Games with Two

Chronicles of playing games with my wife.

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Martian Invasion - Martian Dice Review

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Originally posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/09/martian-invasion-ma...

Remember Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes? For some reason, he got fashion tips from Spartacus, and I never really got that. I do remember him coming to earth and abducting Bugs Bunny or the like and taking them back to Mars. It was always a little trippy for my liking. I remember Bugs, being the crafty bunny that he is, coming up with some plan to get Marvin to bring him back to earth. Marvin was most definetely not my favorite Looney Tune, but we all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to Looney Tunes.

The same can be said about board games, we love some and hate others. So, how does Martian Dice hold up to the challenge? MD is a set-collecting, dice-rolling game. It is for 2 or more Martians and plays in 10-30 "Earth" minutes. The game is published by Tasty Minstrel Games and was designed by Scott Almes. The game comes in a dice cup and contains 13 custom dice and a half sheet of paper that has the rules and a sample turn on it. In the game, each player is a martian who is trying to abduct life forms from Earth to find out what is the dominant life form. Be the first Martian to fulfill your quota and you win the game.

Game Play
The game play is very simple. On your turn, you roll all 13 dice. If you roll any red tanks, you set them aside. Then, you must select one of the four remaining dice faces to keep: either chickens, humans, cows, and death rays. After selecting what to keep, you can roll again. and again set aside any tanks, and select chickens, humans, cows, or death rays. However, you can only select each "life form" (chickens, cows, and humans) once per turn. You continue to roll your remaining dice until you can no longer set anything aside, or you decide to stop. You then see if the number of death rays you set aside is greater than the number of tanks. If this is the case, you score one point for each "life form" die that you set aside. If you collect at least one of each variety, you get an additional 3 points. After scoring, you pass the dice, however, if the tanks outnumber the death rays, you score no points and pass the dice to the next player. Play continues in this fashion until someone reaches 25 points. Once this happens, you play out the round and the game ends.

Review
Components
Martian Dice has 13 custom dice and comes in a cylinderical cup that doubles as storage and a dice cup. The dice are the same size as a standard 6-sided die. Each of the images is a different color and is engraved into the die. The dice are good quality and I really have no complaints about them. The artwork on the storage cup is attractive. It does a great job portraying what the game is. I love when the artwork helps convey the theme, depth, and lenght of a game. The limited artwork on Martian Dice does this well. Finally, the instructions are good. I wish there were a few more examples, but a small rulebook is necessary for a game like this, so the lack of examples or deep explanation is understandable. My only other complaint is that the lid fits a little too snugly and is difficult to get off. I am sure the more I play the easier it will be to get the lid off, or maybe I just need to get to the gym more often.

Game Play
You are not going to get a deep, strategic game in Martian Dice. The depth of the strategy comes when deciding what dice to keep and which ones to roll again. A lot of times the decision is already made for you, but sometimes you have some interesting decisions. I know the times we have played I have seen what others rolled, and would have done something completely differently than what they did. However, that does not mean that you have tons of options, most of the time you have one or two real options that you are deciding between. Should I take death rays now and defend against the tanks? or should I take the animals or humans for a big point score? In the end this is a dice rolling game filled with luck and chance that is very well done. The theme even comes through a little bit, which is difficult to do in a dice game. The length is also right on. Most games only last for a few rounds and then they're over. So, you aren't playing for more than a few minutes. The only problem with the game is that you can really get behind the eight ball if you roll a lot of tanks early. Then, you spend the rest of the round you are playing catch up. This happened to my friend PJ. The first three rounds he scored a total of 2 points. Then he scored around 15 points in the last two rounds, but it was too late and he lost the game because of some awful luck. In the end, it's a dice game and with any dicc game you are at the mercy of the roll.

How is it with Two?
The other dice-filler games that I have really require a good amount of people (4+) to be fun. Bears! and Liar's Dice come to mind. However, Martian Dice plays great with just two. The first night I got it, Mrs. Games with Two and I played three rounds back-to-back-to-back. This made MD a keeper since there are not too many quick little dice games that can accomdate two and do it well. The game also expands very well. The rules say you can play with as many players as you want, but I would think that anything over six would tend to really drag. Unless, you are playing the game as secondary activity to conversation or the like, I would try to limit the number of players. Otherwise, you'll be playing a 3 hour game of Martian Dice.

