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Subject: Good games for couples... rss

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Adrian Sperling
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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A bit of background:
My wife and I are relatively new to the current boardgame scene. A few years back I started hearing about Catan from some friends that were raving about it. So two years ago, I bought it and my wife and I fell in love with it. I bought Seafarers and then Cities and Knights and enjoyed them all. Then I heard about Ticket to Ride and picked up the Marklin edition - my wife and I really enjoyed that as well, with or without the passengers. Around this time I stumbled upon boardgamegeek.com and discovered Agricola. Considerably deeper than anything we'd tried out prior, but once we had a handle on it, we fell in love with that one as well. Then along came Stone Age, a game of multipliers and memory. after a couple plays, you guessed it, we fell in love with it as well. All of these games we have enjoyed introducing other people to in addition to playing on our own.

Now I've been looking for our next purchase and I'm looking for recommendations about what should be on our radar. We want games that can easily be played by just the two of us, but scale well so we can play them with others (unfortunately, Catan fell out of favor in part for this reason). We also enjoy games with more strategy rather than luck. And finally, we don't find we have large pockets of time to play, so fitting it into about an hour is pretty important. Here's what I've looked at so far:

Le Havre: It looks interesting, lots of strategy and similar to Agricola, but I thought I'd wait on this one until we'd tried a few other games first rather than get Uwe overload. Also it seems like it would take a little over an hour to play.

Puerto Rico: Again, it looks interesting, but from some of the reviews I've read I'm not entirely sold - I've read a few times that the strategy is somewhat scripted. It's on the radar, but I think there may be other games that will fit our preferences better.

Small World: Looks fun, but neither my wife nor myself are sold on it. In particular, the fantasy theme doesn't really appeal to us.

Age of Industry (Brass reimplementation): I'm just waiting for the game to be released and the reviews to start hitting the board. Both games look like a good combination of Ticket to Ride and Le Havre, but Age of Industry looks a little streamlined, simpler and (best of all) shorter. I was very tempted by Brass, but seeing the amount of time required turned me off and I also get the feeling that it's a little more complicated than my wife and I like,

So what other games do you think should be on our radar?

Thanks in advance.

edit: So after the suggestions in this thread and a little more research, I picked up Cuba. My wife and I enjoyed it and it'll see a good amount of play in future - I like that it takes around 30mins per person. Now my short list looks more like this:

Pandemic: My wife was interested in this right away due to her background in nursing.

Carcassonne: Never played it, but I've heard alot about it and it looks interesting.

Age of Industry: Again, just waiting for the reviews.

Tikal and Yspahan also look interesting - I'll have to do some more research on them.

Thanks for all the input.
 
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Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
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Le Havre: If you want games that fit into an hour, look elsewhere. I love Le Havre, but even with only 2 players you're likely looking at a 2 hour game.

Puerto Rico: Maybe strategy can get scripted for the first few actions among groups of players who have played 100 times, but it's not a big deal. I'd strongly recommend PR; it's a game you'll keep going back to play. The 2-player variant is a lot of fun, and if you get the expansion buildings there's no more scripted strategy.

Small World: I personally find this game somewhat lacking with two players, although others disagree.

Age of Industry (Brass reimplementation): Haven't played.

Other games: Race for the Galaxy has some luck in the card draw, but plays fast and might well suit your needs. Vikings is also a personal favorite, with minimal luck, works great with 2, 3, or 4, and plays fast.
 
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David Gomez
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I have a similar situation to yours, and I have enjoyed many of the same games with my wife that you have, although we kind of bypassed many of the "gateway" games that you played initially. With somewhat similar tastes, and with about the same amount of time to spend at a time that you do, I have a few recomentations for you:

1. Don't buy any of the games you listed. Asside from Small World (which I actually can't comment on) the games you are thinking about either are too long, don't play well with 2-players, or both.

2. For something light, I would suggest Battle Line. It has very good strategy, and you can play a couple of times in an hour. 2-player only

3. For something a little heavier, Tikal. Great area management/action point game that is beautiful and makes you feel like you are exploring a jungle. 2-4 players and about an hour

4. Heavier- Caylus. Great strategy, and with 2 it will take you about 1.5 hours when you know how to play it.
 
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Max Maloney
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Portland
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Puerto Rico is a fantastic game, #1 in the rankings for a reason. It is surprisingly easy for a new player to pick up when taught by someone who has played (they'll "get it" before the first game is done). I'm not sure if it would be as easy to learn cold from the book.

However, I would not get it as a two-player game.

How about Pandemic?
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Caleb Frazier
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I'll second Race for the Galaxy. With 2 players it's easily played in ~45 minutes. Only issue (and I say this knowing you seem to have no problem spending $50+ USD), is that to play with more than 5 players you'll need to purchase the expansions.

