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Subject: HELP! Decisions....Decisions. rss

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Cory Yates
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Okay, so I need some help choosing a few games. I have some ideas in mind of what I might be looking for but I am pretty new to the gaming world. I am at the point where I want to grow a little as a board gamer, but I don't want to purchase extremely heavy games at all because I just moved out of state with my wife and don't know anyone around. So basically I am going to mostly be playing with my wife. I know for a fact that she will not play extremely heavy games and it helps if a game is very teachable to her so she can pick it up relatively quickly, but she is willing to put SOME time into learning the basics of gameplay (a couple of games or so). She really is a very smart woman and has been able to put up a good challenge on many of the games we play.

Let me tell you what we have played and enjoyed so far (if there are no notes, then we both enjoy the game):

Last Night on Earth (I love it...she thinks its...meh)
Ticket to Ride
Colosseum (Haven't played with more than 2 people so I assume the game is much better with more players but so far its not our favorite for 2)
Hive
Jambo (we both love it)
Pandemic
Dominion
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Carcassone

We also own both Stone Age and Puerto Rico, but I haven't broken those out yet because I want to wait until her brother and his wife come (they both love board games as much as I do).

Other games we own but haven't played: Forbidden Island and Lost Cities.

I have been looking into purchasing the following: Pandemic Expansion (I'm almost definitely going to get this), Race for the Galaxy, Railways of the World, a Dominion Expansion, Carson City, Power Grid, Flash Point Fire Rescue, Zooloretto (might be too childish?, and a few others.

What is important to us:
1. It HAS to be fun and not just complete work...so its nice to have some player interaction.
2. We like good solid strategy....its important for us to be thinking and planning.
3. We love a game with great theme.


Thanks for reading this and any recommendations that you make WILL DEFINITELY be taken into consideration. If you could, please explain why you think the game would be a good purchase for us. Thank you!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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As much as I love Flash Point: Fire Rescue, I'm not sure you need to buy it yet. You have Forbidden Island unplayed, and Pandemic, and you say you'll get the expansion. I would probably hold off a bit on FP:FR until the others start to get tired for you. Unless you are crazy for co-ops (like me), in which case sure. FP:FR is a great game.

Race for the Galaxy is pretty daunting. You might want to hold off on that until you have tried Puerto Rico. If you find PR to be complex, then I would recommend starting with San Juan. Once you know SJ, learning either RftG or PR should be much easier. Personally, I prefer SJ over RftG.
 
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Cory Yates
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Thanks for the advice Kevin. You're probably right about Flash Point. It is good to hear that you like it though...I'll keep it on my radar. I'm pretty sure RFTG would be too much for my wife, but her brother and his wife come over every now and then and they are a lot like me in that they want to play games that are somewhat more complex. I guess I have just heard differing opinions about RFTG...some say its not as complex as everyone says and then everyone else says that it really is complex. I know that there are a lot of cheat sheets for the game so I thought my wife and I could pick that up in just a few games. We ARE willing to invest (especially me) a few games to learn the basics. Thank you so much!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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Personally, I think the complexity of Race's icons is overstated. I really like the icons themselves, and prefer them to the text-only design of San Juan. I think a fair bit of the complexity people face in Race is if you haven't already learned a role game like SJ or PR. If you have played SJ, then the only complexities are: Military, separation of Settle/Develop and Consume 2X/Trade, and just the sheer number of cards with different special abilities.

You can try Race on your computer before buying it. There is an AI app you can download that works really well. Just don't expect to win right away...the AI is very strong.

Race is definitely a fair bit more complex than any of the games that you listed above that I am familiar with. If you can handle Stone Age, and are motivated, I think you can handle Race.

Despite really liking the Space theme of Race, I still prefer San Juan overall.
 
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Cory Yates
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Thanks again Kevin. Good to hear a little more about Race. I have tried to play the AI version, but every time I play it my Safari (I have a Mac), it quits unexpectedly in the middle of the game. Its SO frustrating. I am picking it up fairly well in the short times I do play it. Why would you say that you enjoy San Juan more just out of curiosity?
 
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Madhujith Venkatakrishna
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Well, I can tell you with experience as I live in India and though we have 1.1 Bn people only a a handful of gamers (I can almost list out the number of gamers across the nation) that is how small the gaming population here is and hence my wife is the main player. here's is what worked for us.