How Does It Compare?
20-30 minute dice game have been around, and there are new games as well. So, how does it compare to Farkle, Liar's Dice, Bears!, Zombie Dice, and others? The game that Martian Dice is most compared to is Zombie Dice. I have not played this one, so I cannot give you my opinion on it. From what I have heard from others, they are very similar. Some say Martians is better and others say Zombies is better. For me, I am going with Martians because it is a more "family friendly" theme. My suggestion would be to get one or the other, but both just doesn't seem logical, unless you love small little dice games, then go for it.

So, does Martian Dice have the Marvin the Martian effect on me? Does it leave me just waiting for the next game to start? The answer is no. Martian Dice is a fun, filler game, and at $15 it's worth picking up. It also takes up limited space do to it's small size. So, no shelf space sacrificed, which is another plus for me. If you are looking for a dice filler to start or end your game night with, Martian Dice should become an option for you, and hopefully it will allow you to better enjoy that "filler" time.

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Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:32 am
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Sphere of Influence - Family Edition

Jason Moslander
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/09/sphere-of-influence...

Alright, time to start a new venture on the blog; time to take a look at those who influence me and therefore influence my writing and perspectives. So, I will begin an ongoing series where I discuss some of the blogs, websites, and podcasts that have inspired me and influenced me to write this blog. These have either encouraged me to continued to write or given me ideas and concepts to make this blog better. This is not going to be a Top 10 list or a way of saying that some source is not worth looking into. It's more of a way for you to get your hands on more quality resources.

For our first entry, I am going to focus on a few sites that have a distinct family feel to them. They usually involve their children or spouses or both. They give a good perspective for those looking for games to enjoy with their families. Sure, we have difficulty ratings and age ratings on game boxes, but those are not always a good indicator of what actually works. These sites give the perspective that many sites don't.

Father Geek
Father Geek is a site that is chiefly ran by Cyrus and Meng. There are other contributors to the site, but these are the two main contributors. Right off, you can see this as a plus. Besides these two, they have at least five other guys listed on the site that contribute regularly. This gives you many different perspectives and tons and tons of content. I believe just about everyday my inbox has an email saying that something new is up from Father Geek.

The other thing that I love and respect about them is that they get the opinions of their kids. They want to know what the kids think of the games. Sure some of the games are above the little ones' level of understanding, but this gives you a good idea of what those kids can handle when it comes to games. As a gamer dad, this is one thing that is hard for us all to understand and grasp, not only in games but in life. What can our little ones actually make sense of? Father Geek does a great job here and providing the answer to many of these questions.

FG does a wonderful job reviewing games and they review it all. Many times I'll look up a game on Board Game Geek and they are the only ones that have reviewed game x; not only is there a massive quantity of reviews, but they are also great quality. They are normally several pages long and give wonderful descriptions of the game. Because of the constantly outstanding content and unique view I cannot recommend Father Geek enough for those who have "little geeks" (and for those who want a good chuckle, check out the FG facebook page where Father Geek is always putting up hilarious quotes from his kids--one of the few gaming things Mrs. GwT will regularly check out).

Growing Up Gamers
Growing Up Gamers is another great resource for those who have little ones. I'll be honest and say that I have not explored this site as much as Father Geek, but what I have read has been great. They have a couple contributors to the site. The Growing Up Gamers are also designing their own game (Story Realms), I believe it is currently on Kickstarter. This gives you a unique look into the eyes of a designer, and what the design process looks like. Therefore, the site gives an insiders look for those of us who are not designers or publishers, this is a process I very much enjoy reading and listening about, I don't exactly why, but it intrigues me. So, if you want the inside scoop on raising gamer kids and designing a game, this is one you should take a look at.

The Board Game Family
Our last looking into Family sites takes us to Utah and the Howell Family, aka The Board Game Family. This family of six loves it's games. They offer a lot of insight in collecting and organizing games, lots of reviews, and they show their creative side with posts like this one about Survive. I have bought several games based on the Howell's recommendation. The Howell's also got me to start logging my game plays on Board Game Geek. After hearing about how many games they were playing and seeing the distribution of what games are played the most and which ones sit on the shelf un-played, I started my list halfway through 2012. It's been interesting to see what gets played and how often they are played.

