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Mike April 25th, 2011 22:55

Good Two Person Boardgames?
 
I feel like this topic has been discussed previously here, but I wasn't able to find it. Anyway, I'm largely ignorant about boardgames, while my fiancee seems to generally enjoy them a lot more than video games (discounting the fact that she's played through Plants vs. Zombies on her iPhone four or five times with self-imposed restrictions on what she's allowed to use). I would love hear suggestions for good two person boardgames (even better if the game also works well for additional people).

This should hopefully give a sense of what I'm looking for.
- Replayable

- It's fine if the rules are somewhat complex, but I would like the game to be self-contained. That is, Magic, Warhammer, and D&D are all lots of fun, but are very involved and are each hobbies in their own right, so I'd like to avoid games like that.

- Games involving a good dose of thinking and strategy are preferred. For example, my fiancee enjoys Settlers of Catan quite a bit (I, unfortunately, got tired of it pretty quickly).

- I'm happy with cooperative or competitive games. I can enjoy beating her just as much as I enjoy helping her.

- It would be great if the game was in the $50 range or less, although I'm happy to hear about any other suggestions.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Gorath April 25th, 2011 23:20

My favourite board game ATM is Ticket to Ride with the NA map (should be standard in most countries). It won the board game Oscar (German GOTY Award) a couple of years ago.
The NA map is perfectly balanced. Various strategies are possible and every game is different.
It's decent for 2 players, but really made for 3 or 4 players.

Alrik Fassbauer April 25th, 2011 23:59

You could take a look here : http://www.spiel-des-jahres.com/cms/…3&changelang=4

Try the "Award Winners 2010" and the "Awards Archive" there …

The main problem would be if these games are available in your on country as well …

You could try "Kleine Helden" as well, it's a card game (with a dice) that plays a bit like a role-playing game : Two groups of "Cute Heroes" battle each other !
More info here : http://www.kleine-helden.de/news/news.php?lan=en

Jaz April 26th, 2011 01:01

Dungeonquest is my favorite boardgame: quickly set up, easy to get into (even my 7-years-old son understood the game mechanics), indirectly competitive (survival is the goal), funny and fast-paced. Suitd for 2 to 8 payers (the rules say 2-4, but 8 are actually a possibility).

I'm talking about the Dungeonquest game of 1987, though (got it with both expansions). No idea if the new version from 2010 is even remotely similar.

EDIT

Thinking or strategy is just mandatory when playing with certain characters (the game has several, especially with the character expansion set), though. The Warlock, for example, is weak and clumsy and really prone to fall into a hole and die. But with his spells, he's also the one character with the highest odds of surviving with tons of treasure, provided the player figures out how to handle him. For most other characters, surviving is just luck. But the game is still highly entertaining.

Mike April 27th, 2011 02:21

I'd just like to say thank you to those who responded.

Gorath - It turns out that my fiancee has a bunch of co-workers who love Ticket to Ride. When I went to a local shop, though, they didn't have it in stock (they specialize in card games and Warhammer more than board games though). Certainly a game I'll look out for in the future.

Jaz - Dungeonquest looks fun, and they original seems to be beloved by many. Reading some of the Amazon review of the 2010 version, it certainly seems that they kept some of the rules and much of the spirit of the original, but did change a fair amount as well. The opinions I saw seemed to be fairly mixed.

Alrik - Thank you for the very helpful link to the spiel des jahres. That certainly presented many good options. I didn't realize, but it seems that based on these German board games awards and 2/3 of the responses to my question here that board games are quite popular in Germany. I wonder why this is so.

Anyway, I ended up getting a game called Dominion, which was a spiel des jahres winner in 2009. Although it's technically a card game, it apparently plays kind of like a board game, and not anything like Magic, for example. Its online reviews seem overwhelmingly positive and the two employees at the local shop I went to both recommended it as well. I'll probably play it tonight or tomorrow, so hopefully it's fun.

Thanks again, everyone.

