You might be surprised to find out that despite running a board game bar and cafe many of the games we play are only two players. Quickie games on lunch breaks and late-night games after closing kinda end up with low player counts. But since it’s Valentine’s Day, I figure this is where I’m a Viking!
Of course, you could always stick with chess, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous here are our recommendations.
Quickies to get you started
Lets get started with some quick games to get you into the mood. These are the games we pull out when we only have half an hour to play something, but they’re just as good as warm-up games before settling into something bigger.
If Hive doesn’t appear on your list of great two-player games then you can shut the door on your way out. This chess-like game is full of strategy and cleverness, but is also super easy to learn.
Besides just being fun to say, Schotten Totten is easy to learn and fun to play. You and your opponent are fighting over nine boundary stones. You win a stone by building the better poker-like formation of three cards on your side of the stone.
Ta-Yu is a great one for two people because of its simplicity and tranquility. Players take turns placing river tiles and trying to make connections from one side of the board to the other. The goal is to have the most connections at the end of the game, so you have to balance connecting your own rivers and blocking the other person’s.
The best way to describe Dutch Blitz is basically mad-panic, competitive solitaire. Played over multiple rounds, players are racing to complete sequential sets in the middle of the play area. At the end of each round you gain points for the number of cards you contributed to the centre, and lose points for every card left in your personal deck.
Once you’ve got some quickie games out of the way, it’s time to dig into some meatier stuff. These are games that will fill up a lunch hour quite nicely, or you can play a few of them to have really varied games night for two.
Depending which adventure you choose, the Unlock escape room games can be great with two people. I’d recommend going for one of the easy or mid-range stories, as the super hard ones really do benefit from more brains in the mix. I’d recommend The Formula, House on the Hill, or Squeek & Sausage for a fun but tricky night.
Warning: Probably don’t choose The Island of Doctor Gorse, as this story splits the team into two and you would be playing by yourself for a lot of the game.
Babel is a small game that can take a surprisingly long time to play. You are competing to build temples on construction sites on your side of the board. Collect different civilisation cards to activate special abilities and wreak havoc on the other persons work.
45 – 60 minutes
While you can play it with up to 5 people, Parks works surprisingly well with two people. In Parks, you are on a quest to visit national parks, collect resources, and buy gear.
45 – 60 minutes
“It’ll take you all night” games
If you’re looking for a real event night, here are the ones to look out for. Unfortunately, many bigger games require players to play multiple characters if you don’t have enough people. We’ve only selected games for this list that don’t require you to do this.
Robinson Crusoe Adventures on the Cursed Island
Again, Robinson Crusoe is actually designed to be played with up to 4 players, but it works surprisingly well with 2. Adam and I have even made it our missing to get through every scenario of Robinson Crusoe in 2020, so it’s not only a great 2 player game but also a great long term game.
2 – 3 hours
Fog of Love
Fog of Love is the game that plays through an entire relationship, from the first meet-cute through to happily ever after … or not. It’s a great adventure for two people that love to semi-roleplay and create stories in their games. One caveat with Fog of Love is that you do not play yourself. You create a character, give them a name, quirks and backstory, and then control that person. This adds roleplaying elements and keeps the game from getting too personal.
1 – 2 hours
Be warned, Spirit Island is a big, complex game. That being said it’s a really fun, big, complex game. It’s a great co-op game for two people because of the high level of discussion needed.
Much like Robinson Crusoe, every round you need to discuss what you both should do and the order you should do it in. Sure that leaves it open to quarterbacking a little, but if quarterbacking is an issue maybe you should be finding someone better to game with 😛
1 – 2 hours
Obviously if there’s any games you love for two players that aren’t on my list, let us know below!