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Subject: Games where you can lose and still feel like you "won" (esp. for 2 players) rss

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Justus
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Hello, I've been looking for new games for me and my g/f to play and she really likes Ticket to Ride because:
even if you lose, you usually have the satisfaction of completing your goals. (as long as you aren't ridiculously ambitious...and we don't play cut throat)

I was wondering what other games are reasonably reliable in giving you that "I lost but I feel happy still" feeling -- especially for 2 player games.

For what its worth, she doesn't mind playing heavier games -- we enjoy playing Agricola ... but she doesn't seem to get the satisfaction like she does from TtR. As a counter example she's stopped playing Carcasonne even though she kicks my a$$ every time because she's found the win/lose dichotomy a bit stressful (even though I finally broke her ridiculous winning streak).

A few potential games that I'd love your comment:

Thebes: I've heard a lot of good things about it and I think it would fit this type of end-game loser mood...but does it?

Steam: Garrett's Games and Geekiness podcast loves this game but I'm a little train-ed out soblue

Titan: Is there anyway to get rid of the conflict part? She likes playing the game until we actually have to start killing each other

Puetro Rico: I have a $40 Barnes and Noble Gift Card burning a hole in my wallet, and my local B&N has PR on the shelves. I suspect this has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but I thought I'd throw it to see if this game at all supplies a "loser still feels satisfied" vibe.

Thanks!
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Luna Lovegood
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Well, I've never played Steam or Titan, and I hate Puerto Rico with an unholy passion (I know, I know, I'm one of those), however Thebes I really like. And it does have a few things - like scoring points if you end up with the most knowledge for a particular city, or getting more congress card points than anyone else - that you can "win" without winning the whole game. And I suppose taking the expedition cards could qualify, as well. Although I have to say that I've never played Thebes as a 2P, so I'm not sure how that might compare. But with 3 or 4, I think it's a fun little game that's well worth the purchase.

*Edit for typo.
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I really like At the Gates of Loyang for this reason - it's very satisfying to harvest a big handful of vegetables, and satisfy three or four customers on a turn. I feel like I accomplished something if I get to 19VP, no matter LD's score.
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Hmmm... I don't think this resonates with a lot of gamers.

My first thought would be Pandemic but you've got that. You can tweak its difficulty 2 player using these tactics...
FIne tuning the difficulty levels

A racing game may lend itself to that 'I lost but still accomplished something' feeling.
Snow Tails
Ice Flow

Maybe also try your Galaxy Trucker though (from what I've read) when you blow apart the trucks its more of a shared frustration rather than a shared accomplished feeling.



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indigopotter wrote:
and satisfy three or four customers on a turn.


What kind of a game IS this? shake
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Paul Nowak
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You have paid retail for the last time.
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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You could get her a shirt like this:


And remind her that even when she loses, it means she won because she actually lives the game more than you.
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kevintlee wrote:
indigopotter wrote:
and satisfy three or four customers on a turn.


What kind of a game IS this? shake


It gets worse... some are long-term customers... and some are casual devil
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Brent Wenerstrom
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What made me really laugh about this post is the examples you used for the explained feeling. Ticket to Ride does not give me great satisfaction simply for completing routes, I want to win. On the other hand I feel fulfilled in Agricola for putting together a large farm. I guess I can't help you.
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The all-seeing, all-knowing, all-trollin' Mike Hutton
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Blood Bowl

winning in this game doesn;t always mean winning via the scoreboard....

this game is more about developing your players with upgraded skills, you could lose the game 2-0, but be in FAR better shape than the "winner", especially if you kill off several of his players, gain alot of SPPS, and level up your roster with more skills


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Steven D
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OK.

You said you were trained out, but I've always enjoyed TransAmerica. It plays quick and almost always have the feeling that I'm always in the hunt for a win.

While not great for two, Cityscape is a fun game. You don't know what the other is going for, so it is not a cut-throat.

If you liked SET, you might try Match of the Penguins. It is not SET by any means, it is a bit lighter for sure. However it still fills that matching urge and it is a fun little game.

And I'll end with a favorite I have not pulled down for a few months but it is still a great game: Wasabi!. Again, it plays close... there is a little 'take that' but you still feel like you are in the game right up to the end.

These are all much lighter than Agricola, no doubt. But perhaps there is a little something here the two of you will enjoy.

Good luck!
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Glenda McCarthy
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You might give Chinatown a try, although I don't know how well it would play with two...
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Justus
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thanks everyone! I really appreciate the responses and I'll be looking into all the recommendations!
 
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Justus
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stormybriggs wrote:
What made me really laugh about this post is the examples you used for the explained feeling. Ticket to Ride does not give me great satisfaction simply for completing routes, I want to win. On the other hand I feel fulfilled in Agricola for putting together a large farm. I guess I can't help you.


hehehe I'll bet that is one reason why we do keep playing agricola is that having gotten one's farm in order is satisfying...but yeah, for some reason we really get a kick out of finishing tickets. That said, we have overplayed TtR so we're looking for the next "hit".
 
