Valentine's Day Two-Player Game Reviews 0 Comments

What better time of year than Valentine's to celebrate the best in two-player card games and the relationships they foster. I was reminded of this recently when a young couple reached out to me, wanting to place a bulk order of my card games as party favours and table decor for their upcoming wedding. "Your games are fun and small," they said. "We love that you can make a compelling game out of so few cards and would like to be able to share them with our wedding guests." When I explained that I could even customize the games to provide them with a unique keepsake and memento of their special day, they were thrilled. It's going to be a fun project to work with them on and it's a great reminder of the magic and romance that games can offer.

I interviewed gaming couple Chris and Melanie James late last year and they were quick to recommend Famous Fastballs and Famous 500 as great games for busy married couples like themselves. More recently, I've been flirting with some other wonderful couples-oriented bloggers and game reviewers who I can heartily recommend. Tom Caraway, author of the excellent and thoughtful Two Player Games - A Lifetime Love Affair blog, recently ordered a set of our tiny, two-player sports games and I'm very much looking forward to his upcoming comments and experiences with them. Over at the popular Digiboard Games site, resident board game blogger Daryl Chow just included my entire card game line in his Top 10 Games for Valentine's Day list. 

Meanwhile, Kristen McCarty has been posting some great reviews of our games over on her A Game Built for Two blog on GeekCast Radio. With comments like "Solid game play, easy rules, and fun mechanisms make Famous Fastballs a Home Run!", "This beautiful little game is an easy game to carry along and bring out in many situations. I was surprised that eight cards could actually feel like playing a game of tennis." and "Once again we see the design talent of Rob Bartel in the Famous Flagship cards... As with the other Famous Games, I love the artwork.", I decided I wanted to reach out and get to know her a little better so I could share her story with all of you Famous Fans. So, without further ado, here's a window into the world of A Game Built for Two blogger, Kristen McCarty:

Games Built for Two - A Love Story

KRISTEN MCCARTY: "I have a wonderful husband; he is my best friend, my gaming partner, and travel companion. We have been together for 13 years and married six this April. Since our first day we have always enjoyed doing things together. We spent many a weekend on mini-adventures and day trips to historical sites like Washington D.C., Gettysburg, and Harpers Ferry. We love to hike or ride our bikes at the numerous state parks and national forests in our area but weeknights were a different story. After dinner we found ourselves drifting apart to separate areas and doing our own thing. We wanted something we would both enjoy as a couple. We pulled out our long forgotten board games and starting playing together at least one night a week. This was fun for awhile but we both became bored with the repetitive games of Life, Axis and Allies, and Boggle that we remembered from our youth."

"Around this time, I visited a friend and fellow teacher whose husband is very into board games. We wanted to play some games together and he brought out this cute little game called Carcassonne where you used wooden men to claim cities, roads and farms to gain points. I really enjoyed it and told my husband about it when I came home. So we went to our local hobby store, which has sadly closed since this time, to look for it and also check out the newer versions of Axis and Allies. But, instead of another version of Axis and Allies, I discovered these really cool planes that I thought were models but I was surprised were to learn they were actually part of a fun and simple game called Wings of War."

"Excited by the idea of us being able to spend more time together, my husband started doing research to find out more about the games we had discovered in the store. He found the BoardGameGeek website, bought Ticket to Ride and taught me the game. He even discovered a few game-related podcasts like The Dice Tower and Game On. I really credit the podcasts with opening my eyes and helping me enjoy my new hobby."

"We soon expanded our one night a week game night to almost every day and our collection soon skyrocketed. Luckily we had just moved into our first home and had more space. We took our first trip to the Origins Game Fair and were amazed and pleased to meet some of the people who make this hobby so great. We came home with a carload of games and a desire to go again the next year. We have gone almost every year since and last year I was able to visit as part of the press because of my reviews."

"I started writing reviews for a few reasons. Mostly, I wanted to introduce my friends and family to the new hobby I so enjoyed. I also remembered how intimidating games seemed to be when we first played. I wanted to write reviews that focused on explaining the games and helping people understand why I enjoyed them so much. I named my blog “A Game Built for Two” as a play on the phrase “A Bicycle Built for Two.” My husband is my favorite gaming partner and we rarely buy games that don’t work with two players. The bicycle part comes from another favorite hobby we both share, cycling. Most recently I have been writing for where my brother does movie reviews for the site and a few podcasts. He asked me to join as the Table Top Enthusiast, so I guess reviewing runs in the family."

"My husband may not be the one writing the reviews but he is heavily involved in the process. After playing a game we always have a discussion about what we like, don’t like, what is unique about the game, and so forth. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even want to write a review until I have bounced ideas off of him. I think we both enjoy this back and forth discussion and it has helped us refine our tastes for games. He is much more analytical than I am and he helps me see things I may have missed. He also is always ready with a camera whenever I want pictures of games. I use a lot of pictures from BoardGameGeek but there isn’t always enough for my reviews. He has spent a lot of time with my list of pictures so I can get just want I want."

"I really feel that board games have deepened my relationship with my husband. We really enjoy the time we spend playing, discussing, organizing, writing and listening to podcasts. I'm amazed by the people I’ve meet and opportunities that have opened up since I discovered this world. Games have become a fun and important part of our life together."

I'm glad to hear it, Kristen, and I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the years to come!


Happy Valentine's Day,

Rob Bartel, founder
Famous Games Co.