The Best 2-Player Board Games

You don’t need large groups of friends to have a good time playing a board game. There are plenty of great board games for two players. Below you’ll find our selection of the best 2-player board games, from couples on a date to parents spending time with their child and everything in between. Indeed, some say that two-player board games are the most fun to play. There is no story, no balance issues, just pure one-on-one strategy. And the game doesn’t care if you’re playing with your partner or roommate. In fact, there are so many games that are fun for two that we can’t list them all. Instead, we’ve broken them down into three categories so you can find the one that suits your mood: fast, collaborative, and competitive. Many of these games support more players but play great when there are only two at the table.

Quick games

They are easy to set up and play in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for a baby nap or for killing some time with a friend or loved one without taking up the entire evening.


The Radlands emerged from the wastelands to critical acclaim. Players have given a random selection of three camp cards, which they must defend with irradiated warriors and event cards from their hands, as well as attack the enemy camp. However, the cards cost water, and the resources are very scarce, meaning you need to balance card discards to gain short-term bonuses versus costs to use them in your battle lines. Tense, thematic, and rich in tactics, Radlands promises to be a classic.

Schotten Totten

In theory, Schotten Totten sees you line up Scottish clan members, represented by superb cartoon art, for factional rivalry. In practice, it’s more like poker, where you try to make triplets of colors or numbers that you assign to one of the nine flags. The secret of Schotten Totten is that you have to start playing before you have complete sets. This turns every hole card and every card drawn into an agony of waiting when bluffing and timing are everything. It’s a good game, but even better, you can also use the cards to play the two-player sister game, Lost Cities (look on amazon).


Trading games tend to work best with multiple players, so you’ll have to haggle a bit. Jaipur solves this problem with an elegant economic system. As an Indian merchant, you want to collect goods such as cloth, gold, and tea in order to sell them in bulk. But the market is a market of diminishing returns. This creates a constant tension between hoarding goods and selling early to get the best prices and depriving your opponent of them. With other smart, interconnected mechanics, Jaipur is a slippery client. Whenever you feel like you’ve mastered it, it unlocks new tricks: thus, it rewards playing again against the same person.

Paris: Cite de la Lumiere

A beautiful theme, lighting up the beauty of turn-of-the-century Paris with new electric lights, is thrown into this artful two-player abstract art. First, players must complete a board from a series of tiles, attempting to collect pieces of their own color or a general purple color that they can use in the second stage. It’s like they place buildings so they can skip board tiles to collect as close to as many street lights as possible to score points. It’s a simple concept taken to a complex and fascinating perfection.

Co-op games

These games are difficult and only those who work together can hope to win. Plus, they won’t make you go to bed angry at each other.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

There are many games based on HP Lovecraft on the market. And many are cooperating. After all, if you’re going to go crazy in the face of creepy extra-dimensional horrors, it’s best to do it with a friend. It’s the best one out there and, as a bonus, it’s pretty quick and easy. Each player builds a deck for their character from the provided cards. You then find forgotten secrets and defeat horrors in scenarios that tie together into a story campaign. Numerous add not only add new cards to your deck but also new horrifying scenarios to beat… or go crazy trying.

mist of love

mist of love

In co-op games, you don’t fight each other. In The Fog of Love, you’re not fighting anything: you’re a couple acting out a romantic relationship. Each player builds a character from a set of trait, trait, and profession cards. They then communicate what they want and how they behave in the scenes that make up each game. But there’s a catch: Traits must remain hidden so that, just like in the real world, partners can have competing goals. Each play turns into a complex story that can lead to love or loss or something else. Their subtlety and realism make up for the lack of well-defined victory conditions.

Spirit Island

Spirit Island

If you’ve ever sympathized with outsiders, Spirit Island is for you. Your task, as ancient spirits, is to help the native islanders resist the invasion. But the growth of sufficient strength to resist the colonists is slow. Building up your spirit’s abilities is an exciting draw, but to unlock your potential, you’ll have to deal with those pesky explorers. You will need to spend precious energy and actions every turn to destroy their soldiers and cities. Stay too long, and their expansion will ruin the landscape, causing you to lose. It’s a heavy game both in terms of rules and depth, but it brilliantly combines unusual mechanics with an unusual theme.

sleeping gods

sleeping gods

If you’re looking for one game you can dive into to enjoy weaving your own narrative, look no further than Sleeping Gods. This is a gigantic game in which you will be in charge of a crew of a small boat that is lost in a strange and exotic dimension and is trying to get back home. On the one hand, it’s a survival game where you have to guide your team and resources through dangerous encounters while trying to keep everyone alive. On the other hand, this is a narrative game with a branching story, hints, and puzzles that cleverly fit into a mechanical survival strategy. If you manage to make it to the finale, the additional plays will tell a completely different story.

Competitive Games

A competition in which you rise to the top and the other player loses can seem mean and unfair. Thankfully, many board game designs have found ways to allow couples to compete without violence.



No, nobody sneezed. YINSH is the best in a series of abstract games known (of course!) as the GIPF project. No, I don’t know either. Ignore the names and dive into this exciting challenge instead. Players go face to face on a hexagonal board, moving rings that leave markers behind. You need to match your color to win, but the moving rings alternate between black and white. So you need to plan ahead for patterns to get those connections. With multiple rings in play, INSh spins a web in your head, but when you complete the chain, you lose the ring. This elegant twist simplifies the strategy but makes it harder to win and ensures that timing becomes part of the tactic.

Race for the galaxy

Race for the galaxy

The icons in this game look like an alien language at first, but Race for the Galaxy is fast and fun. It’s all about building an intergalactic empire out of planets, aliens, and technology at your fingertips. The catch is that you don’t always have control over which cards you can play as players choose which game phases to play each turn. It turns everything into a complex balancing act where thousands of things flow from your limited actions. Choose the right priorities and create the right combinations of cards, and your reward will be more than just a victory. This is a real feeling of the growth and prosperity of space society.

Unmatched: cobblestone and fog

cobblestone and fog

If you like uncompromising head-to-head combat, you won’t do well in the Unmatched series. Each box contains a set of unique characters with their own special powers and a deck of cards with which to attack, defend and perform special moves. The game is about combining tactical moves on a tight board with hand control to create powerful chains of cards. Despite the variety, the basic rules are simple and can be learned in minutes. Cobble and Fog is the best set so far, with four characters from gothic literature, but all boxes can be combined with each other for even more possibilities. See our review of Unmatched: Cobble and Fog for more information.



There is a whole genre of games where card games replay key real-life events to explore alternate histories. Most of them are long and complex, but Watergate makes their tension and detail accessible to any player. One player represents Nixon, the other represents the Washington Post, as each plays cards trying to tie up or block connections in the web of evidence and witnesses linking the president to the famous scandal. The reusable maps and swings of the supporting mechanics provide ample depth and replay value, as well as the excitement of trying to weave the web together.

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