Bob Trundell
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Been lurking around BGG for 15-20 hours a week the past couple weeks since my wife and I picked up Killer Bunnies at a store and tired the poor thing out a week in. (I think the more accurate thing to say is that it tired my wife and I out. So I came here to explore the new world.)

What a surprise!

I started with Risk (Didn't like Axis and Allies) (Don't love Risk anymore) She started with Clue. We played Killer Bunnies and we were in love... for the first 7-8 games. I broke first and came here to look for more substance. We both were bored and have been playing 3-5 games of it a week. Enter the game (based on reviews from here and availability at our only local game store) "Age of Empires 3"

We have played three games this week... we LOVE it. Like... a lot. But I know games well enough to be positive it is not permanent. We have also tried Small World and I'm not at all getting the hype. I feel like I'm playing it wrong it bored me so much.

Well, we have people who love AOE3 too after playing with us. So we feel we might be building a good core group. We just like to play together when that group can't be around. So far we are void of two player fun.

That is where you fine new friends of mine come in. We need 2-player games. We are on a budget that isn't terribly forgiving right now, so we would like games that could be fun with more players as well. Using our love for AOE3 is best bet, she is still too new to strategy to guess what she might like other than that.

Thanks a bunch for whatever you might be able to add. ( I realize there are many threads for 2-player around, but I thought posting my first time deserved something useful, and this is very useful to me!)

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Matt Davis
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Maybe consider

Agricola

or

The Pillars of the Earth.

Disclaimer: I haven't played AOE3, so I'm mostly going on what comments I've heard from others about the game and a quick glance at the game page. Both of my suggestions have some similar ideas - placing a limited number of workers on various actions to try and get the most out of them.

Agricola scales better to various numbers of players, but I think Pillars is a bit easier to get into.
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J
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If you liked AOE3 a lot and you're looking for games that work great with two players, definitely get Caylus.

Pillars of the Earth and Agricola are also great worker placement games, but they're probably better with three or four players.

These are the "big four" in terms of worker placement games, which happen to be my favorite type.
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The other Euro guy
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I would take a look at Carcassonne. Its not too expensive and one of the best two player games that you will find.

If funds will stretch, consider the Inns & Cathedrals expansion. It adds a bit more depth to the gameplay and, as a bonus, gives you the option to add a sixth player.
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Ryan
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Glad to hear you like Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. My wife and I love to play it 2 player as well. We think it's even more fun with more players as you've seem to discovered.

Most of my suggestions are different than the worker placement/management category that AoE3 falls into. They are games that my wife and I have enjoyed and a couple of these were important in conveting her into a board game geek.

As someone already suggested, Carcassonne is great, and we also enjoy it with the expansions Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders. We've only played in groups a few times with this game and it was fun, but I can't speak to its long term appeal with more than 2 players.

We've also had a lot of enjoyment with Saint Petersburg. I find that I still enjoy the strategy and gameplay after 20 plays. You really have to balance your cash spending between generating more income and acquiring victory points. It's a different type of game than AoE3. It's also pretty cheap. It plays up to four, but I can't speak to anything other than 2 player games.

I really like San Juan. It's a card game the focuses on building your city through hand management. It's very quick to play and won't hurt your checkbook, either. We've played it 40+ times and I still enjoy it. My wife not as much anymore. It can play up to four, but we've only ever played with two.

If you like worker placement, you may like Caylus Magna Carta. It's not one of my favorite games, but I still enjoy a game from time to time. It plays 2-4, and is fairly quick as a two player game and fairly cheap as well. Kingsburg is also a worker placement game and can be played with 2. We've had some fun with that, but it seems like it may be better with more players.

If you may be interested in cooperative games, give Pandemic a try. We enjoy it as a 2 player game, but have yet to play it with 3 or 4 players. It's quite fun to plot our your strategy at the beginning once you've seen how the diseases are laid out. This is also fairly cheap, but I enjoy the components and artwork. You might lookup Lord of the Rings if you like that theme. It's another co-op game which can be played from 2-5 players. There is a lot of depth to the game and I enjoy it greatly. My wife's not such a big fan. It seems to evoke strong reacations in people, so check out some reviews and session reports first if you're interested. It's a little more expensive.

We really like Pirate's Cove as a game for 3-5 players. There is a two player variant in which each player controls two ships. We enjoyed that quite a bit. There is a lot of bluffing in this game and a lot of luck as well. It's good if players don't get too attatched to their plan and their ship. This probably won't be your first choice, but I thought I should mention it because my wife and I enjoyed it quite a bit when she first started out with boardgames.
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What about Pandemic? It's a coop, so everyone's on the same team against the game. It plays 2-4 (5 with the expansion coming out), and I find newer players like getting into the game when they don't have to compete against more experienced players.

I've played Agricola 70+ times, most of those 2-player. It works well for any number from 1-5, just has a different feel. The different card combinations are what make it so good to me.