The Board Game Family makes their site a family affair; they all get in on the action. Whether it's making the videos, contributing to the written reviews, or just playing games, they all do their part. The website becomes another family activity that they do together. This encourages me that in the future my kids will be able to play a bigger part in my blogging, and who doesn't love the opinion of little ones.

I hope you enjoyed our look into some family game websites. I am hoping to have more post similar to this one with some of my favorite reviewers and some of our favorite podcasts among other things. Let me know what you thought of the new series and be sure to check out the sites they are worth looking into.

see more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:50 am
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    Top 10 Games We Play Together - #1

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/top-10-games-we-pla...

    This is the end...It is time to reveal our favorite game to play with just the two of us. For those who have been following us for awhile, you probably already have a good idea of what it is, and if not, I am sure you can see it on the post somewhere fairly quickly. But if not, I bet the anticipation is not even close to killing you. Let's get to it with a rundown of the first nine games and a quick snapshot of what the qualifications for the list were. First, these are all games that my wife and I enjoy playing together. They are not necessarily the best games to play with 2 players or the best games out there. These are ones that we just love to bring to the table. These are mostly games that can be played in less than an hour, and are not going to fry your brain with complexity.

    Top 10

    10. King of Tokyo

    9. Can't Stop
    8. Agricola All Creatures
    7. Rivals for Catan
    6. Lost Cities
    5. Revolver
    4. Dominion
    3. Fastrack
    2. Crokinole

    And Finally, Number One!

    #1 Carcassonne
    For those of you follow the site, this is probably not a surprise. As I have said over and over again, we love this game. Since we have played it so many times, we can knock out a game in about 45 minutes, even with 4 of the large expansions. Although we like the extra tiles that come with the expansions, we we mix and match which rules we use. The game is great as we compete to see who can build the largest city and longest roads. We also love to try to sneak in on each other's territory. Although we like to play this with more than 2, it just seems to work the best when it's just the two of us.

    Carcassonne has that "comfort" game feel to it for us. You know you have your "comfort" foods and "comfort" movies. Those go to things that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They make you feel as though nothing else in the world matters at that moment. We also have great memories with this game. It was one of the first euros we started to play and it has kept a place in our hearts. I love the feeling of building the landscape especially since each time you create a completely unique board. One that will probably never be duplicated. This building gives you a sense of accomplishment even when you lose.

    Finally, the game has little to no confrontation. So at the end of it all, you don't feel like you need to hold a grudge against anyone, or that anyone directly caused you to win or lose. The combination of these things keeps us coming back to Carcassonne. We play it often enough to remember that we love it, but not too often to wear out our welcome. Having cookies for dinner every night can make you sick after awhile, and the same is true with a good game. However, having a cookie for desert once a week is just enough to keep you coming back for more.

    I hope you enjoyed our Top 10 Game We Play Together. If there are anything you would like us to do a Top 10 list on , please let us know.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:51 am
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    GenCon 2013 Bound! - Time to Start Planning

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/gencon-2013-bound-t...

    After some discussing, videos, and photos of GenCon 2012, Mrs. Games with Two and myself are making plans on attending the Convention in 2013! This will be our first time attending GenCon and only our 2nd or 3rd convention (pending if we hit up Geekway to the West 2013). Also, due to our circumstances and plans for the future, this maybe our only chance to attend GenCon. So, for this post, we need your help. We need the help of GenCon veterans, GenCon past attendees, Indianapolisites (what do you call yourselves?), and whomever else would like to give their input so that we can make GenCon 2013 amazing. So, I'll begin with what we want to do and what we know and hopefully you can help us fill in the details. We'll start with the boring logistics stuff (hotel, transportation, food, etc.), and we'll end with the fun stuff (events, seminars, booths, and of course games, games, games).

    Logistics
    Transportation
    First, we are planning on driving to GenCon. We live in Missouri so it's only about a 4 hour drive for us. There will be no need for plane tickets or a rental car, however, we will need place to park. I am assuming that if we get a hotel close to the convention center we will be able to grab a spot there. I've heard parking is about $20 a day. Is this true? Also, should we drive all the way into downtown Indy? Or is it better to park elsewhere and take Public Transit or a taxi into town. I ask because when we went to Fenway Park I ended up parking 20 blocks away and still paid $30 to park. What do you do and what do you think is the best option for transportation?


