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Subject: What simple 2-player only game DO YOU USE to follow up Lost Cities? rss

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Jeff Miller
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As the title implies... What simple 2-player only game do you use to follow up Lost Cities?

For those interested, a little more detail on why I'm asking:

I ask for my sister-in-law. She's a really good sport about gaming and will usually try almost anything. She's played a variety of games from Lost Cities on up to a game of Puerto Rico I believe at one point in time. In between there has been Bohnanza, Sleuth, Carcassonne, Dominion, Small World, Samurai, and even Galaxy Trucker among several others. While she almost never complains and enjoys them all to some extent, she's very clear that the lighter games are her favorite: Lost Cities still being #1.

Now I'd love to get her and my brother something they'll both really like. I'd like to get something that's, but by no means needs to be, on the lighter side, specifically two-player, small box (less intimidating, that way...), and preferably fun looking (Think Bohnanza not all drab like let's say Dominion or San Juan). And after much mulling over of different possibilities: Jambo, Balloon Cup, Medici vs Strozzi, to name only a few, I'm always left second guessing myself.

So I'd like to learn from some of my fellow geeks experience. I don't need a list of what's out there... just what your "go-to" follow up to Lost Cities is and how well it works for you, in your situation.
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Peter Sanderson
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Odin's Ravens is a good one. Good theme, well produced components, fun interaction, nothing too complicated.

Through the Desert is great too. It's a deep game camouflaged as a light one, and is enjoyable for those just wanting a light game. Very simple rules (place camels of the same colour next to each other), colourful little components...



Jambo - perhaps not. It's not the deepest of games, but if she appreciates very simple rules then the cards in Jambo could be a turnoff.

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George Buss
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My wife and I are always on the search for a good two player game. With 2 young kids, the setup can't be too intense and it needs to be able to be interrupted and returned too easily. Add to that, I enjoy more strategy, and my wife likes lighter with some element of luck.

So while we love the card version of Ticket to Ride, it just can't be interrupted or you lose your place. We also like Starship Catan but the setup can be a little much for our limited time between the last one going to sleep and the first wake up of the night.

So, right now, for light and quick, we often pull out Pecking Order or Fluxx or Oceania.

I also just picked up a copy of Ingenious... May become a new favorite...

(Currently loved but shelved at our house include: Gipf, Zertz, Catan Card Game, Agricola, Purto Rico, Power Grid, and Carcassonne)
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Dennis Leung
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As a direct followup to Lost Cities, we found Battle Line to work really well. It takes a similar approach, but really ratchets up the tension. The downside is that the art is not as fun looking, but the gameplay well overcomes that.

Jambo also fits as a nice, light, colorful two player game that we've enjoyed. Many of our friends have enjoyed San Juan despite the drab looking art, so don't discount that. Race for the Galaxy is a natural followup to that and it's now our light two player game of choice now. Depending upon their tolerance for time, Catan Card Game might be okay too, although it is significantly longer than the other options (although not necessarily more complex).

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ErikPeter Walker
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You could try Othello. It's very girly, and two-player, but not a small box.

I'd second a vote for Odin's Ravens and maybe suggest Fjords if you think she wants something meatier but still approachable... From the sound of it she maybe doesn't.

Also try Cities. It plays identically with 2-4, is very quick to learn and play, comes in a small box, has a nice theme and warm, colorful components, and is a fantastic gateway to more complex games.
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William Collins
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Hera and Zeus is a great one, too, that has low setup and easy gameplay, yet lots of fun. We can usually get in 2-3 games while Molly takes a nap...
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Kan D
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I'll recommand Jaipur.
Even if it's a new game that I only played a few times, it went very well with my mother. I introduced her with Lost cities three months ago and she liked it.
She seemed to like Jaipur more than Lost Cities, she even asked for an other game after we just did one (and that is a very very good sign!).
Game is light and fun, rules are easy to learn.

I only have one example like this because I just bought the game a week ago, but I feel this is a game your sister-in-law could like regarding your explanations.
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Marty Jackson
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My wife & I love Lost Cities

As a follow-up we would highly recommend Jaipur. It's fun & simple but with interesting choices to make & a sense of tension as you both work to get the most points.

Another 2 player game that is a little more complex but we enjoy is: Day & Night. Once you get the hang of the cards there is great strategy in trying to outwit the other.

Other 2 Player Games we enjoy that are on the lighter side:
10 Days in Africa & others in the series
Ra: The Dice Game is an excellent lite dice game
Tobago is more involved but fun
UNO Flash fun, fast paced, & simple
Xēko Mission: Madagascar fun, pattern building card game for 2
Yahtzee Free for All fun version of Yahtzee
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Jeff Miller
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Thanks everyone for the good input so far. I enjoy learning more about what works well for others.

Of the one's already mentioned, I've given a much harder look at Odin's Ravens. Looks like it might be good, although I'll need to keep a close eye on the marketplace if I want to grab it. Doesn't sound like there's a bunch of people screaming for a reprint.

I have a few of the other games mentioned, San Juan, Race for the Galaxy, Battle Line, and Pecking Order. San Juan is one she's tried before and I don't remember her acting one way or the other over it. Coincidentally, Battle Line and Pecking Order are two I originally picked up to play with my wife and failed with miserably (she's not into one-on-one confrontation). But my wife and sister-in-law and two different beasts so I'll probably give her a chance at them sometime.

