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Subject: 2 player game / 45-60 min rss

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Samo Oleami
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I've recently bought two longer games to play with my girlfriend (Stroghold and Twighlight Struggle) but as they take some effort to get into and a whole evening to reserved, we haven't played them yet.

As we usually play 2 games of RFTG when we have some time (lighter games don't really attract us, we own Jambo and Lost Cities) I'm looking for a 2 player game (can be compatible with more, but must be best with 2) that would play in 45-60 minutes and has some reasonable development in terms of plot - beginning, middle & end (nothing dry/abstract, nothing that's just point collecting and no MPS). So yes, some narrative required, middle weight (ideally 2.5-3.0). I think I'm asking for something that doesn't exist but would really appreciate if you give me your best shot.

Maybes (interesting, but too short?): 2 de Mayo, Warhammer: Invasion
Maybes (too dry?): Mr. Jack in NY, LOTR: confrontation (+ too short)
Maybes (just not a good game?): Perry Rhodan (FLGS staff in Vienna were really against it)
Noes (too dry, MPS): Dominion, St. Petersburg, Dungeon twister
Noes (no narrative or just plainly not interested in): Carcassonne, Alhambra, Samurai
Noes (too much $ - everything past 50€ mark): Battlelore, Space Hulk


P.S.: If the box says 2 hours, do not tell me you can play it 45 minutes once you get to know the game.

.
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Nate Walker
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What is MPS?
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Chris Ferejohn
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First of all, I too have no idea what "MPS" means. Ah, just got it, Multi-player solitaire.

LOTR The Confrontation: Deluxe Edition came to mind immediately, but you seem to have rejected it as "too short", though I'm wondering if that was the normal edition or the Deluxe. The Deluxe edition adds a whole different set of characters, some optional card-based powers, and some variants allowing you to combine the character sets. Might add the extra bit you are looking for.

Campaign Manager 2008 might fit the bill, though perhaps American politics doesn't have the draw to you that it might to, well, Americans.

Hera and Zeus might fit the bill. The length is about right. It's listed weight is a bit lower than you'd asked for, but there is definitely theme and a beginning/middle/end (Blue Moon may fit the bill too, but I haven't played it).
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William (Andy) Anderson
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Vikings
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Not sure how you feel about cooperative games.

Pandemic is good with 2. Might be too light for you though.

And I'm enjoying Ghost Stories with 2 (with a variant in which each player plays 2 monks). Technically, I suppose it's best with 4, but I'm having fun with 2 players.

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Captain Spaulding
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I'd say Battlelore, but the setup time would probably push it past 60min.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Mr_Bickman wrote:
I'd say Battlelore, but the setup time would probably push it past 60min.


You also would miss the fact that he already nixed it due to price.
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Captain Spaulding
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cferejohn wrote:
Mr_Bickman wrote:
I'd say Battlelore, but the setup time would probably push it past 60min.


You also would miss the fact that he already nixed it due to price.


...and there's that... blush
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Jackson Chan
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We enjoy 2 player Zooloretto and Thebes. Might be a bit lighter than you enjoy.
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Matthew Eder
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I'd vote for Stone Age.
Box says 60 mins, but for two it's probably closer to 40/45.
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Wink
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The Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel
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Ben
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Unfortunately, my favorite 2-player games don't seem to suit your interests: Attika is too dry, though deep with strategy; Vikings has no real plot; 2 de Mayo is enjoyable, but is indeed too short; and Battle Line is the worst of all 3 (despite being my favorite game on the list).

So allow me to make some non-traditional suggestions:

Caledea: The Epic Strategy Game - This is a self-published game by a first-time designer. It's a more fantastical, grander version of 2 de Mayo. Although there is no corresponding background story, players slowly build their empire (adding units, upgrading units, and fortifying your city). It plays in 30 minutes usually, but can be expanded to accommodate more players or to make a more epic game.

Longships - You might have trouble getting your hands on a copy, but this (essentially homemade) game packs a lot of punch in a short time period. With two, it becomes much more about chasing and attacking your opponents, less about the resource management and conservative play, but seeing the diplomatic relationships with countries change as one player slowly builds a fleet of Longships is actually surprisingly engaging thematically.

Summoner Wars - This is an intriguing little game with some attributes of hand management, miniatures combat, and spell-casting. There are a handful of good, informative reviews on the this one, but it should have an accessible theme just enough conflict to make you overlook the lack of true narrative arc.

Homesteaders - A well-received first effort from the Tasty Minstrel crew and first-time designer Alex Rockwell. It's a cheap, quick, 2-player auction game with fun wooden bits, thematic buildings, and a good (if somewhat abstract) sense of building a city from nothing. Perhaps too much MPS for you, but I thought I'd throw it on the list.


