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Subject: Complete newb looking for recommendation for two-player game for my wife and I rss

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Tony G
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So, my wife and I would like to venture into board games and here are some things that might help you provide some recommendations for us. Thanks in advance for all of your help! I've been researching myself, but am completely overwhelmed!

-We think we'd like to start with a cooperative game. Not mandatory, but just our initial thought.

-She loves shows that involve the supernatural (vampires, werewolves, magic at least somewhat) or are very time specific (i.e. Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt, etc.). She also loves Game of Thrones and loved Lost. I'm down with all of these themes as well...but this is what I think will appeal to her and I believe the theme will be an important hook. However, I also realize that I'm completely knew to this style of gaming and could be wrong...maybe the gameplay mechanics are more critical.

-I like the idea of campaign style games/Legacy games...something that tells a story that can hook us and bring us back to the table. But, not sure if that is the same as a "theme" game, which I've also seen mentioned.

-I'd prefer something that could be set up, played and the session completed within an hour. If this is too limiting, I could do 90 minutes maybe...

-I don't want something that we will constantly have to stop the game and look something up online in order to "kind of" make sense of the rules. I don't necessarily want something incredibly basic, but something that is explained well, possibly has layers of complexity that you learn over time, or that has a rule book that is fairly easy to navigate.

-In the end, we want to have fun. Just hoping that some of you fine folk can lead us in the right direction. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to help us out!!!
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Jenn B
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One of my favorite two player games is Patchwork. It's~30 mins with straight forward rules. If either of you like tetris, I would say give this a try, though I know it doesn't meet some of your other criteria.

For a coop give Pandemic a try, though again not a theme you requested. If you enjoy this you could move on to Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, but then I think you would also face the issue of looking stuff online. If you are new to the hobby I would not recommend jumping right into Pandemic Legacy.
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Mike Vande Ven Jr.
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In my opinion, gameplay always trumps theme, but theme is good too.

Legacy games are probably something to stick away from until you for sure know you will like eit enough to pay a heafty price tag for a game you will only play once (legacy games require permanent modifications to the game pieces).

Campaign games can be nice, they are like a normal board game, but with a story or character specs that build from game to game.

Based on all of this, the first thing that comes to mind is Near and Far. You can play it without campaign or with. It’s got some real euro style and a cool set of mini stories.
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Gary Mertz

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I'll give a second to Patchwork. My fiancee and I absolutely love it. Light theme but there is a good strategy level there. Highly recommended. Fun game.
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Zach
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giantmike wrote:
In my opinion, gameplay always trumps theme, but theme is good too.

Legacy games are probably something to stick away from until you for sure know you will like eit enough to pay a heafty price tag for a game you will only play once (legacy games require permanent modifications to the game pieces).

Campaign games can be nice, they are like a normal board game, but with a story or character specs that build from game to game.

Based on all of this, the first thing that comes to mind is Near and Far. You can play it without campaign or with. It’s got some real euro style and a cool set of mini stories.


Above and Below was my wife and I’s first game and Near and Far is even better. The new expansion I believe adds co op play but not sure when it hits retail.
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Morten Notodden
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The obvious choice is 7 Wonders Duel.

Quick, deep and easy to learn. The theme is ancient civilizations.

No campaign mode, but it fits your other criteria well
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Travis McCown
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My girlfriend and I enjoy:
Potion Explosion
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
51st State: Master Set
Alchemists
The Big Book of Madness
All are games that you don't kill each other or trick and lie to each other...... key to keeping her happy!!
 
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Ulet
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postm wrote:
The obvious choice is 7 Wonders Duel.

Quick, deep and easy to learn. The theme is ancient civilizations.

No campaign mode, but it fits your other criteria well


Was about to recommend 7 Wonders Duel as well, even though I have never played it. Is it really that easy to learn?
 
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Chris Talmadge
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Travalgar wrote:
postm wrote:
The obvious choice is 7 Wonders Duel.

Quick, deep and easy to learn. The theme is ancient civilizations.

No campaign mode, but it fits your other criteria well


Was about to recommend 7 Wonders Duel as well, even though I have never played it. Is it really that easy to learn?

+ I'll third this one. Great 2p back-and-forth style game. Also a great gateway game in the civ builder genre.
 
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Aaron Saeger
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Shotten Totten is an easy game to pick up. 2 player only. This is always a go to game to play against each other. It's also pretty cheap in the realm of game purchasing.
 
