Board Games

27 Best 2 Player Board Games

Best 2 Player Board Games

If you are looking for a fun way to spend time with your best friend or a family member, cracking open a board game is a great idea. You can always pull out classics like Scrabble, checkers or chess, but there are many other exciting 2 player board games that may be new to you. If you are looking for a competitive head-to-head challenge or a cooperative partnership game that is perfect for two players, these are best 2 player board games to consider.

*Post last updated July 2019. We are always on the lookout for new games. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

1. Pandemic Legacy

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 60 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 13+ | Year: 2015

If you prefer to work cooperatively with another player rather than to engage in head-to-head competition, Pandemic Legacy is a fun game to pull out. Pandemic Legacy is designed for two to four players and rated as our best 2 player board game. It immerses you in a world on the brink of chaos, and only you can stop a catastrophic pandemic from breaking out. Unlike the basic Pandemic game, Pandemic Legacy is an extended-play version that may entertain you for approximately 45 to 90 minutes per round. You and your teammate will follow a narrative that progresses on a monthly timeline. Each month provides you with new characters, rule add-ons and tools, which makes this a complex and exciting game to enjoy many times without getting bored.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

2. War of the Ring (Second Edition)

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 150-180 minutes | Complexity: High| Age: 13+ | Year: 2012

War of the Ring is probably the most complex board game on this list of best 2 player board games. The action takes place on a massive 70 x 100cm game board and play features 204 Plastic Figures, 16 Action Dice, 5 Combat Dice, 110 Event and Character Cards, and 76 Cardboard Counters. As you may have guessed from the title, War of the Ring is based on the “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. One player takes control of the Free Peoples, the other player controls Shadow Armies. The Free Peoples must defend their cities and strongholds from the Shadow Armies long enough for the Ringbearer to make it to Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring. War of the Ring is highly recommended for fans of both board games and the “Lord of the Rings” series. This game will provide hours of intense action during just one play-through with hundreds of different possible scenarios.

Where to Buy: Amazon

3. 7 Wonders Duel

Players: 2 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 10+ | Year: 2015

If you enjoy playing 7 Wonders in a larger group, you will love 7 Wonders Duel. This is a variation of 7 Wonders that is designed specifically for two players. The goal is to build the most advanced or powerful civilization. Before the game starts, the playing cards are laid down randomly on the table. With each turn, players select cards that either build up or tear down their civilization. The cards can work together to create ultra-powerful combinations. While building your own civilization, pay attention to the opponent’s efforts. You may need to use some of your cards to alter the opponent’s strategy so that you gain a competitive edge. The winner may have the most victory points, the most advanced innovations or an army that completely obliterates the opponent’s army.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

4. Agricola

Players: 1-5 | Game Time: 30-150 minutes | Complexity: High | Age: 12+ | Year: 2007

Agricola is a competitive game designed around strategic planning, and it is well-suited for two or more players. The goal of this game is to develop a diversified working farm that is more well-rounded and efficient than your opponent’s farm. Each round, you can select specific chores to complete. The chores selected impact how your farm grows and your ability to feed your family. Unlike many other competitive board games, players in Agricola cannot attack other players. Instead, they can strategically block the other player’s actions and influence how they build their board in the process. Plan to spend approximately two hours per match.

Where to Buy: Amazon

5. Patchwork

Players: 2 | Game Time: 15-30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 2014

Patchwork is a mentally-challenging, competitive game designed as a 2 player board game. While the game’s concept is straightforward, the game requires strategic planning and is more difficult than it initially appears. Each player is provided with a small game board and a limited amount of money. You must purchase specific pieces for your game board with the goal of completing as much of the quilt as possible. Pieces cannot be moved once they are placed on the board, and the unique shapes of the pieces make this a great game for people who enjoy puzzles. Each match may take up to 45 minutes to complete.

Where to Buy: Amazon

6. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Players: 1-8 | Game Time: 60-120 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 10+ | Year: 2017

Clue is a popular who-done-it board game, but it does not work well with two players. If you enjoy sleuthing games, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a smart alternative. It is designed for two to eight players to enjoy together. This board game places you inside the world of Sherlock Holmes and invites you to explore clues as you work through cases. Altogether, you can solve 10 unique cases competitively or cooperatively. To play the game, you read detailed passages that contain clues about the case. Each clue that you follow will take you to a new location on the board, which is a map of London. Expect to spend at least an hour or two to solve the first several cases. The cases become increasingly complicated and provide you with more clues to follow.

