by Parker Banks
As a married couple, we play a lot of board games with just the two of us. They make a great date night! Two players are probably the second most prevalent player count for board games (behind 4 player games) and there a ton of great games out there. Below is a list of recommendations for games specifically designed for only two players. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Patchwork is a great game we would recommend to anyone and expect them to enjoy. It is probably our favorite game designed solely for two players. While the theme of buying different quilt patches and using them to complete your quilt might not sound particularly exciting, especially to male gamers, it is a game that is a lot of fun and requires some planning ahead to fit as many patches as you can on your board.
Star Realms is one of our favorite deck builders, and we love how many different ways there are to win. Do you want to buy as many bases as you can or just focus on ships? Do you want to try to buy some ships from all of the factions or focus on one? Or two? Or three? So many options, and it plays so quickly. Deck builders in general tend to play well with two players, but Star Realms is definitely one of the best.
Jaipur is our second game about merchants. Similar to Asante, you are trying to obtain and sell goods. The biggest difference is Jaipur only focuses on the goods (no animals or artifacts to mess you up). You want to sell the higher priced goods before your opponent, or sell more of one good to earn more rupees. An all-around good time, although this is a game that Jarah always wins…
These next three games are for anybody who likes planning out your moves ahead of time.
Mr. Jack is a great game of cat and mouse. One player is Mr. Jack trying to escape London and the other is the detective trying to stop him. To add to the theme, two of the characters are Sherlock Holmes & John Watson. We have only played the original version, but we have heard good things about a couple of the others, especially the Phantom of the Opera version.
Every list of 2-player games has to include at least one chess variant, right? Hive is the one that we choose for this list. Insects might creep some people out, but there is something fun about surrounding your opponent’s Queen Bee with your army of ants, spiders, and beetles. We own Hive Carbon because that’s the one we like the look of best, but any of the versions will suit you just fine!
In Gobblet, each player is trying to connect four of their sixteen pieces in a straight line. Each player has four pieces of four different sizes, and you can cover smaller pieces with your bigger pieces. This can help bury some of your opponents pieces or make a surprise reveal four-in-a-row after your opponent forgot you were hiding one of your own pieces. Gobblet is a great strategy game where both players know everything their opponent can do, or at least they could know if they were paying close enough attention!*
We talked about one of the games that Jarah always wins, now it is time for one that I always win: Piñata! Let’s face it, I am just way better at anything that even resembles eating food. We love the give and take of trying to decide which candy you can possibly still win and which ones you just need to leave alone and let your opponent smash away at by themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, board games are not my first passion. That claim belongs to the animal kingdom. (Pretty much all of it…at least the bony ones.) Tally Ho! is a great game where one player is the animals (bears and foxes) and the other is the people (hunters and lumberjacks). It is a game in which luck can decide occasionally, but we believe that this luck can almost always be mitigated by good play. However, when your opponent happens to flip both of your bears over right in front a hunter, it is a little sad. I always love being able to play the hunted and taking revenge.
That concludes a list of some of our favorite 2-player games. If you have any favorite games that are designed for only two players or any questions about the games we’ve talked about, let us know in the comments!
*Gobblet was added to the list on 2/5/2018