Playing board games is a great hobby for social gatherings. It allows you to get away from screens, gives your mind a workout, and encourages you to socialize. Most importantly, it’s fun!
And you don’t need to throw a party to enjoy this wholesome pastime. There are plenty of board games that can be played by just two people.
Today we are going to take a look at twelve of them. Classics, history, horror… There’s something on this list for everyone!
Chess is the most popular two-player board game in the world that boasts more than a millennium of rich and fascinating history.
It is believed to have been derived from an Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century, was brought to Europe through the Ummayad conquest of Spain in the 9th century, and became standardized with modern rules in the 19th century.
It has been nicknamed “The Game of Kings” because countless kings, aristocrats, and warriors were fascinated by chess throughout the centuries.
Want an intellectual challenge? Learn to play chess. Just know that it’s addictive. You have been warned!
Go was invented 2,500 years ago in China and is believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day. Talk about social proof!
It’s been estimated that back in 2016 there were 46+ million people who knew how to play this game and 20+ million active players worldwide.
Most Go enthusiasts live in Asia, but the game is gaining popularity in the West, where it presents a challenge to chess hegemony.
In fact, despite its simpler setup, Go is said to be more complex than chess, with even more possibilities (e.g. 20 potential opening moves in chess vs 361 potential first player moves in Go).
Already love chess? It’s probably safe to say that you’ll enjoy Go as well.
3. Trekking The National Parks
Any outdoor enthusiast will attest to the fact that being involuntarily stuck at home is unbearable.
However, there are situations in which we can’t go hiking whenever we want, which include harsh weather conditions, debilitating injuries, global pandemics, etc.
That’s when Trekking The National Parks can provide a much-needed respite from daily life by encouraging you to daydream about visiting national parks.
This game was created by parents who had travelled to every national park in the United States and their game designer son.
Its aim is to inspire people to visit national parks through gameplay that features interesting facts about the parks as well as gorgeous pictures.
Trekking The National Parks can help you nourish your love for the great outdoors and get children excited about exploring various parks.
“Strategic Foraging and Feasting for Two” may not be the most compelling tagline in the history of board games.
Nor does the premise of foraging and cooking mushrooms immediately strikes you as exciting.
However, Morels is a relaxing and enjoyable game that only takes 30 minutes to play and provides a great way to unwind after a long day.
Plus, who knows, maybe it will inspire you to venture into the woods near you and start foraging mushrooms?
5. Agricola All Creatures Big and Small
Agricola All Creatures Big and Small is a two-player edition of the classic Agricola board game.
In this game, you play a farmer whose aim is to prosper by increasing the number of animals they own.
It provides a welcome escape from the noise of the modern world and offers a glimpse into a more peaceful life of working with animals.
6. Rivals for Catan
Rivals for Catan is a two-player edition of the classic Settlers of Catan board game.
You play the leader of one of the two competing factions that aim to settle the land of Catan.
You need to establish a settlement, expand your lands, acquire resources, recruit heroes, defend your territory, and more.
It’s an enjoyable game in which you need both strategy and luck in order to win.
7. Tiny Towns
In this lovely game you play the mayor of a tiny town inhabited by small forest creatures.
You will need to plan well, manage resources, and construct new buildings in order to turn your town into the most prosperous town in the forest!
8. The Castles of Burgundy
This game takes place in the 15th century Loire Valley after the Hundred Years War but before the Renaissance spread through Europe.
It’s a peaceful game where you play a prince whose aim is to establish a prosperous estate.
You will need to build castles, farm livestock, operate silver mines, engage in trade, and more.
It’s a relaxing game that is great for winding down.
The creation of Scythe was funded through one of the most successful board game Kickstarter campaigns ever which raised over $1.8 million from 18,000+ backers.
It was arguably the most awaited board game of 2016. Well, it didn’t disappoint.
This is an alternative history game set in the 1920’s dieselpunk Europe in which you play a fallen leader who wants to restore his honor.
The aim is to lead your faction to victory and gain power in Eastern Europe.
You will need to conquer new territories, enlist new people into your army, acquire villagers, and more.
It is a gritty game that is driven by choices. Sure, there’s some luck involved, but its role is limited. You make decisions, then you live with the consequences.
Scythe is a complex game and can take a while to master, but its unique concept makes it rewarding.
It’s also worth noting that Jakub Różalski's artwork is stunning and the craftsmanship of the game pieces is top-quality.
10. Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle is a historical game that is set in the Cold War period of 1945 – 1989 in which you play one of the two superpowers of that era.
It is a complex game that covers the entire world as it was in 1945. You have to exert influence with the aim of shifting the power balance to your side.
This intense game takes around three hours to play and can be quite stressful.
However, if you want a challenge, it may be for you, especially if you are more interested in politics than in war.
11. Wit’s End
Wit’s End is a trivia and brain-teaser game that will put your intelligence, knowledge, and memory to the test.
There are four question categories:
- Wild cards.
Here’s a teaser example:
“Invoked as ‘holy’, yet lacking a religious tone, or called ‘sacred’, and left alone”.
As in ‘holy cow’ and ‘sacred cow’. Get it?
Once you go through all the questions, the game loses replayability, but it can be great fun when playing for the first time.
Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work together to save humanity from four deadly diseases.
You can choose one of the five characters that each have unique abilities that contribute to the team’s mission.
You will need to travel the world, contain the spread of diseases, cure local populations, and eventually eradicate the diseases one by one.
You can also increase the difficulty of the game by adding more Epidemic cards to the deck.
It’s a great game for when you are tired of competing and would rather save the world with your friends.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
A two-player board game can be a great way to spend some quality time with your spouse, significant other, or a friend.
It’s helpful to decide whether you are looking for:
- A competitive game that provides an intellectual challenge.
- A relaxed game that helps to unwind.
Once you know that, finding a game you might enjoy becomes much easier.
Of course, this is not an either-or decision, since you will probably find yourself drawn to one or the other depending on your mood.
That’s why it’s best to build your own board game library which will provide you with a variety of options whenever you want to play something.
Sure, that requires some investment, but it’s well worth it.