You don’t have to have a large group of friends to have a good time playing board games. There are tons of great board games just for two players. Below you’ll find our picks for the best board games for 2 players – from couples on a date night to parents spending quality time with their kids and everything. between.
Indeed, some say that two-player board games are the most fun to play. No plot, no balance issues, just pure one-on-one strategy. And the game doesn’t care if you’re playing with your partner or roommate.
In fact, there are so many fun games out there with two that we couldn’t list them all. Instead, we’ve divided them into three categories so you can find one that suits your mood: fast, cooperative, and competitive. Many of these games support more players, but play brilliantly when there are only two people on the table.
They are easy to set up and play in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for baby nap time or killing some time with friends or loved ones without losing the whole evening.
Radlands out of the wasteland to critical acclaim. Players receive a random selection of three camp cards that they must defend with warrior cards and event cards irradiated from their hand while also attacking the enemy camp. However, cards are extremely resource- and water-intensive, meaning you have to strike a balance between dropping cards for short-term bonuses versus spending them to get them on your front lines. All in all, themed and rich with tactics, Radlands is shaping up to be a classic.
In theory, Schotten Totten sees you stacking members of a Scottish clan, rendered in great cartoon art, for a faction showdown. In fact, it’s more like Poker when you try to collect a trio of colors or numbers that you assign to one of the nine flags. Schotten Totten’s secret is that you are forced to start acting before you can collect the complete sets. That makes every card down and every card drawn a pain of anticipation where bluff and timing are everything. It’s a good game, but best of all, you can also use the cards to play a related 2 player game, Lost Cities (see on Amazon).
Trading games tend to work best with multiplayer, so you’ll have a bit of a bargain. Jaipur solves this problem with an elegant economic system. As an Indian merchant, you want to collect goods like cloth, gold and tea to sell in bulk. But the market is one of diminishing returns. That creates constant tension between stocking up on goods and selling early to get the best prices and turning them down to your competitors. With other smart, linked mechanics, Jaipur is a slippery customer. Whenever you feel you have mastered it, it will reveal new tricks: so it will reward repeated plays with the same person.
Paris: La Cité de la Lumière
A lovely theme, illuminating the transforming beauty of century Paris with new-found electric lights, is culminated in this clever synopsis for two players. First, players must build the board together from a series of tiles, trying to match shapes of their color or purple, which they can use in the second stage. This seems like they are placing buildings, why can they skip a tile to collect, as close to the street light as possible to score. It’s a simple concept, developed to a challenging and fascinating perfection.
These games are challenging and only those who work together can hope to win. Plus, they won’t put you to bed because they’re mad at each other.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
There are many games based on HP Lovecraft on the market. And many people cooperate. After all, if you’re going to go crazy in the face of extra-dimensional horror, it’s best to do it with a friend. This is the best of them all and, as a bonus, it’s pretty quick and simple as well. Each player creates a deck for their character from the cards provided. Then you find forgotten secrets and defeat terror in scenarios that tie together into a narrative campaign. Many expansions not only add more card options to add to your deck, but also new gruesome situations to defeat…or try to go crazy.
Fog of love
In co-op games, you don’t fight each other. In Fog of Love, you’re not fighting with anything: you’re a couple, going on a romantic relationship. Each player builds a character from a selection of trait, feature, and occupation cards. These then inform what they want and how they behave, the scenes of which make up each game. But there is a secret: characteristics must be hidden so that, just like in the real world, partners can have competing goals. Each player flowers into a complicated story that can lead to love or loss or anything in between. Their flair and realism make up for the lack of well-defined winning conditions.
If you’ve ever empathized with underdogs, Spirit Island is for you. As ancient spirits, your mission is to help the native islanders fend off an invasion. But growing strong enough to confront the colonists was slow going. Building your mental abilities is an addictive attraction, but to reach your potential, you have to deal with those nasty adventurers. You will need to allocate precious energy and actions every turn to destroy soldiers and their cities. Take too long and their expansion will ruin the landscape, causing you to lose. It’s a game that’s heavy on both rules and depth but beautifully combines unusual mechanics with its unusual theme.
The gods sleep in the forest
If you want a unique title you can immerse yourself in to enjoy your own story together, look no further than Sleeping God. It is a giant game in which you will guide the crew of a small boat, get lost in a strange and strange dimension, and try to get back home. On the one hand, this is a survival game in which you must maneuver crew and resources through dangerous encounters, trying to keep everyone alive. On the other hand, it’s a narrative game, with a branching story, clues and puzzles that continue to deftly push into the mechanical survival strategy. If you manage to experiment to the end, the additional plays will tell a completely different story.
Competition where you go up while other players go down can feel bad and unfair. Fortunately, a lot of board game designers have found a way for couples to compete without the cruelty.
No, no one sneezes. YINSH is the best in a series of abstract games (of course!) known as the GIPF project. No, I don’t know either. Skip the names and take on this fascinating challenge instead. Players go head-to-head on a hexagonal board, moving the rings to leave markers. To win, you need to make necklaces of your own color, but the rings alternate between black and white. So you need to plan the patterns in advance to get those connections. With several rounds in play, YINSH weaves the web of anxiety in your head, but when you complete a sequence, you lose a round. This elegant twist makes strategy easier but wins harder and ensures timing is part of the strategy.
Race for the Galaxy
The icons in this game start to look like an alien language, but Race for the Galaxy is fast and engaging. It’s all about building an intergalactic empire from the planets, aliens, and technology in your hands. The bottom line is that you don’t always have control over which cards you can play, as the player chooses which game moves to make each turn. This makes everything a difficult balancing act, with thousands of to-dos being translated into your limited actions. Choose the right priorities and build the right card combinations and your reward is more than just winning. It’s a real sense of a space-born society growing and flourishing.
Unprecedented: Cobble and Fog
If you fancy a little bit of head-to-head combat action, you won’t be able to do better than the Unparalleled series. Each box features a unique set of characters with their own special powers and decks to attack, defend, and perform special moves. Play is all about combining tactical movement on a cramped board with your hand management to build powerful card sequences. Despite the variety, the core rules are simple and can be learned in minutes. Cobble and Fog is the best series to date, with four characters from gothic literature to enjoy, but all the boxes can be combined together for even more options. See our Unprecedented: Cobble and Fog review for more information.
There’s an entire genre of games in which playing cards simulates major real-life events to uncover alternate history. Most are long and complex, but Watergate puts their tension and detail within the reach of any gamer. One player represented Nixon, the other the Washington Post, as each player attempted to connect or block connections on a web of evidence and witnesses linking the President to the famous scandal. Versatile cards and visible support mechanics ensure plenty of depth and replay value along with the excitement of trying to put sites together.
https://www.ign.com/articles/best-2-player-board-games The best 2 player board games