Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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I play a huge amount of two player games with my wife, but I haven't really kept up with the more recent releases. We are now looking for our next game(s) and would like a game that is really solid for two players and was released in the last two years. Earlier games we have probably tried or dismissed.

We play euros mostly, and would prefer a playing time of max 3 hours, otherwise it is unlikely we will get it to the table. We like resource management, engine building, worker placement and just about every other euro mechanic. Don't worry if it is not inventive, we just want a fun game that works really well with two players. No card games this time!

We play and enjoy the following (our true favorites at the top):
Le Havre
Through the Ages
Roll Through the Ages
Stone Age
Agricola
Homesteaders (I love it, my wife not so much)

Our most recent buy wasCastle for all Seasons, but that one didn't click with us. It felt like a mix of mechanics that did not really hang together, and the connection to the theme was too weak. Dominion failed completely too.
Edit: We ahve tried Vasco da Gama too. It was ok, but felt a bit dry and analytical.

Note that we are fairly expecienced at this stage, and have tried a lot of older games. Check this geeklist for our experiences so far:
Our thoughts on two player games: yet another couple speaks out

Some ideas I have so far:
Egizia
Shipyard
Dungeon Lords
At the Gates of Loyang
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Eric Knauer
United States
Heathrow
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Some more to consider:

Glen More
Macao
Peloponnes
Carson City
Vasco da Gama
Fresco
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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I´d recommend Fresco and At the getes of Loyang.

I´d choose between this two by thier weight.
Fresco is more the Stone Age weight, A t g o L is more like Agricola.
A bonus for Fresco is, it comes with some minie expansions included, so you can variate it and it also gets a little heavieyer with some expansions.
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Giannis Sofianopoulos
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+1 for Fresco and Vasco da Gama.
I also like Macao but I don't know if it plays well with two.

I would also add World Without End, a game that my wife and I have played over and over!
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Mark Gerrits
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Leuven
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I don't recommend Egizia or Dungeon Lords with two.
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Geoff Hall
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Yate
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Loyang works very well with 2.
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My vote would be At the Gates of Loyang. We've tried Shipyard, and I'm interested enough to try it again, though the set-up was a bit of a pain, and it was hard to get up and going. It didn't wow me, but rondels don't really seem to be my thing. YMMV.

We've played Macao with 2 and enjoyed it, though I'm not sure if it quite fits what you're looking for.

Antiquity and Roads and Boats may interest you, but may be out of your target price range.
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Chris Chua
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I would also highly recommend Carson City. It's a great Euro with multiple paths to victory, you can play it as cutthroat as you want, scales well up to 5, has multiple variants AND plays in about an hour with two. Oh yeah and my wife LOVES the game Good luck and happy gaming!
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Thanee
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Stronghold? Not really euro, I guess, but great for two players.

Bye
Thanee
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Darryl with one "R"
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Henrik,

You've been helpful to me with recommendations a couple of times in the past, so hopefully I can somewhat return the favor now. For what it's worth, my wife and I also rank Through the Ages and Le Havre among our favorite games.

Of the games mentioned above, we have played At the Gates of Loyang and Macao. Both work very well with two players and I'd recommend both. I prefer Macao to Loyang, but I'm pretty sure my wife feels the opposite.

To me, Loyang often feels more like a 'puzzle' than a game, in that at any given time I can see all of my available options and so it's just a matter of figuring out which actions are most likely to optimize my earnings. There's some randomness in there (e.g., the cards that come up each turn, or the cards you get if you purchase a two-pack), but by and large it feels like a puzzle to me (in the way that Power Grid:Factory Manager feels, if you've played that before.) Don't misunderstand me -- I still really enjoy the game! Also, the vegimeeples are adorable.

I really enjoy Macao because it has such a variety of mechanics. There's cards with various powers (which Loyang also has); there's a spatial element to figuring out the best path for your ship; there's definitely a balance between short and long-term planning with the action cubes; and dice play a prominent role in the game -- which, given your preference for dice games, I'm surprised that you haven't already picked up Macao!

I hope this helps.

Edited: I wrote 'animeeples' when i meant 'vegimeeples.' Loyang is a vegetarian game!
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Matthew Totonchy
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I suggest reef encounter. My friend really enjoys it and plays it with his wife often as a two player game. It is a hybrid area control/shares game and has a brilliant theme as well as little wooden shrimp!
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Ralph T
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Maybe you should try an abstract like Kamisado. The Huch & Friends version is great.
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Gary Heidenreich
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GiannisS wrote:
+1 for Fresco and Vasco da Gama.
I also like Macao but I don't know if it plays well with two.

I would also add World Without End, a game that my wife and I have played over and over!


Macao is EXCELLENT with two players.
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Henrik Lantz
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Big thank you to all of you! The comments tht some games are not good with two are very useful, very appreciated. It wish I had the time to try all suggestions, but as always I have to choose.

These are my feelings so far:

Macao has been on my wishlist forever it seems, and I have promised myself a number of times that I will buy it, but it has always slipped off the list. Notre Dame never clicked with us, and we prefer a strong connection between theme and gameplay, and beacuse of these things I am still hesitant to buy the game. Bad reasoning? Probably.

Loyang on the other hand looks good, and I think this one has the best chance of "clicking" with my wife. To be honest, this is perhaps the most important criterium, since if she doesn't like thegame, it won't get played. The comments by Zaphod (big thanks!) was extra useful.