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Jorge Gonçalves
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Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
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Neil Barman
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ct5150 wrote:
Travalgar wrote:
postm wrote:
The obvious choice is 7 Wonders Duel.

Quick, deep and easy to learn. The theme is ancient civilizations.

No campaign mode, but it fits your other criteria well


Was about to recommend 7 Wonders Duel as well, even though I have never played it. Is it really that easy to learn?

+ I'll third this one. Great 2p back-and-forth style game. Also a great gateway game in the civ builder genre.


7 Wonders Duel is the game I thought of as well. It doesn’t quite fit your criteria exactly, but it is certainly close enough and a superb 2p game. It’s not a co-op game either, but the degree and kind of interaction is quite engaging & just the right amount of challenging.

Also, you may find yourselves looking up things in the rules more than you would for more basic games, but it’s worth the effort for the rich gameplay you will get.
 
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Matt Drown
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At the longer end of the scale:
Battles of Westeros may work. I've only played the BattleLore first edition, but this one is Game of Thrones themed. Unfortunately may be out of print and expensive to pick up. The BattleLore (Second Edition) version appears to be something you can pick up easily.

If you are willing to push the time limit quite a bit, or leave a game setup on a table Twilight Struggle is quite a good game, and looks scary and large and complex at first grasp, but is not. Read/watch some of the reviews, don't just judge it on the first pass of the BGG page.

Shorter and probably closer to what you are looking for:
Targi - two player only worker placement, may be a little dry in theme, but great game.


 
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Dark Gothic is a simple deckbuilding card game that can be played co-op, and has a gothic horror theme.
 
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philippe lachance
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game Seems to fit your description, a fun 2 player campaign style card game where you play two investigators fighting against the paranormal. Play is brisk, scenarios not too long, level up your characters,go insane, a perfect good old time really.

OrA Game of Thrones: The Card Game which I have not played and I think is competitive, but my girlfriend and me love those competitive two player game where you try to outwit the other player, our absolute favorite being Android: Netrunner, lots of room to grow and build upon. Actually You should look at the fantasy flight catalogue, maybe Heroes of Terrinoth or battlelore second edition like previously mentioned is a grand time




Or maybe go with the classic Ghost Stories
 
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Ed
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Love Arkham Horror Card Game. Checks off a lot of boxes on your list: cooperative, campaign, supernatural, two player. Will seem complicated if you’re not familiar living card games or role playing games but it’s worth it.
 
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Sofie
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airdog_47 wrote:
Shotten Totten is an easy game to pick up. 2 player only. This is always a go to game to play against each other. It's also pretty cheap in the realm of game purchasing.


I'll second Schotten Totten we love it and there's some added elements to it if you get tired of the base game.

I think Parade is fantastic on two and it's really easy to teach so if you have friends over you can introduce them.

I personally wouldn't start with a legacy game if you're completely new. I would like to figure out a bit more what I like before I do that and while I haven't played any two player legacy games, but of those I've played I've been frustrated with the adding of rules as the games go along.

Now, I'm a eurogamer so I'm not super fond of too much text and "evolving story" in games as I feel that it distracts from the game play itself, but that's just something you'll have to figure out yourself if you like or not.
 
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Jerry Saner
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If you like D&D and fantasy themed games, the D&D Adventuring System games are a total co-op. They can be played with 2 players or 2 players running 2 characters each and they set up quickly and take about an hour. The first one is Castle Ravenloft.
There is the Aliens and Predator Deck-building games - if you like the movies, you will like the games - total co-ops.
Then there is "Little Trouble in Big China" deck-builder, which is a hoot - if you enjoyed the movie.

Elder Sign would be a great way to start - a Cthulhu dice-chucker spin off of Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror.
Or, Eldritch Horror itself, for that matter - except it doesn't play in an hour.

If you want a bit of zaniness, you can't go wrong with Castle Panic or Star Trek Panic.


 
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Will Shaw
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A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game

Co-op (or competitive), supernatural/gothic horror, 90 minutes.
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Hawk Strike
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Another vote here for Arkham Horror: The Card Game, which will check most of your boxes.

There will be a learning curve for a complete novice, but the first adventure is a pretty manageable introduction, and worst case there are several good online how to play videos.
 
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Ben Wickens
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Arkham horror the card game is fairly complex but there are a lot of videos out there that walk you through everything. I find it a tiny bit fiddly but it might be something to aim for. It fits your other boxes in terms of theme, campaign elements etc.