Tsuro is on the low end of the price scale, but worth every penny - plays 2-8 with great components, about 20 minutes per game. It's a tile laying game where you try to be the last person standing.

If you want worker placement with a little dice, look at Stone Age. For even more dice in a modified worker placement way, where you get to roll for a battle at the end of every "year" and build buildings that give you points and special powers, take a look at Kingsburg.

If you're looking for something slightly D&D-y or RPG-y, look at Prophecy. There's a short and long game, and it works with 2.

If you want something fast and light, a push your luck game to break things up, take a look at Unnamed Object. Says 3-8, but we've had fun with it with 2.

If you want more of a card game, Condottiere is sort of an abstracted battle game where you fight for regions of Italy, and first person to conquer the rigth amount of regions wins.
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ged waldock
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My girlfriend and I are seriously into War for Edaðh. You should check it out - been playing it for months and we're far from bored with it.
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Roger Yim
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Bob, congrats on your marriage.

What is it you like about AOE3? And what didn't you like about Small World? That might help the BGGers narrow down the choices.
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Man thinks, the river flows.
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    At the risk of sounding like a complete fossil, consider Cribbage which will likely be a free title for you. A superb game for two.

    Canasta ain't a half bad game either.

             Sag.


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Sagrilarus wrote:

Canasta ain't a half bad game either.


We've been playing a bunch of Canasta lately.
 
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Mike
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Bob,
I'm getting back into games after somewhat of a lapse and have happily introduced my wife to them. Since we purchased them two weeks ago we have not went a day without playing one.

Here are the titles we purchased:
- Agricola (our favorite, good for 2 or 2+)
- Ticket to Ride: Europe (also good for 2 or 2+)
- Mr. Jack (2-player only, probably not up your alley)

Best,
Mike
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Darren M
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20 great games for you:

Puerto Rico (aka Puerto Rico) (2002) Can be played with 2... great with 3-5

Agricola (2007) Good with 2 and more

Race for the Galaxy (2007) Great with 2+

Dominion (2008) Great with 2+

Caylus (2005) Great with 2+

Tigris & Euphrates (1997) Great with 2+

Pandemic (2008) Great with 2+

Ra (1999) Great with 2+ (best with 3 or 4)

Ticket to Ride (2004) Great with 2-5

Carcassonne (2000) Likely best with 2.. good with more as well

San Juan (2004) Good with 2-4

Stone Age (2008) Good with 2-4

Samurai (1998) Good with 2-4

Goa (2004) Great with 2-4 OOP though

Citadels (2000) Great with 2+

Ingenious (2004) Great with 2-4

Galaxy Trucker (2007) Great with 2-4

Saint Petersburg (2004) Great with 2-4

Tikal (1999) Great with 2-4

The Pillars of the Earth (2006) Great with 2-4
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Bob Trundell
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Well, the truth is that Smallworld's decisions and concept seemed shallow. It was as if it would make a great party game to mess around with if it weren't 10-18 times too complicated to play as a party game outright. There was something dreadfully missing in the two games I played, and before I could try to force (literally even myself) to try and discover what it was, we found gaming glory in AoE.

AoE's re-playability is awesome. It has been relatively easy to explain, but hasn't felt shallow. The history appeals to me immensely, while the tactics of colonist placement in the new world appear to appeal to her. I'm not sure about her because the only strategy game she has played seriously is this one. (Other than the smallworld foray, and a recent game of stratego we both disliked.)

Worker placement appeals to us. Agricola (which worries me being the top game, I fear it being over-rated) is something that really interests us. I am personally, though not sure at all about her, interested in historical/medieval warfare. Conflict and Tactics are in my realm of obsession.

As of now, I have been looking strongly at the following games:

Agricola
Caylus
Dominion (as well as :Intrigue)
A Game of Thrones
Hammer of the Scots
Stone Age


Games that have not initially piqued my interest are:

Le Havre
St. Petersburg
RFTGalaxy
Pandemic
Space Alert
Ticket to Ride
Any darned train game
Any random co-op game (We are competitive...)



Thank you everyone for replying, I appreciate it! Thank you personally for the congratulations, Roger.

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Andreas
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ReggieMcFly wrote:
I would take a look at Carcassonne. Its not too expensive and one of the best two player games that you will find.

If funds will stretch, consider the Inns & Cathedrals expansion. It adds a bit more depth to the gameplay and, as a bonus, gives you the option to add a sixth player.


It might be a long shot but You might consider the Big Box. Carcassonne is always a big hit with new gamers, non gamers and females, and thus in the long run the Big Box which has everything in an organized way too is something worthwile. Moneywise You come out ahead after the 2nd expansion.
 
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Andreas
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For 2 players there is the entire Kosmos 2-player series that is tailor-made for a situation such as Yours. They are reasonably priced, play best with 2 (ok I admit they play exactly 2), You can get a variety of themes or abstracts and there is a lot of choice too. I would suggest You had a look at this geek list:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/3260

Then there is the Queen 2-player series, often on sale. You might want to look into Rat hot.
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/34648

And if You could get some groups together of course the grandfather of german gaming: Settlers of Catan.

