Gary Jones
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A bit of an introduction to start with:

I'm a lapsed gamer, about 15 years ago I was an avid player of Games Workshop boardgames and wargames as well as Magic: The Gathering.

Now, in my 30's with a wife and a 3 year old I stumbled across BGG while surfing the internet and I've become obsessed again.

I still have a few old games but the most of my old collection is gone and I'm pretty much starting from scratch. I may be able to get my wife to play the odd game but she's not really interested and would just be doing it to please me and I can't really count on her as a regular games partner.

So, the criteria for my first few games is that they either need to be playable solitaire or be a 2 player that may convert my Mrs into playing more regularly so nothing too heavy.

One of the games I miss the most from the old days is Space Hulk so I've already picked up Death Angel which I'm really enjoying but I need a few more.

I've spent some time on the forums and looking through Geeklists and here are the games I've considered and my current picks:



1. Space Hulk Substitute - I'm really missing Space Hulk and (at the moment) I'm not willing to cough up £150 - £200 to get hold of it so I've been considering the following

Mage Knight - Looks really impressive but it may be a bit too complex for my liking and the playtime is overlong.

Incursion - Like the theme but read some reviews that said it was a bit samey, also I can't seem to find the expansion with the solo player rules anywhere.

Decided to go for Gears of War - Not heard a bad thing about this, also apparently good solo. The only thing that puts me off is the theme. I like Sci-Fi but I don't have an X-Box and don't know anything about the franchise.



2 - Lovecraft Game

Mansions of Madness - Don't know much about this, rad mixed reviews, some love it and some hate it. Doesn't play solo to my knowledge though.

Elder Sign - sounds very random with lots of dice.

Decided to go for Arkham Horror - Plays well solo and I really like the idea of it being a boardgame RPG. Also heard it has a lot of replay value which is only added to by the multiple expansions available.



Others:

Next in no particular order I'm looking at are Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Tsuro, Friday, Pocket Battles: Orcs vs. Elves, King of Tokyo, Onirim, and Agricola - a mix of lightweight two player and solos.



I'm also possibly looking for a Zombie game but literally can't decide, there's so many.



Opinions? Thanks.
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Clinton Coddington
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grjns123 wrote:

I'm also possibly looking for a Zombie game but literally can't decide, there's so many.


This is hugely subjective and I'm sure everyone will have a different game and their reasons for it. So I'll let you know what I like, I'm sure you will have other recommendations to look through to make your decision.

City of Horror
I feel this zombie game best captures the feel of what would really happen. In this game not only are you dealing with zeds wandering around but you are dealing with each other. You have to make decisions amongst players on who's character is going to get kicked out of any given location an eaten. At it's heart it is a negotiation game. I love it, it is my favorite and the only zombie game I own.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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grjns123 wrote:
I may be able to get my wife to play the odd game but she's not really interested


(This may be obvious to you, but I think you might want to let her know that you don't want to force her to play 'your games', but would be very interested in finding out what games you two could play together, and ask her help.)

The 'right' game for her really depends on what kind of person she is. What are her strengths, hobbies, or other interests, that would make her at home with a new game?

There are very different types of games out there, so you would need to get some idea of what to try first. The experiences (good and/or bad) would then lead you to the next game.

If you don't get any better starting points, Carcassonne would be a good game to try first. The rules are simple, but there is strategy, and you can expand it later if it takes off.

It may also be that she really isn't a games person, but she may surprise you and herself, if you do find the right game. Edit: good luck!

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Walter Kolinski
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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

its a living card game, so new expansions come out, but you only have to buy one, not a boat load like magic, plays solo, and can play up to four, take a look at this gem
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Thomas
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My votes are as follows:

Mage Knight Board Game (solo)

Gears of War: The Board Game (solo)

Escape: The Curse of the Temple (solo & co-op)

Elder Sign (solo & co-op)

Ghost Stories (solo & co-op)

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game (competitive)

Mansions of Madness (competitive)

Seasons (competitive)

also check out this geeklist:

Thematic games with top notch components
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Rev. Tony Melton
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Regarding Agricola, it is a great game, but a lot of newer gamers are turned off by the stress of having to constantly feed your family. Its easy to feel like you're falling behind and not getting anywhere.