Where to Buy: Amazon

7. Pandemic

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 45 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 8+ | Year: 2008

Deadly diseases have simultaneously broken out all of the world. In Pandemic, you play as a member of an elite disease control team and your mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures before it is too late! Work together and travel the world while collecting cards to discover a cure for each disease. But be careful – the clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the speed of the spreading plagues. Make sure all players are on the same page, because the fate of humanity is in your hands!

Where to Buy: Amazon

8. Star Realms

Players: 2 | Game Time: 20 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 12+ | Year: 2014

Star Realms is a card-based game that features a sci-fi theme and that has been designed for two players. However, if you add more decks to the pack, you can include additional players in the game. The cards are divided into warring factions, which are the Machine Cult, the Trade Federation, the Blobs and the Star Empire. Cards may have powers tied to them as well as trading and attacking powers. The cards are then played to trade goods or to attack your opponent. When a player’s authority dwindles to zero because of the opponent’s attacks, that player loses. Each match will require approximately 20 minutes.

Where to Buy: Amazon

9. Codenames Duet

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 15-30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 11+ | Year: 2017

Codenames is a popular party game that is well-suited for up to eight players, but it is not practical to play with only two players. Codenames Duet is the 2 player variation of the original game. Each player is provided with nine cards displayed on a 25-slot grid, and there are three assassin cards that both players need to avoid. The grid is 2-sided, so some of the other player’s cards will overlap. The goal is to provide single-word clues to help each other identify the game cards and avoid the assassin cards. You can complete a round within approximately 20 minutes.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

10. Jaipur

Players: 2 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 12+ | Year: 2009

If you are in the mood for a less intensive game that challenges your mind and inspires friendly competition, Jaipur is the game to pull out of the closet. This is a 2 player board game based around the concept of trading goods. During each play, you can choose between buying or selling goods by using tokens. However, as more of the same type of goods are sold, they become worth less money in the market. On the other hand, when you sell more of the same type of goods at once, you get bonus tokens. The overall concept of buying and selling is simple, but the strategy behind trying to maximize your profit in this game creates a thrilling mental battle. Allow approximately 30 minutes to play a match.

Where to Buy: Amazon

11. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

Players: 1-5 | Game Time: 45 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 14+ | Year: 2012

Those who love Marvel comic books and movies will enjoy playing Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game . This is a deck-building game that is well-suited for two to five players. Each match will last approximately 45 minutes, and you can choose to play cooperatively or competitively. Before the game starts, the players choose a plot and a mastermind, and these control the game’s difficulty level. Each player receives six cards at the beginning of the game. These cards each give you a specific power that can be used to recruit heroes or to battle against the bad guys. In the process, you can attack the mastermind and save innocent bystanders. Points are accumulated with each move, and the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

12. Carcassonne

Players: 2-5 | Game Time: 30-45 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 2000

Carcassonne is medieval-themed game that can be played with two to five players. When played with two players, you and your opponent will engage in a head-to-head battle to build your unique landscapes and to collect as many points as possible in the process. One tile is placed up to start the game. Players take turns drawing from the 71-card deck. Each card must be placed so that it connects with the face-up tiles. Corresponding features, such as roads, must touch similar features on face-up tiles. Points are doled out based on the features that each player has amassed. A round of Carcassonne can be completed in 30 to 60 minutes.

Where to Buy: Amazon

13. Hive

Players: 2 | Game Time: 10-30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 2001

If you enjoy strategy games, Hive is an award-winning option that may be difficult to walk away from. Each match can be completed in 20 minutes or less. This 2 player board game is similar to chess in that each player must protect his or her queen bee. Hive uses tiles and requires a flat surface for play, but there is not a board. At the beginning of the game, each player receives 11 unique tiles. These tiles each have specific movement rules that affect the play of the game. Players can test out different strategies against their opponent’s varying strategies, which means that you can realistically play this game for hours without it becoming repetitive. Because each match is unique, there is no end to the fun that Hive provides.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

14. Claustrophobia

Players: 2 | Game Time: 45 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 14+ | Year: 2009

