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Subject: Stuck on four choices... what to purchase? rss

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Erik
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So my wife and I have recently got into gaming over the past few months. We play Dominion, Arkham Horror and Pandemic quite a bit but are looking to expand our collection. I've narrowed our next purchase down to four games but I wanted general opinion as to which might be best for a couple to play.

Here's the four i'm leaning towards:

- Mage Knight
- Claustrophobia
- Summoner Wars Master Set
- Small World

No clue what to buy since I've heard good things about all of them. Suggestions, opinions?

Thanks!
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Phil Christiansen
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Well, since my girlfriend and I both adore Arkham and Pandemic as well I figured I'd comment. Of the ones listed I would suggest Small World, due to the ease of learning and playing and the scads of expansions both official and fan made. Plus it plays with more if you have friends over or some such, which is always a plus. And I love Days of Wonder as a company so its an added plus. But that's just my two cents heh.
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Cory J
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Of the four I would suggest Mage Knight, though Summoner Wars could work out as well. I've heard good things about Small World, but if you mostly play with your wife I think maybe avoid it for now. I think it plays better with more than just two people.
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Dave Eisen
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Amyrin wrote:
Of the four I would suggest Mage Knight, though Summoner Wars could work out as well. I've heard good things about Small World, but if you mostly play with your wife I think maybe avoid it for now. I think it plays better with more than just two people.


Small World is a very good game, but not even a decent 2-player game.

Mage Knight is great. But it is more than one step up in length, complexity, and skill level required from Dominion and Pandemic. Only you know if that makes it a good choice or a bad one.

I cannot speak to the other two games as I have not played them.
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jflartner
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I have played all of those:


Summoner Wars hands down.

Mage knight is awesome, but I honestly wouldn't play it with more than 1 player.

Small World is OK, but is NO FUN with only two players.

Claustrophobia is a distant second place. It's a very fun, solid game, but Summoner Wars is the clear winner here for me.
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Moe45673
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Mage Knight is an excellent game but be willing to take a lot of time to learn it. I sold it because it was too much for me. Perhaps as a shared experience with your wife it would be more enjoyable.

Also, something I neglected to do for this game but generally do, be sure to print out player aids and cheat sheets and the like. Helps a ton.

How do I know it's great? Because I've played other people's copies with them. They knew the rules, I could just focus on gameplay and strategy.
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TTorres
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I agree with Jim. Since you're looking for two player games, the Summoner Wars: Master Set will give you tremendous variety and strategies to explore. If you get so tired of all the factions in that set, you have multiple options to expand your forces even further. Claustrophobia is also a fun two player game, but is scenario based.

So, are you looking for a tactical combat game that combines some elements of miniatures games and chess? (Summoner Wars) or, are you looking for a light dungeon crawler-style game that pits good vs. evil? (Claustrophobia)

I also agree Small World is fun but not if you're primarily playing it 2 player.

As for Mage Knight, I love the game. It's my favorite solo game (with The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game in second), but it also shines as a cooperative 2-player game. The major caveat is it may be a significant challenge to learn at first. However, if the game theme and overall mechanics are intriguing I assure you that you are more than capable of learning it. The worst case it it'll take a few plays and some online research to get comfortable.

Good luck and enjoy!
 
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Ryan
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Mage Knight would be the one to go with if you want more of the similar experience of your cooperative games, though certainly closer to Arkham in complexity. It's definitely a rewarding experience and certainly a cool one to own. Also, an expansion is on its way if that matters to you.

Summoner Wars would be the one you want if you want a different game altogether in that it is a head to head tactical combat game. It's also probably the best value for your money for the things listed. It's quite easy to learn and you have the added bonus that the game is intended for two players and will play more consistently well than any of the other options (I would also rule out Small World for the same reasons as others). It is also quite expandable as there are multiple factions available as well as expansion cards that add to different factions. I will point out that while it includes and uses a board, this is a card game at heart, just so you know what you're signing up for. The game doesn't feel as heavy and combative as a game like magic though so I think you guys are safe with hurt feeling unless one of you is REALLY sensitive.

Claustrophobia is one I have not played but I've heard it's clunky and not all that fun, but I'd have to play. The two above are sure winners though.

cheers and enjoy!
 
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Samo Oleami
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You're playing low interaction games so far. Probably Mage Knight is the closest to what you have, but more complex (another complex two player game is Augricola - low on interaction as well).

Claustrophobia is fun, but is confrontational and sides play differently. Make sure you both play 2 sides of same scenario in a row. And demons are made to be stronger than heroes, it's a feature.

Summoner was is also confrontational - maybe has more feel of exploration (with 6 decks), but is more of a direct combat.

Between the two of them, depends on what you want - Claustrophobia is more of a ride (it's not that balanced and not really for hard core strategists), SW probably better if you want direct confrontation. (haven't played, darned thing is too expensive here in europe).

Small World is multiplayer conflict, it has a tendency toward being much more thinky than it looks (depending on the crowd). If you look for a primarily 2 player game, I'd suggest you pick one of the other ones.

-----
Other ideas:
Thunderstone - plays like dominion, feels more Arkham (not exactly, but goes in that direction). My GF loves it (and we also started with Arkham and Pandemic, I don't have the budget to buy the sucker, though. But I can borrow it, so no big deal). Compared to Dominion it's more intuitive, a couple of levels more thematic, but takes twice as long to play.
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Mike Fox
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All great games, I don't even know which one to recommend, but if it's primarily going to be the two of you, Small World may not be the best purchase. 2 can play it, but I think most would agree it plays better with more than two. Hope that's helpful.


