Offering excitement and entertainment, today’s 2 player board games are anything but ordinary. Designed to slow down time, they provide a thrill-a-minute in many cases with unpredictability and even hilarity driving their popularity. Anyone wanting to step away from their electronic devices and reconnect with family and friends find board games a good option to explore. Many don’t require more than two players and are in a portable format, making it easy to initiate a game nearly anywhere you go.
The following list of 2 player board games is among the best and most popular to date. In order to understand what makes them so special, it’s important to know something about their theme, format, and even how they’re played. That way, when you’re looking to buy a new board game, you know exactly which ones to purchase. You’ll have a general understanding of how to play them and also know that you can start a game with a minimum of two players.
Depending on the mood you’re in and how you wish to be entertained, the following 2 player board games for adults are fun, light-hearted, and often perplexing as they cause you to think outside the box, explore unfamiliar conversations, and dig deep to secure a win. Let’s explore these 2 player games in greater depth, shall we?
Best 2 Player Board Games Reviewed
A classic board game with a new and improved look, Risk by Hasbro is strategic in nature and military in theme. Risk has graced many a tabletop on many a game night. It is a classic war game with tons of replay value. Its theme is to build an army, occupy certain territories on the map, and challenge other players to battle. Through the roll of the dice, players determine their fate. They are to conquer the enemy or be overcome by the enemy. Whoever eliminates the competition and puts an army figure on every territory displayed on the board is declared the winner.
There are four ways to play the game. They are Secret Mission, Classic, Risk for 2 Players, and Capital. Clearly, the best 2 player board games involve a special method of playing the game with fewer opponents. In the two player version, there is a neutral army added to create a more challenging game overall. New players can learn the logistics of the game quickly thanks to its full-color game guide.
In addition to providing different strategies that are helpful, it also provides answers to the most frequently asked questions the manufacturer receives from players. The guide provides details about the board game map as well as the Mission Cards so that everyone playing has an equal chance of winning. The game is ideal for players 10 years old and older.
This selection tops the best two player cooperative board games for good reason. It provides 45 to 60 minutes of intense game play time per session. It’s also perfect for two players who want to race against the clock to protect the world from a pandemic. Deadly diseases are no match for players who work together and strategically wipe out potential threats, set up research stations, and cure diseases. Actions allow players to move through specific hotspots while the cards they manage correspond to the colors of the four diseases threatening to wreak havoc on the world.
The cards play a big role in the cooperative game, by determining how quickly a player moves from one city to the next as well as if they eradicate a disease. The collection of five cards of the same color determines ‘the cure’. An outbreak makes it harder to win, making the game rewarding and challenging to the very end. There are two scenarios available for players to choose from including Governmental Shutdown and Isolation.
This game consists of the main playing board as well as cards and other pieces. It’s suitable for players aged eight years old and older. No fewer than two players can play the game but it can accommodate four players.
An artistic spin on traditional tile games, Azul, by Michael Kiesling is manufactured by Plan B Games. It features an assortment of colorful Moorish tiles which are used to create patterns by players. The two person board game is a new concept based on King Manuel I’s visit to Southern Spain where he fell in love with “azulejos,” the white and blue ceramic tiles found throughout the Alhambra palace, and decided to have his own home in Portugal decorated similarly.
Players compete as artisans committed to filling the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora with decorative tile. The winning strategy involves having the right number and style of tiles as well as the most creative vision while playing the game. The player that comes out on top is the one who creates the most stunning design and manages their resources best. Being wasteful and having excess tiles doesn’t help players capture a victory. The idea is to impress the King by being thoughtful in approaching the design and allowing for the correct number of tiles to be used throughout the game.
Each gaming session is meant to last between 30 to 40 minutes. It’s ideal for players age eight years old and older.
This single-use board game pits players against one another in an escape room-style format. The disposable nature of Exit The Game: The Abandoned Cabin by Thames & Kosmos comes from the fact that gaming materials are marked up, folded, and torn to reveal the codes needing to be solved. The game is completely analog with no need for digital apps or online assistance whatsoever. This version has a difficulty level of 2.5 on a scale of 5.
The theme involves you being in a vehicle that becomes disabled. After leaving the car and seeking shelter for the night, you discover a cabin the woods that is clearly abandoned. Your new refuge seems harmless enough until you wake up the next day to find that you’re locked inside with no clear way out. The only clues you have that help you escape is a book and a strange disk. To win, you must escape by solving riddles and interacting with the game’s materials by literally destroying them to access the clues.
The game is best for players age 12 years old and up. It can take one to two hours to fully escape the cabin. It’s intended for use by one or more players with two players being an ideal number to work together to solve the riddles provided by the crazy cabin owner.
As its name suggests, this strategic board game for two players encourages you to build civilizations and conquer the competition. Created by Asmodee, an award-winning game manufacturer, it involves building one of the eight world wonders as well as other important structures and navigate cities through three different Ages to success. Victory is determined in three different ways. The first is to invade the capital city of the opponent, the second is to take a scientific advancement and create a monopoly with it, and the last is to obtain the most victory points.
Age cards are given to represent a Building. Players use the info to make their armies stronger, discover scientific methods, and create incredibly advanced cities that withstand the test of time. Wins are calculated as Military, Scientific, and Civilian in nature, making it easy for players to dominate the fields that they’re most knowledgeable about. The game is designed by Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala and allows for only seven of the eight world wonders to be built.
The one-on-one game is meant to be played by people 10 years old and older. It provides at least 30 minutes of exciting gameplay each time it is accessed. It is one of several strategy-style games produced by the manufacturer who is known for creating the best 2 or more player board games for adults.
