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Subject: TtR, San Juan, Carc... what next? rss

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Mark
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I just got into boardgames and I love it and haven't played the 360 in a while! I've been playing half the time with my girlfriend and the other half with a varying number of players, usually 3, with 4 at most. With the girlfriend, we're in love with San Juan. The building aspect is great along with the non-confrontational aspect. With a larger group, we've been playing Ticket to Ride: Europe and everyone seems to enjoy it but I think it is a little boring/easy now. And finally, we've been playing a lot of 3-player Carcassonne (the original with no expansions), but it also seems to be getting boring and too basic now.

I'm looking to pick up a couple of games to play over the holidays with the same group.

Here's what I'm looking for:
- A strictly 2-player game to play with the lady friend, preferably not very confrontational OR games that play well with 2 and scales well with 3 or 4 players (never 5).
- I'm looking for "the next step" game that is a little meatier, especially heavier than TtR.
- Should not take longer than 90 minutes, preferably an hour at most.
- Also, I like games that give you lots of decisions. Eg: I hate it when in TtR someone blocks you and you're screwed.

I've thought about the following:
Puerto Rico - I've read it plays OK with 2 players? Is it too similar to San Juan, though?
Thurn and Taxis - is it too similar to TtR and will I get bored?
Thebes - sounds great, but is there too much luck?
Goa - also looks great but I'm not sure if I'm a huge fan of auction games.
Pillars of the Earth - looks great but is it too much of a step?
Notre Dame - well, we love Paris... just a thought.

Games I've considered but I think won't work...
Power Grid - apparently sucks with 2-players and not great with 3.
Caylus - hmm, probably too heavy.
Settlers of Catan - I don't really like player negotiation/trading games because one of our players is quite competitive and ruins the game for everyone else.

Finally, 1960 and Twilight Struggle look VERY interesting to me but I'm afraid they will be too long (especially TS).

Help me!
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Scott
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Puerto Rico is probably one of my favorite 2 player games. If you get the variant that listed here, it's awesome. A lot of fun with more players too. It's got some similarities to San Juan but it adds a lot and its quite a bit deeper. I got San Juan first and really loved PR(and I still play San Juan because it's faster).


You might also look into some Knizia games:

Tigris & Euphrates

Samurai

RA-It's a great Auction game that has a really good 2 player variant.


Some of my favorite strictly 2 player games:

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

Adam & Eva

Kahuna Pretty confrontational though.

YINSH If you're interested in abstracts.


As you can see I like euros with a lighter rule set so they might not be heavy enough for you but maybe it will help.
 
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Eric Brosius
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Don't overlook Race for the Galaxy, which is quite a bit like San Juan but with more meat, and faster to play once you know it. It's an excellent 2-player game that also plays well with more than 2.
 
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Mike Fassio
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First let me congratulate you on your newfound love of board games, at least it's a hobby that won't be obsolete in 6 months when a new chipset is released :)

Puerto Rico: An excellent game that San Juan is based upon. I would consider it to be a must own.
Thurn & Taxis: Basically T&T is a non-confrontational version of TtR. I usually introduce it to players who like TtR but don't like its "screw you" component.
Thebes: Get it, get it, get it.
Settlers of Catan: I would love for you to reconsider this game. The game is wonderful and if all else fails you just keep the robber on that person who ruins trading games for you and steal all his cards away!

If you are concerned with length between 1960 and Twilight Struggle I would go for 1960. It is a little more straight forward and the players are striving for one victory condition in 1960 compared to three victory conditions in TS.
 
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Erin Leonhard
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scr0llwheel wrote:
Games I've considered but I think won't work...
Power Grid - apparently sucks with 2-players and not great with 3.


Huh, I one of the things I love best about Power Grid is how well it scales for differing numbers of players. I really think it's as excellent for 2 or 3 as it is for 6, and probably even better as a 6 player game can take much too long.

scr0llwheel wrote:
Finally, 1960 and Twilight Struggle look VERY interesting to me but I'm afraid they will be too long (especially TS).


My first play of 1960 (with rules explanation and food breaks) took 2.5 hours; subsequent plays have been faster and faster. The last game we played took a little over an hour. It's worth every second, I'm addicted to 1960.

With both 1960 and Twilight Struggle learning the cards was key to me, in regards to cutting down on the play time.
 
