Board games (especially those complex Kickstarter ones) are usually designed for a group of people, but there are several made with just two people in mind. Instead of waiting for the right occasion to fill out the required number of players, you can set up a quick game with a friend or significant other at any time.
That said, there is a wide spectrum of products classified as board games (and plenty of pop culture icons represented), so it can be hard to figure out which ones you should purchase. Because of this, we’re breaking down the best two-player board games on the market. If you’re tired of watching TV on rainy days, these board games may be just what you need.
10 CODENAMES DUET
Codenames Duet is a game all about working together. You and your partner have to team up to identify 15 different agents (each represented by a series of cards) with limited information. However, there’s more than just a lack of information working against you. There are innocent bystanders and an assassin that can mess up the field.
Guess wrong in identifying your agents, and everything could be over before it even begins. You know your partner’s agents but can only assist them with single-word clues. The level of intense communication required is high, let’s hope the casualty count isn’t the same.
9 UPPER DECK LEGENDARY: MARVEL DECK BUILDING
If you and your friend are fans of Marvel (but don’t want the Infinity War board game), then the Upper Deck Legendary Marvel Deck Building game might be the best option. The game is a card game designed by someone who heavily worked on Magic: The Gathering.
In the game, players take the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives who use their agents and their troopers to recruit heroes and stop villains. This cooperative game sees players working together to stop smaller villains to eventually defeat the mastermind behind the entire plot. The game also plenty of expansions, like this X-Men one, that are sure to make any Marvel fan giggle with delight.
8 RIVALS OF CATAN DELUXE
Settlers of Catan can take a lot of time and people to play properly, but Rivals of Catan Deluxe only takes you and another person. It’s a card game that thrusts players into different scenarios where they need to build their own civilizations and try to outdo the other.
With one person playing the role of the prince and the other the princess, your interests will often collide, forcing both players to make crazy decisions along the way. The Deluxe version of this card game includes more scenarios so that the formula doesn’t get too stale. Lovers of Catan will have fun with this game.
Splendor is a game all about becoming a merchant in the Renaissance and making a name for yourself by amassing jewels and all sorts of other useful items. The catch is that everyone you play against is trying to do the exact same thing and amass as much “Prestige” as possible.
It’s all a race to get the best trade routes and uncover more gems. If played well, then you can be noticed by important figures from that era and be welcomed by them. Splendor can be played with up to four people, but it’s a simple concept that works well for two players as well.
6 LOVE LETTER
Love Letter is a silly concept, but it’s fun and simple, which makes it perfect for most people to play. The game is all about trying to woo a princess by sending her your love letters. You have to employ a series of different strategies to get your letters to her while halting the progress of your competitors.
The game supports two to four players, so there’s a bit of versatility if you have company over. The Premium version also includes an expansion that doubles the maximum player count, includes specially sized cards with sleeves, and even has unique heart tokens. There are smaller editions available too.
5 CASTLE PANIC
Castle Panic is fairly straightforward: You have a big castle in the middle of the board, and there are monsters all around that are trying to make their way there and desolate the structure. You have to work with your partner to stop the monsters and save the kingdom.
Castle Panic has a variety of ways to play, which can include cooperative, competitive, and even one where a player controls the monsters. All in all, working together to stop an invasion is easy enough to understand that most people won’t get lost, and you can play the game with up to six players.
Pandemic is a cooperative game in which players are working against the clock to stop illness from spreading all over the globe. Players will control a team of researchers who must collect cards and travel the world to find various cures. They’ll have to work together to strategize a plan of attack to fight a total of four different diseases from wiping out the population.
There are two scenarios to choose from and the game only takes around an hour to complete. For the people that don’t want to compete with their partner all the time, Pandemic is a great option. It also gets featured in a lot of sales, so keep your eyes out for deals.
3 SMALL WORLD
Small World is a game where players take control of different races that exist in a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all — it’s a race to become the only race left on the map. Players will choose their faction and make their way conquering the land by destroying their opponents and taking new territory for themselves.
The game has vibrant drawings featuring colorful and expressive locations and characters. The game has an option of 14 different races to choose and has two double-sided boards to give a total of four different maps to populate. Two people can go head-to-head for dominance, but more players can join the war too.
Sometimes, providing a twist on typical board game fare can lead to a fun and unique experience. That’s precisely what’s offered with Gloom. This game has players trying to make their own characters have the worst days possible. In the end, the one with the least amount of points wins.
Players need to cast tragedies on their own characters and give happy life events to their opponent’s characters. The concept alone is surely enough to keep a couple laughing the entire way through. The cards are also clear, making it easy to always keep track of points accumulated throughout the round.
1 KINGDOM BUILDER
Kingdom Builder looks like a big game that requires many headaches to learn, but it’s a simple concept that’s fun enough to sustain consistent playthroughs. Kingdom Builder puts players in a fantasy world where they must take territory and build on land they acquire. They must occupy certain spaces to gain special abilities that help them get ahead against their opponent.
Kingdom Builder is a game that can get more complex for those that want the extra content, as the Big Box contains two expansions and two mini-expansions to give more replay value. Overall, it’s a flexible game that’s great for two people, but works for bigger groups too.