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Chronicles of playing games with my wife.

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Couple of Couples - Top 10 - Number One

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/11/couple-of-couples-t...

We have reached the end of another Top 10. I hope you have enjoyed the journey. If you haven't checked out the other games on the list, you can see the list below. As with number two, the last game on our list is two games. I really believe that both of these games are so close in their styles and game play that they didn't warrant two spots on the list. There is also a matter of personal preference. I enjoy one of these two games far more than the other, but they are both great games, and I just couldn't include one without the other. And with that, let's look at the last nine games, and then onto number one.


Honorable Mentions
Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassonne
10. Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan
9. Small World
8. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
7. Can't Stop
6. King of Tokyo
5. Qwirkle
4. Letters from Whitechapel
3. Crokinole/Sorry! Sliders
2. Pandemic/Forbidden Island

Number One - Spades/Hearts
If there is a game that is more geared toward playing with couples, I would love for you to tell me. Spades is the quintessential, four-player game. It's designed for couples, in that you have two teams of two playing against each other. For those unfamiliar with spades, it is a trick-taking game. Each play is given 13 cards. You then bid on how many tricks you think you can take, based on the cards in your hand. On your turn the lead player will play a card. You must follow suit if you can, if not you can a card from any other suit. The player who played the highest card from the lead suit wins the trick. However, if you play a spade, it trumps any other card that is played, except for a higher spade. You continue in this fashion until all the tricks have been taken. If you and your partner's tricks equal your bid, you score that many points times 10. For example, if you bid 5 and you won 5 you would score 50 points. Any additional tricks that you get are called bags and give you one point each. If you fail to make your goal you lose that many points times 10. After scoring you move onto the next round until someone scores 500. Now there are lots of different variants to this game, and I think we have tried them all, and I believe that the basic game is the best. Some of the wackier versions tend to be more luck driven. They can be fun, but they also can get tiring.

Hearts is not much different than spades. The main differences being that you don't want to take tricks, you don't bid, you don't have a teammate, and there are no trump cards. The goal is to have the lowest score when someone else scores 100 points. You get points by taking tricks with hearts or the queen of spades (who scores you 13 points). If, however, you are able to take all the hearts and the queen of spades, you "shoot the moon" and everyone else scores 26 points.

We have really been fond of both of these card games. They are a great starting point for game nights with other couples. They are both easy to teach and learn, and most people have encountered one or the other at some point. This is especially true since most computers came a version of hearts on them for a long time. I know that this is how I was first introduced to the game. The other great thing about Spades and Hearts is that they can be a launching point into designer games. There are quite a few trick-taking games that have a Spades and Hearts feel to them. And you start to introduce these other games to your friends, and then start breaking out some board games, and then they are hooked. Finally, these games are public domain. All you need is a deck of cards and you are set to go. That is why I believe that the deck of playing cards is the best game product any gamer can have. There are so many games that can be played with just a deck of standard poker cards, and I believe that Spades and Hearts are my favorites.

As we end this Top 10, what are some of your favorite games to play with another couple?

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Thu Nov 8, 2012 11:39 am
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    Couple of Couples - Top 10 - #2

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/couple-of-couples-t...

    As we head down the home stretch with this Top 10, we will take a look at number two this time. These games, yes I said games, are near dear to our hearts. They are both included as Number 2, because we feel that they are very closely related. They have the same basic mechanics and the same designer, so why not put them together. For those of you just joining the list, you can click here to take a look at our last post (http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/couple-of-couples-t...). It gives a rundown of the other games on the list, as well as links to the other posts in the series. You can also click the "Couple of Couples" label at the bottom of the article.

    Number 2 Pandemic and Forbidden Island
    When I first heard the concept of Pandemic, I was blown away. Everyone play together against the game? What an awesome idea! Either everyone wins or everyone loses. The only problem was, that when we found out about the game it was just about sold out everywhere. Luckily, my friend found a copy at a local game store and snagged it. Right away, I was blown away by the game itself. It was easy to learn and play. The rule book was laid out nicely. There were different difficulty levels. The theme of trying to save the world from epidemics, as each player takes on the role of a different specialist...I am still amazed at how good this game is. And not only that, it's great for gamers and non-gamers. Since this is a cooperative game, it is very easy teach to new players. You do have to watch out for one player running the whole game, but other than that you really can't complain about this one.