Claustrophobia is a competitive game designed specifically for two players, and it puts humans in a fight against demons. One player assumes control of the humans, and the other takes the side of the demons. You will need a large table to play Claustrophobia because each play requires you to place a large tile down to create your board. When humans roll the dice, statistic sets are unlocked. These can be blocked by the opponent’s roll of the dice. Demons accumulate power as the game goes on, so the player controlling the humans must complete the game as soon as possible. Allocate approximately one hour per match.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

15. KeyForge: Call of the Archons

Players: 2 | Game Time: 15-45 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 14+ | Year: 2018

For fantasy enthusiasts, Keyforge: Call of the Archons will likely become a favorite. This is a card-dueling 2 player board game where the goal of the game is to build three unique keys by collecting cards and gathering tokens, which are also known as embers. While doing so, you will strategically reduce your opponent’s health. By targeting your opponent’s health, you make it more challenging for your opponent to assemble the three keys. Each card features unique playing instructions and allows you to attack your opponent or to build your resources. This game will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Where to Buy: Amazon

16. Schotten Totten

Players: 2 | Game Time: 20 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 1999

If you have a small table available and approximately 20 minutes to kill, Schotten Totten is the perfect way to entertain yourself and one other person. The games features a deck of cards with cartoonish images on them. Prepare for play by laying the boundary stone cards in a horizontal line between the two players. Players take turns laying one of their numbered cards behind their selected boundary stone. When three cards accumulate on both sides of the same stone, the stone goes to the player with the best hand showing. Adding to the challenge, the cards are also color-coded, and there are special tactical cards that allow players to move cards after they have been played.

Where to Buy: Amazon

17. The Fox in the Forest

Players: 2 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 10+ | Year: 2017

Tricksters will love The Fox in the Forest. This 2 player board game features a deck of cards with woodland-themed images representing several suits. These cards are also numbered. The players face off and play one trick at a time. The highest card wins, but there is a trump suit for every round that takes the cake. At the end of the round, players tally the number of tricks they won. More points are offered with up to three tricks or between seven and nine tricks won per round. If you get any other number of tricks, your point total for that round is zero. This unique points system requires you to carefully strategize about which tricks you take. Allow 30 minutes to play a full game of The Fox in the Forest.

Where to Buy: Amazon

18. Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Players: 1-5 | Game Time: 10 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 2012

If you are looking for a thrilling, fast-placed game that is ideal for two or more players, Escape: The Curse of the Temple may be the game for you. This game places you in an ancient temple that is on the verge of collapsing, and you will work cooperatively to beat the clock. Your goal is to get out of the temple safely before time is up, and the typical game lasts approximately 10 minutes. You will roll five dice that control your movement through the temple and your ability to explore it as you go. However, some dice have a cursed mask image on them, which blocks you from using them until they are unlocked. Players work together because players sharing a tile are affected by the same roll of the dice. The game comes with its own soundtrack. The tempo of the music increases steadily, and you will know that time has expired when the music suddenly halts.

Where to Buy: Amazon

19. Forbidden Island

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 10+ | Year: 2010

Forbidden Island is a pressure-filled board game that is intended for two to four players. You are placed on a sinking island, and your goal is to save treasures located throughout the island before they sink underwater and are lost forever. While this is a competitive game, your race is against the clock rather than against your opponent. Movement is accomplished as you draw unique cards from the deck. You win by collecting all of the treasures and make it to the rescue helicopter before the island is completely underwater. You can select from various game themes for added fun. Forbidden Desert is another game suitable for two players that has a similar concept.

Where to Buy: Amazon

20. Rivals for Catan

Players: 2 | Game Time: 45-120 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 10+ | Year: 2010

Many people love playing Settlers of Catan, but that popular board game is not easily played with two people. Rivals of Catan is an excellent alternative that puts two opponents up against each other in a battle to control Catan. Each player begins with a unique combination of cards to establish his or her own settlement. By rolling the dice and playing various cards, players can expand their territory, accumulate resources, build their city and even manufacture ships. Some cards also can be played against the opponent to add to his or her challenges. This game can be completed within 45 to 60 minutes.

Where to Buy: Amazon

21. Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game

Players: 1-8 | Game Time: 90-240 minutes | Complexity: Medium | Age: 12+ | Year: 2011

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game is suitable for one to eight players. It enables you to play competitively or cooperatively, and your playing mode can affect the play time. Plan to spend between one to three hours playing this game. Each player assumes the role of a globe-trotting treasure hunter. As you make your way around the world in search of artifacts and loot, you must avoid traps and villains. Adding to the challenge, an evil zeppelin lurks behind you to keep you moving along. Your roll of the dice determines if you succeed at the challenge in front of you during each turn. If you fail at the challenge, you are stuck in a desperate situation until you find your way out. If you die during the challenge, you return to your home base to start from the beginning.

