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Subject: Games for me and my gf: we don't know what we enjoy yet rss

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Emmett Casey
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Gf has never played board games. I love them but never had a chance to play them. So we don't exactly know what we like.

Easy to learn (not necessarily simple). Not a requirement as we might enjoy complex games (have never tried), but rule learning is annoying.

We like the idea of Hive. So maybe more abstract? But I love 4x computer games, so again, not a requirement by any means.

Not a card game. She liked Rivals of Catan but wanted a board. I found Rivals boring and not engaging.

She likes the idea of Agricola. I like the idea of Agricola. Plus, it's more than 2 players so I might not have to buy a separate game for parties (although I still love the original Catan). But is it engaging for just 2 players? And still, it would be nice to have other recommendations in case we don't like Agricola.

Extra info:
Not sure whether she would love a hard core complex game or not. My guess is not. So I'm skeptical about Twilight Struggle, but at the same time it's rated as the number 1 board game on here, AND it's designed for 2 players! So it's hard to ignore.

She was a big World of Warcraft player and loves Lord of the Rings, but I don't know if that will influence her into liking games in that genre or not. Something to think about I guess. I love scifi games and civilazation themed games. All in all though, more important is that the game is solid and fun. I don't want to rely on themes for us to enjoy the game.

I love the original Catan and I'm a big chess player, so I'm pretty flexible.

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Kambria McLean
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You might like Glen More; it's somewhat similar in theme to Agricola, and it plays quite well with 2 and with more. Glen More is one of the only games I've played with a third "dummy" player mechanic for 2 players that doesn't make me hate the game.

Have you looked at Belfort? It's another worker-placement game with what I would consider a light fantasy theme. It's not abstract, but I wouldn't consider it particularly theme-heavy either; it's an area control game that has a lot going on.

Edit: I should add that I love Agricola, and have found it to play quite well with two...although I just got completely annihilated two nights ago.




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PJ Killian
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Agricola's a great game. It works perfectly fine for two. It's not a simple game to learn, and the rulebook is not the greatest, so if you want to play it I would suggest reading/watching/listening to a good tutorial.

I would recommend Twilight Struggle to just about anyone. Like chess or go, it's not a complex game to learn (Agricola, for example, is more complex), all of its depth comes from the variety of strategies available.

I wouldn't necessarily pick either of those as a first introduction to gaming, just because there are games with gentler learning curves, but if you're thinking that those games might appeal to you in the long run, they're very worthwhile investments, and if you're smart and patient you'll pick them up and be very rewarded.
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Wes Baker
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If you both like the idea of Agricola, then it might be a good start. Know going in that it can be complicated, but it does a good job of easing you in using a simpler "family" version of the game. Between the "family" version and the full version, you'll find plenty of hours of fun here. Something to keep in mind with Agricola (good or bad) is that there's a lower level of player interaction: it's more of the "I wanted to take that space, but you took it" kind of interaction, as opposed to the more direct kind.

If your both a fan of fantasy and want a good euro game, you might look into Lords of Waterdeep. It's fairly new, but it's very easy to learn and teach, nice to look at, has some player interaction (not too bad, but a bit of "take that" interaction), and has a fantasy theme. Some might say the theme is thin, but for now I wouldn't worry too much about that.

If you want something a bit more confrontational, I'd push you to Summoner Wars: Master Set. It's a two player game where you each try to destroy each other's summoner using different units that are either ranged or melee and have different stats depending on the faction (or deck) you're using. It's a very fun game that can expand when you become bored with what's included.

How do you feel about "Dudes on a map" type games like Risk or Axis & Allies? If you like them, you should look at Nexus Ops or Dungeons & Dragons: Conquest of Nerath Board Game. Both are fairly similar in style, but Nexus Ops is more sci-fi and Conquest of Nerath is more fantasy. Something to keep in mind though is that Nexus Ops is supposed to be shorter.
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Brendan McGuire
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I would start here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/139211/a-married-coupl...

The title says "married couples" but it can really be applied to any significant other. It's a great list of 2 player games which find common ground between interests.