    Lodging
    Onto step number 2, lodging. Where should we sleep? It's been my experience with past conferences/conventions that the closer you are to the venue the better. I see that there are many hotels within walking distance of the Convention Center. Since we are on a budget, we would like a cheaper room, if possible. Under $100/night would be awesome, but the word I've gotten is that it's more likely going to run us around $200/night (ouch!). So, what hotels do you recommend? What hotels should we avoid? When should we reserve our room? On the GenCon site, it said something about room blocks; how does that work? Anything else we should know about lodging?

    Food
    Well, food is an essential, and I would love to sample some of the local cusine. There is nothing worse than going to a new town/city/country and having all sorts of new food to try and you end up eating at Subway or McDonalds because you don't know what's good. We don't want to break the bank on food, but we would love to try some restaurants of all sorts. This is where I really need the help of the locals. What are the best places to eat in and around the convention center? What is that hidden gem, that hole in the wall place that no one knows about that is amazing?

    Fun Stuff
    General
    Alright, now onto the fun stuff. First, we would love to know just some general information. What are some basic do's and don'ts of the convention? Should we be there first thing in the morning for the mad rush into the hall (not a fun idea for Mrs. GWT)? Are there multiple entrances? If so, which one is the best? What general badges, ribbons, etc. should we look into getting? Should we get our passes/badges ahead of time or wait until we get there?

    Events
    I know there are tons of events at GenCon, and I have heard that there are 1,000s of things to do. Since we don't want to overwhelm ourselves, we probably would like to do one event a day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So, what are your three favorite events that we should not miss? When should we register for these events? And when is the best time to do them?

    Sight Seeing
    GenCon seems like it will be a great time. However, we don't want to be under the flourscent lights of a convention center for 3 days straight (especially if I want to get Mrs. GWT to come to any more conventions with me). We would love to get out and see Indianapolis. So, what are your suggestions for some "must see" sights in Indy? I am a bit of a history buff, so that stuff interest me. We also love museums and parks.

    As we prepare for this trip, we are hoping to keep you all in the loop on what we are doing. We will posting updates when we have made purchases for hotel rooms, badges, ribbons, and whatever other nonsense we will be doing. Since this is our first time going to a major convention, I believe the learning experience will help others to have a great time at GenCon in the future as well. We would absolutely love your feedback and we hope to see you at GenCon 2013.

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:19 am
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    Games We Play Together - Top 10 - #2

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/games-we-play-toget...

    We are getting down to the last couple of games in this Top 10. To show our love and appreciation for these two games, I am splitting this one into two posts. Game #1 will be out later this week. If you want a rundown of the previous games, click the link (http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/search/label/Top%2010). As we conclude, we have one of our all time favorites and a new favorite.

    #2 Crokinole
    Crokinole is a game that I have had my eye on for a while, but due to the cost, just have not pulled the trigger on (A cheap board cost at least $145, and it goes up from there). There was also the matter that I had never actually had a chance to play the game, but that changed at Geekway to West. A local board gaming convention in St. Louis. Mrs. Games with Two and I both immediately fell in love with the game and began looking at ways we could get one of our own. We were able to sell some of our under used games in a local game auction and then we used the money to buy a board. Let me tell you now it has not disappointed.

    For those unfamiliar with the game, Crokinole is a dexterity game. The game board is a 26" diameter circle made of wood. The goal of the game is to flick your wooden disc towards the center of the board. As you do this you have an opponent trying to knock off your disc. After all the discs are flicked, the scores are tallied and the next round begins. The game players similiarly to shuffleboard or tabletop curling. It's very easy to learn and play.

    Mrs. GwT and My buddy Jason playing Crokinole at Geekway
    One of the main reasons we love this one is that it is very much a social game. There is not a lot of thinking or strategy. It's just a simple of flick the discs. The games move quickly and you will find yourself playing 2-3 or even more games in a single sitting. Although we have only been playing this one with 2 players, the game plays with 4 players as well. I have also heard and seen 3-player variants as well. Even though this is an easy game to learn and play, it can be quite difficult to master. This is both a strength and weakness of Crokinole. The desire to become a more skilled player keeps players coming back for more. However, if an experienced player is playing against an inexperienced player, they have a huge advantage on their opponent. This is especially true because Crokinole is a skilled based game with little to no luck involved.