- Thurn and Taxis- I noticed you said you liked TtR, then this is definitely a step up and I rate it better than TtR and love playing this
- Lords of Vegas- You want theme, you get theme in this fun fun game, very easy, lots of luck, but controlled luck, very good game.
- Mr. Jack- Simple but great deduction game
- Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War- This is another great 2P deduction game and with the reprint from Stringhold games, it is hard not to own this. Yes I agree it may seem abstract (well it is), but worth trying this out
- Tikal- Simple, Beautiful, Evergreen- Just get it
Neuroshima Hex! 3.0- Tactical warfare game with asymmetric war factions, super fun
- Code 777- Another Stronghold reproduction of an old deduction game which can be really fun. This takes like 2 min to learn!
- Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation- Again the theme may seem a little pasted, but this game is a winner with so much depth!
- Innovation- Yes the cards may seem a little unattractive with lots of text, a little bit of learning curve, but once you play say 1-2 games this is an absolutely fun game with so much replaability and very good amount of tactics as well.

Out of the games you've mentioned definitely Carson City is fun, though I must say more the better. Also Race for the Galaxy has a steep learning curve with the number of symbols on the cards, Along with Powergrid consider Power Grid: Factory Manager- tighter, quicker and plays really well with 2
- Samurai- This is another classic tile laying game, which again might feel like having a pasted theme, but the game play is very good to compensate for the lack of theme
- Tobago- Stunning pieces, great gameplay, reverse deduction, excellent 2P gameplay, high replaability, easy to pick up. Just get it!

The other games that might be worth trying out that plays well with 2:
Louis XIV
Macao

The ones below are the Kosmos series of 2P games similar in size like Jambo and Lost Cities (Except Battleline). Most of them are of the almost same complexity
Kahuna
Caesar & Cleopatra
Odin's Ravens
Battle Line
Balloon Cup

Some other card games along with this to consider:
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper
Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde
Famiglia

If you don't mind a slightly longer rule set another game definitely worth trying is Commands & Colors: Ancients- Trust me, it might seem a little daunting at first, but all the scenarios play in about 60 min and is great fun.

How did I forget to mention- Agricola- You should get this.

Hope you like some of the mentioned games

Good Luck.

Best,
Madhu

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Mathue Faulkner
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yatescory wrote:

I have been looking into purchasing the following: Pandemic Expansion (I'm almost definitely going to get this), Race for the Galaxy, Railways of the World, a Dominion Expansion, Carson City, Power Grid, Flash Point Fire Rescue, Zooloretto (might be too childish?, and a few others.


Pandemic: On the Brink - Definite must if you enjoy Pandemic

Race for the Galaxy - This game has a very high learning curve imo. The iconography is off the charts. I don't think it's that complex once you get passed that, but it's a large enough obstacle that I ended up getting rid of it unplayed. I'd look into it before purchasing.

Railways of the World - Playable with 2, but better with more.

Dominion expansion - If you enjoy Dominion, then at least one expansion is needed for variety imo. I recommend Seaside or Intrigue.

Carson City - Again, playable with 2 but better with more.

Power Grid - Haven't played, but I think I remember reading this isn't best with 2.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue - A good, fun, thematic co-op.....but not as tense as Pandemic imo. A good game, but not my favorite co-op.

Zooloretto - I don't know a lot about the game, but I do own Coloretto which is a fun, cheap filler.

_____________________


My recommendations:

Core Worlds, Glory to Rome, or San Juan (Innovation or Eminent Domain too?): All of these games are in the same vein as Race for the Galaxy, but a bit easier to learn. I love San Juan, albeit it eventually will hit some replayability issues. Core Worlds is a great game that has flown under the radar. And I've looked into Glory to Rome heavily enough that I feel I can recommend it as well. Also, all 3 games play well with 2.

Yggdrasil: Flash Point is relatively similar to Pandemic. Yggdrasil, on the other hand, is a nice, tense co-op that has very different mechanics from Pandemic. My fiancé and I play a lot of Pandemic and Yggdrasil. Both are great fun.

Caylus Magna Carta: A better 2-player worker placement game than Carson City (from a 2-player perspective only). Worth looking into.

Letters from Whitechapel: Ridiculously hard to get a hold of, but I thought I'd put it down anyway. My fiancé and I love this game. Very tense. Awesome as a 2-player game.

Navegador: Great depth, and the rules aren't too bad. Plays great with 2, and even better with more.

JAB: Realtime Boxing: If either of you enjoy Speed-type games, then this is an awesome, 'thinkier', twist. I was very surprised by how great this game is.

