Most board games fall into one of two categories: fiercely competitive or humorous (sometimes both). Even in the case of co-operative games like Pandemic
, Lord of the Rings
, or Ghost Stories
, there's still a strong component of competition. Although the players are not competing against each another, they are
competing rather intently with the game itself, leading to strong feelings of tension. A handful of games are more story-oriented, where players are trying to tell amusing stories rather than to laugh or compete.
Another interesting phenomenon is the scale of how many players can play in a specific game. Seldom do I get to play two-player games any more. The Dork Spouse doesn't generally like the same sort of games I do, so there are few two-player games on which we can agree, and when I'm playing with friends, there's usually more than two of us there. Even on those few occasions in which I am playing with a single other player, we almost always end up playing games designed for 2 to 4, or 2 to 6. So the number of games I have that were designed specifically as two-player games almost never get taken off the shelf.
And when you combine these, the phenomenon gets even more interesting. By which I mean: when's the last time you heard of a two-player co-operative game?
Sure, most of the co-operative board games mentioned above can be played with two players, but they can handle up to 4 (Pandemic
, Ghost Stories
) or 5 (Lord of the Rings
). It seems that co-operative games are not intended to be limited to 2 players.
...and then we held hands
turns all of these ideas on their heads.