One of the many Carcassonne versions comes to mind, though I like Discovery more than regular vanilla Carcasonne.

Alhambra is also a game I enjoy with 2 players or more. The Big Box costs around $70USD I think (same as the Carcasonne big box) which includes all the expansions for added depth and strategy. 2 player variant has a "3rd player" that just takes tiles randomly at certain times.

While you can play Small World with 2 players, I don't find it to be that fun although I think the strategy element is increased when playing with 2 players versus 4 or 5 players.
 
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T. Nomad
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Den Bosch
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Your best resource here might be geeklists..at least as a starting point. Try these:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/19346/games-that-are-worth...
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/4500/popebrains-best-intri...

Also this link:
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/2293637#2293637
 
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Guido Gloor
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Ostermundigen
Bern
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Games I've successfully played with my wife:

* Space Hulk (third edition)
* Chess
* Talisman (Revised 4th Edition)
* Tile Chess
* Cave Troll
* Dominion
* Hive
* Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
* Munchkin and Munchkin Quest
* Pandemic
* Java

There's a few more I'd like to play with her some time hopefully soon (or could at least imagine playing with her if her gaming tastes were different):

* Nexus Ops
* Dungeon Lords
* Ghost Stories
* Go
* Drakon (third edition)
* Frag
* Galaxy Trucker

Both lists in no particular order.
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Tyler Sigman
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Lost Cities is super. Plays in well under an hour and there is a lot of strategy. There is some luck in card draws, but since you are both sharing the deck and discards, the strategy in how you respond to card draws overwhelms the luck, in my opinion. You can even buy a second set and there are rules for pairs (4 player).

--Tyler
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Dice bags!
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As was said, Le Havre is long (about 2 hours at first), even with 2. If it was just the two of you, I'd say consider it, but not if you want to include more people. I enjoy At the Gates of Loyang more, which is about an hour with 2.

Cuba is similar to Puerto Rico, but plays 2 without a variant, and plays up to 5. Great bits, lots of interesting things going on. If you like the idea of role selection, you might also look at A Castle for All Seasons.

Another game that might interest you is La Città - some of the best written rules we've ever read, everything was very easy to comprehend, great illustrations, and we were up and running quickly.
 
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Matt Lee
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You might want to check out Arkadia. Works well for 2 and scales up to 4 very well, and plays under an hour but has some very good depth.
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Henrik Lantz
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We have similiar taste in games. Good taste, in other words.

A few games that are certain to finish in an hour:
San Juan Our most played two player game. Very replayable, and many paths to victoy. I would certainly pick this one over its big brother Puerto Rico if you want games that play well with two. I did not enjoy the two player variant of Puerto Rico much.

Thurn and Taxis is a bit similiar to Ticket to Ride, but is slightly more complex. Played it two-player once, and really enjoyed that.

Arkadia was mentioned above and is a good choice. A rather abstract game with a lot of spatial thinking. I that sounds like something you would enjoy, go for it.

Oregon I haven't played, but from reading the rules it sounds like a very solid game. Great design and compenents too.

Did you try Carcassonne? This game has a place in any collection. Have only played Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers myself, but it is one of my most played games, and I can strongly recommend that version or the base game.

Yspahan works really well with two. The dice mechanic feels different and fun, and I always feel engaged playing this game. A little bit dry perhaps, but short enough that it doesn't really matter.
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Proudly annoying Capitalists since 1959
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Santa Clara
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Carcassonne is very very good game which you can scale to your needs.
It's easely set-up (what's to set-up??). It plays fast and tense and scales up perfectly. Although I must say I prefer this game with just 2 players.

Pandemic is a game me and my girlfriend have been enjoying very much lately. It's fast and since it's co-op, you never have to worry that you "play to hard or soft".
I would strongly recommend this one.

Lehavre & Puerto Rico are fine games (I like Lehavre, but I don't really enjoyed PR, although I only played it once), but tend to take much longer then 1 hour.

Since you like Catan, you could also try Catan Card Game. We played this a lot of times. We got all the expansions and is WAY better then the board game. I depends on your play style but about 1 to 1.5 hour should do the trick.

Cheers, Haring
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Karen
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Checking in as someone who enjoys 2-player Small World.
It's different, but it's nice that you can't win by flying under the radar, and that you can keep track of exactly how many points your opponent is getting.

Neuroshima Hex! is a game that my boyfriend and I have been enjoying lately. We haven't had a chance to play it multi-player yet.

Also, I'll throw in additional votes for Race for the Galaxy and Dominion.


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Adrian Sperling
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Coquitlam
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Updated the list.

Regarding the Catan Card Game, we actually have that but neither of us enjoyed it. I may give it away if I find someone who is interested in it.
 
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