    Crokinole has made a rapid ascent in becoming one of our favorite games-to-date. It would be great if more people grew to love this wonderful game. The main problem is the cost of the game. The $150+ price tag makes it difficult to make the investment. It's also difficult to find a board to play on. And when you are investing that kind of cake it's hard to do so going in blind. Luckily, there are some alternatives. Sorry! Sliders is supposed to be a great alternative to Crokinole, and at about $20 you really can't complain about the price. The game is also readily available at just about any big box store. My suggestion would be to pick up this game and then if you find yourself enjoying it, then make the investment into a Crokinole board.

    I am planning on writing a full review on Crokinole in the near future. I reallly want to give it a couple goes with four players and see how it plays before I do that. As for our Top 10 list #1 will be coming out later this week, so keep an eye out. Also, if you have any suggestions for our next Top 10 list please feel free to let us know. We love to know what our readers are enjoying and not enjoying. Your feedback is most welcomed.

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    Fri Sep 7, 2012 11:37 am
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    Taking the Throne - A Game of Thrones Session Report

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/taking-throne-game-...

    Part 2 - The Game
    As we begin part two of our A Game of Thrones (AGoT) Session Report, I would like to point you to Part 1 (http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/07/preparing-to-take-t...) where we discuss preparations and pregame. This part will cover the game play itself. As we began our game, with five new players we decided to do a random draw to see who would get each color. It's a little more important in this game as each player's color is associated with one of the houses from the books. As part of the theme, the player's house determines their color, starting position on the board, starting positions for special abilities and turn order, as well as some special abilities for each of the players. Here is a listing of how this part of the game broke down for us.

    The Players
    House - Color - Player
    Tyrell - Green - Jason
    Lannister - Red - Kurt
    Stark - White - David
    Greyjoy - Black - Jerry
    Baratheon - Yellow - Luke
    Martell - Brown - Russell

    For those unfamiliar with AGoT The Board Game, the game is an area control game where players are trying to take over castles and Strongholds. The first player to gain 7 strongholds or whomever has the most after 10 turns, wins the game. It feels very much like the game Diplomacy, and this was one of the main reasons I chose to pick this one up. I digress, as our game started, it was evident that even after many reads of the rules there were small things that would come up that we were not sure on and had to consult the rulebook or online FAQ. This probably added at least an hour to our game.
    As the game began to unfold, Russell and Luke started to battle on what seemed like every turn. They both started on the Eastern side of the map, this made it very easy for the rest of the Southern players to advance quickly. Kurt and myself benefited the most from this ongoing battle. We were able to expand our area of control with little to now combat. We didn't even really have to battle each other. Before long, Kurt had a strangle hold on the center of the map. During this time, David was slowly building up his forces in the North. He never made in big advancements, but he positioned himself in such a way to be powerful and a force to be reckoned with. Jerry sat back and took a defensive approach as well. This left little to no battling in the North for most of the game.

    About midway through the game it was obvious who the players were. Martell and Baratheon's constant battling from Turn 1 on had left them both weak. They were unable to expand and their sphere of influence was lacking. By midway, it was clear that they just wanted to finish ahead of their chief rival. Although both had made strides to become strong early on, this was quickly dashed due to over expansion and constant battling. Lannister was the clear leader and something had to be done. He had left his backside vulnerable for attack as he had grown comfortable with Tyrell and Greyjoy. However, this comfort would soon betray him as his power had become too strong. In a matter of a couple of turns, his Stronghold count went from five down to three. This defeat left both Tyrell and Greyjoy in excellent positions to take the game. However, Stark was still lurkering in the North. Still no major moves had been made, but they were in a position to make a move whenever they felt the timing was right. Starks ships and controlled territories were positioned for optimal troop movement, which could fair well late in the game.

    As we approached, the last couple of turns, it was clear that it was now a three house race. Tyrell, Stark, and Greyjoy would fight for the throne of Westoros. Lannister, Martell, and Baratheon would only be pawns that had to choose another player in which to throw their loyalty behind. Lannister refused to choose an ally and believed he still had a chance. Baratheon would like no one to win and became a sabteour of all, a spoiler to the end. Martell threw their support behind Tyrell, but their weakened state would do little good for Tyrell. As the end approached it was clear that both Tyrell and Greyjoy had opportunities to take the game and the glory. However, lack of planning and correct maneuvering would prove fatal. On Turn 10 on the last player's turn, which happened to be Stark, he came in for the victory. The wolves of the north finally pounced and would prove to be the victors.

