Last time on the blog, I talked about how gaming/our local gaming group, including both the organized group and our friends, was a big part of my life. Not simply for the gaming, but also for the social aspect. I also briefly mentioned how we didn’t have a group in South Carolina and how it affected us. I want to talk a little bit today about the gaming aspect and how we handled that.
First off, I want to start by saying that I’m not a solo gamer. I like video games, but I rarely like to play solo board games. Following that, I’ve never been much of a 2-player gamer. Most 2-player games seem to be formatted in a 1 vs. 1 combat system. I’m not a big war gamer or combat gamer in that I don’t typically prefer heavy interaction. I like strategy games that allow for player interaction, but I’m not usually a fan of “take-that” mechanics or attacking the other player(s). When my wife and I travel, we have to make decisions about what games to take with us. We didn’t know exactly how to do that when we traveled to SC, and got a little bit of a crash course. We realized that some of our favorite games don’t really work all that well with only 2 players. Some games aren’t scaled down to only play two, even though their boxes say that they will.
A great example of this was when we played Cyclades with just the two of us. This is a game about trying to take control of an Archipelago and earning ancient Greek gods’ favor. If you earn the favor of Zeus, you get a discount when performing certain actions, and these will continue to stack the more times you do it. If one player (this was me in this story) is able to earn Zeus’ favor several times, they have the fast track to run away with the game. I’ve never seen my wife get so mad during a game. As soon as the game finished, she stood up, walked to the bedroom, shut the door and went to bed. I packed the game up by myself that night.
As rough of a gaming experience as that was, it taught us an important lesson. We need to make sure a game is going to be a good two player game before we 1.)Purchase the game, and 2.)Select it to travel with us. To be fair, we always take a handful of games that require more players, because the hope is that we will always be able to find a group. Games that have had more appeal to us lately have been games like Lost Cities and Kahuna, both games that are a part of Kosmos’ 2 player game line.
Like I mentioned above, we always hope to have access to game groups. That makes things much easier. However, in the event that we aren’t that lucky, we know better than to take primarily games that work best with high player counts. Unfortunately, we just had to learn that lesson the hard way.
What are your favorite two player games, or games with higher player counts that work well with 2 players?