Just for general info, I was trying to think of the games she's reacted to the most positively: Bohnanza and, of course, Lost Cities are the two I can remember actually requesting repeat plays; Sleuth and Hollywood Blockbuster are a couple I know she would jump at the chance to play almost anytime; and finally (this one totally threw me for a loop), Samurai, which I found out later her and my brother actually sought out buying after playing one of my friends copies once! (Which they never found at the one ultra-nerd Minitures and Magic shop they went to. Though I understand she had plenty of people willing to help .) Maybe she's a total Knizia nut and doesn't know it?

Anyways, Thanks again and I look forward to reading others experience.
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Aaron Converse
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I would recommend Ra. My wife and I play it frequently: there is enough skill to be interesting, enough luck so that neither of us can dominate (I am the more serious gamer of the two of us). Also, it has the advantage of being a great 3- or 4-player game as well(I presume 5 as well, but we've never played with that many). The rules are simple to learn. Really, just a top-notch game. Simple enough for non-gamers. Deep enough for a great deal of repeat play. We still like it after 30+ plays...
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Jeff Miller
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kan_d wrote:
I'll recommand Jaipur.

The first time I saw this game I thought of it for her. I'm happy to hear it went over so well with your mom!

I'm always hesitant and a touch critical of whatever the hot new game is, but this is one I'll definitely be keeping an eye on as the dust settles surrounding its release.
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Jeff Miller
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philosoph0123 wrote:
I would recommend Ra.

Not a bad thought, it's one of my personal favorites!

The problem with that one is I'd really like it to shine at it's brightest with just two people. That's what initially drew me to Medici vs Strozzi. It's an auction game, like RA, but built for two people only.
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Dex Quest
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I'm going to get torched for this but have you considered 'killer bunnies' I only say this as it does seem to appeal to the fairer sex, specifically as a super light game.

I wouldn't have played this in a million years (mainly because the artwork is some of the most offensive I have ever blasted my retinas with) but I really rather enjoy it because my other half enjoys playing it - and neither of us understand the slighty odd humour - it's very US-centric with strange jokes about Scottish bakeries and Kaballa

good luck...

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Game Heretics
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My wife enjoys Lost Cities as well but does like Battle Line better.

Balloon Cup gets the look of approval as does The Rose King.

Roma is also something we enjoy (haven't tried the sequel). She eventually graduated to more complex fare but we still come back to these simpler and no less fun game.

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Maxime Mundel
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My sweetheart and I played a lot of Lost cities.
The following game was The settlers Card game. And it was the beginning of ...the rest. You know what i mean.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Battle Line, Battle Line, Battle Line or Battle Line.

Or



Any of these would work perfectly.
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Brett Nuske
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Another vote to Balloon Cup. Similar play style to Lost Cities but with the additional ability to play cards onto your opponent's side which I really like. Always a tense game at the end as well.
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James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
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Lighter games my wife and I like playing, which you haven't already listed:

Saint Petersburg
Tobago
Fjords


Games that are light that also have a but of confrontation/competition, if she doesnt' mind that:

Ticket to Ride
Balloon Cup


There are some that are little more complicated, which I do not recommend because you said she likes lighter games. But here they are in case you want to check them out anyway:

San Juan
Jambo
Settlers of Catan card game
Battle Line
To Court the King


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Jeff Miller
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Mr_Nuts wrote:
Battle Line, Battle Line, Battle Line or Battle Line.

Or



Any of these would work perfectly.

I understand this recommendation... I do. But you have to wonder...

Put yourself in the shoes of a female who just saw this for first time. Now look objectively at the title and box art.... I mean seriously! Where do we men get off thinking this has any female appeal? It would look like the cliched "bowling ball gift" of the nerd world.

...At least Schotten Totten had that cute little Scottish cartoon butt.
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Bruce Murphy
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Shotten-Totten is a cute game. Jaipur is very reminiscent of a streamlined Jambo. Have you considered something abstract? Travel Ingenious is small, cheap, and a really cool game.

I've been playing a bit of Court of the Medici, which is very confrontational but has quite straightforward rules.

B>
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Bryan Maxwell
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I think sometimes we underestimate the females, or paint them all with the same pink paintbrush.

Based on the things she's played, it sounds like the theme wouldn't be a problem. My wife and I like Lost Cities and love Battle Line. It's made by the same designer, has the same simple rules and difficult decisions, and plays in the same short playtime.

It's not the only choice, but I think it's a good one.
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Camo Coffey
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My favourite 2-player game is King's Gate. No, it's not 2-player only, but it's at its very best as such, because you have more control with alternating actions. With 4 players, it's a bit random; by the time it comes around to your turn, everything's changed. And the 3-player version seems to end too quickly, which is a bit unsatisfying.

There are four stacks of tiles: in a 4 player game, you claim a stack each; in the 3-player, one stack is left out (hence the early finish); and in the 2-player game, you have 2 stacks each. My usual way to play it is to keep your colours separate, and when you draw back up, you can choose from which pile to claim replacement tiles.

Also, it's another Knizia luck management game like Lost Cities; so, if you're familiar with that, this one should be a shoe-in.
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Captain Spaulding
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Jambo and San Juan.
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Pat Johnston
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Our current favorites:
Battle Line see above
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers our new favorite version of Carc
Ubongo: Duel Good if they like puzzles
Triumvirate fun two player trick taking game
Summoner Wars Doesn't scream "wife friendly", but my wife enjoyed our first couple of games. We are still figuring out the strategy.
Quiddler Quick card game. My wife enjoys destroying me in this...but I am getting better! :D

EDIT: forgot to mention San Juan. I hope one day to add RFTG to this list! :whistle:
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Larry Welborn
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