    Shortly after Pandemic came out, Matt Leacock created another game called Forbidden Island. The game has very similar mechanics to Pandemic, but you are all on an island that is beginning to sink. You need to collect four treasures and get back to the Helio-pad before you drown. Many say that this is a simpler, more family-oriented version of Pandemic, and I would tend to agree. This one is great for playing with kids, as you can help them make decisions, as this one is cooperative as well. A lot of the mechanics of the game are the same as Pandemic, but they have been streamlined to make it an easier to learn experience. The game maybe too easy for the experienced gamer, but we like to keep our copy around, especially for introducing new people to the hobby. The price on this one is a steal as well, running about $15-20 retail, but I have seen it for even cheaper than that. It's a great buy in my opinion just based on the price, and the game experience is well worth it.

    We have one game left...I know the anticipation is killing you, but just hold out a little longer to see what game we believe is the best for two couples.

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    Wed Nov 7, 2012 10:25 pm
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    This Means War - A House Divided Review

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    See more at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/this-means-war-hous...

    Let me start by saying, "I am not a wargamer." Yes, I have played Risk, Memoir '44, and Game of Thrones the Board Game, but those games are hardly even considered wargames. It's not that I don't enjoy the concept and strategy of war games, it's mostly learning the game, playing the game, and finding someone to play the game with. All of these aspects are very time consuming for most war games. Even a simpler game, such as Memoir 44 was difficult to find playing partners. So, that has left me with little-to-no war gaming for me. So, when Mayfair sent me A House Divided, I was happy and sad all at the same time. I was going to get to learn a new war game, but I also was going to have to learn a new war game. Long complex rule book, long playtime, and the search for a playing partner began. Oh, the game within the game.

    Overview
    A House Divided is a two-player, Civil War, area-control game. The game was designed by Frank Chadwick and Alan Emrich. The Mayfair box says the game takes 60 minutes to play, but the BGG says it takes 240 minutes (4 hours). One player takes the side of the Union army and the other player plays the Confederacy during the United States' Civil War. The game plays over the course of the war with each round taking one month, except for the months which are combined. This results in a maximum number of 40 turns. You play shorter scenarios and the game can end quicker, if other victory conditions are met. The one I lost by was the South taking control of Washington D.C.

    Each round of the game is separated into a North turn, followed by a South turn. Each player will then have four phases on their turn; these consist of movement, battle, promotion, and recruitment. Each of the phases does exactly what the name would suggest. You start by rolling a die. You can then create order for that many cities to be marched on. If any of the marches ends with troops from both armies in the same city, a battle ensues. Dice rolling is used to resolve the battle with the winner receiving the city and a promotion for one of the troops that was in the battle. After the battle phase you can promote one of your troops and then you may recruit a new troops to the battlefield. Play continues in this matter until the end of 40 turns, or one of the other victory conditions is met.

    Review
    Components and Value
    First, I have to speak on the components of this game because they are sub-par. The box is the somewhat standard box that Mayfair has been using recently. These boxes are a nice size, the only problem is that this game doesn't fit in the box. When I received my copy, the lid wasn't on all the way because the board was taller than the lid, so it had a nice convex look. The second problem I had was the artwork. It just looks old and unexciting. Artwork should draw your attention to a game, not make you want to never play it. I know that war game artwork is a little different than your standard board games, but I think it's time for a change. Some updated graphics in the war game genre could go along way. The graphic design for A House Divided also had a major error. The rules and game tracker state that the Union army should start with 34 reinforcement spots; the only problem is there are only 33 on the board. This is a big problem, since reinforcement locations are one of the victory conditions. I wouldn't have been surprised to see this on a first printing by a small company, but this is a fourth edition by a major company. It made me wonder how much Mayfair is behind this game. The game pieces themselves were also lacking-- they were simple cardboard tokens. Finally, the rule book was somewhat difficult to understand. My only advice is that even if you are just playing the Basic Rules, read the full rule book--don't even bother with the Basic Rulebook, unless you are using it to reference something. Other than that, I found it to be pretty worthless.