My wife will play Agricola, but she likes Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small much more. It is a great little two player game that is quick but deep enough to keep gamers interested. Check it out!
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Thomas
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If you want a euro game I would suggest Lords of Waterdeep or Takenoko over Agricola.
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Byron Campbell
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Gears of War is a great choice for a Space Hulk substitute. Don't worry about not "getting" the theme, since it's not too strong a component to the game anyway (tons of theme for people who know the game, but it never outweighs the mechanics). I haven't played Space Hulk, but Gears of War is quite similar to a more fleshed out version of Death Angel.

I would suggest Mansions of Madness over Arkham Horror for a Lovecraft game. MoM doesn't do solo play (except for one scenario in the latest expansion), but if Mage Knight is overlong for you, you will not like Arkham Horror. Mansions is at least very solid as a two player game (one player needs to control multiple investigators, but that is no harder than playing Death Angel solo).

Friday is a GREAT solitaire game, and is one of the best outside of Mage Knight. The short playtime and small space it takes up is a huge plus. I would get that before Onirim.

Good luck. I am in the same situation as you with the Mrs., so I have been buying mostly solitaire-capable games. I think you've chosen a couple of great starting points. For gaming with the wife, your mileage may vary, but the games my wife most tolerates are Carcassonne, Hey, That's My Fish! and Uncharted: The Board Game (she's a fan of the franchise, which helps, but it's also a surprisingly good game with hand management and pseudo-"worker placement" elements).

EDIT: Somebody's avatar reminded me. I don't have it yet, but I am looking forward to playing Mice and Mystics both as a solitaire game and as a game that my wife will hopefully enjoy. I find that she tends to be much more amenable to cooperative games, which is lucky because they can also usually be played by one person without many changes applied. It's nice because we win or lose as a team, so she doesn't have to feel "beat up on" or personally attacked and you can still play your hardest.
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Andrew Roy
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Are you aware of the 'weight' feature on each game's page? It's near the bottom of the main page for each game listed on the site, and can give a good idea for how relatively 'heavy' (as in rules complexity) a game is. It seemed as if you called Agricola lightweight but most users wouldn't. Be careful trying to get your wife to enjoy games with games that have too many rules! I can't think of any reluctant gamer who would want to sit through 30 minutes of gaming instructions.

As for recommendations, I am very surprised nobody has mentioned Claustrophobia! A gorgeous game that some say is 'dripping with theme', it is also relatively simple yet leaving lots of tactical decisions, and might scratch your miniatures itch. At least have a look at some pictures/videos/reviews.

Good luck
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Gary Jones
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Well thanks everyone for your time and suggestions - Agricola is definitely off the list. When I was looking at it it seemed like a lightweight game with potential for solo play. I was obviously mistaken.

Saved me some money (which I can use to get something else)

 
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TS S. Fulk
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grjns123 wrote:

So, the criteria for my first few games is that they either need to be playable solitaire or be a 2 player that may convert my Mrs into playing more regularly so nothing too heavy.


….


As a Space Hulk substitute get Claustrophobia. The rules are light but the game is deceptively deep and very exciting. Let your wife play the trogs (analogous to the gene stealers but with more options) and she's probably trounce your humans into a bloody pulp, while laughing wickedly. If that doesn't hook her, I don't know what else would.

IMO it's better than Incursion (which I like) with lots of replay value.

Mage Knight is a bit rules heavy and requires thinking things throughly (aka very long turns of number crunching) which makes it a great solo but not so great multiplayer game.

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Gary Jones
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1:30am, the wife has gone to bed, Claustrophobia purchased.
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TS S. Fulk
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grjns123 wrote:
1:30am, the wife has gone to bed, Claustrophobia purchased.


Let us know who it goes.
 
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Clinton Coddington
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kittenhoarder wrote:

EDIT: Somebody's avatar reminded me. I don't have it yet, but I am looking forward to playing Mice and Mystics both as a solitaire game and as a game that my wife will hopefully enjoy.


Who's avatar?!
 
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Alan F.
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KillerTaco wrote:
grjns123 wrote:

I'm also possibly looking for a Zombie game but literally can't decide, there's so many.


