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My five favorite games to play with non-gamers. Like| 3 comments | [+]
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I have all of the gameplay content that's been released to this point (by which I mean all of the expansions), and while I do enjoy all of them, I wouldn't say any of them are "necessary," as some game expansions are. The ones that have been released already, in my view, are great for people who love Everdell and want more, but we still regularly play base game without any expansion content and very much enjoy that.

That said, I'm quite pleasantly surprised at the $199 price for the Complete Collection. I've spent close to that on what I currently have, and that obviously doesn't include the new expansions or the big box storage. If you think this is a game for you and your family, I think this is a pretty good investment. My wife and I have gotten many hours of enjoyment, and everyone to whom we've shown the game has also really enjoyed it.

Additionally, Everdell seems to hold its value quite well. If you end up not liking it, you can probably sell it for close to what you paid for it, and not be out any money at all, really. I am hesitant to recommend spending so much money on a single game, because $200 is a lot, but knowing what I know now about the game (i.e. how much my wife and I like it), if I didn't already own it, I'd definitely go all in for the Complete Collection at this point.

I'm not a massive two player gamer.  Mostly because no one in my house games and with my group we are typically 3 or 4.  

However, I have played enough to give some recommendations:

Epic length two player games:

Both games are longer epic reworking of classic stories.  They both benefit from repeated plays and learning the options available to yourself and your opponent.  

Medium length two player games:

Battlelore and Memoir 44 are both excellent two player combat games.  The order system and dice rolling add a strong element of luck to the game but good strategy is usually rewarded.  I personally prefer Battlelore but they are both great games.

I have a confession to make.  I don't really enjoy Twilight Struggle.  But I put it here because it is a classic of the hobby.  I think everyone should give it a try at some point.

Short Two player games:

I really enjoy Patchwork.  It's quick to play, easy to teach, and has a different theme.  Watergate is, to me anyway, a simpler version of Twilight Struggle.  This makes it a lot easier to learn the tricks of the game and a smaller investment in time and learning to get the most out of it.  

We've been doing a slow play of #Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, played again last week, and it's been such a treat to give a couple people who normally don't play games like this a chance to learn it and experience the fun and cooperative aspects. We're about halfway through now, and it's been a blast. I've played Gloomhaven a lot, but never owned it, and picking up JoTL was a great investment. Looking forward to finishing it and preparing for Frosthaven next year!


Never done this before but I though it'd be fun to share. Ooh it was a big month between a math trade completeing, a few kickstarters from last year, and games for the podcast I've added quite a few since the start of April.

#Ashes Reborn: Rise of the Phoenixborn Master Set. A excellent second edition from Plaidhat Games. The few games I've got in of this I've really enjoyed, I love how it shakes up the "standard" card battler practices. Quite looking forward to diving into it more.

#Cloudspire the kickstarter arrived with a few expansions too. This is one I've been really looking forward to but probably one I'm going to have to wait the longest for. From reading the manual it seems to be a really rules heavy game. It'll be hard to get it played but with Too Many Bones being such a hit, I'm looking forward to when it does hit the table.

#Star Wars: Rebellion played this a few times for the podcast, which you can check out here Meeple in a Gamestack - Podcast 34 Star Wars: Rebellion. Very glad I played this classic, it's quite the experience.

#Carcassonne got this in a math trade and I'm quite happy with it, turns out it's a classic for a reason. Simple tile-laying good fun.

#Adventure Games: The Dungeon I'm not huge on escape room type games but this looks interesting and it was a sweetener in the math trade so can't complain.

#Hey, That's My Fish! the second sweetener from the math trade and quite a pleasant surprise. A lovely little blocking game and good one to play at lunch with my fiance.

#The Stonebound Saga an interesting result of a math trade. It's still in shrink and I checked out the old kickstarter, it'll be interesting to check out an old kickstarted game way after the hype.

#Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition and #Railroad Ink Challenge: Lush Green Edition the kickstarter is here and in a refreshingly small box. Looks lovely and from the designers of #The King's Dilemma. It will be interesting to see how they've done a very different type of game.

#The Resistance: Avalon. One day I'll have a group to play this with haha. Until then I'll just have to look forward to it.

#The Initiative. May be covering this one on the podcast soon. So I can't say much yet.

