Our Favorite Games: Two Player Games

Part One

Patchwork

Pick by Laura (and basically everyone else)

If you have ever wandered into our café with a date, unsure of what you want to play, chances are you’ve been presented with one of our most popular two-player games: Patchwork. Patchwork is one of those games that every game guru knows how to play because it is a great game for us to teach. In fact, as I type this, I just heard Tom say to a pair currently in the café, “I’d really love to teach you Patchwork; I think you guys would enjoy it.”

Patchwork is a game in which you and your opponent are competing to create the best quilt. “A game about quilting?” you may ask. Don’t be fooled by the game’s theme and adorable artwork; Patchwork is an abstract puzzle game that requires surprising amount of thought and decision-making. In it you use buttons to purchase new patches to place on your quilt, trying to leave as little empty space as possible. The patches on your quilt will also earn you buttons and by the end of the game, the player with the most buttons is the winner. Any empty space left on your quilt will be subtracted from your button total.

It’s probably a miracle if your board looks as nice as this one

We love Patchwork because the concept is incredibly simple, but there is a surprising amount of strategy involved in purchasing your patches and placing them on the board. The patches are shaped in a way that is reminiscent of the shapes in Tetris so fitting them together without leaving empty spaces (you don’t want empty spaces because they are worth negative points at the end) is a large part of the strategy. You also want to try to plan your own purchases and movement in a way that impedes your opponent from purchasing future patches you think you may want.

A lot of people end up having negative points the first time they play, but people still enjoy the game in spite of that and are generally eager to try again and get a better score. And it has a great replay value as the order of the patches you can purchase will always be different. In fact, there have been several times where people have come into the café and say to us, “We want to play the game we played last time we were here with patches and buttons.” Not only is it a favorite of ours, but it seems to be a customer favorite as well.

Battleline

Pick by Evan

For a pair of two looking for a more intensive strategy game, Battleline is probably what will be suggested to you. Battleline is a favorite of Evan’s who believes that there is no better one on one strategy game than Battleline. In Battleline, you create different combinations of cards in order to best your opponent and capture flags. The combinations exist in a hierarchy of power, similar to poker hands in that a flush is going to beat a straight; for example, having three cards of the same value will beat having three cards with the same color. Each flag on the “battlefield” will have cards added to it by each player until three cards are on either side and that flag is claimed by one player. In addition, there is a separate deck of cards with different abilities that can help you.

The Battalion Order would lose to the Phalanx across the table

The strategy is in knowing where and when to place your cards and trying to anticipate what combinations your opponent is creating so that you can create one that will beat theirs. Almost everyone who has played it here has enjoyed it, especially players who love higher level strategy games. People enjoy trying to out-think their opponent as they fight over the flags. Remember that pair I mentioned earlier in this post? A woman and her son who had been in previously in the week and had learned Battleline from Evan. They enjoyed it so much that they returned to play again and see if they could get a better grasp on the game.

These can currently be found on the “Staff Picks” shelf in the cafe!

Next time you’re in the café and need a game for two, whether you’re on a date or hanging with a friend or family member, be sure to check out one of these great games for two!

Star Wars Destiny: The Next Big Thing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you know that the Star Wars franchise has been rejuvenated with the addition of new stories in the form of a new trilogy and plenty of spin-off movies in the works over the course of the next several years. Of course, this means that now is the perfect time to cash in on the series’ newfound popularity (not that Star Wars has ever not been popular, mind you). That means new merchandise—and lots of it. There are new tee-shirts, posters, toys, LEGO sets, and, most importantly from our perspective, games. There of course have been new Star Wars themed Monopoly’s and Life’s and plenty of video games, but a game that we have seen become a huge hit in our café is Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars Destiny.

Star Wars Destiny was first released not long after Thanksgiving and almost immediately we ran out of booster packs. There was a seemingly long period of time between that and our next shipment of booster packs in which many of our customers (and even some employees) waited in agony. We got frequent calls wondering if we’d finally gotten more boosters in and even some people wanting to reserve a whole box. We even investigated other gaming stores in the area, but it was the same story everywhere we went: sold out. Finally, just before Christmas, we got the shipment in and once again, the boosters were gone in a few days.

The highly sought-after booster box

So what is this new game? Star Wars Destiny is a collectible card game similar to Magic: The Gathering in which you build a deck consisting of characters, weapons, vehicles, and abilities and use it to battle your opponent. In addition, there is a dice component to the game in the same vein of Dice Masters. Certain cards come with a die that you must use with the card in order to attack your opponent.

Why is this game so popular? Well, first of all, it’s new. As with most “new” things, there is a bit of hype surrounding it. People are curious and gamers especially have a desire to check out the newest games. Secondly, as I’ve talked about before in regards to Dice Masters, people are attracted to collectible card games because of the excitement they feel from collecting new cards and building new decks. But perhaps most importantly, it is a new Star Wars game. Star Wars is one of the biggest, most beloved stories to ever grace the big screen. Players enjoy opening booster packs and looking for their favorite Star Wars characters to add to their teams. And, as with Dice Masters, trying out different combinations of characters is part of the fun. Do you want Darth Vader to team up with Kylo Ren against Han Solo and Boba Fett? Star Wars Destiny will let you do that.

The first booster opened in our cafe contained the one and only Darth Vader

Although this game has only been out for a little more than a month, it already seems to me that it is a big hit. Only time will tell if it continues to grow in popularity or eventually dies out. Plenty of other collectible card games have come out in the past, all trying to emulate the success of Magic: The Gathering. Few have succeeded, but it seems that, at least for now, Star Wars Destiny just might.