    Game Play
    The game play for A House Divided is good. There is a lot of strategy, and if you try for a quick victory, or advancing your troops too fast, you will leave massive gaps in your line. We found this out with our first play. Both players built strongholds and then tried to attack out of those. However, if one of these was ever overtaken, the line was broken. We even had huge gaps in our lines which made it easy for enemy flanks. Therefore, this game is not a quick game, and it's not an easy game. It takes a good amount of skill, and several plays before you can become and expert at it. I wouldn't suggest breaking this out with new gamers, but someone who enjoys Risk or Axis and Allies, may find this one enjoyable. This is also one that would be fun to play with the same person over and over again, or at least a war gaming group, since it can be a difficult task to learn a game of this nature, for the non-wargamer. And because of that, I personally did not enjoy it. If I am playing a war game, I want something a little lighter, and one that focuses on a single battle. I believe that is why I love Memoir 44 so much, and if you are Civil War buff, there is a game that plays like Memoir called Battle Cry.

    Final Thoughts
    This is was not an easy game to learn or play. It is made for a specific niche in the board gaming community, and I am not really in that niche. Mrs. Games with Two is even further away from that niche, and refused to even try this one with me. And I can't imagine that many wives and girlfriends would be interested in playing this one. So, before you go out and buy this one to play with your significant other, you may want to have her take a look at it and see if is something she would be interested in (and that really goes for purchasing any war game to play with that special someone). In the end, I am glad I tried this one, and I am glad that I was able to explore a new genre, but it just wasn't for me.

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    Sun Nov 4, 2012 12:41 pm
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    Comic books + Card Game = Fun - Sentinels of the Multiverse Review

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/comic-books-card-ga...

    If you haven't noticed super heroes, especially those found in comic books, are pretty popular right now. Some of the top grossing movies this year were super hero movies. If you go down the toy aisle at the local big box store, it's filled with row-upon-row of super hero merchandise. They have pretty much taken over the world of entertainment over the last 10 years. The only area that they haven't really gotten deep into is table-top gaming. Sure, there are super hero versions of the popular games, but none of them really scratch that itch of being a super hero. None of them make you feel like you are part of the X-Men, Avengers, or Justice League of America. That is until GenCon 2011, and a small company called Greater Than Games brought a little gem called Sentinels of the Multiverse.

    Overview and Game Play

    Sentinels of the Multiverse is a 2-5 player card game that takes 60-120 minutes to play, and was designed by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, and Adam Rebottaro. Sentinels is a cooperative game where each player selects a different super hero character. You then select a villain and location and you work together to try to defeat the villain. Each hero, villain, and environment has their own deck of cards and have their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The goal of the game is to defeat the villain before all the heroes are defeated. The game play is straightforward: Villain Turn, Heroes Turns, Environment Turn. Each turn is fairly similar you do any actions on the card that say "At the start of the turn," then you play a card, and do anything that says, "Do at the end of the turn." The Hero phase has a couple more steps where you get to use a Power! and Draw! another card into your hand. After everyone has their turns, you repeat the process all over again. Play continues until the villains hit points are down to zero, or all the heroes hit points are down to zero.

    Review
    Let's first talk about the components. You get over 570 cards in the game, dividers to divide out the different decks, and over 120 card board counters. The box is also large enough to fit several expansions, and they give you these nice foam blocks to keep the cards straight in the box. Please note that this is the new "Enhanced Version" of the game. In the first edition, you could hardly fit everything in the box, so the new version is a vast improvement. So much so that they were selling just the box and dividers to people who had purchased the original game. The value of the game is great; I believe it retails for around $40, and you get more than enough in this box and the game play to cover the cost.

    The artwork for this game is amazing. It fits the theme perfectly. The rule book looks like a comic book. All the character cards look like comic book covers or part of a comic strip. It really enhances the theme and brings the theme of the game out. Mrs. Games with Two was going on and on about how much she loved the artwork for this game, and I couldn't agree with her more. Great artwork just make a game so much better.

    The game play for this game is good. The actual game mechanics are easy to understand and give the feel of a team with different skills and abilities fighting a villain. There is also the ability to do some awesome combos as you play more cards. Each characters' unique abilities really come through, and each player has to play differently based on their character and the villain you are fighting. I love that you feel like you are fighting a villain and having to work as a team to do it.

    I can't say too much bad about this game. The only problem that we found was that the game can tend to drag the first couple times you play it. That is mostly because each of the cards has a lot of text, and each of the characters plays differently. Meaning there is a bit of learning curve the first couple of games. This can especially be the case if you have a several new players. However, if you can get over that, you are in for a good time. I would say that the game is great for gamers who like comics, but not necessarily for people who love comics, but are only casually into games.

