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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176. Board Game: Ithaka [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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For such a small game with such superficially simple rules, Ithaka is a whole lot of fun. I plan to include it.
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177. Board Game: Cephalopod [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:8085]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I'm embarrassed to say that I have yet to play Cephalopod, because it looks really neat. I certainly have enough dice to play it, and the board is easy to improvise. But some have commented that the game is somewhat longer than the 30 minutes listed. Is it too long to include in this tournament?
 
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178. Board Game: Abande [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:4210]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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There aren't a lot of stacking games on the list yet. I've only played Abande once so far, but I liked it. I'll see if there's interest for play at the tournament, but meanwhile, your comments are welcome.
 
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179. Board Game: Attangle [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:5661]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Attangle is another of Dieter Stein's games, and one I have yet to play.
 
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180. Board Game: Oust [Average Rating:6.44 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Oust is another of Mark Steere's games that has been suggested. A recent discovery is the possibility of cycles in play, but are they common enough to harm play? Please let me know what you think. I'll probably have a Go set available for some of the other games on this list, such as Tanbo, but would appreciate your opinions on this one.
 
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181. Board Game: Wayfinder [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:4364]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I recently got a copy of Wayfinder, and have heard that it's a fun Mancala variant.
 
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182. Board Game: Dameo [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Croda is already on the list as a possible game, but I think Dameo is probably an even better game, also playable with an expanded Checkers set.
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183. Board Game: Army of Frogs [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:2927]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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A connected group game in the same general family as Lines of Action and Hex Nut. I do not yet have a copy, but would like to try it before including it as a tournament event.
 
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184. Board Game: Scribe [Average Rating:4.84 Unranked]
Mark Steere
United States
Palo Alto
California
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Scribe is a cool game, if I may say so. 17 glyphs are used but you don't have to memorize them if you have a chart handy. It's played with a pencil and paper or more elaborate equipment if desired.

What sets Scribe apart from other pattern forming games is that you can't have a tie. It's totally not obvious as to why you can't have a tie, but if you try to discover a position that produces a tie score you won't be able to. Suffice to say that a lot of pattern analysis went into the development of Scribe.
 
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185. Board Game: Skybridge [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4990]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Skybridge is one of the newer additions to my collection. I would like to include it in the tournament unless anyone has a good reason that I shouldn't.
 
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186. Board Game: Dino-Czars [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I've never included any of my own games in the tournament, but since there will not be a separate Chess variants tournament this year (2007), I might bring Dino-Czars into the mix. Has anyone else out there ever played it? I've played it a lot, mainly against Zillions of Games, but it remains unrated because no one else has admitted to playing it.
 
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187. Board Game: Zenix [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:8448]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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It almost certainly fits within the time constraints for this tournament, but is there enough depth to justify including Zenix?
 
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188. Board Game: Caprice [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:6909]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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With Cabale and Siesta already on this list as possibilities, I thought I should include Caprice as well. Thoughts on how it plays?
 
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189. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:527]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Blokus has been on this list for a long time, and is still the version I like best. But I'm adding Blokus Duo as a possibility and invite further discussion.
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190. Board Game: Blokus Trigon [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:598]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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I was less impressed with Blokus Trigon than with the original, even (or maybe especially) with the three-player game. But I invite your comments on whether or not it should be included.
 
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191. Board Game: Tonga [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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TAIJI was already on the list, so I am adding Tonga as a similar game for discussion.
 
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192. Board Game: Volcano [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2038]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Volcano was previously suggested under the entry for Icehouse, but I'm adding it as a separate entry for discussion.
 
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193. Board Game: Martian Chess [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4563]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Martian Chess is another game in the Icehouse system that might be suitable for play at my tournament.
 
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194. Board Game: Homeworlds [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:2201]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Homeworlds is yet another game for the Icehouse system. The "Binary" variant with three of each piece type has been featured in at least twice in previous years of my tournament, but I had not added it to this list.
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195. Board Game: Conquest [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3154]
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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Have you tried this one?
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196. Board Game: Accasta [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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With both Abande and Attangle already on the list as potential events, I thought I should go back and complete the trilogy with the first game, Accasta.
 
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197. Board Game: Rush [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Rush is another game by Mark Steere. I have not yet played it, but many of his other games have been featured in past years.
 
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198. Board Game: Diffusion [Average Rating:5.08 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Diffusion is another Mark Steere game, this time a Mancala variant. Among Mancala games, my feeling is that seeds should be actively captured, not merely awarded. As such, I usually consider Mancala games in which seeds are sown directly into the storehouses on a somewhat lower tier than most other Mancala games. But what do you think?
 
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199. Board Game: Palisade [Average Rating:5.38 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Another of Mark Steere's games, playable using Go equipment. How well does it play?
 
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200. Board Game: Crossway [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Another of Mark Steere's games, playable with a Go set. Comments on its suitability for this tournament?
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