually found this to be a big problem with fairly simple games for one gamer(my kid), and when i introduced the same player to more complex games they actually had something to do on their downtime(think about what they were planning).

So now the same person loves playing board games that take 90mins+, and really dislikes games that are quick and dont give them enough options.

Find the ideal game for that person, and you will open up a whole new gamer inside of them
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Peter Strait
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In general, look for games that have a larger element of chance, and in particular that keep more than the next turn's worth of information from being available at a time. This could mean classic card games and trick-taking games (I've heard The Fox in the Forest is good), but could also mean something like Terraforming Mars where you're simply not going to know which cards you get each generation until you get them.

Constructed-deck games (CCGs, LCG, etc.) may be another option, in that you're putting in that "master strategist" work on your own before you hit the table (and thus not slowing anyone else down); I'm personally a big fan of Gruff, but there are tons of others.

Dice games are an option, though I'm not sure I know any good two-player ones that aren't roll-and-write. (Oh, though if you don't already have Castles of Burgundy, get it, it's Really That Good and quite nicely priced.)
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Bill Cook
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I'm shocked Tikal words for you. That game is like catnip for AP-prone players.

My suggestion is Tokaido. Just enough strategy to keep it interesting, but pretty much impossible to over-think.

PS - Have you tried suggesting a different play style?
 
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Edward Kowynia
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I would suggest a game that allows multiple players to win in multiple ways. Sounds simple right. Does not answer your two player problem, but might help in your group endeavors.
Stone Age would be one of my suggestions. In order to determine who is in the lead you have to track several items at once across multiple players. Players can play to different objectives and there is a variable time to the game end based on the stacks of huts and the cards running out. Essentially players can force an end point. I play that game with several excellent, highly analytical players and we hardly ever know who is going to win until the final scoring.
Add to that there is a different phasing player each turn and there are multiple variables for each phasing player that are never the same.

As far as two player games, as well as your group things, try some cooperative games. Pandemic is good but my wife and I (and I am, it sounds like, like your husband according to my wife) like Elder Sign very much. Actually it is her favorite game. It is coop, is fun, is variable and involves a lot of decision making and some luck (read dice). A good game though.
We also like Lost Cities. It is a card game so there is some luck of the draw but there is enough in that game that you may never really know what cards your opponent has and is willing to risk playing.
Good luck to you.
Ed
 
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Terence Aries
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Social deduction games, or semi-coop with a hidden traitor might work as well?

Things like The Resistance, Dead of Winter, Shadows over Camelot?
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Terence Aries
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MasterCastle wrote:

I recommend using a timer or similar to reduce AP.



That would only lessen the AP "sufferer's" enjoyment of the game. It's preferable, or at least I find it preferable, to find games that mitigate AP as they can be enjoyed by all players.

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corum irsei
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Race for the Galaxy is the game that works best with our AP-prone players. It's one of very few games we manage to play in about an hour.
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Sarah
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My mum is exactly like this as also a mathmetician lol! Although doesn't win the games we play often as not so good at working out what other people might do to her to affect her position so interaction and ability to mess with each other is a must for me or anyone else to win - this is her weakness lol. Not sure if the same would apply to your spouse. But in regards to AP, I avoid games that are simply just pure engine building and long term thinking/planning. I get games with an element of luck or mechanisms like rondels which limit choice each turn even if planning long term etc. I avoid things like caverna with multiple routes to winning as she will analyse every route at every moment without something to reign her in so just avoid those that are too heavy and point heavy.

Some mechanisms that help are simultaneous actions, mission/objective cards that change throughout the game as it helps direct/focus her choices for a while rather than being able to go in any direction all the time, sometimes a little bit of chaos or push your luck too. Even only going for games with low scoring helps as takes her less time to count what each choice would give her in the end - it's quicker to count 1+2+3 in head rather than multiples of longer numbers lol!

Games that have worked well:

At the Gates of Loyang
Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)
Seeland
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Glen More
Port Royal
Galaxy Trucker
Ninjato
Tokaido
Raptor
Sanssouci
Yedo
Schotten Totten
Tobago
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Olympos
Vikings
Samurai
The Downfall of Pompeii
Colt Express and Room 25 purely for fun

I did get dungeon petz too but haven't tried this out yet?

I know some of these are simpler games and might not be what you're looking for but I don't dare get too heavy with her as will be miserable. I think the heaviest I would go is gates of loyang (this took hours but just about okay) as many of them at that level and above are often just point salads and bad for AP. I did a whole thread here looking for some suggestions a while ago which mentions the elements that tend to speed her up or slow her down so you might find some useful suggestions or game ideas in there lol. There's further descriptions of my mum's issues and pulling apart many games throughout the thread so have a read to see if helps:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1667815/one-last-attempt/pa...

Most the games above can be two played with two I think. We even like mission red planet two player by simply removing an extra rocket although many here would say no??


Edit - oops room 25 and colt express wont work for two but you might enjoy with friends?


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