Omega April 27th, 2011 14:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike (Post 1061065268)
I'm largely ignorant about boardgames, while my fiancee seems to generally enjoy them a lot more than video games

Normally I'm more into video games. Board games may be fun - one evening every 3 or 6 months or so - but they are not as magnetic. Two exceptions:
Twilight Struggle and Agricola. O boy! Capable of competing with *any* RPG, even my all time number 1: Gothic 2.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike (Post 1061065268)
I would love hear suggestions for good two person boardgames (even better if the game also works well for additional people).

Twilight Struggle is for two persons only. Agricola: 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 players

Both games are replayable, Agricola takes 60-90 minutes, Twilight Struggle an entire evening.
The rules of Twilight Struggle are very complex, you should take one evening to read them aloud so both can learn them and after that just start playing, you'll figure it out after a while.
Both games, competitive games, require strategic thinking.

I like Settlers of Catan, and Risk, but, really, they're nothing, boring, compared to Agricola and Twilight Struggle. :)

I've mentioned Twilight Struggle on this forum before, this is what I wrote:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega (Post 1061004661)
I recently discovered a board game called Twilight Struggle. Since then I have played it several times; it's addictive, but it takes a whole evening to finish the game. It's mentally stimulating, challenging, thrilling. The theme, 'cold war', didn't appeal to me, but the strategic thinking involved makes me sweat. :) (…) Chess, BTW, for some reason or other, has never been my 'thing'.

Twilight Struggle is really amazing. When talking about board games, people usually expect fun light-hearted party games with a large dose of luck, good for a good laugh or two. But board games have evolved, I for sure did not expect the mature intelligent level of games like Twilight Struggle and Agricola when, in 2010, I started looking for something as strategically challenging as Catan or Risk - I found better, much, much, much better.

Don't let your fiancee decline Twilight Struggle because of the cold war theme, I'm a woman too and have no attraction whatsoever to playing boyish bang-bang-you're-dead war games. TS is all about strategy.

Puerto Rico, another replayable, strategy game, is nice too BTW, but should be played with at least 3 players IYAM.

Since my discovery in 2010 me and my guy (a video game addict) have spent several evenings with PCs turned off.
I wish you the same. :)

Gorath April 28th, 2011 22:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike (Post 1061065481)
I'd just like to say thank you to those who responded.

Gorath - It turns out that my fiancee has a bunch of co-workers who love Ticket to Ride. When I went to a local shop, though, they didn't have it in stock (they specialize in card games and Warhammer more than board games though). Certainly a game I'll look out for in the future.

Amazon should always have it in stock.


Quote:

Alrik - Thank you for the very helpful link to the spiel des jahres. That certainly presented many good options. I didn't realize, but it seems that based on these German board games awards and 2/3 of the responses to my question here that board games are quite popular in Germany. I wonder why this is so.
a) Tradition. Long, cold winter nights and no other entertainment for the kids before ca. 1960.
b) Business. German inventors are good at inventing such stuff. Selling the stuff then came naturally. The most well known games are available in every bigger supermarket.
c) Toy fares. The world's biggest toy fare takes place in Nuremberg/Germany each year. Other big fares for the general public are also happening, especially the Essen Spiel fare.
d) Toys are newsworthy. The Spiel des Jahres Award and the opening/closing of the mentioned fares ar prime time news. On a slow day maybe even the top news.
(The situation is nearly inverse for computer and video games. They are still not accepted by the public.)

A quite entertaining podcast with a Days of Wonder VP can be found at Gaming Steve. He explains what was going at the Spiel des Jahres Awards and how important this award was for them. Shot summary: sales for Ticket to Ride exploded within minutes. Suddenly all the doors they desparately tried to get through were wide open.



Actually all people who answered in this thread are from Germany, with one exception living in the NL.

Quote:

Anyway, I ended up getting a game called Dominion, which was a spiel des jahres winner in 2009. Although it's technically a card game, it apparently plays kind of like a board game, and not anything like Magic, for example. Its online reviews seem overwhelmingly positive and the two employees at the local shop I went to both recommended it as well. I'll probably play it tonight or tomorrow, so hopefully it's fun.
Keep us updated.