Elder Signs is pretty straight forward rules wise but has that supernatural theme shining through and it is cooperative. Involves lots of chucking dice but there are enough ways to mitigate them that it remains fun.

For an entry level coop I do really like Forbidden Dessert but the theme isnt quite what you are looking for ( escaping a dessert by finding plane pieces.

I love the Exit and Unlock game series but each of these are do a puzzle once and then you are done with it.


 
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Erik Jordheim
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You could start with Forbidden Island which is quick, fun, gorgeous to look at and super affordable. If if that is a success you can continue the "story" of the adventurers by purchasing and playing Forbidden Desert.

If that too is a success, or you find you work well as a cooperative team and are ready for a greater challenge, then I think you both are ready for other more in depth games with a richer campaign or storyline like Legends of Andor which I think is a perfect match for what you are looking for.
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Tony G
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Holy cow. I woke up this morning and thought I'd take a look to see if I got any response. What a community! I very much appreciate the thoughtful responses and not even one "should have searched the forum" post from anyone. My heart is full. lol.

Now off to do some more research and pull the trigger on one or two of the suggestions. I'll keep checking this, so if others have thoughts, please share. I've looked into Pandemic, Arkham Horror, and Patchwork before and find each of them intriguing (Pandemic is the one that got me thinking about Legacy gaming, but I will hold off on the Legacy version for now until I get my feet wet). I will definitely check out several of the other suggestions. And benme, Forbidden Dessert sounds like a theme that is close enough to what we would enjoy. Stranded somewhere and needing to figure out how to survive and get out is definitely intriguing as well. Have looked at Robinson Crusoe as well...just seems like it might be a bit much as a first experience.
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Al Walker
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agrippi wrote:
So, my wife and I would like to venture into board games and here are some things that might help you provide some recommendations for us. Thanks in advance for all of your help! I've been researching myself, but am completely overwhelmed!

-We think we'd like to start with a cooperative game. Not mandatory, but just our initial thought.

-She loves shows that involve the supernatural (vampires, werewolves, magic at least somewhat) or are very time specific (i.e. Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt, etc.). She also loves Game of Thrones and loved Lost. I'm down with all of these themes as well...but this is what I think will appeal to her and I believe the theme will be an important hook. However, I also realize that I'm completely knew to this style of gaming and could be wrong...maybe the gameplay mechanics are more critical.

-I like the idea of campaign style games/Legacy games...something that tells a story that can hook us and bring us back to the table. But, not sure if that is the same as a "theme" game, which I've also seen mentioned.

-I'd prefer something that could be set up, played and the session completed within an hour. If this is too limiting, I could do 90 minutes maybe...

-I don't want something that we will constantly have to stop the game and look something up online in order to "kind of" make sense of the rules. I don't necessarily want something incredibly basic, but something that is explained well, possibly has layers of complexity that you learn over time, or that has a rule book that is fairly easy to navigate.

-In the end, we want to have fun. Just hoping that some of you fine folk can lead us in the right direction. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to help us out!!!


Cthulu Fluxx - easy to learn, fun, can be short
 
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Robert Henley
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My top pick would be a simple and elegant competitive game: Odin's Ravens. This is a race between Odin's two ravens over terrain you can change, so it roughly fits your fantasy/magic theme. It's small, portable, fast to play, and has clear rules, while still offering challenging decisions. It is probably the game I've played most with my wife. (The second edition is going out of print, but can still be found at a decent price if you hunt around.)

Good cooperative games for couples:
+1 Castle Panic / Star Trek Panic -- A cooperative "tower defense" game. The original Castle Panic meets your fantasy theme and either edition plays well with two.

Pandemic: the Cure -- set in contemporary time, so not to the themes you mentioned, but a faster, simpler, and more tactical game than the original Pandemic. My wife loves this one.

+1 Forbidden Island -- get the treasures and escape from the island before it sinks! By the same designer as Pandemic, it's considered a great introductory cooperative game, and is inexpensive.

Other great (albeit competitive) couples games:
Jaipur -- a great Middle-Eastern-themed economic set collection game. (One of our most-played games.)

Port Royal -- a great push-your-luck/set collection game with a bit of Caribbean pirate theme. With the Port Royal: Just One More Contract... expansion, you can play it cooperatively. (I haven't played that expansion yet or I'd be recommending it much more highly.)

And one caution: 7 Wonder Duel is an excellent game, and my wife and I love it, but it is a cutthroat game with a strong "take that" element. I'd suggest playing something gentler as you start gaming; build up to playing this one later.

Have fun!
 
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