#Sea of Legends. Another kickstarter is here. I can't wait to check it out and if it's good start painting those minis. I'm interested in how the story stuff with the app will play out.


#Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game. The decision to sell this one was a bit heartbreaking but as much as I love the art and the story of the game I had to face the fact that I've collected it for years and have only played it 3 times. It's just a long complicated card game and I have so many other options that require less investment and get to the fun faster. So it's on ebay hopefully i can get something for it.

#Game of Thrones: The Board Game (First Edition). I found this one in a old cupboard and it's not really selling. I may end up donating it to a local boardgame cafe.

On my radar

Hoping to check out #Lost Ruins of Arnak sometime soon. With all the buzz about it for so long it's hard to ignor eit any longer.

and #The 7th Continent: Classic Edition. I missed the boat on this one so the classic edition looks like the perfect way to see what it was all about, probably going to be just a singleplayer game as a treat to myself.

Obligatory shameless selfpromoting podcast link The Meeple in a Gamestack Podcast

Got quite a few different games in this week again:

  • #Andean Abyss (solo, physical) x3: I enjoyed #Cuba Libre so much I had to pick this one up.  Solo is pretty fun!  The bots did a decent job for sure but it's more fun with other players for sure!
  • #Marvel Champions: The Card Game (solo, physical) x2:I felt like a little Thor action so I built a Thor Justice deck.  With a couple of games against the Green Gobling I lost the first game with some nasty luck.  Tweaked the deck a bit and managed to take him down the second game!
  • #Underwater Cities with #Underwater Cities: New Discoveries (multiplayer, TTS): Finished off the game we started last week. I managed to pull out a close win!
  • #Dogs of War (Multiplayer, TTS):  First time playing this one.  I wouldn't mind giving it another whirl.  I like the back and forth and bluff/double bluff wondering where other players are going to go.  I pulled off a pretty sizeable win by getting points during the round and some good noble house "investments" late in the game.
  • #Arkwright (Multipayer, TTS): Second time plaything this game and I think I started to grasp it a lot more.  A third game should have a lot more control.  I managed to squeak out a win despite going a bit heavy in to making money rather than increasing my stock price. I bought all of my stock and a late factory build gave me just enough stock price to take the win.
  • #Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars (solo, physical) x2: Man, I just love this game!  Second solo game, this time as a spartan faction, and I'm really enjoying it.  It captures what I've read about the war in a nice package.  I can just tell that subtleties are in there and starting to peak out.  I only hope I can get 3 other players to play it one day!

Good week!

  • #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale (physical, solo):  Played it for my review. I now have coloured pencils for the next game!  Love this little game.
  • #Race for the Galaxy with #Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm (physical, solo): Had some good luck and pulled off a solo win.  Love this game and while solo isn’t as good as with players it’s still fun. 
  • #Marvel Champions: The Card Game (physical, solo) x 2:  Tried my new black panther deck against Klaw. Had some horrible luck in game one but pulled out a relatively easy victory in game two.
  • #Anachrony with #Anachrony: Fractures of Time (Tabletopia, multiplayer):  I like Anachrony but I did NOT enjoy this game of it. With one new player and one very AP player and two of us with more experience this 4 player game took us 5 1/2 Hours!!  The expansion added more stuff to the game but honestly it wasn’t worth the extra time to me.  I doubt I would be convinced to play with that expansion again. Not enough to return on investment.
  • #Caverna: The Cave Farmers with #Caverna: The Forgotten Folk Expansion (tabletopia, multiplayer) x2:  Ah now this is more like it!  Love this game!  Got two games in about 4 1/2 hours and really enjoyed it. (Note: Never play this game with someone who is AP prone either.). I love putting tiles down and the strategy/tactical mix is where I like it. I think the board was a bit too wide open at 3 so I’d like to try it again at 4. 


I am so hyped for this game. Root has been the best investment I have made.....played it so many times. Games for people who play the same games repeatedly :D

Good thoughts.  I don't do Kickstarter, but I wonder if that factors into the equation...seems like people who kickstart a game are already pre-invested, and because of their investment tend to force themselves to like a game more.  If the game goes to retail then those who pay less may not be as biased?

The only reason I look for popular games is because with limited shelf space and limited opportunity to play, I like to cycle through games - play them a few times, sell them, buy more.  If I buy obscure games then I can't resell them for a decent price.  Luckily, many "popular" games happen to be good!