Homesteaders: Will take a play or two to learn the buildings, but the 2-player variant in this auction game works surprisingly well.

Haggis: A great climbing game that was designed for 2-3.

+1 Macao: Great game. A little complex, but cool mechanics.

+1 Agricola: THIS is probably the game to get. Start with the family game for your wife, then work up to the cards....

-1 Lords of Vegas: Horrible with 2 imo.


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Andy Andersen
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+1 Carson City

Power Grid: The Robots should make Power Grid much better for 2.
 
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Cory Yates
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WOW Everyone...all I can say is THANK YOU for taking the time to write out so many recommendations! Thank you so much for spending the time to help me. I am certainly considering everything that you have mentioned. Many of the things you have mentioned, I have not looked into. I am shocked that someone mentioned Agricola. Obviously, I have not played it and know very little about it, but I thought that was a heavier game...am I wrong. How does it compare to Puerto Rico...since I haven't played that yet? Is it very complex? I am definitely going to take a look into San Juan, but I do want everyone to know that it doesn't just have to be 2 player games or 2 player variant games...my wife's family does come over for a game night every three weeks or so. We are also going on a long vacation this summer and are ALL planning on bringing a bunch of board games to play.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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yatescory wrote:
I have tried to play the AI version, but every time I play it my Safari (I have a Mac), it quits unexpectedly in the middle of the game. Its SO frustrating.

That would be frustrating. It is also available online at Board Game Arena (apparently).

Quote:
I am picking it up fairly well in the short times I do play it.

Well then, you already know how complex it is or isn't.

Quote:
Why would you say that you enjoy San Juan more just out of curiosity?

The main reason is that overall, the added complexity doesn't translate into more fun, for me. The variety of special abilities of the cards seems gratuitous. It's definitely easier to get SJ to the table, especially with first-timers. An irritant of Race is that there are a bunch of cards in the base game that really only make sense with expansions.

Race is a solid game. Just not my cup of tea.


Other notes:
+1 Caylus Magna Carta and Homesteaders, but I haven't played either with 2p. Both will get you thinking. CMC has more rules, but Homesteaders is probably deeper due to the variety of building special abilities and the ability to convert resources. So they end up about the same weight. CMC is worker placement (exclusive use of buildings for that turn), whereas Homesteaders is based on auctions.

I wouldn't call Mr. Jack "simple", but if you want a chaotic/thinky/bluffing cat-and-mouse game, it's a good one.

I also wouldn't call Tikal "simple", but it would certainly be within your complexity range.

Balloon Cup and Jaipur are very good light 2p games, on a level comparable to Lost Cities. All are simpler than Jambo. Only Balloon Cup has direct interaction, in case that matters to you.

 
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Mathue Faulkner
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yatescory wrote:
WOW Everyone...all I can say is THANK YOU for taking the time to write out so many recommendations! Thank you so much for spending the time to help me. I am certainly considering everything that you have mentioned. Many of the things you have mentioned, I have not looked into. I am shocked that someone mentioned Agricola. Obviously, I have not played it and know very little about it, but I thought that was a heavier game...am I wrong. How does it compare to Puerto Rico...since I haven't played that yet? Is it very complex? I am definitely going to take a look into San Juan, but I do want everyone to know that it doesn't just have to be 2 player games or 2 player variant games...my wife's family does come over for a game night every three weeks or so. We are also going on a long vacation this summer and are ALL planning on bringing a bunch of board games to play.


The family version of Agricola isn't that bad. Even the family version is definitely a bit heavier than the games you own, but no heavier than some of the games you're considering (Carson City, Race for the Galaxy, Power Grid, etc.). I'd say that the family version of Agricola is probably on par with Puerto Rico. The standard version is a bit heavier, but still not the hardest game to learn....although it is much easier when playing with someone that knows what they're doing.

Most of the games I mentioned can be played with more (and are often even a bit better) but work very well with 2 (Playing well with 2 is a huge plus for me since a lot of my gaming is just 2 as well).
 
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Rick Vinyard
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Personally, I wouldn't consider Zooloretto childish at all. It's quick to teach but has good strategy.

Plus it has pandas and baby animals.

I also don't consider Agricola heavy. There are a lot of things going on, but I think the theme pulls things together and the steps flow well. Plus, it's highly expandable if you find you like it and want to change things up.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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Save your money on Zoolretto, get Coloretto instead. It's cheaper, yet still implements the same main mechanism.