    How is it with Two?
    Personally, I didn't care for this one with two. You really have to have both players play two characters to make it work, and then it can get difficult to keep track of all the cards you have in play. So really, you are playing a four player game with just two people. If you want a challenge, you can try to play with two, but it just didn't work for us. So, this is going to have to be one that we pull out when we are having game nights, rather than more frequent nights of just the two of breaking out games.

    Final Thoughts
    If you are looking for a great comic book style game, Sentinels of the Multiverse is probably the best one on the market right now. It embraces it's theme and plays well. It isn't my favorite cooperative game, but I would put it up there, especially since it plays so different than most cooperative games. So, if you want to fill that Avengers niche in a table top game, SentinelsOTM is your best bet.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:55 pm
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    Couple of Couples - Top 10 - #4 & #3

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/couple-of-couples-t...

    We are getting down to the good stuff. These are our "go to" games for when another couple comes over to play games. This weeks choices are very different from one another. The first one is really a game that we only break out with our more "hardcore" gamer friends, and the second game is something you can break out with just about anyone--I think that is one of the reasons I really enjoyed putting this list together. You have games that work for both the casual and hardcore gamers that you know; a little something for everyone. So, a quick review. This list is our Top 10 games that we enjoy playing with other couples (4 people). The first six games are listed below and you can click on them to read more about what we thought of them, but without anymore delay the list continues...

    Honorable Mentions
    Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassonne
    10. Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan
    9. Small World
    8. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
    7. Can't Stop
    6. King of Tokyo
    5. Qwirkle

    4. Letters From Whitechapel
    Unfortunately, this game is currently out of print, so it's tough one to get a hold of right now. However, there is supposed to be a reprint on the way, so be on the lookout. Letters From Whitechapel (LFW) is a hidden movement game (if you are familar with Scotland Yard, it is very similar). One player is Jack the Ripper, while each of the other players are police officers. The game takes place over 4 nights, and Jack is trying to kill 5 "wretched" (one each night, except the 3rd night where there is a double murder), and then make back to his hideout before the night is out or the police catch him. If he makes it back safely, the game continues to the next night, but if he runs out of time or is caught, the game ends.

    We have really enjoyed this game with another gaming couple (They are the ones who own Ninja: LotSC, and purchased it because of LFW). It seems like every time they come over they request to play this game. The game is a lot of fun, and can get very intense for both the police and Jack. Sometimes he narrowly escapes and you can see the Jack player begin to sweat. I really think the intensity drives this game, and makes it so much fun for couples.

    Now, this game is not for everyone. It has a mature theme, and it can drag a little if players take too long trying to figure out where Jack is. We have also found it can be very difficult for Jack to win. We have yet to have a game where he survives through the 3rd night (although Mrs. GwT did make it the farthest in a game with just us). I have heard of other groups having the opposite problem, where Jack wins too easily each time. Either way, the game is difficult and can take 2-4 hours to complete. So, if you want an early night, this may not be the game to pick. If you are wanting a similar experience, I have heard good things about Nuns on the Run and Scotland Yard, but I have yet to play either one. Personally, I have had fun with Clue: The Great Museum Caper, but that one is difficult to find as well. Overall, we love this one and it's great with 4. It also plays great with 2 and 6 (the max player number). The fact that it scales well makes it a "go-to" game for us when we have our gaming friends over.

    3. Crokinole/Sorry! Sliders
    We have had a blast with our Crokinole board. We have enjoyed it with 2 and with 4, and I cannot say enough good things about it. The only bad thing about Crokinole is that you either have to be a master craftsman to build one, or pay at least $150 for an entry level board. However, the folks over at Hasbro released a game called Sorry! Sliders a few years back. The game plays very similar to Crokinole, except you can find it at Target for $20. We recently picked up a copy for a Christmas gift on the clearance rack at Target, and then we found another copy for $2 at our local thrift store. So, this one is readily available and you don't have to take out a loan to play it.

