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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why I Love (2-player) Gaming

My daughter Megan turned 2 years old yesterday. Needless to say, this is a big event for the all the grandparents. My mom flew up for the weekend, and Jodie's parents came by for the afternoon – dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, cake and presents afterwards, and all day Sunday was shopping with my mom in two stints – before and after Megan's nap.

As you can probably expect, it was a stressful weekend. Yeah, fun was had, but there was a lot of coordinating, explaining, chasing, etc. going on.

Still, Jodie and I found time for some games. A well earned respit, and it leads me to think about why I enjoy gaming in the first place: good mental exercises, good social experiences, and good clean fun. It's also a welcome escape when life is stressing you out.

And, on that note, here's what we're enjoying as two player games these days:

Roma
This has recently been Jodie's favorite game. (I'm sure in part because she beat me something like five straight times.) The game never plays the same way twice, and every strategy has a counter. (We've recently discovered we're playing with a hybrid of the rules fixes suggested to fix the Mercator. Our only rule change is that you can't get more than 6 gold in a turn.) We're up to 11 playings of this already.

San Juan
This is probably our current #2 game. We've developed very distinct play styles over the months we've played this (Jodie nearly always has more production buildings in play than me, but I nearly always build the 12th building.) We're evenly matched on this one. I haven't counted wins/losses, but I've played this game 54 times (according to my stats on the geek) and I'd expect no more than five of those are with more than two players. I'd guess whomever's in the lead hasn't won more than 5 or 6 more games than the other.

St. Petersburg
I actually think this game is best with two. We're well over thirty plays on it, and we're getting almost chess-like in our decision making. Jodie somehow manages to beat me in worker count more often than not, however.

Elasund
A new favorite. We've only got a couple plays in, but it works well. A nice game when we have a little more time. Which, unfortunately, hasn't been all that often lately.

6 Nimmt!
An old favorite. Great as a starter, or when we've only got 20 minutes or so and we're too tired to really think. We've played with the variant rule a couple times (only use cards numbered 1-10 x players+4) but taking the cards out of the deck is more trouble than it's worth. Plus, we'd never see that nasty 55.

Others we'll occasionally pull out:

Bohnanza, Alhambra, Crayon Rail Games, Cribbage, Attika, Ticket to Ride: Europe, Carcassonne (Jodie still likes the original with the first two expansions best), Wyatt Earp.

After we work through some of the games I've received this year, it'll be interesting to see which ones we come back to this time next year.

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