I tell them they are an investment in my future

The aches and pains are setting in as I recover from my 2nd COVID shot.  But that gives me time to type a little and dive into this "perfect game" idea.

has touched on two things that I think are significant.  One being the upgrading of two things for one action, or, I think in broader terms, this would be getting a lot for a little, or each action feeling it has some weight to it.  The second thing is the game not having any major weak points.  This could fall into that subjective category but I think, to some degree, an avid gamer can appreciate even a game they don't really enjoy playing based on it being well designed.  I think of this in terms of judging a beer style I don't prefer but still being able to look at it objectively without taking points away just because of my style preferences.

So let's dive a bit deeper into this rabbit hole, shall we...

I touched on #Gloomhaven and #Scythe has been touched on starting things off with a few "perfect game" features...

1. Game progression that allows each game to feel a little different or have a twist of some sort and matches experience (Gloomhaven)

2. The feeling of accomplishment from turn to turn and no weak areas (Scythe).  Or a higher payout in points or resources than investment (Wingspan).

3. Natural gameplay interactions between players that match well with the theme and don't feel forced.  Even in competition, players must interact successfully with opponents.

4. A pleasant tension (or difficulty) that creates enough challenge to breed stories and memories over the course of multiple games.

5. Art that is captivating, blends smoothly into theme and gameplay and draws the players in further.

#Wingspan has shot up the charts since it came out and has maintained a high ranking despite a theme that might have caught a few folks off guard when it came out.  I think the theme is actually quite approachable and may contribute to its success to some degree.  However, the gameplay seems to be what keeps people coming back to the table.  I think the engine building aspect of this game is its magic with there being several different types of engines that one can build.   I'm not sure it's the engine-building in and of itself that hits the right notes but maybe the same bit from #Scythe in which players can see how their actions pay off and may get a good payout from one action.  I simply added to 2 on this one.

I think with #Brass: Birmingham it comes down to the tight interweaving of interactions that influence point games and resource management.  This likely falls into the lack of a real weak area as in Scythe but also feels like something more social.  I'd add a social factor to the "perfect game" that allows space for self-deterministic gameplay (as in Brass, I can interact with others or try to create my own space on the board to some degree)

#Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is rated very highly and while I have not played it I know there is a glorious tension with this game that draws players back to the table over and over again.  I think I would enjoy playing this but have a feeling that Gloomhaven gives me the same experience with a pit more autonomy of character.  One aspect of Pandemic and other games like #Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island and #Spirit Island is the challenge and difficulty.  These are all co-op games as well and I am not sure that the "perfect game" would be co-op, but I do think it will be quite challenging and force players to make difficult decisions over the course of gameplay (Do I move and hit the monster with a huge swing or sit here and heal my ally who is down to two health?)

#Terraforming Mars brings my thinking back to Scythe or Brass and the idea that some form of player collaboration is important in the perfect game.  You should have to pay attention to what other players are doing to one degree or another. #Castles of Mad King Ludwig uses this well with the auction mechanic to make income and determine room prices each round.  

#Everdell #Scythe #Brass: Birmingham all have great art.  The "perfect game" would have the absolute best art.  It should be aesthetically pleasing in every way possible.  I would argue that the "perfect" game would use art in a meaningful way in the game.  Something like #Canvas but even better. #The Gallerist has a unique feature the allows the tiles players' place of the art they purchased to blend in with their player board.  Something along these lines should be incorporated.  


I could likely go on for a while down the game list.  I will stop here with these five takeaways and a few questions:

1. Game progression that allows each game to feel a little different or have a twist of some sort and matches experience (Gloomhaven)

2. The feeling of accomplishment from turn to turn and no weak areas (Scythe).  Or a higher payout in points or resources than investment (Wingspan).

3. Natural gameplay interactions between players that match well with the theme and don't feel forced.  Even in competition, players must interact successfully with opponents.

4. A pleasant tension (or difficulty) that creates enough challenge to breed stories and memories over the course of multiple games.

5. Art that is captivating, blends smoothly into theme and gameplay and draws the players in further.


What game aspect do you think I have missed that would be in the "perfect" game?

Do you think the perfect game already exists, and if so, what is it?

What game falls outside your normal game choices but you have found it is very good despite being outside your preferences?