    Both of these games are great fun. They are quick to learn and quick to play. Most of the games that we have played are over in less than a half hour. There is a bit of a learning curve, and the game can get frustrating, because there is quite a bit of skill involved--just ask Mrs. Games with Two. I think I have almost ended up on the couch a few times because of Crokinole games (and Fast Track for that matter). She still enjoys it though, and it's one of her favorites. Finally, this one is great because it is a social game. There aren't many rules and not much thinking, so you can sit and have a conversation while you play, which cannot be said for most games. Normally, the conversation has to revolve around the game in some fashion, and that just isn't the case with Crokinole. If you can afford it and have a place to store it, you may want to consider getting one of these bad boys. They are a blast.

    We will round out the Top 10 soon with numbers 2 and 1. Since these are at the top of the list, they warrant separate posts. Don't Panic though, because I just know you will love our top picks.

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    Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:10 pm
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    Going After the Man - Revolver 1.2 Hunt the Man Down Review

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/going-after-man-rev...

    Expansion number two for Revolver has hit the streets. This second expansion came out the same time as the first one, but gives you some new mechanics and adds onto one of the mechanics that is introduced in the first expansion. So, what does this new expansion add? How does it change the game? Is it worth adding to your Revolver set? Let's go after the man in "Revolver 1.2 Hunt the Man Down".

    Game Play
    First of all, if you haven't read our review of Revolver or Revolver 1.1 Ambush on Gunshot Trail, I would encourage to take a look at those. They should fill in some of the gaps about the game play that we discuss in this review. The second expansion for Revolver adds another 30 cards to the game as well as some new tokens. 26 of the 30 cards are used to further customize your deck via the new deck construction mechanic that was found in the 1.1 expansion. There is also another ambush card, and the remaining 3 cards are used for a new battlefield, San Manzanillo Prison. This location is an optional location for the Colty Gang player. If he decides to go to this battlefield, it triggers a special San Manzanillo Prison battle. Each player gets to draw cards and then they each take turns playing firepower cards. If the McReady player (good guys) wins, he gets to kill two gang members. If the Colty player (bad guys) win the battle, he gets another member for his gang. After the battle, all the cards are discarded and play continues as normal.

    This new battlefield gives a break to the regular flow of the game. I think it's good break though. Almost like when you are watching a movie that has a couple of story lines going on at once, and then they converge on each other. Revolver 1.2 gives this feel. You are watching this battle between Colty and McReady, and then Colty take a detour to free a member of his gang. I can picture one of those old west prisons that are in the movies, and the theme really comes through.

    Review
    The new prison element to Revolver is an interesting one. I believe that it makes for some interesting decisions that could be game changing. However, it really depends on your strategy and where you are hurting. If you are Colty and you are hurting for cards, this could be a great way to get some more. You get to draw six cards at the beginning of this battle, while McReady only gets to draw 3. This is an advantage for Colty. If you don't mind losing the the 2 gang members or taking the gunshots (get five and your dead), this could be a good option. If you actually want to free your gang member from prison, this can be helpful, since you add another gang member. If you are low on men already, this may help you survive just long enough to escape. Finally, you can try to get your opponent to burn some of their good cards. Especially since they are immune to other cards, such as ones that allow you to move cards from previous battlefields. However, sometimes the play is to skip the prison altogether. In our game, Mrs. Games with Two wanted to skip the prison, as she was trying to win via the Mexican border (I talked her into playing this time anyway though and it really didn't do her any favors).

    That brings us to the main part of this expansion, more cards to customize your decks. We both felt that these new cards were better than the ones from expansion 1.1. They give you some more options and allow for a customized strategy. Mrs. Games with Two went for the Mexican Border strategy. Since neither of us had really tried to do that before, I got rid of almost all the cards that allowed me to add tokens to the border, and therefore she won easily. I love the ability to customize your decks to fit your strategy and it will be interesting to see what decks we see in the future and how they allow for even further customization.

    One new item that I thought was a little pointless was the shot tokens. The new mechanic allows for shot tokens to be put on Mr. Colty. If it ever hits 5 tokens, he automatically loses. However, there are only 7 cards/events that even put these tokens on Colty with half of them being Colty gang cards, And the Colty gang has another card that allows you to remove one of these shot tokens. It just seemed to me that the Colty player would only use a couple of these to insure he cannot lose in this fashion, thus rendering these cards less powerful (which is what Mrs. GwT opted to do in this game). I understand you don't want to make it too easy, but right now it seems that it can be too easily negated. I could see where in a future expansion more of these types of cards are added, to make a more viable portion of the game, but right now it doesn't seem to add very much to it.

