Jaipur is absolutely one of the top two players out there for people getting into gaming. Excellent choice! And Pandemic is a big duh for us: a must-have for gamers, two players or more.
I would also love to throw out there Escape: The Curse of the Temple. Real-time exploration game that will get the adrenaline pumping. Tense, and good for lots of laughter. It can be played with more players, but I love it at two.
And a little obscure for new gamers, but the new printing of Odin’s Ravens isn’t just fun, it’s beautiful. You play as Odin’s two ravens who travel the world bringing him news of human life. Since they have been doing it so long, and they get bored, they have made a race out of it. It’s for two players only, and the art, unique form factor, and little laser-cut wooden ravens are just gorgeous. Very easy to learn and a quick play. A good pub game, too, since it has a fixed size on the table and doesn’t take long.
Thanks for the article, Wil!