MNGroove wrote:
So my wife and I have recently got into gaming over the past few months. We play Dominion, Arkham Horror and Pandemic quite a bit but are looking to expand our collection. I've narrowed our next purchase down to four games but I wanted general opinion as to which might be best for a couple to play.

Here's the four i'm leaning towards:

- Mage Knight
- Claustrophobia
- Summoner Wars Master Set
- Small World

No clue what to buy since I've heard good things about all of them. Suggestions, opinions?

Thanks!
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The Other Tom
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- Mage Knight - Haven't played...looks really long and very rules heavy.

- Claustrophobia - Excellent two player game. Great production values and a very clever game system.

- Summoner Wars Master Set - One of the best games on the market IMO. One of the few "10s" in my collection. Wonderful for two.

- Small World - Fun game, but personally I enjoy this best with 4-5 players so much more.
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Matt Brown
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For two players, Summoner Wars, Claustrophobia, Mage Knight and then Small World. Mage Knight is third mostly since it isn't really specifically designed for two players as where Claustrophobia is.
 
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Dave K
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You have plenty of people saying this already, but I'll toss my hat into the "don't buy Small World for two players" ring. It's not a good game for just two at all.
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Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
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The counterpoint I'll make on Smallworld is that I find it very easy to get other people to try it. You might wind up with a new group because of it!
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Vincent
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Quote:
- Mage Knight
- Claustrophobia
- Summoner Wars Master Set
- Small World
Thanks!

Will you only be playing it as a 2 player game? Or will you be playing solo as well, or with more players.
- Mage Knight
According to the recommendations it plays well with 1-3 players.
- Claustrophobia
Only playable with 2
- Summoner Wars Master Set
Best with 2 players (there is a trial version on iPad if you like)
- Small World
Probably needs more then 2 players to play well.

Mage Knight seems the most flexible game to me...
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Roberto Pinheiro
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+1 Summoner Wars: Master Set
 
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Ethan Nicholas
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matthean wrote:
Mage Knight is third mostly since it isn't really specifically designed for two players as where Claustrophobia is.


Mage Knight is best with two (both in my opinion and according to the official poll), so I don't really get the logic here.
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Jacob Nushmut
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To sum up, Small World isn't the best with 2, so if you're talking 2-player exclusively, go with one of the others.

The other three are excellent for 2; Mage Knight is by far the heaviest and longest.
 
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Ryan King
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Summonor Wars, hands down
 
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Justin Schroeder
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jobin13 wrote:
I have played all of those:


Summoner Wars hands down.

Mage knight is awesome, but I honestly wouldn't play it with more than 1 player.

Small World is OK, but is NO FUN with only two players.

Claustrophobia is a distant second place. It's a very fun, solid game, but Summoner Wars is the clear winner here for me.


I don't really have anything to add to this tread as I have never played any of those games.

I just wanted to say that I love your avatar!

jflartner
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Winter is coming!
 
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Jill Reid
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Just thougth I would throw in that Summoner Wars plays in 35-45 min and is not very complicated, while at the same time feels very tactical and strategic. We just acquired this in a trade, and it is a new favorite! It is just a genuinely fun gaming experience.
 
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Kevin Erskine
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I've played all but Claustrophobia and I agree with most people here. Summoner Wars is the best of the bunch for 2.

Now if you're looking for solo play as well then Mage Knight is the best of the best in my books.

Small World is fun, but I like it more with 3 or 4.
 
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Matt Brown
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dragonnyxx wrote:
matthean wrote:
Mage Knight is third mostly since it isn't really specifically designed for two players as where Claustrophobia is.


Mage Knight is best with two (both in my opinion and according to the official poll), so I don't really get the logic here.


I guess because so many recommend it for soloing that it kind of clouds things. But again, if you aren't soloing and you are playing a two player game, I think one designed for it works better. The advantage to Mage Knight is that it goes beyond simply a two player game.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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MNGroove wrote:
So my wife and I have recently got into gaming over the past few months. We play Dominion, Arkham Horror and Pandemic quite a bit but are looking to expand our collection. I've narrowed our next purchase down to four games but I wanted general opinion as to which might be best for a couple to play.

Here's the four i'm leaning towards:

- Mage Knight
- Claustrophobia
- Summoner Wars Master Set
- Small World

No clue what to buy since I've heard good things about all of them. Suggestions, opinions?

Thanks!


Many good responses so far, but I fear they may miss the mark. The reason I say that is that you've mentioned two factors that may be extremely important:
-- you play with your wife
-- the two of you enjoy Dominion and Pandemic

(I'm not too familiar with Arkham, but the comments may be related)

Those two factors tell me that the two of you may be into games that either have a small degree of direct confrontation, or a high degree of cooperation.

My wife and I have the same tendencies when we play together. She loves Dominion because it lets her focus on her deckbuilding without worrying about how I might ruin her plans. When we play Carcassonne, we tend to stay out of each others "projects" -- the challenge for me is convincing my wife that I'm helping her project ... but I'm really trying to sneak another farmer into the field.

That said, I wouldn't recommend any of the 4 games you listed.

I'd recommend Homesteaders
(edit to add commentary)

I recently introduced my wife to Homesteaders, and my hope is to slowly build her appetite for more competitive games. Homesteaders does have a stronger competitive flavor to it than Dominion, and it comes in the form of the auction. The nice thing there is that you have some control of how much you want to push
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Jay I
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I have played all of those games aside from Claustrophobia. I prefer Mage Knight to those games. It IS longer and more rules heavy than the others. I think it is pretty comparable to Arkham in set up, clean up, and complexity.
 
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