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Subject: "Gateway" 2-player game for recently retired parents? rss

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Bob Kovak
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My father recently retired, and has way more time to spend at the house and with his wife these days. They have been spending time playing the standard board games, such as Scrabble, Monopoly, hearts, dominoes, and Im sure other games.

What I would like to do is get them out of the old standard stuff, and into a new string of games from this century.

As an experiment, I brought my copy of Bohnanza out to their house one weekend, and the four of us (my wife + parents) had a blast with this game, so I at least know they are up for something new. I dont plan on getting their own version of Bohnanza, as I would like to the game to be specialized for 2-players only.

Im not going to list their likes or dislikes, but I will say they tend to like card games. Card+Dice would probably be cool too. A pure dice game not so much. Card+Dice+Board would be fine too. (Board+Card likely too)

What I would like to ask for are light to medium games that fall in these categories:

1) Suggestions for 2-player war games
2) Suggestions for 2-player non war game
2) Suggestions for 2-player... off the beaten path type game.

It would be best if these had some sort of direct interaction, and not necessarily a 2 player solitary game (Race for the galaxy is not an option) and not an 'indirect' interaction type game. Though, I say that, and Im thinking Lost Cities may work out ok for them as well.. so yea.

Id like to pick one from each of those categories, wrap them up, and say 'Hey, go try these out', and see what happens.

Thanks for your time!
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Leo S.
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I think Battle Line could be a good option.
(They can play without tactic cards at first if they wish keep it simpler).
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Kevin B. Smith
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Sorry, I have no wargame suggestions.

Non-wargame: If you think Lost Cities might work, I would propose Jaipur as an alternative. If you do go the LC route, consider Lost Cities: The Board Game because it can handle 4 players when they have friends over.

Other: How about blowing their minds with Forbidden Island? You mean we work together instead of against each other???
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Marty Jackson
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Here are some games my wife & I enjoy:

Abagio
Jaipur
Lords of Scotland--Great little card game for 2-5
Mille Bornes
Pandemic
Rattus
ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
Word on the Street
Yspahan
 
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My in-laws loved Blokus/Blokus Trigon and always ask me to bring them with on family occasions.
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Roberto Vaccari
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I highly recommend 24/7: The Game!
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Mitch Willis
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You might want to take a look at Dragonheart; it's a 2-player card game (also comes with a small board and 1 dragon figurine) that's easy to learn, plays quickly, has good interaction, and it's fun to boot...

Another good one to check out would be The Battle for Hill 218; it's a highly interactive 2-player card game with a war theme (but nowhere near as complex as most war games) that's a lot of fun and plays in 'bout 30 minutes...
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David Boeren
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War game... Memoir 44 would be a good possibility, or really any of the Command & Colors games. Alternately, maybe try Hammer of the Scots if they liked Braveheart.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper is a really good game for 2 that's pretty similar to a traditional card game so it's easy to pick up.

Jambo is one of my wife's favorite 2p games and it's fairly different.

Any of the Carcassonne games would probably work, just make sure they understand how to "invade" cities and such

Ingenious maybe, to recruit their domino-playing friends.

What kind of themes do they like?
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Eugene
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sanchan91 wrote:
It would be best if these had some sort of direct interaction, and not necessarily a 2 player solitary game (Race for the galaxy is not an option) and not an 'indirect' interaction type game.

Take note, people.

For 2p wargame, the recent Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan is both excellent and approachable.

If that succeeds, consider Twilight Struggle. Your father will probably find the theme irresistible, having lived through every bit of the history. Don't let the rules intimidate you -- it's a very simple game.

2p non-wargame, Carcassonne: The City played with seriousness can be downright vicious. As is Babel.

2p off beaten path, the 2p variant of Rheinländer described in the forums works really well. Card driven, quite hostile.
 
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Doug Click
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dboeren wrote:
War game... Memoir 44 would be a good possibility, or really any of the Command & Colors games. Alternately, maybe try Hammer of the Scots if they liked Braveheart.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper is a really good game for 2 that's pretty similar to a traditional card game so it's easy to pick up.

Jambo is one of my wife's favorite 2p games and it's fairly different.

Any of the Carcassonne games would probably work, just make sure they understand how to "invade" cities and such

Ingenious maybe, to recruit their domino-playing friends.


I think the above post is full of great ideas. To it I would add Battle Line.

Off the path, I would suggest YINSH. A great abstract, as simple to play as Checkers but a great thinking game.
 
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Daniel Schwartzkopf
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Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age would be absolutely perfect. Easy to take anywhere, and great fun. Also seems to appeal to older players (maybe because it feels like cribbage with the pegs and all). My wife and I play it at the coffee shop on date nights, and my parents (in their late 50s) do the same thing.

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Eugene
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Direct interaction! This means blood and the potential for hurt feelings!
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Caleb
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Lost Cities has many similarities to 'traditional' card games and is a great option for people in the retiree age bracket without lots of experience with 'gamers games'. I think you should definitely do Lost Cities to start; other options here are great but Lost Cities is a surefire win, if they're traditional card game players.
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Jim Wilde
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My folks both started playing Carcassonne when they retired. They love it! They've actually worn out a set of tiles, and started on another set. It's all they seem to want to play.