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Jonathan Morton
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Quote:
- A strictly 2-player game to play with the lady friend, preferably not very confrontational OR games that play well with 2 and scales well with 3 or 4 players (never 5).
- I'm looking for "the next step" game that is a little meatier, especially heavier than TtR.
- Should not take longer than 90 minutes, preferably an hour at most.
- Also, I like games that give you lots of decisions. Eg: I hate it when in TtR someone blocks you and you're screwed.


Battle Line fits all of the above very nicely. Check it out, it's a game you can get a very good concept of from reading up on it.

Quote:
Settlers of Catan - I don't really like player negotiation/trading games because one of our players is quite competitive and ruins the game for everyone else.


The trading in Settlers (at least for newbies) is very straightforward. I wouldn't even call it 'negotiation'. Highly recommended.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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You didn't mention abstracts, but I'll just wanted to pimp Ingenious - My wife really enjoys it game, and it works well for 2-4 players.

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John G
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Puerto Rico would be my choice, definitely. No way is it too similar to San Juan. I played that game for a year insatiably.

You might also consider Through the Desert. I'd put it in the same camp as Ticket to Ride. Very scalable with several paths to victory.

I had to put all my games in storage for six months and move to South Africa with my wife and kids. I had to pick games like what you're describing - not too confrontational, work for 2-4 players, not too heavy.

We chose:
Carcassonne
Through the Desert
Lost Cities

My son clandestinely added Nexus Ops.
 
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Sam
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Puerto Rico- you'd enjoy; scales well; gameplay experience very unlike San Juan

Thurn & Taxis- yet another pick-up-and-deliver train game...

Goa- plays very well with 2 and scale well (better I think with 4 than 3). The auction part is what really makes this game great. May want to try before you buy- but would recommend it

Notre Dame- OK(?) with 2, but better with more. Great game with 4.

Pillars of the Earth- don't think it's "too much of a big step"; of similar level to say PR or Notre Dame

Caylus- don't be put off; not too heavy as you might think, especially if playing with players of similar level; rules are not as complicated as some people make them out to be. We were able to play the game after reading the rules twice and resorting to them occassionally during our first couple games.

Power Grid- will disagree with you; you'll have fun with 2 and scales well with any number of players...

Twilight Struggle- brilliant game; but yes, keeping within your 90min limit will be a challenge (even for experienced players), but most enjoyable game if you have more time set aside...

Other games you could look at:

Attika (nice with 2 and plays well with more; light and fun, non-confrontational)

Tigris & Ephrates (may need to play a few times "to get it"; if you like chess, go, etc you'll probably like this one)

Caylus Magna Carta- lighter Caylus, shorter and still fun to play (scales well too)

Catan the Card Game (esp the expansions)- purely 2 player

Command and Colours, Battlelore, Memoir 44 etc- purely 2 players, being a wargame it will be confrontational but are very enjoyable. Would suggest C&C- not as many expansions to tempt you to go on a money-spree, and personally I find it more enjoyable- feel more in control of my army...



 
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Get up, get up, get up, get down, fall over.
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A lot of good suggestions. I would only add Hacienda to the burgeoning list. Reasonably short, lots of paths to victory, interaction without all-out confrontation - it is difficult and expensive to block somebody completely but you can often inconvenience them (and this is all deliberate, unlike the accidental blocking that happens in TTR). Plenty of replayability too.

From experience I would say it is possible to Carc yourself out. The vanilla version with 2 or 3 is fantastic but it sounds like you have overdone it. Put it away for a couple of months. When you come back to it you will remember exactly why you enjoyed it in the first place.
 
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Tomello Visello
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scr0llwheel wrote:
preferably not very confrontational
Masons is definitely not confrontational, yet I witness healthy social interaction.

 
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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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Attika

Is Fun...

-DK
 
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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    A definite No to Puerto Rico. C'mon guys -- look at the three games in the subject line.

    Ingenious is an excellent recommendation already made to you.
    The Pillars of the Earth would be a good choice as well, and likely more suitable than Puerto Rico. A bit lighter than Puerto Rico, still intense, beautiful, and enjoyable.
    Coloretto is cheap, oh-so-easy to learn and one hell of a good time.
    Lost Cities is excellent, and inexpensive as well.
    Alhambra is worth your time to consider as well. Very good play with three or four players.
    Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is beautiful, and a fun play for a mixed crowd.