My first thought was Alien Frontiers. It can be played 2 player. It's a space theme. It is a board. It is worker placement (sort of like Agricola, sort of not) but the mechanic is using dice as the worker to place, so that in itself should be something "new" to anyone just getting into board games. Oh and it plays in about 45-60mins

My other thought is the old Catan killing gateway fallback, Ticket to Ride. Separately my wife and I put different games at the top of our lists, but the first match as you go down both our lists is Ticket To Ride.

Lastly, don't throw out the idea Twilight Struggle. If my wife had the slightest interest in this game, I'd have it in my collection in a heartbeat. Besides, every couple needs that epic multi-houred behemoth for those lazy weekends. Our guilty pleasure is Talisman with every expansion playing like 5 characters each. I wouldn't recommend doing this, but I think you see my point.

Cheers!
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Witek W
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Check out:
- Puerto Rico - well deserving its rank
- Citadels - quick, light cutthroat game - good for 2, good for 4, good for 7
- Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game - very nice civ building - 4 roads to victory leave it up to you whether game will be aggressive or peaceful
- Homesteaders - rather fast (60-90 min), not overly complicated worker placement/city building in wild west theme - good way to check if she will like something bigger like Le Havre
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Steven Backues
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I play games mostly 2-player with my wife, Adrienne, so I'll try to give some answers to some of your questions (and some random other observations).

Abstracts Our two favorite abstracts are Hey, That's My Fish and Blokus. Hey, That's My Fish is vaguely like chess in that it is about positional movement (although you don't build your position in the same way); Blokus is pretty different. Note that there is a 2-player version of Blokus called Blokus Duo; you can also recreate the same experience by marking off part of the 4-player board. I also love Go, but for whatever reason Adrienne didn't like it.

Agricola I myself have mixed feelings on Agricola, mostly because I didn't find it quite interactive enough. Obviously many people like it, though, and I don't think it is significantly worse with 2 players than with more.

It is fairly rules heavy - pretty complicated if you are not used to that sort of thing. That's something to be aware of; however, that doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't get it. There's nothing that says you have to start simple and work your way up. The first game that I taught Adrienne was Magic: The Gathering. It took a while. But she stuck with it, because she was interested in it and knew that I liked it, and eventually she mastered it. After that, everything else we learned was easy.

So if you are both interested in Agricola, I think you should go with it. A lot of people really do enjoy building up their farm. Just be aware that it will take a little bit of work to get the hang of it. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you are ready to put that work in.

Other comments
One other thing to ask yourself and your girl-friend is preferred game length. Sometimes that can be more important than complexity level.

I've never played Twilight Struggle, so I can't comment, but I wouldn't put too much (or much any) weight on something being #1. I am sure it is a great game, but so is everything else in at least the top 100. It's more important to find something that interests the two of you.

There are a couple of really good 2-player LoTR-themed games, if you want to go that route. LoTR: The Confrontation is a short but intense bluffing game, which I really enjoy despite my general dislike of that genera. War of the Ring is an epic experience that really captures the flavor of the books, in addition to being very strategically rich.

If you did want something a little bit on the shorter/simpler side, a common recommendation is Carcasonne, which plays quite well with 2 (or more). It is easy to learn but moderately strategic. The "board" is built up by laying tiles to create landscape features which you can claim for points. It is rather interactive, and is one of the most commonly recommended "Gateway" games.







 
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If you're not sure what you want or how certain games might go over, I would suggest a few "cheap" games to get your collection built up a bit.

Citadels

Mr. Jack Pocket

Guillotine

Battle Line

Also a really fun, simple to learn game - Survive: Escape from Atlantis!



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Chris Dugas
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+1 for Alien Frontiers, a real favorite for my husband and I.

Also, maybe
Small World, which has different sized boards for different numbers of players to make sure there's some conflict on the board

or
Takenoko if you're looking for something light (and cute).

Haven't played Lords of Waterdeep yet, but it seems to be getting a lot of buzz about being a great game, a euro with a Dungeons and Dragons theme, and very accessible and easy to pick up.