    The other thing that I didn't like was that this is a "build on" expansion. The rules state that you need to have expansion 1.1 in order to play the prison module portion. I wish that the two expansions were mutually exclusive, but unfortunately they are not. I get that the expansions build upon each other, and that they tell a story, but I wish that you could play one without having to own both. Just my opinion, and something to be aware of when you are purchasing these. Buy 1.1 first, and then purchase 1.2, or just buy them both at the same time, either way works.

    Final Thoughts
    This is another good expansion for Revolver. I think the prison adds a level of strategy to the game that wasn't there before. Which is good, especially for those who felt that "the game was playing them." The new level adds some complexity that may not work well with new players, but Revolver veterans should enjoy this added feature. Although the prison adds to the game, the bulk of this expansion is found in the new cards. Mrs. Games with Two and I agreed that these are some of the best cards, so far. Finally, I am interested to see how the third expansion works with the first two sets, and I am excited to see what else they add. I am not sure if new mechanics to the game are necessary at this point, but more customization of the decks would be welcomed.

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    Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:53 pm
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    Couple of Couples - Top 10 - #6 & #5

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/couple-of-couples-t...

    And we're moving on up. As we approach the halfway point in our list, let's do a quick review of the games we have already looked at:

    Honorable Mentions
    Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassonne
    10. Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan
    9. Small World
    8. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
    7. Can't Stop

    Number Six - King of Tokyo
    King of Tokyo makes a Top 10 list for the second time. This game is just a lot of fun. It's really easy to learn and play. If you can play Yahtzee, you can play King of Tokyo. I have heard of 4 and 5 year olds playing this game. The game is simple: you roll dice and try to score points, damage your opponents, and heal yourself. If you are the first to score 20 points or the last monster standing, you are the winner. We brought this one over to a friend's house one night and played with two non-gamers. They picked it up quickly and we were off to the races. Before long, we were laughing and having a good time. The game is very exciting, and although players get knocked out, the game rounds are short enough to where it really doesn't matter. King of Tokyo is a winner. The only reason it's not higher, is because of the player elimination, and the monster theme may not be up everyone's ally. We have really gotten our play out of this one already. We have only had it for a couple of months now, and we have probably play close to 15 games already. It's just one of those games that when you are finished everyone wants to play again and again.

    Number Five - Qwirkle
    This game is showing up everywhere; Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, etc. The game is taking over. I would say that it's the next Blokus. Qwirkle is a 2-4 player tile laying game (think Dominoes meets Scrabble with shapes). The goal is to lay your tiles so that you can score points, and you can double your points if you complete a row, called a Qwirkle. Rows consist of 6 tiles that are either all one shape with different colors or all one color with different shapes. The game is really simple to learn, but there is some strategy to the game. You want to try to set yourself up for Qwirkles, but you don't want your opponent to get them, as these can be game changers. Scoring a Qwirkle can be the difference between scoring 5 points and scoring 12 points.

    This has been one of the few games that I have broken out with my extended family, that has gone over well. My mom even asked to borrow it on a recent trip. If you don't have this one in your collection, and you are needing a light game that works well with 4, that grandma can play with you, then you might want to consider this one. The game is also great for people who just love games, and it's a great way to get them interested in the hobby. If you can get them into this one, the next logical choice is Ingenious, which is another great 4 player game.

    Looking ahead to number four and number three, I see red rum and circles.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:53 pm
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    Sphere of Influence - The Writers of Reviews

    Jason Moslander
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/sphere-of-influence...

    These are the guys that drive the hobby. They make us respect their opinions. They make our wishlists grow and our Paypal accounts shrink. They drive us to fill our closets with more cardboard than we know what to do with. We question and respect them; they are the reviewers. And not just any reviewers, they are the ones who sit down in front of the typewriter and bang on those keys to tell you their opinion. No fancy reel- to-reel recordings here--just old fashion print. Here are few guys that I really enjoy reading and who do a great job of giving you the full picture in their reviews.

    Board Game Reviews By Josh
    I believe the name says it all. A guy name Josh does board game reviews. Josh has reviewed over 200 games in 2 years. That's about 2 games a week (that is a lot of written reviews). Josh also has lots of pictures and puts tons of thought into his reviews. I respect his opinions on games, and he has a very even distribution of his ratings of games. They guy is also not afraid to review new or old games. He will review the latest and greatest game, and then the next time he will review a game that is 5-10 years old. This is a great balance, and helps us all not forget some of the older games that are out there. So often, it's about reviewing the latest and greatest to get hits and drive traffic to your site. Josh just reviews what he wants to review. So, if you are looking for an opinion on a game, Josh probably has one on it.

