My Top 5 Board games for two (My fave and me)

For a long time I had no particular interest in 2 player games. I come from a fairly large family so we always had plenty of people to play and games were always something done in a group setting. However, over the last couple of years have introduced my partner to board games and while they aren't her favourite thing in the world she enjoys them. As such I am often on the hunt for games that she will enjoy playing with me. This has opened up a whole world of dedicated or two-player modes for games which has been a bunch of fun to explore.

My partner and I don't play a tonne of games together so I decided to keep the list relatively short so as not just list every game we play 😄 also these are our top games to play together, there are other 2 player games like #War of the Ring (Second Edition) which I think are amazing but I do not own and would be too heavy for my partner to enjoy at the moment.

5) #Odin's Ravens: A Mythical Race Game for Two Players - A very simple racing game designed for two, the artwork is some of the most stunning I have seen. We like to take this one on picnics and chat while we play. The game mechanics aren't anything to write home about but it is fairly relaxed and you can do some fun things.

4) #Azul - playing this at two makes it incredibly intense: anything you don't take your opponent will. There is also a lot of scope for being very mean, although as is often the case with 2P it feels less personal than being mean in a 4P game. It is a fun puzzle and the tiles are just a delight to handle and move.

3) #The Fox in the Forest Duet - a co-operative trick taking game. Again, the artwork is gorgeous (my partner really enjoys artwork and collecting things) and it is not too heavy tactically but a very pleasurable way to cooperate with a friend or loved one.

2) #878: Vikings - Invasions of England - dang do I adore this game. We've only played it twice so far much each time has been hilarious and enjoyable. It is a lightweight wargame, with plenty of dice-rolling. The randomness of turn order/dice/card draw makes it impossible to work out the 'best' move so you have to go with your gut which prevents any AP. However, that doesn't mean you can't have strategy. In the last game I built a Viking minefield to prevent English counter-attacks: the fact that can happen (and work!) is excellent in and of itself. Also, the shear quantity of 'predicatble randomness' (i.e. you know what will be random and what won't be) means one bad role is unlikely to decide a whole game and whoever played best will tend to come out on top. While I have really enjoyed this at two-player I cannot wait to play it with four players in two teams.

1) #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis - This is such a good two player game in my mind. It is like #Twilight Struggle but in 45 minutes. You each take on the role of a super power during the cold war. You use multi-use cards (which have events and 'command points' on them, if a card has an event for your opponent they get to use it when you play the card) to spread influence in one of nine 'battle grounds' (3 each of political, military and world opinion) to try and claim you secret objective for each round. However, your opponent knows your objective is one of three and can score it if they beat you to it, so there is a fair amount of bluffing. The best mechanic in my mind is that if you raise your influence in a battleground too fast you raise your defcon in the corresponding catergory: get one catergory too high or all three a little high then you trigger nuclear war and immediately lose the game. As such the whole game is a balancing act as you have to reduce you influence in other battlegrounds to reduce your defcon. In summary I think this game is so elegantly put together, all the mechanics are smoothly interlocked so every move has ramifications but in a very intuitive way and plays in a reasonable time. Cannot recommend it enough.

There you go, hope this gives you some ideas of what to look into.

An honourable mention should go to Jigsaw puzzles, we have done 3 so far in lockdown and they are such a surprisingly enjoyable way to spend and afternoon/evening. Get one in your life!



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Supporter3 months ago

I have pretty much zero experience with 2p exclusive games, so I've wondered about this for a long time. From your experience, what stands out the most when you play 2p exclusive game vs. a multiplayer game that's great for 2p?

3 months ago

I wouldn't say there is too much difference in some ways, as a lot of multi-player games tend to change considerably when played with just two and become much closer to games that are designed for two anyway. 

One thing I think can often really shine though is that in games designed for two, asymmetry can be amazingly tailored. I.e. you can design the differences in what each player does to interact in really interesting ways that would be very difficult to do with more players. That is part of the reason I was keen to get #The Defence of Procyon III as it seems like an attempt to do just that: have four highly asymmetric factions that are engineered to interact in very specific ways to create something very special.

Supporter3 months ago

I've wanted to try 13 days. How long does it take ya'll to play it? 

3 months ago

I'd say on average, 40-45 minutes. There are 3 rounds with each of you playing 4 cards per round. Each card is generally used to place or remove 1-3 cubes. So often only takes seconds to play each card. There is some thinking about how to bluff your opponent or trying to figure out their objective.

Linked Games
878: Vikings - Invasions of England
Odin's Ravens: A Mythical Race Game for Two Players
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Fox in the Forest Duet
Linked Topic