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Twilight Struggle is at least worth a play through. Once you feel you're ready. It is a bit heavy for a newer gamers, but was a blast when I last played it.

Agricola went over very well with my gaming group, and it has members that are...rather resistive to non-party and non-"classics" (ex Monopoly or Apples to Apples). I just got Eminent Domain which is pretty light and fun. Not tried it with two yet, but should scale well.
 
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Joe Pastuzyn
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Lots of great recommendations here, but just a word of caution. The number one ranked game on the Geek may not be the "best" game for you and yours. I've seen examples of people buying games because they were highly ranked and then flopped with them in play (guilty as charged). There are so many good games in the top 1,000 on the Geek that you should explore the game space and find out what you like or don't. The Geek's rankings may not be your rankings. I play plenty of games that have a four digit ranking that I find fun to play.
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Lijah Robinson
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I used Co-op games to suck my girlfriend into gaming. She was a biology major so when i mentioned the theme of Pandemic she was instantly intrigued. She wasn't as big into direct conflict either to start with so since you are playing vs. the game it worked out well. She is also a knitter so Sheer Panic! was a must. I suggest find something that they are interested in and find a good game that can work into the theme.
 
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David Morneau
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Elendil wrote:
There are a couple of really good 2-player LoTR-themed games, if you want to go that route. LoTR: The Confrontation is a short but intense bluffing game, which I really enjoy despite my general dislike of that genera. War of the Ring is an epic experience that really captures the flavor of the books, in addition to being very strategically rich.


I thought of these right away. War of the Ring may not be good as a first game though. Other LoTR games worth a look are The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (a co-op card game for 1-2 players), Lord of the Rings (the original co-op game, which is too abstract for me, but still popular), and Lord of the Rings: The Duel (a simple, fun game that has the added virtue of being inexpensive...)

Since you mentioned 4x and liking sci-fi you should be aware of Space Empires: 4X, even if it's not your first game...
 
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Emmett Casey
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Thank you all! I have yet to go through all the games recommended here. It will definitely take some time, so this post won't have much in it in reference to everything you all mentioned. Sorry.

It sounds like Agricola is way more difficult to learn than we realized, and also Twilight Struggle is much easier than I anticipated. Upon hearing thise, my gf said let's get Twilight Struggle, but then she also told me she didn't want to think too hard.

I was reading on this list
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/139211/a-married-coupl...
and I really liked the idea of their number 1 pick, Dungeon Petz. She really liked the idea of it too. So I looked up Dungeon Lords, and I really like that one also. But boardgamegeek's game description says "It’s a rather complex game enjoyable mostly for experienced gamers."

That worried both of us. And it also makes us wonder about Dungeon Pets. Should we avoid these games based on them being too complicated? If we could only get one, which should it be?

Now I need to go read some of your recommendations. Thanks.
 
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Steven Backues
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temetvince wrote:
Should we avoid these games based on them being too complicated?


I don't think we can answer that one for you. For some people, complex is great. For other people, it's not a good way to start. You have to make your best guess. As long as you are aware of which option you chose, you can always adjust if it turns out not to work.
 
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temetvince wrote:
Thank you all! I have yet to go through all the games recommended here. It will definitely take some time, so this post won't have much in it in reference to everything you all mentioned. Sorry.

It sounds like Agricola is way more difficult to learn than we realized, and also Twilight Struggle is much easier than I anticipated. Upon hearing thise, my gf said let's get Twilight Struggle, but then she also told me she didn't want to think too hard.

I was reading on this list
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/139211/a-married-coupl...
and I really liked the idea of their number 1 pick, Dungeon Petz. She really liked the idea of it too. So I looked up Dungeon Lords, and I really like that one also. But boardgamegeek's game description says "It’s a rather complex game enjoyable mostly for experienced gamers."

That worried both of us. And it also makes us wonder about Dungeon Pets. Should we avoid these games based on them being too complicated? If we could only get one, which should it be?

Now I need to go read some of your recommendations. Thanks.