    Games & Grub
    Are you hungry? If not, Games and Grub will make you so. What a genius combo for a blog, food and board games. There isn't much better than that combo. Now, the site does focus mostly on board games, but from time-to-time a foodie review will popup on the site. The nice thing about Games and Grub is that there are two guys that contribute to the site, so there is always new content. The last time I checked, they have almost 150 posts for the year. That is a lot of posting, and thus a lot of reading and content for you. If you are looking for a site that give you some fun and excitement with a little bit of a different twist, G&G is the site for you. And if you are wanting opinions on prototypes and print and play games, these guys aren't afraid to do it. This is great, because most reviewers, including myself, won't take the time to make and review print and plays. This is a great niche that isn't covered by most.

    I hope you take the time to check out these two blogs. There is more coming from this series, not sure exactly what else you will see yet. Let me know what else you would like to see, and let us know who some of your favorite reviewers are.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:27 pm
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    A Couple of Couples - Top 10 - No. 8 & No. 7

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-couple-of-couples...

    Our Top 10 series on Couple of Couples series continues; to see the last entries you can click here (http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-couple-of-couples...). To review, this series focuses on games that work well with four players. These are not necessarily the best 4 player games, but these are games that work well with two couples. Most of them have lots of interaction and are fairly easy to learn, or they work very well with four gamers. Both of the games this week are older games, but have recently been revitalized in reprints in some fashion.

    Number Eight - Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
    Survive was recently reprinted by Stronghold Games. This game has tons of player interaction and works great with four players. The game has tons of interaction as you try to get your meeples off a sinking island. As the island sinks, you can have sea monsters, sharks, and whales attack your fellow players. The interaction has a take that feel that is light and fun. The light feel to the game makes great for a great evening for gamers and non-gamers alike. I think the constant back-and-forth is especially fun with couples as sleep-on-the-couch jokes start to come out as you send a shark after your spouse. I am really glad that Stronghold brought this one back, and that I was able to pick it up. They have recently released a 30th anniversary edition to the game with some updated components and an update price point. This no doubt makes the game more accessible. Finally, if you have a couple kids, this one also works great for those family game nights. I've played this one with a 6 year old and he was getting the concept of the game. He never wanted to attack me, but we still had a great time, and when I see him, he still talks about the game, and how much fun it was.

    Number Seven - Can't Stop
    This game has quickly become one of Mrs. Games with Two's favorite games. It is so quick and so easy to play, that after a day of taking care of the kids and house, this is an easy distraction. No brain burning here, which is what we tend to like, since we have burned our brains all day. In Can't Stop, each player rolls four dice on their turn and they are trying to come up with two dice combos that make numbers between 2 and 12. The first three numbers they get start their runners. They try to get these runners as far up the track as they can. You can stop at any point, but sometimes you feel like you just "can't stop." When you do stop your pieces, move to where the runners were and you start from there on your next turn. The first player to get 3 pieces "home" is the winner.

    This is great press your luck game. It originally came out in the early 1980s, but it has stood the test of time, which is rare for board games these days. I enjoy the pressure of the game, and you can get a real rush from rolling those dice, and hoping that your numbers come up (don't take this feeling to the casino; just get your adrenaline rush here). It's also a lot of fun to pressure your opponents into rolling more and more when they have gone a long way. This one is just a lot of fun, and the more players you have the more people you have encouraging one another to go for it, when they should really be stopping. Now your avid gamers may not enjoy this one as much, as it is mostly just pushing your luck, there is some decision making to be made, but that is limited to deciding to stop or keep rolling. If you are playing with non-gamers, this is a great choice, but those friends of yours who also love games, you may want to go another route.

    We have done full reviews of both of these games. You can click on their titles to see them. We should have numbers six and five out next week, where we will be talking about shapes, colors, and monsters oh my!

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:15 pm
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    Save Our City! - Urbania Review

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
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    Originally posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/save-our-city-urban...