Alrik Fassbauer April 29th, 2011 13:52

Gorath explains it very good. Board games just have a long-standing tradition here.
I'd just add that - this is purely my personal opinion - this has some connections to pen & paper role-playing. Sometimes, there are even products for both sies, especially there are 2 TDE-themed board games out there, and not to forget the classic "RPG lite" board game of Talisman.

Maybe, I just think, if you take the popularity of board games into mind … Could it be that it is easier to understand Germans, then ? And their love for game which involve lots of thinking ?

And apart of it all - it's just fun ! :)

While at school, I organised "board games evenings" for friends once in a month for about a year … It's just fun sitting here and playing them ! :)

And about "Dominion" : It's hugely popular here ! I don't own it, though.

And as a side-note : THe I think biggest bord games fair is still this, where I go to every year for more than 10 years now : http://www.internationalespieltage.de/e000.php4

There, you can find lots of promo material, can "test" current board games and get them explained ! There you can also get promo material for board games available nohere else !

For Catan, for example I bought a map for the game which has the shape of the U.S.A. … I haven't played it so far, because unfortunately I couldn't build up a group of people willing to play board games with me yet …





Bold printing by me :

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gorath (Post 1061065951)
d) Toys are newsworthy. The Spiel des Jahres Award and the opening/closing of the mentioned fares ar prime time news. On a slow day maybe even the top news.
(The situation is nearly inverse for computer and video games. They are still not accepted by the public.)

Very important !

And with that you can understand the German point of view on video games much better !

Arhu August 21st, 2011 22:29

Hey there. Incidentally I've been looking for two (or more) player board games as well. I'm trying to get my wife into more serious gaming. She did play PvZ and Puzzle Quest a lot but I can't really get her interested in other games. So I'm going the board game route.


San Juan, 2-4 players, best with 3

Our first game we've had for a week and played 10 times is actually a card game, which is lots of fun with two players and was a total success. She loves it! And so do I, of couse. It's an easy to learn deck building / trading card game with surprising depth and is the card game version of Puerto Rico. An excellent gateway game (read: game to get non-gamers used to and hooked on gaming).

There's an expansion for it that is recommended and makes the game even better, but as it's part of a box with expansions for multiple games (some other games by alea including Puerto Rico), I'm holding out on the investment for now.

Race for the Galaxy, 2-4 players, best with 2 or 4

Another card game I'm very much interested in. It has the same game mechanics as San Juan — phase based role selection — but is supposedly a lot more difficult to learn, more complex and with more depth. What intrigues me most is the space setting.

Eclipse — New Dawn for the Galaxy sounds awesome too but isn't available yet.



Arkham Horror, 1-8 players, best with 4 players

This is going to be our first real board game. It's complex, which is why I opted to get San Juan first. Based on H.P. Lovecraft's Mythos, this CoOp (!) game sounds a lot like a RPG with an ominous atmosphere and a story that unfolds as you play. Best of all, you can play it alone so if my wife or friends don't like it … no matter, I'm sure I will.


Earth Reborn, 2-4 players, best with 2 (or 4)

A game I definitely want to get some day in the future. This game looks fantastic. Some kind of post-apocalyptic, squad-based skirmish board game that's being compared to Jagged Alliance 2 or X-Com: Ufo Defense (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown in Europe) in terms of gameplay, as well as Mutant Chronicles, although I don't know that one. There's an epic user review at boardgamegeek that made my mouth water just by reading it.

Looks like something Jaz would like. ;)


Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega (Post 1061065597)
Don't let your fiancee decline Twilight Struggle because of the cold war theme, I'm a woman too and have no attraction whatsoever to playing boyish bang-bang-you're-dead war games. TS is all about strategy.

Thanks for the recommendation, I read about the game but was indeed worried about the setting, but I guess my doubts were unfounded.

Fnord August 21st, 2011 23:08

If you are still interested in a 2player game (or anyone else for that matter), I'm currently working on a 2 player rules-light tactical wargame, that is in need of playtesters who don't have the "luxury" of having me explain the rules in detail on the spot to them.

The basic rules are all there, and near a complete state, so the game is in quite a good shape. I currently just need to make more scenarios and balance them properly.

