This list of the best two-player games is coming to you just in time for cooler weather and cozy evenings!
It’s that time of year again when the days are growing shorter and nights are growing longer and colder.
While the thought of that might be a bummer to some, why not embrace it? Pour a glass of wine or a mug of hot cocoa and settle in for a quiet evening with your favorite game buddy.
Best Two-Player Games: Board Games
Here are 15 of the best two-player games for your next game night!
The tagline for this game is “win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues”.
Codenames: Duet is a two-player, cooperative adaptation of one of the highest-ranked board games on Amazon, Codenames.
Instead of teams competing against one another, two players work together to uncover the secret identities of their agents (only knowing them by their codenames, of course) using one-word clues. The object of the game is to reveal fifteen agents without revealing assassins or innocent bystanders within a time limit.
Recommended for ages ten and up, this is one of the best two-player games you can find!
Boardgame without a board? Why not?
Hive comes with 22 hexagonal tiles that create their own board as more pieces are added. In a chess-like fashion, players move their insect-laden game pieces in an attempt to capture the opposing Queen Bee.
This award-winning game is designed to help build strategy skills for players age nine and up.
Gloomhaven is a great game for anyone who loved “Choose Your Own Adventure” books growing up! An innovative card system provides hours of fun via “legacy mechanics”, it continues and evolves over many game sessions, turning family game night into an ongoing affair.
One to four players ages 12 and up embark on an adventure and cooperate to fight monsters in dungeons and ruins in this Euro-inspired tactical combat game.
Have you ever daydreamed about building your own civilization? What would you do to ensure your capital city remains protected from enemies and your society flourishes for generations to come?
This game will fulfill all those fantasies of grandeur. Designed specifically for two players, 7 Wonders – Duel is a similar style of play as the award-winning original, 7 Wonders. It offers 30 minutes of gameplay for 10-15-year-olds with an affinity for the ancient world.
In a cool twist for those not excited by militaristic invasions and head to head battles, you can advance your society by achieving scientific advancements or building cities. This is a perfect (and fun) extension of education for students of world history!
As a kid, I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. Then I grew older and started looking into colleges during my teenage years, considering archaeology as a major so I could be like Indiana Jones.
If you’re like me, this game was made for you!
Venture into the Egyptian desert and lead your own dig, excavating artifacts that you’ll hope to sell (unless, of course, a thief tries to rob your treasures!). Though the manufacturer recommends this card game for players ages 13-15 years, by the Amazon reviews, it seems that adults have fun with this game, too.
Scythe Board Game is for serious game aficionados, containing character miniatures, coins, cards, and several small pieces, all of which contribute to an immersive experience. Since it can occupy from one to five players for 90-120 minutes, it’s perfect for family game night.
Its unique setup uses a streamlined action-selection mechanism (meaning no rounds or phases), which keeps gameplay moving and reduces downtime between turns. Yay for no phones at the game table!
Set in an alternate history in the 1920s, players will be transported to a dark world of farming, industry, and war in a Hunger Games-esque uprising story.
This two-player follow-up to 2016’s Imhotep: Builder of Egypt is an ideal opportunity for a little quality one-on-one time with your favorite game buddy. Players assume the identities of Nefertiti and Akhenaten, one of ancient Egypt’s most famous royal couples in this highly interactive gameplay.
The object of the game is to unload boats and compete to build Egyptian monuments. The box comes with 60 Cargo Tokens, 8 Site Boards, 8 Meeples, 6 Boats, 1 Harbor Board, and an 8-page full-color illustrated manual.
Terraforming Mars transports one to five players ages 12 and up to a time in the 2400s, when colonization on the Red Planet has begun. The World Government on Earth is sponsoring corporations to make the climate livable for humankind. Players assume the roles of corporations and collaborate to terraform the planet, but compete for victory points.
This is one of the best two-player games for science-fiction buffs who love to imagine what the future might hold if Earth becomes uninhabitable. Five expansion packs are available for ongoing fun: Prelude, Hellas & Elysium, Turmoil, Colonies, and Venus Next.
PARKS is a beautiful game containing illustrations representing 45 US National Parks, and the best two-player game for outdoorsy folks.
Wood tokens represent the wildlife that roams our National Parks today. Players take on the role of hikers, exploring a multitude of trails across four seasons, during which they will take actions and collect memories of the places they visit. All tokens collected can be traded to visit a National Park at the end of each hike.
If you can’t get out to enjoy the outdoors, PARKS is the next best thing! Hike the trail solo or with up to four friends for 60 minutes of gameplay.
Shobu brings game playing back to basics with abstract strategy.
Specially designed for two players, each will use beautiful river stones as playing pieces. Each player moves their stones strategically in an attempt to push their opponent’s stones off the wooden board. The strategic nature of Shobu is similar to chess but with a twist.
This mind-expanding board game is great for ages ten and above and will occupy about 30-40 minutes of playtime (or much, much more!).
Best Two-Player Games: Card Games
Mushrooms may seem like a strange theme for a card game, but in 2014, Morels was recognized as the Card Game of the Year.
Take on the role of fungus forager in a storybook-like forest, strategically working your way through cards featuring colorful artwork. As players collect an assortment of mushrooms, they can choose to cook them for sustenance or sell them to collect information that will help them advance on their journey.
This fun “foraging and feasting for two” card game will occupy two players ages ten and up for about 30 minutes at a time.
Sushi Go! Is a delicious, fast-paced card game taking place in a conveyor belt-style sushi restaurant, where the goal, of course, is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Players score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi.
This is the best two-player game for sushi lovers and will occupy two to five players for about 15 minutes at a time. Perfect for sushi night, of course!
Please pass the sake.
This card game designed for lovers of mystery and monster stories blurs the line between traditional card gaming and role-playing experiences.
Two players will become characters in the New England town of Arkham. They’ll use their own strengths and weaknesses (as indicated by the cards) to get to the bottom of the world’s most spine-chilling mysteries. Along the way, they’ll overcome the darkest and most terrifying monsters of all: their own personal demons.
It’s a horror story that can fit in your pocket.
A must-have for LOTR fans, this Living Card Game (an alternative to the traditional trading card model, in which players can buy expansion packs for added gaming) transports players to Middle-earth where they’ll work cooperatively to gather allies and artifacts to defeat the Dark Lord Sauron, who is once again doing his evil thing in Mordor.
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will occupy one to two players for 30 to 90 minutes, which is way shorter than a LOTR film!
If you’re looking for a portable card game that can fit in your jacket pocket, Star Realms: Deckbuilding Game is an excellent choice. This set supports two players, with the option of adding sets that can support multiplayer games of up to six players.
For those not familiar, a deck-building game is one in which the construction of a deck is a main element of gameplay and each player has their own deck. This easy-to-learn game immerses players into the world of spaceship combat, enhanced by beautifully illustrated cards.
And there you have it – 15 of the best two-player games to play with your opponent of choice this cozy season!
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