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November 30, 2014 / Jett

The Board Game Night Playlist: Dueling Gamers


This edition of the Board Game Night Playlist is designed around two-player competition. Drawing from my own life for inspiration, my brother and I used to play video games together all the time. Growing up, the games we’ve played together were competitive in nature, from Goldeneye, to Mario Kart to Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Now that we’re adults and don’t live together anymore, this happens less often, but we still make time for it where possible. Once or twice we’ve also put the controllers aside to play some analog games. Next time we get together for a one-on-one board game night, here’s the games we would play. If you’re looking to host or partake in a two-player board game battle, try these out!


 

Khet 2.0

2-10 players
Ages 9 and up
30 minutes

Take Chess. Now add lasers. This in a nutshell is the pitch for Khet 2.0. Instead of trying to take control of an occupied space, players manipulate their mounted laser and mirrored pieces to zap their opponent’s pieces off the board. The player who shoots their opponent’s pharaoh first wins.

Because it shares the same general framework as Chess, it’s not hard for most to grasp the general idea of how the game works while scratching the same itch. The nuance will come from manipulating your laser and pieces in order to line up the right shots while doing your best to predict your opponent’s next moves. The laser does add an extra layer of flash to it, though the game doesn’t really need it. Even without the pizzazz of a laser reflecting off of mirrors, the rules that govern how players get shot still apply and make for a compelling strategy game. As a Chess alternative, Khet 2.0 fits the bill.


Buy The Laser Game: Khet 2.0 Now From Amazon.com


Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

2 players
Ages 14 and up
15 minutes

This two-player dice dueling game is one of the smash hits of 2014. As rival masterminds, you’ll first assemble your own superhero teams to defend you. Once the game starts, you’ll use your generic sidekick dice to draft the heroes onto your team. Once you have them, you can bring them onto the battlefield to fight your opponent’s dice. Any attacking dice that aren’t blocked will inflict damage directly to the mastermind. The first person to dish out enough damage to the opposing mastermind is crowned the victor.

For me, I like the fact that this basically takes the Dominion-style deck-building format with dice. Each character comes with themed dice that look really great that can be mapped to different character cards that give it unique special abilities. Dice add an element of luck to the experience, though you’ll still have to make some smart choices regarding re-rolls, fielding and attacking. Parallels between this and Magic: The Gathering have also been drawn, though I haven’t played the latter to say to compare or contrast.

While you certainly can partake in serious competitive play with this one, I think it also works great at a casual level due to how easy it is to play. It’s also really cheap to add more characters to the mix, as booster packs give you two cards and two corresponding dice for only $1. Even if you don’t plan on partaking in tournaments or collecting cards like a fiend, the base set is strong enough for a great first battle.


Buy Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers VS X-Men Now From Amazon.com


Yomi

2 players
Ages 10 and up
30 minutes

Yomi is basically Street Fighter: The Card Game. Each player takes control over one character, whose moves are mapped to a deck of cards. These moves range from standard punches and kicks, to throws, to fantastical special moves. Once the battle begins, you’ll play your cards to attack, throw, block and dodge incoming attacks. The gameplay even allows for fighters to string together sequences of cards to simulate the effect of combos in a fighting game.

If you like Street Fighter or fighting games in general, Yomi is a great fit for a two-player game night. All of the thrills that come with the video game experience are captured here in a format that doesn’t require lighting reflexes. Having a background in the video games helps, though it still stands on its own as a great two-player strategy game that rewards players for successfully predicting their opponent’s moves while playing the right cards at each turn to weigh the outcome in their favour. Thanks to the depth of the characters and mechanics, this is one that can take ages to master while being fun every time you play it. This one is a favourite of ours and the perfect battleground for a duel of wits.


Buy Yomi: Complete First Edition Now From Amazon.com


 

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