    My search for that perfect city building game continues. I don't know what fascinates me about this theme, but the idea of city building has always intrigued me to the point that I'll be driving through town and try to picture what a city could look like. I'll wonder what a few bulldozers, wrecking balls, and cranes could do to revitalize a failing area. What would happen if people were fighting to build and live in an area that is all but forgotten by the mayor and city council. As I ponder these things from time to time, I also search for a game that builds a city from scratch or rebuilds a city. So, my search has brought us to a new game from Mayfair, Urbania.

    Summary of Game Play
    Urbania is a 2-5 player set-collection, hand-management, and action-phase game that plays in 45-60 minutes. The games is designed by Simone Luciani and is published by Mayfair Games. The basic premise of the game is that a city has fallen into disrepair. There are 45 buildings that need to be fixed, and it is your job to hire project managers and construction crews to rebuild these condemned buildings. Once an area of the city has almost been completely repaired or the project managers become too pricey to hire, the end game is triggered. A final round is played and then players calculate who scored the most points. The game play is very simple. On your turn, you will do 2 actions. There are four available actions to choose from. You can pick up 2 cards. These are either cards to build buildings and hire project managers or you can pick up project cards that can score you points at the end of the game. The second thing you is build a building. You can select any building that is adjacent to an already built building and pay the construction cost. Once the building is built, you score victory points and have possibility of drawing a card based on what is on the building tile. The third action is hiring a project manager. There is one of these for each building type. They will score you points at the end of each turn based on how many buildings have been built in their area of expertise. Finally, you can select a project from your hand to play. You can play a total of three of these throughout the game. These will score you points at the end of the game based on what's on the tile. These range from points for different project managers, the number of buildings that was built of a certain type, the number of building built in a certain sector of the board, and straight up victory points. When the end game is triggered, you make sure that each player has an equal number of turns and then you begin the end game scoring and see who wins.

    Review
    Components
    Oh, Components! Why do you bring this game down? Yes, they are that bad. The wooden pieces, board, cards, and tiles are all good quality. The problem is with the graphic design and color schemes. They are just awful. You could hardly tell the buildings apart. Once they were built, it was difficult to tell the finished and unfinished buildings. The game says to flip these tile over and leave them on the board, but I have heard it suggested to just remove them--this made it much easier. The colors on the cards also didn't always match the colors in the game, and the use of tan, grey, and brown just made the game feel dull. I really think that spending some more time on the graphic design would have done this game some favors. Artwork in games is supposed to enhance the experience, this stuff really detracts from it, which is disappointing. The price is point on this is great at $35. I am glad to see Mayfair trying to hit this range for most of their new games, however, it is not without a cost. These games seem to be less polished and in need of some minor tweaks that would make them a better game experience.

    Game Play
    Urbania has some good mechanics. The project manager cards that are constantly switching hands makes for some intense play. We were handing the hospital specialist back and forth the entire game. The card-drawing mechanic reminds me very much of Ticket to Ride and the fact that you use them to build buildings is similar to building track in TtR. There are a lot of interesting decisions to be made in Urbania and lots of different ways to score points. The Eurogamers are going to have fun with this one, but I really didn't. The game fell flat for us, and there were several reasons for this. First, the components made it difficult to enjoy. Second, the lack of theme was very disappointing. I was hoping to for a true city-building feel, but this one just didn't have it. Third, the game ended suddenly and unexpectedly. Mrs. Games with Two was playing her turn and I realized that I had triggered the end game an entire round before I realized it. This anti-climatic ending made me feel like there really wasn't much of a narrative arc to the game; it just ends and that's it. There maybe more of an arc with more people, but with two it just wasn't there.

    How is it with Two?
    With just the two of us the game really fell on it's face. I think it would be a better game with 3 or 4 players. There would much more player interaction and players going for different things. Our problem was that we both thought we had the same project card (Mrs. Games with Two mis-interpreted the poorly designed project card) and thus we both cleared one area fairly quickly and brought a swift end to the game. With more players I think you would really get the feel on fighting for project and specialist and getting the contract another player was vying for. I believe player interaction helps drive this game, and with two it just isn't there.

    Well, the search continues for a city building game that makes me feel like I am playing Sim City in board game form. Hopefully, we will see it soon. Until then, if you are wanting a Euro-style game that has a pasted on city theme and terrible graphic art, Urbania is waiting for you, and you can see if you have what it takes to save the city from destruction.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:40 am
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