    Our game was tight, and everyone had a great time. Our play time clocked in at about five hours. The box says it's a three hour game, but with five new players it took us some time to get started and then get rolling. And then once we all knew what we were doing we had so many armies that it became difficult to decide what to do with them all. I really hope to play this one again, and if we do I venture to guess we could easily shave an hour to ninety minutes off of our time. This was a great game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's going to stay in my collection. It really fills that spot for a longer game well, and I am excited to play this one again.

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    Sat Sep 1, 2012 7:11 pm
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    Games We Play Together - Top 10 - #4 & #3

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/games-we-play-toget...

    As we continue our Top 10 list of games we love to play together, we are getting into some of our favorites. If you followed my wife's Top 10 list, you can probably guess a couple of the games that are going to be coming up. Just a reminder and quick rundown of how this list is compiled: These are games that Mrs. Games with Two and I love to play together, with just the two of us; not necessarily the best two player games out there, or even our favorite games (although some of them are). But on a weeknight after the kids are asleep and we have a couple of hours to kill before bed, these are the ones we enjoy. Most of them are lighter games that can be played in less than an hour. They are easy to learn, easy to teach, and a blast to play.

    #4 Dominion
    If this list came out a year ago, Dominion would have been number one on my list. Recently, it just has not been brought to the table. We dove into getting some expansions for our base game (We have Intrigue which is a standalone and an expansion), yet since we played each expansion we really haven't gone back to explore everything that they can do. It's really been sad because I really love this game. Part of it has been our move toward the "cult of the new" as we get more and more games to play and review for the website. Because of this, Dominion sits idle. We have tried to make it a point to play on numerous occasions, but without fail something comes up that prevents it from coming out. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we can get Dominion to the table again and enjoy this amazing game.


    So, why do we love Dominion? The game is quick and easy to play. If you are playing a two-player game with experienced players, you can knock out a game in 30 minutes, easy. The mechanics are also very simple: draw five cards, play one, buy a new card, then discard your hand, and draw five new ones. The ease of play makes it fast and fun for both of us. It's also fun to try out new strategies and see what cards work well together and which cards end up doing nothing but clogging up your deck. With the hundreds of cards available there is really a lot to explore in this game and thus giving tons of replay value. I cannot recommend this one enough.

    #3 Fastrack
    I first learned about Fastrack from The Board Game Family. The game looked so good and Amazon had such a good price on it, that I made the purchase. My wife rolled her eyes when I showed her the video, but she quickly came around. The first night we played it, I think we played about 30 rounds (or about 10 games, you play best out of 3). All I know was that my fingers were hurting and I had to keep switching fingers and hands. If you haven't figured it out yet, Fastrack is a dexerity game. You have five discs and your opponent has five discs. You use a elastic band to propel your disc to your opponent's side of the board. The first player to get all 10 discs onto the other side wins. The only catch is there is one tiny hole to slide the disc through.

    Fastrack is very confrontational. The game can get very intense very quickly. You get that rush of adrenaline as you get more and more discs on your side. The adrenaline rush is key. Our games usually end with Mrs. Games with Two in a ball of frustration, but just like the game of golf, when you are about to give up the game forever, you hit that amazing shot that leaves you wanting more. Fastrack gives you that same feeling. This one has quickly made it's way high on this list. I would not recommend this for everyone, but we have sure had a blast with it.

    The final two will be revealed next time. You will see some more dexterity and one of Mrs. Games with Two's favorites.

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    Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:14 am
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    The Last Expansion We Promise - A Glorious Conclusion

    Jason Moslander
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    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-last-expansion-...

    Through our series on expansions, we have discussed how expansions are just a cash cow for publishers; the different aspects of expansions; what makes expansions good and not-so good; spin-off games; and some of the best expansions available. I wanted to offer some closure to the series and round it out nicely. Although I have been critical of expansions in many of my posts, they are not all bad--expansions are actually very good. They bring another level of game play to game they are expanding. Yet, as with everything, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. I love ice cream, but I don't want it for dinner every night; it would lose it's appeal. It's a special treat, that can be tarnished by over exposure. The same is true with expansions (and for Mrs. Games with Two, games in general). The market is saturated with them, and we eat them up until our waste line (table time) and cholesterol (shelf space) are far beyond healthy levels.