I'll let the others throw out the more mainstream offerings.


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Game Heretics
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2-player Manhattan plays in about 30-45 minutes (closer to 45), has lots of tactical and strategic possibilities (in the buildings you play, the buildings you keep for later rounds, the cards you play and the cards that you keep for later builds...), has a nice, easily managed bit of luck in the card draws, and is very confrontational. This is actually a fantastic game that scales extremely well from 2-4 players with different feels for each type of player number. (Actually, looking at your OP I'd say that Manhattan might be a little too abstract for you... but I'd still recommend it).

I'd also recommend Torres, Mexica and even Java as superb 2-player (each of these games works with 2-4 players) games that come in right at your magic 45-60 minute playing time. Lots of strategic depth with some simple rules (Java is, admittedly, a little counter-intuitive, but excellent... another 'similar' game and also highly recommended would be Taluva). I really like Tikal but I think that it plays much better with 3 or 4 players and not so much with 2.

Finally, there is Gheos as an excellent 2-player (scales well to 4) game; very, very confrontational... and fun... as well as König von Siam which is a fantastic 2, 3 and 4 player game with totally different feels for how each number of players affects gameplay. My wife and I really like this game as a 2-player.
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Henrik Lantz
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Games of this length are sometimes called superfillers. Check out this great geeklist on superfillers for two:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/23110/super-fillers-fo...
A bit outdated now, but still a good resource.
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Samo Oleami
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cferejohn wrote:
LOTR The Confrontation: Deluxe Edition came to mind immediately, but you seem to have rejected it as "too short", though I'm wondering if that was the normal edition or the Deluxe. The Deluxe edition adds a whole different set of characters, some optional card-based powers, and some variants allowing you to combine the character sets. Might add the extra bit you are looking for.
I can get my hands on opened deluxe edition at my FLGS, but I fear it might be too dry for us (I'm not a fan of "simple but tough" Knizia style) - any feedback?
cferejohn wrote:
Campaign Manager 2008 might fit the bill, though perhaps American politics doesn't have the draw to you that it might to, well, Americans.
This is the best recommendation so far. I feared it might be to similar to Twilight Struggle (we have yet to try it out), but the building deck mechanic does make it distinctively different and interesting. I would prefer more asymmetric sides (given the designer) as this puts more emphasis on deck building ie. outguessing opponent strategy (might work for us, might not). Still, very interesting.

2ndPlace wrote:
Vikings

MPS?
Any interaction?
bwingrave wrote:
Not sure how you feel about cooperative games.

Pandemic is good with 2. Might be too light for you though.

And I'm enjoying Ghost Stories with 2 (with a variant in which each player plays 2 monks). Technically, I suppose it's best with 4, but I'm having fun with 2 players.

We own Pandemic - too dry, too simple, not really best with 2. Not interested in 2 player co-op (we have Arkham Horror for that and yeah, it's long).
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Samo Oleami
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Mr_Bickman wrote:
I'd say Battlelore, but the setup time would probably push it past 60min.

That was the other reason against it.
The upcoming version seems more interesting to me theme-wise, but there is again the price.

Any feedback on Commands & Colors: Ancients as a couple's game?
(Memoir seems too simple and don't like the setting, I like fantasy setting the mosts but Battlelore just seems bloated, this one looks a bit spartan but most interesting to me).

holepuncher wrote:
We enjoy 2 player Zooloretto and Thebes. Might be a bit lighter than you enjoy.

Own Aquaretto - bah. it made me hate Schacht's games more than Knizia's. So restricting it's a joke to call it a game (when designer makes all the decisions and you have none left). We only play this with non-gamers that find other gateway games too challenging to learn. Best with 5.
As for Thebes - we own it. It a MPS that is only suitable for casual gamers (luck) but it's not fit for them as it has no interaction what so ever (MPS). Actually it's best implementation might be a 2 player game when we're too tired to do any thinking. I am looking for something a bit more substantial in this thread however.

(Sorry, I have allergic reaction to Schacht's designs, not aimed at you in any way)

mulliganm wrote:
I'd vote for Stone Age.
Box says 60 mins, but for two it's probably closer to 40/45.

Hm, I was looking at this more for being approachable game to play with non-gamer couples. And maybe the only hope I will ever get worker placement (hate Le Havre, puzzled by Cuba), but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle to try. Will take in consideration, but it's really just a gathering of victory points. I don't think there's any plot in there to speak of.
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Samo Oleami
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Bolger wrote:
Games of this length are sometimes called superfillers. Check out this great geeklist on superfillers for two:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/23110/super-fillers-fo...
A bit outdated now, but still a good resource.