Carson City is also up there at the top of the list. Need to read up the rules again. I like the theme.
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Darryl with one "R"
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Ive heard a lot that Loyang is a lot more solitaire style than some of the others though, not sure if that bothers you or not. People say that about agricola and i just laugh, because how you play that game is almost totally dependent on what the other player is also choosing, its nothing like solitaire! I dont know if Loyang is multiplayer solitaire like people say about Agricola, or if its genuinely just playing on your own regardless.

I'm sure indigopotter has some comments on this, since as far as I can tell she's the biggest Loyang advocate on the site. But I'll go ahead chip in my two-cents anyway.

Is it solitaire style? To some extent, yes, and I'd say probably more so than most other Euros that we've played. Is it a completely solitaire-style game? Definitely not. There are a quite a few helper cards that are all about direct interaction (e.g., trade market stalls with another player; sell to another player's regular customer; etc.). Additionally, there's some interaction (although not especially direct/confrontational) regarding the card selection process at the beginning of each round, since all players are contributing to and choosing from the same pool of available cards.

That said, if you and your gaming partner(s) are very anti-confrontation, then one can certainly play the game without those interactive helpers; that would make Loyang much closer to multiplayer solitaire.
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Darryl with one "R"
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Bolger wrote:
Macao has been on my wishlist forever it seems, and I have promised myself a number of times that I will buy it, but it has always slipped off the list. Notre Dame never clicked with us, and we prefer a strong connection between theme and gameplay, and beacuse of these things I am still hesitant to buy the game. Bad reasoning? Probably.

Regarding theme in Macao: I'm with you 100% on this one. Some things make a lot of sense -- you're moving your boat around to deliver goods. Thematically, that makes sense. But then there are some parts of the game that feel arbitrary to me, in terms of how it connects to the theme. Why am I limited to having a certain number of unactivated cards, and then why do I get penalized if my card tableau becomes overfilled? Why does my position on a wall determine the order I take my turn? Why can I pay coins for tribute points? From a game mechanics standpoint, all of these make perfect sense and they work really well within the game! But from a theme standpoint, I'm not really sure how these connect to "I'm shipping goods from Macao to Europe."

So if the theme matters a lot to you (and you're annoyed having to ask questions like those during a game), then Macao may not be the best choice for you.

But the mechanics are wonderful. I'm not really sure why it works as well as it does, but I just find the game to be really fun. It may be the dice; it may be the combination of mechanics I discussed earlier; I'm not sure. I may believe that Agricola is a better game than Macao, but more often than not Macao is the game I want to play just because it's so much fun.
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Henrik Lantz
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nbread wrote:
ldsdbomber wrote:
Ive heard a lot that Loyang is a lot more solitaire style than some of the others though, not sure if that bothers you or not. People say that about agricola and i just laugh, because how you play that game is almost totally dependent on what the other player is also choosing, its nothing like solitaire! I dont know if Loyang is multiplayer solitaire like people say about Agricola, or if its genuinely just playing on your own regardless.

I'm sure indigopotter has some comments on this, since as far as I can tell she's the biggest Loyang advocate on the site. But I'll go ahead chip in my two-cents anyway.

Is it solitaire style? To some extent, yes, and I'd say probably more so than most other Euros that we've played. Is it a completely solitaire-style game? Definitely not. There are a quite a few helper cards that are all about direct interaction (e.g., trade market stalls with another player; sell to another player's regular customer; etc.). Additionally, there's some interaction (although not especially direct/confrontational) regarding the card selection process at the beginning of each round, since all players are contributing to and choosing from the same pool of available cards.

That said, if you and your gaming partner(s) are very anti-confrontation, then one can certainly play the game without those interactive helpers; that would make Loyang much closer to multiplayer solitaire.


Thanks Zaphod, that is very helpful. I think this is the one I will pick in the end. The level of interaction sounds just fine and just the fact that it is by the designed by the designer of Le Havre will make it very easy to get to the table.

It should get us through the few weeks before the Essen releases at least.
 
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nbread wrote:
That said, if you and your gaming partner(s) are very anti-confrontation, then one can certainly play the game without those interactive helpers; that would make Loyang much closer to multiplayer solitaire.


I very much agree. You can use cards to steal a vegetable, trade a market stall, or take a helper than your opponent just used. You could actively try to throw a wrench into the works to mess them up. Or you can focus on maxing out your points, which is what we do. We will sometimes take a vegetable, say, if there are a 5 on a field, but only 4 rounds left in the game. We might trade markets if both are down to a grain, so that we benefit, but our opponent benefits a bit too. There are choices in you want to play Loyang. I did a review of it as a couples game, so I won't repeat myself too much here, but the thing to be aware of is the amount of mental calculations throughout the game - will that be a stumbling block, or a welcomed challenge? The setup goes quite quickly, and the between-round maintenance is pretty minimal (you take a vegetable off each field, turn a new field over, and shuffle/deal the main deck of cards).

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Henrik Lantz
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So, I just went ahead and ordered At the Gates of Loyang. I feel confident in that we will enjoy it, if it will become a favorite or not time will tell.

I also ordered Oregon, a game I have been wanting for quite some time now. It was available cheap, and my experience tells me that it is good to have a few lighter games around. Gotta give some support to our fellow Norwegians too!

Thanks for all the help people!
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