    I need to be prudent with my game and expansion purchases. If I am not, they end up in the trade/sell pile before they see their worth in playtime. So, when it comes to expansions, I have to ask myself several questions: 1. Have I played the core game enough that I need to add something to keep it fresh? 2. Do I have people who want to play this with me? 3. Is this a game that I always have new people playing so the expansion will never see the table 4. Does the expansion integrate well into the core game (i.e. adds players, and variety without adding too much complexity)? 5. Is there room on my shelf? If I can answer yes to most of these questions, the expansion can be added to my want/wishlist. Then, I like to wait at least a week or two to make sure that I am not making an impulse buy.

    Expansions bring joy and excitement to the board game industry. Gamers get excited to see what's next for their favorite titles. However, most of the time, we end up making a purchase that we regret later. Remember, most of the time the expansion/game is going to still be on the shelf next week or the week after. So, making that impulse purchase usually doesn't payoff. Be wise in your gaming purchases and maybe consider picking up a new game rather than buying yet another expansion.
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    Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:53 pm
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    Top 10 Games We Play Together - #6 & #5

    Jason Moslander
    United States
    Fenton
    Missouri
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/top-10-games-we-pla...

    The list continues...If you missed the first couple of entries, click here for #10 & #9 (http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/just-2-of-us-top-10...), and here for #8 & #7(http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/top-10-games-we-pla...). Quick recap: These are games that Mrs. GwT and I like to play together. They are not necessarily the best two-player games, or games that we like the best, however, on a weeknight, after the kids are asleep, these are the games we reach for. They are usually a little lighter and can be played in a short amount of time. This week's entries are both card games. They are both very different, but both are enjoyable.

    #6 Revolver -
    Revolver is a new game from White Goblin & Stronghold Games. It's a 2-player-only card game that plays in 30-40 minutes, and you can play even quicker once you get the basic mechanics down. The game pits a gang of outlaws who have just robbed a bank; against a group of lawmen. The outlaws have to either cross over the Mexician border or successfully board a train to outrun the lawmen. If, however, all of the members of the gang die, the lawmen win. The game is fast paced and can get tense toward the end. Almost all of our games have come down to the last card or at least the last round. The game is not without it's flaws, since you are subject to the cards in your hand and what is in your opponent's hand. However, we have just had a blast playing this one. There are a couple of expansions coming out in the next couple of weeks for this one, and White Goblin has announced Revolver 2; which will be a completely different game in the series. If you like the Wild West and card games, this might be one to consider adding to the collection

    #5 Lost Cities
    Lost Cities has become a classic, especially among wives. I picked this game up in a trade after hearing over and over again how much other gamer wives have enjoyed it, and it did not disappoint. I think Mrs. Games with Two really enjoys this one because it is a game that she can consistantly beat me in. This is a simple card game that only takes a few minutes to play. You simply play a card and pick up a card. The game is light and fun and very portable as well. We usually end up playing several rounds of it when we bust this one out. As I have said before, there are very few games that Mrs. GwT likes to play more than once, and this is definately one of them. It's also a great buy at around $20-$25.

    Next time, we get into one of my favorite games of all time and a light dexterity game that doesn't get enough love.

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    Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:22 am
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    Monopolizing Catan - Catan Family Edition Review

    Jason Moslander
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    Originally Posted at http://gameswithtwo.blogspot.com/2012/08/monopolizing-catan-...

    Settlers of Catan has deemed itself "The Game for Our Generation." It is the game that many consider to have revolutionized board gaming in America; even though it's origins are found in Germany. Many have even called it "The New Monopoly." The game has three big expansions along with several other smaller ones, countless spin-offs, and games that have nothing to do with Catan, but use the name for marketing and sales purposes. According to the most reliable source on the internet, Wikipedia, Catan has sold over 15 million copies, and those figures are from 3 years ago. So, needless to say, Settlers of Catan, Klaus Teuber (The Designer), and Mayfair Games (Publisher in the US) are all doing pretty well.

