1960 is ok
Nadine and I played 1960 on shabbat and I won at Nixon with 315 or so points. After my second game, I find the game to be ok, but not much more. Yeah, the decisions are fun, but there are too many mechanics around to pay attention to the theme, so we just end up pushing the same cubes back and forth.
I like the decision making on what to play and what to keep for the debates, but then the debates are just an ugly and boring mechanism.
And it's long, which subjectively means that the mechanics begin to repeat before I feel like the game has moved to the next stage. Despite the debates in round 6, the game has little story arc; it looks and plays the same at the beginning and at the end.
Still, it's not too too long, and the cards give you different cubes to push in different places, so it's not too too repetitive. Luck is not too too big a factor. And it's fun and tense. I wouldn't pick it over some other two player games unless I was an election or history buff.
Nadine, Rachel, and I played Puerto Rico, and I invited our friend Joan to join us. She is not a gamer and never expressed any interest in gaming, but she thought it would be fun to join us for a few hours.
Nadine explained the game to her in a way that boggled my head. It seemed to me to be the most convoluted method of teaching, more strategy information than rules information, and not in any order than made sense. When I told her this, she said that I have more experience in teaching gamers how to play while she has more experience in teaching non-gamers how to play. By round three, said Nadine, Joan would be up to speed. I was highly skeptical.
Nevertheless, by round three Joan was up to speed, which was even more head boggling. Of course she wasn't "up to speed" up to speed, playing against the three of us; it was still her first game. But Joan was smart enough and able to make a few of her own decisions. We helped here and there along the way.
Joan had a coffee monopoly during the early game, and then Factory, Harbor, and Wharf, and Custom's House to round it out. It wasn't a slaughter only because we're good players, but it was pretty obvious that she was going to win, although Nadine also looked to be in good shape mid-game. In the end, Joan had 60 points, one for each year of the State of Israel.
Nadine also had Factory, plus tobacco and a late Wharf, and ended with two big buildings netting 57 points. Rachel had a Harbor and a big building, but didn't think she was going to win fairly early on, and netted 55 points. I was first player and had a Large Market, the next coffee, an early quarry, and an early Small Warehouse. Not nearly enough, and I netted only 50 points.
It was fun. Joan said that she enjoyed the experience, but didn't sound like she'd be back to play on a regular basis.