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Two Player Abstracts Suitable for Tournament Play
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Each November at U-Con Gaming Convention in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, I run a tournament in which contestants play a wide variety of two-player abstract board games. I'm always open to suggestions for games to include in the tournament. I'd like to stay away from the most popular classics (e.g., Checkers, Chess, Go, Oware, Othello, etc.) and focus on lesser-played abstracts (e.g., Chase, Emergo, Lines of Action, Strata 5, etc.) with the idea that winning should depend more upon creative tactics than prior study.

Please feel free to comment or make suggestions for games I should consider for the tournament. Suggested games must be playable with two players, abstract (either no theme, or a superficial theme that doesn't affect game play), have perfect information, turn-based (not real-time, but simultaneous turn-based games might be OK), depend entirely on strategic skill (no random or dexterity elements), and must be able to be learned and played to completion within an hour.

Since its 7th year, my annual tournament has been part of the IAGO World Tour.
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126. Board Game: Alapo [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Alapo isn't really a Chess variant, as such, but it's a traversal / goal game like Camelot, Breakthrough and Traverse. But the various piece powers derived from Chess and Chess variant pieces, along with the necessity to cross over the goal line from the opponent's back row bring interest to the game.
 
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127. Board Game: Salta [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Salta is a NICE traversal / piece arrangement game that I've mentioned in this list previously. At about 50 minutes per game, it might be pushing the envelope a bit, but it's easy to learn. Comments?
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128. Board Game: Archimedes [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Archimedes is a game that will make your head swim. You have to have three (!) pieces attacking an opposing ship in order to capture it (presumably because it takes three ships' worth of light focused onto the target to set it alight). But the goal is to sail into the enemy port.
 
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129. Board Game: Generatorb [Average Rating:6.14 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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From the description, it sounds a bit like a souped-up Emergo. I remember reading about it back when it was an entry for the 8x8 design contest. Has anyone played it? I generally like Tim's other games, especially the Alpha deck.
 
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130. Board Game: Congo [Average Rating:5.38 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I think that Congo, while a Xiang-Qi variant at heart, is probably sufficiently different to include as a tournament event. Has anyone else out there played it?
 
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131. Board Game: Subulata [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3782]
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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Subulata is a nice two player abstract. It has a Chinese Checkers feel to it, yet has a flavor all its own.
 
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132. Board Game: Scoozie [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I've seen this on a couple of other abstract games lists. Any comments on whether or not it would be suitable for tournament play, and if so, where I might be able to get a copy?
 
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133. Board Game: Troke [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:7814]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Another recent recommendation. Is it worth finding a copy to include in the tournament?
 
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134. Board Game: DaVinci's Challenge [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:7761]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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DaVinci's Challenge is another that might fit. It's different from many abstracts in that points are scored for making (and noticing) patterns. Can anyone comment upon whether or not it would make a good addition to the tournament?
 
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135. Board Game: Plank [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I suspect that Plank might be solvable, but has anyone tried to?
 
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136. Board Game: Gounki [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Gounki is another that I've kept an eye on for a while, but it seems sort of like a souped-up Breakthrough. Is it acceptable as-is, or should it be modified with a different goal, perhaps getting N pieces across the end line or capturing M opposing pieces? I'd take an initial stab at setting N and M as 2 and 5, respectively, but what do others think?
 
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137. Board Game: Byte [Average Rating:4.41 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Byte is brand new (summer of 2005), and the 8x8 version might be suitable for inclusion in the tournament. I haven't played it yet, but does anyone have any experience with it? In particular, does a mirror strategy break the game, and if so, can that be overcome by a three-move pie rule?
 
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138. Board Game: Blam! [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6609]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I saw this one when it was entered into one of the Icehouse game design contests, and it plays very well. The two-player version is certainly suitable for tournament play.
 
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139. Board Game: Stonez [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Here's one I have on the way right now, but it should be here in plenty of time for the 2005 tournament. Any comments on the Stonez game play?
 
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140. Board Game: Blokus 3D [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:589]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Rumis is new to me, and my wife loves it. But is there enough there to make this useful for a tournament game? If so, which board would you most recommend for two players? The games I've played so far tend to be very short, less than 10 minutes, so it might be ideal to include as a tournament filler.
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141. Board Game: Croda [Average Rating:6.63 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Croda is a Checkers-like game that might be just different enough to justify inclusion.
 
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142. Board Game: PÜNCT [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:931]
Gianni Cottogni
Italy
Torino
Piedmont
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I'm sure that PUNCT could be very good for tournament play, like the other games of the Project GIPF.
 
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143. Board Game: Gyges [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2733]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Gyges is new to me, not yet played. But if the specifications for this traversal game on its database entry are correct, Gyges should fit the format fine.
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144. Board Game: Domina [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Domina was played at the 2005 tournament. The board I had was a bit big for the dominos that I used for the pieces. Ideally, the dominos should nearly fill the square. Nevertheless, this is a game I think is well worth playing again.
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145. Board Game: Chinagold [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4509]
Geo
Greece
Athens
Marousi
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Another very good abstract game for 2.
 
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146. Board Game: Hex Nut [Average Rating:5.99 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Greg Lam suggested Hex Nut. I don't have a copy of the game, but would be willing to consider it for tournaments in future years. Would anyone who has played it care to comment on the game?
 
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147. Board Game: Rock, Scissors, Paper [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Here's another of his own that Greg Lam suggested. There aren't many ratings or comments for this game, and among those few, the variance is enormous. Can anyone tell me what they like or don't like about this one to help me decide whether it's worth getting a copy for future tournaments? Initially, the game's description reminds me of Fairy Tale Draughts, an abstract game by Chris Huntoon that is not (yet) listed here on the BGG:

http://tinyurl.com/dv5kw
 
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148. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:2181]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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This is a building and climbing game that may fit into the tournament well. I hope to include it in coming years.
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149. Board Game: Ergo [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:7922]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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An alignment game that sounds a bit like an expanded Kono. Would anyone who has played it care to comment on its suitability for this tournament?
 
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150. Board Game: Pyramidis [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:6203]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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A traversal game with a tower deployment mechanic. It has some similarities to one of my own older games (Inchworm). Can anyone tell me whether or not it would be suitable for tournament play? Is it better with two or four players?
 
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