Formerly, they would play cards, cribbage, Skip-Bo, that sort of thing. But wow, do they like Carcassonne!
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David Boeren
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Does anyone else always feel a bit torn with these questions...

I sort of want to suggest "familiar" games that will feel to them similar to things they've seen before, but also afraid it will lead them to believe that boardgaming isn't that much different from what they've seen. Kind of an "is that all?" attitude.

No! Wait! There are tons more games that do not resemble traditional boring games in the slightest! Come back! We just didn't show you for fear of scaring you off!

Maybe give them something considerably different such as Puerto Rico, which I feel plays pretty well 2p if you give each person two role choices.

Or back on the familiar side, what about Haggis (sort of a 2p version of Tichu)?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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garygarison wrote:
sanchan91 wrote:
It would be best if these had some sort of direct interaction, and not necessarily a 2 player solitary game (Race for the galaxy is not an option) and not an 'indirect' interaction type game.

Take note, people.

Yes, but you left out the rest of that quote:
Quote:
Though, I say that, and Im thinking Lost Cities may work out ok for them as well.. so yea.

 
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True Blue Jon
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peakhope wrote:
garygarison wrote:
sanchan91 wrote:
It would be best if these had some sort of direct interaction, and not necessarily a 2 player solitary game (Race for the galaxy is not an option) and not an 'indirect' interaction type game.

Take note, people.

Yes, but you left out the rest of that quote:
Quote:
Though, I say that, and Im thinking Lost Cities may work out ok for them as well.. so yea.



Lost Cities has a lot more interaction than Battle Line.
 
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Bob Kovak
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Thanks for the suggestions! Im rolling up a list right now and checking them all out!

 
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Eugene
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quozl wrote:
Lost Cities has a lot more interaction than Battle Line.

It also has a lot more autopilot play. Battle Line/Schotten Totten has much more to consider.
 
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True Blue Jon
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garygarison wrote:
quozl wrote:
Lost Cities has a lot more interaction than Battle Line.

It also has a lot more autopilot play. Battle Line/Schotten Totten has much more to consider.


More to consider, yes, but I disagree about autopilot play.
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Eugene
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The girlfriend and I pull LC out once or twice a year for laffs, just to see if maybe it again holds any charm. Invariably, we both wonder what we ever saw in it.
 
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Work well for 2p, though not necessarily only 2p:

Tantrix
Qwirkle
Ingenious: Travel Edition
Blokus Duo
Archaeology: The Card Game
 
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Kathy Sheets
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Ok, I'm thinking I'm really close to your parents' age so you should really listen to me!

Palazzo-It does support up to 4 players but is an awesome 2p game. Easy to learn (but you might want to teach them since they're totally unfamiliar) and lots of fun. It's also enough different from the games they already know to be intriguing.

Finca also supports up to 4 but plays beautifully w/2. And it's gorgeous!

+1 to the suggestion of Jaipur which is another beautiful game, centered around cards with simple rules and fun game play. And it's strictly 2p.

Jambo is another 2p only card game that comes to mind. Lots of fun and quite a bit of interaction.

edit: I forgot to +1 Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age!
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D S
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Two player gateway games for retirees:

Ticket to Ride
Hive

One thing I think *ahem* adults of a certain age like about Ticket to Ride is the familiarity of the map. I would not fool around with Nordic Countries or anything like that.

And Hive has easy rules & is portable for their road trips.

If they're like the retirees I know, that's where I'd start. I might also recommend the USA 1910 expansion to TtR if physical dexterity is a problem.

/2cents
 
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M Hellyer
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Definitely Ticket to Ride: 1910. And, the cool thing is, if they like it (as they should) in the future you can get them TtR: Europe, Asia, Switzerland, Nordic.

TransAmerica can be learned in 15 seconds, can be played quickly, yet is always interesting and fun.

Lost Cities is excellent, but it's only 2-player and it's head-to-head, so it can get tense when they both build the same suits and need the same cards.

Battleline is a good choice, too, for another card game. Balloon Cup is a quick-to-learn but fun card game.

Some people have had success with Thurn and Taxis, although I'm still trying to get people interested in it.

Formula De' or Winners Circle could be good if they'd like race games.

Downfall of Pompeii is an easy-to-learn and fun boardgame, if they don't mind dropping lava on each other and tossing each other's pieces into the volcano.

Mr. Jack could be fun, although one side seems to win more than another.

Carcassonne could be very good, although I'd play without the farmer rule the first couple times to keep it less complex to play.

10 Days in Europe is real good, too. It's more a puzzle than a game, but it works like a card game where you have to draw cards of various countries, seas and airplanes to build a vacation route of 10 contiguous places.

And, the Mystery Rummy games of Al Capone and Jack the Ripper are two of my wife's favorite games. If they know rummy, they will pick these up easily and enjoy playing and replaying them.

My wife and I are in our 60s and enjoy all these games.
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