Dungeon Lords was the first "designer game" I bought. And its my number one game of all time! So take my comment with a grain of salt.
The rules are quite complex, but the rulebook is one of the best written rule book I*ve ever read. (Unlike Agricola...) After one game you should know how it works.
It is a very hard and unforgiven game - you get smashed and always feel like you havent enough recources, traps and monsters...(at least in the first couples of plays) The artwork and theme is incredible!!! It is realy realy cute.
But most people say it isnt very good with 2 - you have to manage 2 extra dummie players. I wouldnt say that, I like it with 2, but it IS very different indeed with 4 people.
Hmmmm so what do I suggest... I dont know^^ I love it, but perhaps you should get other games first.
But I realy realy recommend you to get Dungeon Lords, if you have some more experience with other games.
 
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Moe45673
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If you like Catan, get Catan: Cities & Knights. Granted, Catan doesn't play so great with 2 but C&K is what many stereotypical BGGers that hate Catan say made them like the game again. I am speaking in absolutes for a reason! Do some research, watch a few videos, and make a relatively informed decision.

Mr. Jack Pocket is a great suggestion. It's cheap and if you like it, purchase Mr. Jack in New York which most say is the best version of the game. A hit with wives and girlfriends too!

I really like 1812: The Invasion of Canada. Plays well 2-5, very easy rules to learn, yet very deep. Lot of fun. Muchos interaction goes on, especially with more players, and games usually last about 90 minutes, average. Don't dismiss it because it's a dry territorial map with cubes representing armies! Good review: http://thegaminggang.com/2012/02/oh-canada-1812-the-invasion...

 
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Chris Dugas
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I'd suggest trying at least one lighter worker placement game, maybe with a game weight between 2 and 3, before tackling Dungeon Petz. That way the worker placement aspect will be familiar before adding the other, in my opinion, trickier part involving defining and meeting your pets needs.

That said, it's a great(!!!) game and, like many of Vlaada Chvatil's games, the game, and especially the rulebook, were designed with a great sense of humour.

If you decide to take the plunge into a heavier game quickly, it might be easier to get a handle on it if you live near a games cafe where you can try out games and have someone teach you. Learning from someone who has played it before makes a big difference. It's usually easier than teaching yourself from the rulebook, even if it is as well written as Chvatil's.
 
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Here's the best advice: Go find a game store and join a weekly game group or just hang around and try stuff with people. It's the only way you'll find what you like.
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Jill Reid
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It sounds like you have already decided on Agricola. Great 2-player! It has been one of our favorites since we started a year or two ago. Still love it. We just added the expansion Agricola: Farmers of the Moor and it adds even more fun.

If your girlfriend likes Lord of the Rings and abstracts are good for you, check out Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. I play this with my sister who also loves Hive.
 
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Darren M
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As you've probably seen by now... there are literally thousands of games out there and when asking for recommendations you'll get about that many different opinions as well.

Instead of suggesting a specific game I thought I'd point out some features you might not know about that might be useful in selecting games.

On each game page there is a number called "avg game weight" which rates every game based on its perceived depth/complexity/difficulty. It's based on a 1-5 scale. I'd generally recommend games roughly in the middle of that range when you are starting out.

You have played Settlers which isn't overly complex so anything in the 2-3 range should be something you can learn and teach relatively easily. Anything 3-3.5 will often take a little more effort but nothing extreme. I'd probably advise staying away from the 3.5+ games on your first go around with new gamers as overly complex, longish games are often a turn off just because of the rules complexity which many don't have huge patience for. Everyone is of course different and only you know what type of patience you both have.

Like many people... if something is good they can put up with more time spent learning it if the payoff in the end is worth it.

You can also look at the polls on every game page to see the "Suggested # of Players". For example, a game may state it can be played by 2-5 players but it often has a sweet spot, say with 3 or 4 players. Those polls are useful to look at.

Of course reading a few reviews of some promising games (which you are probably doing) and looking at some negative and positive comments for the games may also give you some insight into what may interest you and those you game with.