             Sag.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery! This the meatier game you were looking for. The perfect fit with your criteria, apart from the playing time which is more than 90 mins with more than three players. Plays well with 2-5 players, and has a strong theme and very pretty bits. There are many ways to victory. Definitely more meaty than TtR but I think you would "get it" pretty soon. If you want a shorter game I guess you could play 6 or 7 turns instead of 8, might require a few house rules though.

Manila A game most people simply describe as fun! Has a rather heavy dose of luck but if you like San Juan I think you would be fine with it.

All the games you mention you are thinking about look really good as well, doubt you could go wrong with any of them (but Goa just might be too heavy, possibly).

A small advice also: Many publishers have the rules for their games on their websites. We are talking full color PDF versions of the real rules. Check www.ystari.com for rules to Caylus and www.riograndegames.com for rules to Manila and Notre Dame among others.
 
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Jill R
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Nice to have you on board (ok a little pun there)

I saw someone recommended Settlers of Catan, this is a good game with tons of re-playability.

Catan

They have a new edition that just came out this month.

This game has many different strategies and your particular one will change from game to game.
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Greg r
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Lost Cities
I see a few mentioned this one.

Lost Cities is a light 2 player game that my wife and I like. Plays quick, can usually get in 2 or 3 games rather quickly, non confrontational.
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Bartow Riggs
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I'll second Age of Empire III: The Age of Discovery. Great game with great feel and very easy to pick up on after playing a half a game or so. Try the excellent play-aid files here on BGG.

It does have a "soldier" component and with two players it can be more of a race game but it scales well with 2-5 and is still excellent with 4.
 
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michael dorazio
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Battle Line for a really fun, light (rules-wise) two-player game.

Samurai for two to four.

For the next step up in complexity, but still a piece of cake for gamers:

Tigris and Euphrates (with 3 or 4)
Torres (with two to four)
Reef Encounter (with 3 or 4)
 
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Giles Schildt
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Age of Discovery is a minimally confrontational game for up to four players. It should work with two, but I haven't personally tried two players yet.
 
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Nick Bos
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sdafilli wrote:


Tigris & Ephrates (may need to play a few times "to get it"; if you like chess, go, etc you'll probably like this one)



I very, very, very very much disagree with this one.

Am I the only one that thinks T&E is not that heavy as people say it is?
I play it with friends, and everyone likes it, and they don't think the rules are that hard.

We always have fun with this one, and it isn't a brainburner like chess is. Analysis paralysis has never happened with this game in my group (and that's saying something )

But of course, opinions may differ
 
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David Turner
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Alhambra and St. Petersberg.
Both play very well with 2, and can scale to 4.
Tow of my wife's favorites.
 
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Sam
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Faerun wrote:
sdafilli wrote:


Tigris & Ephrates (may need to play a few times "to get it"; if you like chess, go, etc you'll probably like this one)



Am I the only one that thinks T&E is not that heavy as people say it is?
I play it with friends, and everyone likes it, and they don't think the rules are that hard.

We always have fun with this one, and it isn't a brainburner like chess is. Analysis paralysis has never happened with this game in my group (and that's saying something )



Sorry Nick, but that's not what i meant...

It ain't heavy and the rules are definitely not hard, but some people I've played with and myself included, just couldn't look far enough ahead to understand how to better achieve success... something that made more clear after a few games... (hence my reference to chess- rules aren't hard, but there's a great learning curve to understand it and play it better)

It's a great game....but requires a bit of persistence to understand it better in the beginning...
 
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Am I having fun yet?
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mjfassio wrote:

Thurn & Taxis: Basically T&T is a non-confrontational version of TtR. I usually introduce it to players who like TtR but don't like its "screw you" component.


I agree. I think you would love Thurn & Taxis. This is one of our favorites. We don't like games with confrontation. This game has lots of choices to make, but there is very little chance to hurt another player.
 
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Joe Schaben
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Hey Mark,

I've had success with the following games with my girlfriend and gaming group:

Lost Cities ~ awesome 2 person game, my girlfriend is always up for playing.

Thurn & Taxis - plays well with both 2 & 4, my girlfriend really likes it.

Ingenious - a great game, lots of bright colors, easy to teach and play.

If you like Carcassonne - I'd highly recommend the Traders & Builders expansion - adds another strategy level to regular carc.

Finally, another great game for taking the next step is El Grande. I've played with 3 & 4, it's awesome! I always look forward to getting this on the table.
 
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C. J. Robinson
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Is Goa even available? Every wher I've looked it does not appear to be in stock, and there is no indication when it might again be available.
 
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