Games that I think are wonderful for what you are looking are:

Games that scale well for 2-4ish:

Metropolys
Finca
Pergamon
Trollholla
Cargo Noir
Fresco
Gonzaga
Biblios

Games that need at least 3-4 people:

Yspahan
The Speicherstadt
Chicago Express
For Sale
Bohnanza

A couple more 2P only games that I think are good:

Summoner Wars
Campaign Manager
Dragonheart
Any of the GIPF games (Gipf/Tzaar/Zértz/Dvonn/Yinsh/Pünct)
 
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Rick Vinyard
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Another that I'd recommend highly is Thebes. Plays well with 2, has a ton of theme and isn't complex.

Sticking within the archaeological theme I'd also recommend The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac and/or Quicksand. Both are easy to learn and quick to play. The former is more of a press-your-luck game that plays very well with 6, while the latter is a bluffing game that my wife loves.
 
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Cory Yates
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Well so far I think I'm going to go with the expansion to Pandemic, San Juan, and maybe Agricola. I do have to ask...do you guys think Agricola is worth a $50 price tag when I can get two smaller games instead? I mean, I know its ranked really high, but like I said, the fun factor is important to us. I definitely like the farm theme involved and after watching Scott Nicholson's review, it seems even more interesting. I've decided to hold off on RFTG even though I was desperately wanting a space themed game. Any more suggestions?
 
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Shane Brewer
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+1 for Agricola. Introduced it recently to my wife and non-gaming friends and they really liked it. It scales well from 2-5 and is, practically, infinitely replayable right out of the box. As for the high price tag - I think it is warranted given the high production value, the sheer number of boards and bits, and the great replayability.
 
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Ali M
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Hi

I have played Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Survive and Carcassonne so I think we pretty much on the same wavelength when it comes to games.
A game I would recommend as it is easy to pick up, yet quite strategic when it comes to gameplay is Alien Frontiers. It is a dice throwing game but it's not just about luck of the dice roll, it's how you play your dice that is important. My boyfriend and I love it.
Also, a game that we have introduced to our friends who don't like the heavy games is Fresco, it's based on a fun theme and has a fun gameplay that is unlike what is seen in a lot of other games.
The Carcassonne expansions are very good and if you like that game, you will like Settlers of Catan. This was one of the first propper board game I played and it got me well and truly hooked and wanting more

Hope you have fun playing the games

Ali
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Cory Yates
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Ali, thanks for the recommendations. I ended up going with the Pandemic Expansion, Agricola, and Thebes. I think Agricola is more of what I am looking for in a game, and Thebes will work well as a lighter strategy game for the family. Plus, I really like the theme of both games.
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Cory Yates
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Oh and by the way, I only spend $100.45 on Coolstuffinc That place is amazing. I wonder how they can afford to sell so cheap with the free Fedex shipping.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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yatescory wrote:
Ali, thanks for the recommendations. I ended up going with the Pandemic Expansion, Agricola, and Thebes. I think Agricola is more of what I am looking for in a game, and Thebes will work well as a lighter strategy game for the family. Plus, I really like the theme of both games.

I think you did well. That late suggestion of Thebes was a good one.
 
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Rick Vinyard
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peakhope wrote:
yatescory wrote:
Ali, thanks for the recommendations. I ended up going with the Pandemic Expansion, Agricola, and Thebes. I think Agricola is more of what I am looking for in a game, and Thebes will work well as a lighter strategy game for the family. Plus, I really like the theme of both games.

I think you did well. That late suggestion of Thebes was a good one.

It must have been destiny... I had gotten it out, along with a bunch of others for a New Year's party. Yesterday I was putting them all back on the shelves and since I had just seen Cory's inquiry it jumped to mind.

I don't always think of it because it only plays 4 (although you can play with 5 if you make an extra set of permits). It's definitely one of the most thematic euro's I can think of.
 
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Cory Yates
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Thanks Kevin and Rick...you guys really did help me decide what to get. I would have definitely not purchased Agricola and Thebes if both of you hadn't given me your feedback.
 
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Rick Vinyard
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yatescory wrote:
Thanks Kevin and Rick...you guys really did help me decide what to get. I would have definitely not purchased Agricola and Thebes if both of you hadn't given me your feedback.

Glad to help. If you like both those, next time you're ready to buy check out Notre Dame. It's one of my wife's favorites, but I think what drew her to it was the fact that I replaced the five black plague cubes with tiny white mice.
 
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