Where to Buy: Amazon

22. Lost Cities: The Board Game

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 30-60 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 2008

Lost Cities is a 2 player board game that requires players to press their luck while also strategically out-maneuvering their opponent. The premise is to explore the area in search of lost cities, and the goal is to accumulate as many points as possible in the process. Players use numbered and colored cards to start their expeditions and to gain an edge. Unwanted cards can be discarded, but opponents are allowed to pick those cards up and to potentially move ahead. The concept behind this game is simple, but the intricate strategies that can be used can make this game addictive. Allow 30 minutes to play a round.

Where to Buy: Amazon

23. Run, Fight or Die

Players: 1-4 | Game Time: 40 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 13+ | Year: 2014

Run, Fight or Die is an action-packed board game designed for two to five players, and it places you in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. You and your opponent are stuck in a small town that is overrun by zombies, and your goal is to outlast your opponent while saving as many townsfolk as possible or to get out of the city. At the beginning of the game, each player selects a survivor. Each survivor has unique skills and stats, and these affect game play. During each round, players roll the dice to determine if they will run, fight or be wounded by zombies. Run, Fight or Die also has a cooperative opponent. By teaming up with your opponent, you can overcome the zombie leader to drive all zombies out of town.

Where to Buy: Amazon

24. Bananagrams

Players: 1-8 | Game Time: 15 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 7+ | Year: 2006

For board game enthusiasts who love to play Scrabble, Bananagrams is a fun way to elevate your wordplay experience. The game works well with two to eight players. To start the game, each player receiving 21 tiles containing a single letter. The tiles remain upside down until time is called. Then, the players flip over their tiles and race against each other to create a unique crossword using their own tiles. You can get rid of unplayable tiles. However, you must pick up three tiles in exchange for each tile that you get rid of. You also pick up additional tiles when the other player has used all of his or her own tiles, but the game continues until there are no tiles left. The goal is to get rid of all of your tiles before the other person.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

25. Boss Monster

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 13+ | Year: 2013

If you enjoy playing competitive video games with a thrilling, action-based component, Boss Monster is the perfect tabletop alternative. Boss Monster is a card-based game for two players. Each card has a pixelated image with descriptive instructions. When the game starts, you are placed in a single-room dungeon, and you are tasked with expanding your dungeon so that adventurers are lured inside. Once they are in your dungeon, your job is to kill them. An additional challenge is to prevent too many adventurers from being in the dungeon at the same time while also preventing them from reaching the primary chamber in your dungeon. The goal of the game is to lure the highest-ranking adventurer into your dungeon for the kill.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

26. Android: Mainframe

Players: 2-4 | Game Time: 15-30 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 12+ | Year: 2016

Android: Mainframe is a strategy-based board game with a science-fiction theme. Unlike other games in the Android series, new players can learn the rules within a few minutes. The two players compete for control over the game board. To begin, players choose their preferred character. Each player has unique skills and powers. Players gain control over portions of the board by drawing and playing cards. Players gain a competitive edge through their development of a winning strategy or when the opponent makes a mistake. This game can be completed within approximately 45 minutes.

Where to Buy: Amazon

27. Stratego

Players: 2 | Game Time: 45 minutes | Complexity: Low | Age: 8+ | Year: 1946

Stratego has been popular with board game enthusiasts for decades. With its age, it has a rather simple concept, but the challenge it presents has led to its continued appeal. This two player board game immerses you in a battlefield scenario. Each player receives 30 pieces, which represent soldiers with different ranks. Players compete head-to-head using their own strategy by placing one piece down against their opponent’s selected piece. For variation, there are numerous themed boards available.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Walmart

While many board games are designed for two or more players, they often lack fun and challenge when only two players sit down at the table. These games, however, are perfect for you and a partner to play. Whether you are into games that involve trickery, strategy, competition or cooperation, these are wonderful 2 player board games to add to your game collection. Hours of pouring over Board Game Geek and Amazon went into the creation of this list of best 2 player games. We hope you enjoy!

About the author

Mike Jones

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family.

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