This is hugely subjective and I'm sure everyone will have a different game and their reasons for it. So I'll let you know what I like, I'm sure you will have other recommendations to look through to make your decision.

City of Horror
I feel this zombie game best captures the feel of what would really happen. In this game not only are you dealing with zeds wandering around but you are dealing with each other. You have to make decisions amongst players on who's character is going to get kicked out of any given location an eaten. At it's heart it is a negotiation game. I love it, it is my favorite and the only zombie game I own.


I would have to say Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game instead of City of Horror, especially because OP wants to play 2p. City of Horror is only good for a big group like 5-6. And I wanted to put out a disclaimer...do not play City of Horror if the people you play with think too much or are easily hurt. You will lose friends playing this game if not taken lightly. I think its a great game though, if played with the right group and mindset.
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Riccardo Menozzi
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+1 for Mage Knight, was the first board game I bought and man it just feels epic, even in solo
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Clinton Coddington
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bboyafu wrote:
KillerTaco wrote:
grjns123 wrote:

I'm also possibly looking for a Zombie game but literally can't decide, there's so many.


This is hugely subjective and I'm sure everyone will have a different game and their reasons for it. So I'll let you know what I like, I'm sure you will have other recommendations to look through to make your decision.

City of Horror
I feel this zombie game best captures the feel of what would really happen. In this game not only are you dealing with zeds wandering around but you are dealing with each other. You have to make decisions amongst players on who's character is going to get kicked out of any given location an eaten. At it's heart it is a negotiation game. I love it, it is my favorite and the only zombie game I own.


I would have to say Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game instead of City of Horror, especially because OP wants to play 2p. City of Horror is only good for a big group like 5-6. And I wanted to put out a disclaimer...do not play City of Horror if the people you play with think too much or are easily hurt. You will lose friends playing this game if not taken lightly. I think its a great game though, if played with the right group and mindset.


Can't argue with that, City of Horror is much better with a bigger group.
And yes, City of Horror can be a mean game, but it is just a game and people should be able to laugh when something happens like their priest getting kicked out into the middle of the street to be eaten. Unless there is money on a game, I see no reason to be so serious that fights break out and feelings are hurt.
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Dean Glencross
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Just a couple comments on Mage Knight.

If you can play it before you buy it, I would highly recommend it.

However, it isn't as complicated as it might seem, mainly due to a lot of the little things being on Reference Cards and the back of the book. There are a lot of fiddly rules, but they mostly fall into place pretty quickly.

Also, playtime solo should be about 2hrs for a full 6 round (3 days and 3 nights) game, and you can play shorter scenarios, down to about 3 rounds. A rough estimate for playtime is about 20mins per round per player.

I've only played once solo, but found it fun and keen to try again when I'm not busy playing other things. Also, apparently the expansion really enhances solo play, but I don't have it yet so can't comment on it.
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Gary Jones
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Thanks again for the recommendations - Got Onirim which I really like, Friday is ordered and I got caught up in the hype and am in on the Myth kickstarter. Not sure if it's really what I want but if it's no good I'll sell and use the funds to get hold of Space Hulk.
 
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Thanee
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Another great solo (up to four players) game, which might also be wife-friendly, is Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.

Bye
Thanee
 
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Ancestral Hamster
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If you haven't purchased a Lovecraft-themed game yet, I'd suggest Elder Sign. Arkham Horror is a good game and I enjoy it, but it is a five-course meal compared to Elder Sign (a bag of crisps). More filling and satisfying certainly, but sometimes that's too much. There's a lot of set-up and tear-down with Arkham Horror plus actual game time. With Elder Sign, you could play a game in 40mins. Light on theme, but it's a quick taste without a lot of hassle.

As for Zombies, I'd suggest Zombicide with the stipulation is that it doesn't scale. Playing a scenario with just one Survivor, you will lose because the Zeds will spawn at the same rate as they would in a full six player game. So if you play solo, you'll need to play multiple characters. You will get lots of miniatures though, and they will be selling more boxes of Zombies with Spawn cards for more variety. Later in the year there will be the Toxic City Mall expansion and the standalone Prison Outbreak as well.

King of Tokyo is a light game which is usually quick, and could be a good choice.

Another light game that can be played solo is Castle Panic. It is a co-op tower defense game.
 
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