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Ralph T
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If you are both interested in political history, you might enjoy 1960: The Making of the President. I don't know how I'd feel about losing since I haven't lost a game, but the fact that you can have states going back-and-forth and comeback victories may make losing feel rewarding.
 
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mwtpublic
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My wife is the same way. She likes Ticket to Ride, was luke warm about Carcassonne, and doesn't like direct conflict in games. One difference might be that she generally prefers games with simple rules that are easy to learn and remember.

Because she's a self-admitted nongamer, I've made it my personal Quixotic quest to find games that she will like. She's a good sport about it; it seems to amuse her.

In addition to Ticket to Ride, Pandemic has been a winner.

She also likes Zooloretto. I think that filling an animal pen can give a similar feeling to completing a ticket in Ticket to Ride.

Another well received game has been Mystery of the Abbey, but that one only works with three or more players.

She seems to like Elfenland. It's also a travel-themed game by Alan Moon, who designed Ticket to Ride, but in this one you actually get to travel around the board.

Stone Age was alright. I think with some more plays it will grow on her.

We tried Galaxy Trucker, but she didn't really relate to the little-boys-blowing-up-their-rocket-ships vibe, although our eleven-year-old son loves it.

She hated Race for the Galaxy because of its complexity.

We have Snow Tails and The Settlers of Zarahemla, but she hasn't played them yet. She might like them, or not.

I plan on getting Thebes, 10 Days in Africa, and Lost Cities: The Board Game because I think she'll like them. Time will tell.
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Justus
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mwtpublic wrote:

We tried Galaxy Trucker, but she didn't really relate to the little-boys-blowing-up-their-rocket-ships vibe, although our eleven-year-old son loves it.


I bought Galaxy Trucker cause I thought it was funny, but yeah, she really did not think it was all that amusing to watch her creation get destroyed. Maybe with more people and where the disasters are not as head-to-head....

Thanks a lot for the other suggestions, I'm definitely gonna look into Zooloretto, I read the rules and have been on the fence about it since. Do you know if it works well for 2 (do you use any in house variants)? The cute theme never hurts =)
 
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Ralph T
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Zooloretto is not good with two. Aquaretto is better with two (with recommended house rules variants on BGG), though both are such short games with two they're almost not worth the set up. Rather than feeling like you "won" when you lose, it's more like you just shrug off the loss to luck because the game is so short.
 
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IrishFire Herself
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When I saw the title, I thought of Ticket to Ride, Agricola, and Puerto Rico. You already have 2/3, so I'll just put in an affirmative, "Yes, Puerto Rico is like that!"

I'm confused re: her feelings for Carcassonne. You're saying she tends to WIN, and it stresses her out? ::boggle::
 
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mwtpublic
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aaarg_ink wrote:
Thanks a lot for the other suggestions, I'm definitely gonna look into Zooloretto, I read the rules and have been on the fence about it since. Do you know if it works well for 2 (do you use any in house variants)? The cute theme never hurts =)

Now that you mention it, I guess we've mostly played Zooloretto with three players. I know it supports two, but I honestly don't remember trying it that way. I'll see if I can talk her into a two-player game this week and let you know how it goes.

Also, we do usually throw in a couple of the mini expansions to keep things interesting.
 
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Tim Collins
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I would try Zooloretto or Aquaretto. you build animal parks so the theme and senseof building would most likely appeal.
 
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Mendon Dornbrook
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In Greed Incorporated, after you've defrauded your investors for billions of dollars, it doesn't matter if you won the game or not, you're still filthy rich. It's a fun feeling. Not available for 2, though.
 
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Mark Brown
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Risk.

Even if you're wiped out, if you have some luck with defense rolls you can wear your opponent down to almost nothing.

"We made them pay for their victory today, boys! We fought well for our country and our honor! Next time victory will be ours!"
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Henrik Lantz
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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization always give me great satisfaction, whether I win or not. However, this is a complex and rather fiddly game, and it might not be for you. It is more complex than Agricola, definitely. It plays wonderfully with two though.

I did not enjoy Puerto Rico with two, Its sibling San Juan plays great with two though, and this is one of our most played and liked two player games. There is no direct confrontation in this game, sounds like that could be good thing for you. If she enjoys the "building" aspect of Titan, perhaps she would enjoy the engine building aspect of San Juan.
 
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Jeff Plummer
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It sounds to me like she likes games where you build something and it's still there at the end of the game (rather than having it destroyed like in Titan or Galaxy Trucker)

In that vein, I will suggest Alhambra, Dominion, and San Juan.
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Chris Wong
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One game that has worked with some female friends surprisingly is Pillars of the Earth. My friend commented that placing the master builders was similar to shopping, which was an interesting thought. There are usually several strategies to play so even if you block one strategy, she can find another.

On the other hand, I think the win/lose dichotomy still exists in the game..
 
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