In the end you have to realize that no matter how well you select... game quality is a very subjective and personal experience so no one can tell you 100% what you may like. You really need to try a few different types of games... simple to complex and see what works. You'll play some great games but run into some crap along the way as well. That's all a part of the hobby experience though and in time you should have a higher "good to crap" ratio as you get to know your (and your GF's) likes and dislikes better.
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Norberto Leiva
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In my experience with my gf:

+1 Hive: She loves it. Very easy to learn but hard to master. Nice abstract for a couple.

Plateau: Unknown jewel. 20-30 min to play. 4x4 board. Best hidden information game I have ever played. A bit complex to learn but it is worthy the effort.

+1 Battle Line: We love it. Maybe the best light tactical cardgame for 2.

+1 Mr. Jack in New York: We love this deduction light game for 2. it's definitly better than Mr Jack.

Hera and Zeus: Battle-cardgame. If you like Stratego...you maybe like this.

Santiago de Cuba: This shines with 2. A very good gateway for resource management games. My gf asks me to play over and over.

Glory to Rome: Role selection midweight cardgame. I personally find Race for the Galaxy annoying to learn for newcomers because of its complex iconography. Besides, we like more 'ancient Roma' theme than 'galactic-futuristic' one. Glory to Rome offers as strategical depth as Race, it is cheaper than Race, and IMHO it works very good with 2er. My gf like it a lot.

Tigris & Euphrates: Easy rules with complex strategy. A masterpiece with a 'classic' feel. IMHO it works just fine (if not best) with 2.

1960: The Making of the President: I wouldn´t recommend Twilight Struggle for non-gamers...too fiddly, too long and too complex in my opinion. 1960 makes a better work to introduce you in card driven games world. My gf likes it a lot.

Hope be helpful



 
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David
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As others have said, Agricola (3.6 weight for the standard variant) is a very nice game. I've enjoyed it with 1, 2 and 3 players so far plus it comes with various "levels" to tailor the complexity to your preferences. Agricola isn't so much "hard to learn" but just "not well explained". The game itself is pretty intuitive and the theme makes it very approachable to newcomers. Also one of the more complicated aspects is left out in the "family variant" (which I'd give about a 2.8 or so). My biggest problem always was setting the game up.

You mentioned Chess, WoW and LotR. Summoner Wars (2.2 weight) could be an interesting option for you two as it can pretty well be described as "fantasy chess". Very easy to learn but still interesting to play.

temetvince wrote:
Should we avoid these games based on them being too complicated?
Since you're completely new to board games, I'd say: Yes. Start with lighter games and the work your way up to heavier ones to get a feel for what you're comfortable with. "Darren M" posted some good pointers concerning game weight.
 
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Nisha Holloway
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+1 Hive. It's fantastic. Perfect for couples. Go with Hive. It looks very classy and grown-up in black and white and you get the mosquito and ladybug expansions included. I think I have 43 plays logged so far. And those are just the games I've played, not that my friends have played.

Based on my own experience playing games with my partner I would also recommend:

Carcassonne. Plays great with two and accommodates more. Easy to learn.

Jaipur. Fantastic little two-player trading game with nice theme and artwork. Simple and fast to play.

Monopoly Deal Card Game. All the good stuff about Monopoly, none of the bad stuff. Just as good in a big group as with two. Cheap and easy to find.

Fluxx. One basic rule. Everything else you need to know is on the cards. Fast, chaotic and funny. Good with two or more. Get one of the themed versions, there's some great humor to be enjoyed there. And Oz Fluxx is out now!

The advice about joining a gaming group and about using the amazing filtering tools to search for games here on BGG is very sage. You should follow it. Enjoy delving into your new hobby!
 
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Just tried Lord of the Rings TCG today. A bit of a new idea for us. Kind of long, slow, and meaty for us. It felt kind of foreign as this was our first coop and first card game of that type. We like it though but it requires some out of its players initially I think.

I recommend Takenoko for something light and happy (yet full of strategy and much more so I believe than is usually said) and Neuroshima Hex! for some excitement and direct confrontation.

Takenoko is easy to learn. That doesn't mean it is easy to play perfectly.
 
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