Super Fillers for 2
fill·er ('fi-l&r) noun - a piece used to cover or fill in a space between two parts of a structure; material used to fill extra space
Super Filler - Coined and defined by Mike Siggins in the Gamer's Notebook on October 25, 2006:Mike Siggins - Gamer's Notebook - October 25, 2006 wrote:The Super Filler is really a subtype of game that I used to call The Middleweight. It is more than a 20 or 30 minute starter, but it does not amount to a main course in weight or play length. The game is 'straight in,' has plenty of decisions, a fair amount of depth, but importantly it is very quick to play. Almost always under an hour, and leaving you feeling as if you have played for longer. In many ways it is an important species of German Game because it can avoid many of the traps – too light, too random, too boring – and appeals to most types of player. And those that don’t like it can see that it won’t last that long. A typical Super Filler is Mykerinos. I would put Yspahan, Taluva and Gheos in the same group.I am on a quest to find an elusive subtype of this subtype of game, specifically Super Fillers that are best suited for 2 players. I want to find Super Fillers that are great for 2 players, not games that simply work for 2 players. This quest began after trying the "typical Super Filler" Mykerinos and finding that even though it is a good game, the two-player version did not appeal to me due to the "artificial third player" rule (also seen in Alhambra, Acquire, and Louis XIV). Consequently, I want to find other typical Super Fillers, but only those that shine as two-player games. As Mike explained, these should be games that take around 45 minutes to play, and certainly no more than 60 minutes.
In order to provide a little more guidance and help find games that do qualify, I will elaborate on what games do not qualify.
First, the ideal Super Filler for 2 players should be heavier (i.e., longer and more complex) than all of the following great light games for 2 players: Lost Cities, Balloon Cup, Odin's Ravens, StreetSoccer, Fjords, Can't Stop, Travel Blokus, Pingvinas (also known as Hey That's My Fish), and even Lord of the Rings: Confrontation (although I think that last one almost qualifies as a Super Filler if you each play both sides).
Second, the ideal Super Filler for 2 players should be lighter (i.e., shorter and less complex) than all of the following great heavy games for 2 players: Caylus, Goa, Tigris & Euphrates, Java, Puerto Rico, and even Louis XIV (although I think that last one almost qualifies as a Super Filler if you play quick enough).
Thus, Lord of the Rings: Confrontation and Louis XIV exemplify the outer limits of the Super Filler genre at the light and heavy ends of the spectrum respectively.
Third, examples of good Super Fillers that require (or are better with) more than 2 players include: China, Mykerinos, Clans, and possibly Kreta (if experienced players can get it under 60 minutes). I think I'd also add Yspahan to this list even though the two-player variant works decently well because I think that the two-player rule requiring players to use an action to build weakens building too much, taking away one of the viable paths to victory, resulting in decision-making becoming less interesting.
Fourth, I will arbitrarily and capriciously add a criteria in that eliminates pure abstracts from qualifying for this list. Although the GIPF games and Ingenious would otherwise fit well here, I have an irrational fear of pure abstract games, so I'll acknowledge that Project GIPF includes some wonderful two-player Super Fillers (assuming you don't spend too long deciding what move to make), but they won't belong on this list.
Finally, a few games that I considered adding to this list, but I didn't for various reasons are (although you should feel free to add them to the list and justify why they belong):
-Gheos: It's certainly a Super Filler, and one that greatly appealed to me from reading the rules, but after playing it 13 times, I feel like there's something not quite right with this game. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with the % of tiles that are used to replace previous tiles rather than expand the landscape, with the ratio being approximately 50:50 in my games. It's an interesting game, but not quite a great Super Filler for 2 players in my book... a good one though.
-San Juan: I don't know what it is I can't stand about this game, but after playing it 4 times, I hope to never play it again. I can see why this might be the perfect Super Filler for 2 players according to others (so feel free to add it to this list and explain why you love it), but it's just not for me.
-Alhambra: This is a curious one because after playing it 7 times I can see that it's long enough to be a Super Filler, but it still feels too light to be a Super Filler since there doesn't seem to be enough control.
Lastly, I'm a fan of Knizia and all, but the Knizia to non-Knizia ratio of this list is nonetheless a bit out of whack, help rectify that with your own additions please
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