GREAT!
Thanks a lot, I would never have fouind it by search engine. laugh
But yeah it is outdated - comes from the era of euro dominance: dry, dry, Knizia, Knizia, dry, dry, dry, Knizia, dry... (there is way to much Knizia on the list). Will check and post questions regarding specific games on this thread.

BTW: Can anybody give me any feedback on Day & Night (seems again it could be too simple, not sure of the components (cardboard for cards?) but I like asymmetric play, the weight and length fits)
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Nathan Bergom
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sgosaric wrote:
Maybes (interesting, but too short?): 2 de Mayo, Warhammer: Invasion
Maybes (too dry?): Mr. Jack in NY, LOTR: confrontation (+ too short)
Maybes (just not a good game?): Perry Rhodan (FLGS staff in Vienna were really against it)
Noes (too dry, MPS): Dominion, St. Petersburg, Dungeon twister
Noes (no narrative or just plainly not interested in): Carcassonne, Alhambra, Samurai
Noes (too much $ - everything past 50€ mark): Battlelore, Space Hulk

P.S.: If the box says 2 hours, do not tell me you can play it 45 minutes once you get to know the game.

Whew. That is one tough list.

I can only think of one game that could satisfy that, unless you're the type that automatically assumes licensed = bad.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game

Not dry.

Very satisfying (surprisingly so for coming from Milton Bradley)

Not at all MPS. It's forces of good vs. forces of evil, each trying to slay the other.

Tons of narrative. It's a lot like Battlestar Galactica in that every game tells a story. It's oh so satisfying to slay a vamp with Xander, get a full moon just in time for Oz to go on a rampage, or to corner poor Willow in the dorms and vamp her.

Price will be funky, since it's OOP. You'll have to do some ebaying. Most of the time, you'll find it for well over USD 50. However, I just checked, and there are several copies up right now. Two of them end in less than two days, with no bids, and reserve prices of USD 25 and USD 7.50, respectively. Even after shipping, you should be able to come in under your price limit.

The listed time on BGG is 90 minutes. With only two players, it rarely takes more than an hour.
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J Fitzpatrick
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Try Mr. Jack.

My wife and I enjoy it immensely. We've played it 3 out of the last 4 nights.
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Samo Oleami
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BadLT wrote:

Checked Vassel's rewiev.
What can I say: it's Jambo II, or efficiency-engine-the-card-game (with a novel flip a coin mechanics). These "change wood into stone", "pick wood and gold" just bore me. Might as well try Stone Age, fill the love shack and get me some shamans.
Pass.

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Jorge Arroyo
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My favorite "short" thematic game for a long while was Marvel Heroes and we still play it often enough. Your first play may be about 2h long, but once you know the game, shorter scenarios don't usually last more than 1h (really!! ). I find it a very tense game, with lots of exciting moments and interesting decisions, and a very thematic one too. It also works great with 2 players, as both players are always involved in the game even when it's not their turn (your opponent controls your villains)

Another short game (depending on what scenario you play) is Wizard Kings. It works great with two, setup is quick and gamplay is fast. There are many scenarios, from short and simple to longer and with added rules that raise complexity, so variety is high.

And last, you may enjoy Nexus Ops. It's very quick and rules are simple. It's very tactical and the random setup helps making every play different.
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Zsolt Kohári
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I would definitely recommend Claustrophobia... it really can be played in an hour or less, and I found every game tense enought to want to play it again and again. And it has nice minis as well ;)
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Bryan Carpenter
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I would second J Fitzpatrick's recommendation. My GF loves it and I have seen Mr Jack cause people's veins pop out on their heads with concentration so it shouldn't be too light for you!
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MURRUMBEENA
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I disagree with the MPS tag for Saint Petersburg - you should at least try this game 2-p before writing it off.

Louis XIV plays well with two, and goes to about 60 minutes. Use many, many ziploc bags for sorting and storage.

Power Grid: Factory Manager seems to work quite well with 2 - I have not played enough to be certain, so be warned

Notre Dame and Hacienda both work pretty well with 2 players, and should finish after 45-60 minutes. Whether there is enough "story" is a question.

Hansa is excellent with two, but may not last past 45 minutes.

Goa is supposed to be back in print soon - it is fairly heavy, and maybe a bit too abstract, but it is a brilliant game!

Finally, Jambo (possibly with the first expansion) is 40-50 minutes and doesn't get repetitive.

-R
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Phil
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Café International. I like this game, plays well with two players. Can be played on Brettspielwelt to see how it is.
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