But really as I said before Carcassonne is a mighty good choice. Works well with 2, You can be VERY competitive, especially with the first expansion and its big Meeple and You can get it out even if You have visitors. You might even get new converts with Carcassonne.
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Chris Funk
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There's also Odin's Ravens, Starship Catan, Metropolys, Airships, and I just got a copy of Ponte del Diavolo which looks to be an interesting 2-player abstract.
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Xeenu wrote:
Carcassonne is always a big hit with new gamers, non gamers and females


Always is a strong word... I don't like Carc.
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Andreas
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indigopotter wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Carcassonne is always a big hit with new gamers, non gamers and females


Always is a strong word... I don't like Carc.


I stand corrected. Carcassonne goes over very well with the majority of people who see it and play it. Its light and easy at first, and gets more gamer-like when adding experience and expansions.
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Ryan
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Agree with Xeenu, Carcassonne shows its depth when players become more experienced and add expansions. Once players are familiar with the tiles and their numbers, the gameplay becomes a lot more purposeful and gets away from some of the randomness that affects the game when all or most players are new.
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Bob Trundell
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I do own Settlers of Catan (my first own, and a good one) but she won't touch it with a ten foot pole. She has seen it played and is very reluctant to try it herself.

Carcassonne is a game I played on xboxlive years back. It was fun...sorta. She probably won't want to try it due to its appearance being so similar to Settlers. I showed it and its expansions to her at our only local game store... she wasn't impressed with the concept.

I'm just not sure that it will work for us, and I don't know that I would take a chance of something like the big box without being sure. I appreciate all the replies so far, very helpful.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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indigopotter wrote:
Xeenu wrote:
Carcassonne is always a big hit with new gamers, non gamers and females

Always is a strong word... I don't like Carc.

+1 - I found it VERY boring and too long for what it is.

I will recommend our top 3 games that play VERY well with 2 players. They are medium to medium-heavy weight games, less than $30.00, and very engaging, fun, challenging, and replayable.

Acquire - There is a reason this is a classic!
Louis XIV - Our first "10" - we absolutely LOVE it!
India Rails - Crayon Rails games are GREAT!! You might want to start with a larger board or more familiar map such as USA - Empire Builder. We chose India because the research here on BGG recommended it for 2 players as it is a smaller map.

Good luck!!! And don't always believe the hype!! Do your research and focus on the number of players, different mechanics that you may or may not like, read the comments in addition to the reviews for games you are interested in, and length of playing time--very important!!!

Don't forget card games too!! There are lots of options, but build your collection slowly and wisely.

Mrs. Mystery Bob
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Matt Drown
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Shifty Isilwhit wrote:

Worker placement appeals to us. Agricola (which worries me being the top game, I fear it being over-rated) is something that really interests us. I am personally, though not sure at all about her, interested in historical/medieval warfare. Conflict and Tactics are in my realm of obsession.

Couple different recommendations, and why.

BattleLore - Two players only, direct conflict, easy to explain, much different than what you've already played. Not like risk. It's fun, can play historically or fantasy. Card based movement reduces analysis paralysis. Different scenarios change things up.

Hive - not sure why anyone hasn't suggested this yet. Two player, quick and fun. You can try it online for free first if you want. You can also try The Battle for Hill 218 online for free. You mentioned budget, and both of these are relatively cheap (and free play online to try out makes it easier to decide).

YINSH - Abstract. Interesting handicapping feature to keep the game playing tense. Something different than what you've been playing.

I am also not a fan of Carcassonne, two players it was just boring. Agricola games I've played are two much multi-player solitaire for me, I would try to play it before buying it. Race for the Galaxy is good and plays with 2 or more relatively well, but is also more of a multi-player solitaire, though feels less like a single player puzzle than Agricola.
 
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Mark M
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Quote:
Canasta ain't a half bad game either.


Canasta almost ruined my marriage - it is a nasty game. My wife and I never fight and we got in a huge blow-out over that game. Trying to block each other to the bitter end until one of us broke. I vote for San Juan as well - probably our favorite light two-player. I also really like Hacienda for something medium weight.
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Great suggestions this far. I would suggest Agricola that plays great with 2 as well as multiplayer. I think Puerto Rico is a great alternative. If you are open to strict 2-player games, Twilight Struggle is probably the best there is. I have a weak spot for Kingsburg which scales really from 2 through 5 players.

I do most of my gaming with my wife and we play with other people about once per month what doesn't seem much different from your situation. I think that other "gateway games" such as Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride would get you bored, just like Small World. And, welcome to the madness!
 
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Adam Hoffman
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Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
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We play a lot of two-player games as well. I recommend most highly:

Agricola (it does great with all numbers)
Dominion
Lost Cities (card game version, very portable)
Carcassone (only The River expansion is worthwhile)
Mr Jack
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