    Yet, Catan is still not reaching the masses like it could. Not every house has a copy on their shelf. With Monopoly, just about everyone has at least one copy of this game lying around somewhere. It seems to me that Mayfair wants Catan to be everywhere. They have entered into Target and Barnes and Noble. They are attempting to become more "mainstream," which would mean more sales, and thus have created Catan: Family Edition. This is not a new version of Catan, like Simply Catan, Catan Junior, or Kids of Catan. No, this game is just the original Settlers of Catan, however, there are some differences. The majority of this review will be discussing the differences between the original game and this new edition, and if this new edition is even necessary.

    Game Play
    I'm not going to get too in depth here as the game play for Catan Family is exactly the same as the original Settlers of Catan game. The basic idea is that each player is a Settler on the island of Catan. Your goal is to gather resources in order to build, upgrade, and expand the two starting settlements that you are given. Each of the resources is given a number and at the beginning of each player's turn they roll two dice. If any player rolls a number that you are adjacent to, you get to collect that resource. As you collect resources to build your settlements, you will gain victory points. The more you expand the more victory points you get. The first player to get to 10 victory points is deemed the winner.

    The beauty of the game play is that every player is involved in every turn. There is constant player interaction via trading and blocking the other players by getting to a spot before they do. There is no player elimination like in Monopoly or Risk, and the game is usually over in about an hour.

    Review
    Components
    Since this game plays the same as the "classic" Settlers of Catan, you may be curious as to what the differences are between it and this new family version. The first thing you willl notice is that when you see this on the shelf at your local store is that the price is significantly less than the classic version. The family version has an MSRP of $30, while the classic Catan's MSRP is $42. This is the main reason for this new version. A lower price point may result in more sales. We will get more into that later. The box for the Family Edition is also different. There is updated artwork and it is the size of the standard big box games (Ticket to Ride box size).

    Inside the box, is where you start to see some big changes to the components. First, instead of having individual tiles for each space on the board, there are only six pieces that lock together to form the board. Now these pieces are interchangeable and they are two sided, so you can still get some variety, which is one of the reasons many people love Settlers. Next, on the 6 pieces, the ports and numbers are already on the board. There is not going to be much variety here. I don't think this is a big deal, especially if you are only going to be playing casually. This is especially true since the casual game player is the target audience here.

    After the board pieces, the components are the next thing that will strike you. First, all of the player pieces are made of plastic. The classic version had wooden pieces. This is a big change, however a necessary one if you are going to lower the production cost of the game. The game cards are also smaller. They are the tiny "Eurostyle" cards, or as Ryan Strum calls them, "Hobbit Cards." The last change is the artwork. I have the 3rd Edition of Settlers the artwork was very bland, dry, and very appealing. I can't speak for what the 4th Edition looks like, but the new artwork compared to my version is much much better. It's brighter and is more welcoming to new players. Finally, the rulebook is on one 11x17 page folded, which amounts to about four pages. There is an additional couple pages of appendix/FAQ stuff on a separate sheet, but the main rules are on one sheet. This makes them much more accessible and easy to learn. I know my version had a rule book that was 10 pages long, and then an almanac that was an additional 15 pages. It was also all black and white. The new rules are full color, and I believe this is the case with the 4th Edition of the standard game as well.

    Thoughts
    Mayfair is really trying to make strides to expand their market. Meaning, they are trying to reach the family and non-gamers out there. You see this with their introduction of the "Fun Fair" line, which Catan Family Edition is a part of, and their presence in Target and Barnes and Noble. It really seems like they are trying to extend a hand to the casual gamer. They have lowered their price point and simplified the rules. This is all in attempt for more sales and hopefully to get more people into gaming. Some will see this as a bad thing, and that Catan and the hobby game industry is going to become like Hasbro and Monopoly. Well, in some senses it will become that way. Publishers have to sell games in order to make money and thus stay in business. If this means that they make a version of one of my beloved games that appeals to John Q public, then by all means make it. If it's at a price that grandma is more comfortable with, then make it. Let's get these wonderful games out to anyone and everyone who wants to take a look at them.

    I know what your thinking, "but then the Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) suffers because Target and Barnes and Noble are taking away all their sales!" Let's be honest, the family going through the game aisle at Target isn't stepping foot into the FLGS, but maybe if they buy Catan Family Edition or Star Trek Catan they will google it, find out about other games and that there are speciality stores, and then venture into the FLGS. In my opinion, these new versions can only help the world of hobby gaming, not hurt it. I know others will disagree with me, and that's fine. What are your thoughts?

    See more at www.gameswithtwo.com
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    Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:24 pm
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