Ubereil August 21st, 2011 23:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arhu (Post 1061088026)
Arkham Horror, 1-8 players, best with 4 players

Great game, but doesn't really work on two players, I'm afraid. You need to be at least three to have a chance at winning any other way than beating the awakened in straight ahead combat, which makes most of the game rather pointless.

As for my own reccomendations, first there's Tannhäuser. It might seem expensive, but the production value makes it worth it. Basically, there's two teams, you pick your team of five characters, equip them (two or three options per team member) and then go on to try and take out the other team. Playable on more than two, but there are still two teams so two players works best. There's an expansion that I've heard is great as well (which I just bought but haven't played yet), and you can buy new characters to make picking your team more interesting. If you like combat this is a really good game.

Rickochet Robots is a favorite game of mine, but I'm not sure it's quite what you're looking for. It's more of a math game where you're supposed to try and find the quickest way (IE in the least moves) to get a robot to a certain point. Or, rather, to find a quicker path than your opponent before you run out of time. Requires quick thinking, keeping several paths in your head at once and an ability to combind robots to get them where you want. Incredibly fun if you like math and logic. Definently not a strategy game though.

Übereil

Arhu August 22nd, 2011 09:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ubereil (Post 1061088044)
Great game, but doesn't really work on two players, I'm afraid. You need to be at least three to have a chance at winning any other way than beating the awakened in straight ahead combat, which makes most of the game rather pointless.

Yeah, from what I read with two players each of them should play two characters.

Fnord: Can't help you out as a playtester I'm afraid, but do keep us updated!

skavenhorde August 22nd, 2011 11:46

Boardgamegeek's website has a ton of boardgames full of reviews.

My personal favorites are Mordheim and Warhammer Quest, but those are quite old and both based in the Warhammer world.

Ubereil August 22nd, 2011 11:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arhu (Post 1061088129)
Yeah, from what I read with two players each of them should play two characters.

Ah! That makes more sense.

Übereil

GhanBuriGhan August 22nd, 2011 12:04

My favorite 2-Player game to play with my wife (although it can be played with more peoplem but then becomes more strongly luck-based, in my opinion) is Carcassonne (with the expansion).

Pessimeister August 22nd, 2011 13:21

Great thread with some good suggestions and games I'd not read about before. Always nice to broaden the horizons on what's out there. :)

Whilst I don't play that many modern boardgames these days, I bought Chess 4 a few years ago for use in some classes. http://www.abstractstrategy.com/chess-4.html
It's basically a four player chess variant, but it also works incredibly well as a two player game where you have two armies each. My brother and I have had some fantastic games with it.

Other old favorites include the already mentioned Talisman, Heroquest and Bloodbowl.

Thrasher August 24th, 2011 01:26

Scrabble. :)

Alrik Fassbauer January 6th, 2012 15:26

Ulisses (the current TDE license holder) is seemingly publishing a new fantasy board game : http://www.ulisses-forum.de/showthread.php?t=12632

Pladio January 7th, 2012 19:25

Simple, but lots of strategy involved. Stratego. They have a 2-player version and a 4-player version as far as I know, but the 2 player one is the one I've played the most.

Few people can beat me :) (Or could, since I haven't played in AGES!!!)

JemyM January 7th, 2012 21:02

I second GhanBuriGhan's comment about Carcassonne. It's the best 2-player game I have played. If you do grab it, grab the Wheel of Fortune edition. If you do not like the WoF board you can just put it away.

I would start with the expansions; Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders. I also like the miniexpansion Cult, Siege and Creativity if you can get your hands on it.

The mini expansion The River II makes starting the game a bit smoother. There are two versions (The River and The River II) and the second is an improved version, although both can be used in one game I would at least grab II.

Abbey & Mayor and Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars contains more advanced options but retain the basic gameplay. Grab them if you have learned the game and liked it. They are recommended.

The Tower brings in competitive play to the game, so does the mini expansion The Count. I would wait for these until you have a grasp of the basic game as they can have a strong impact on gameplay which you may or may not like.

Personally I found the Princess & the Dragon to be annoying. Catapult is awful


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