More of a card game for two than a board game, Asmodee’s Jaipur is fast-paced and fun. Based on the theme of the Maharajah and the new capital city of Jaipur, players serve as merchants who compete to see who can bring in the highest profit from the tasks they complete. Each player starts out with five cards in their hand. Three camel cards, as well as two merchandise cards, are placed on the table at the start of the playing session.
These cards are up for grabs with one condition. The players must trade their existing cards for them. If all of the camel cards are acquired, they can be used to get better items. Merchandise can be sold off as long as the cards are of a similar style. The person who has the most tokens with the highest monetary values and the most camels wins. The game is one that is very portable and can be played with no additional equipment needed.
Appropriate for players ages 12 years old and older, Jaipur provides at least 30 minutes of gameplay. It’s the type of game that travels with you so it’s great for car trips and vacations. The cards come in their own carrying case for easy storage.
Among the most notable things about Spy Alley’s game by the same name is that it is award-winning. It received over 12 national awards from various organizations such as Mensa Select. It was named Australian Game of the Year as well as the Chicago Tribune’s “Top Ten Games”. The objective of the game is to be awarded the title of “The World’s Top Spy”. Players bluff, deceive and double-cross their opponents to make their way to the top.
Each player is given a spy identity that they must keep top-secret. They’re also given a country of origin. The board game comes with multiple playing pieces including ID cards, play money, and die. As the game progresses, players try to guess the identity of the competition. The person who is the most successful is named the best spy.
Packed full of excitement and deception, each playing session lasts from 30 to 45 minutes. It’s great for children aged 8 years old and older as well as families and adults. There are simple rules that govern the game which is easy to explain but more difficult to execute.
A strategic card game that is a laugh-a-minute, Unstable Unicorns by TeeTurtle focuses on two things, unicorns, and destructions. The card game was one of the fastest backed projects on Kickstarter and rightfully so. It’s fun to play and has expansion packs that keep the game going for long periods of time. The objective of this great game is to build an army of 7 glorious unicorns but there are a lot of challenges that must be overcome first.
One of the best 2 player strategy games, the rules are simple. With each turn, a player takes a card. Then, they must play a card out of their hand. Each card provides a different instruction. For example, a blue card adds a unicorn to your army, a green card allows you to manipulate the odds by using magic, an orange card upgrades your stable, and a yellow card downgrades your friend’s stable. If you move too fast, you become a target with warning symbol cards that read “Neigh” and “Super Neigh”.
Many of the cards are removed to make the game appropriate for two players. The game offers 30 to 45 minutes of gameplay. It’s best for gamers and teenagers ages 14 years old and older or adults.
Picture stepping into the role of mayor of a tiny forest town and being limited on the resources you have access to. Using what you have available, you build a town that thrives and conserves what you have access to. The game is jam-packed with pieces including a rulebook, six-player boards, 25 building cards, 15 monument cards, and 15 resource cards. There is also a scorepad, 126 wooden buildings, a wooden hammer for the Master Builder, six monuments made of wood, and 96 Resource cubes made of wood.
To play, Resource cubes are added to a 4×4 grid in a specific way to construct buildings. When a building is complete, victory points (VPs) are awarded. If you waste resources or fail to construct buildings, you lose VPs. The player that used their resources in the best way possible is declared the winner. It’s the type of game that requires thought and precision.
Tiny Towns is great for teenagers and adults. It can be played with as few as one people and as many as six but is also great for two player gameplay. The average game lasts anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.
A true classic that withstands the test of time, Hasbro’s Scrabble remains one of the best 2 player board games for adults. It’s challenging and rewarding. The crossword game is one fit for the entire family. In fact, the true challenge is to land on a triple-word score and gain as many points as possible in a single gaming session. As opponents try to outwit one another by creating the most valuable words and phrases, excitement ensues.
The classic word game comes with a board, letter tiles, and a bag to keep them in. Every letter is worth a point value so the bigger your vocabulary, the better. Ultimately, you want to land on premium spaces and use double letters to create triple words. If you’re lucky enough to use all seven of the tiles that you draw at once, you’ll gain an instant 50 points.
Scrabble is a fun game that can be played with anyone age eight years old or older. It provides hours of entertainment for those playing because there are many different ways to play. It’s the type of game that never gets boring because as long as new words exist, there are points to be gained.
A light strategy game that is military-themed, Stratego is all about commanding your Napoleonic army, finding ways to cross the enemy territory and capture the opponent’s flag. It’s a title that has been around for over five decades and continues to entertain today. There are several versions of the game but this one is based on the original. Modern versions have updated artwork to make the characters being captured more authentic in appearance. Sorting trays are included in the game so you can account for the troops you have in your possession.
The premise of the game is very simple. As you play, you are given one of two colors to choose from for your army. You are either blue or red. Conquering the other player’s troops is the ultimate goal.
The game itself includes 40 each of Red Army Pieces and Blue Army Pieces, two sorting trays, a screen, a game board, and a copy of the rules. It is intended for use by players age eight years old and older. Two players are all it accommodates making it a popular choice for face-to-face interaction.
Emotionally-charged and packed with drama, this politically-inspired game is set in 1930’s Germany. Players are divided into two groups, the liberals, and the fascists. The fascists appoint their leader and the liberals work hard to keep the Secret Hitler from creating widespread harm. The game requires an elected President and Chancellor who try to pass laws that determine the other player’s fate. If successful, the fascists are stopped by the liberals before the game begins.
The game is best played by a larger group because there are many roles to fill. Plus, someone must take on the persona of the Secret Hitler which is impossible without at least five players. Although it could be played by fewer individuals, it doesn’t allow for extended gameplay. This is a game for groups.
Originally funded on Kickstarter, the mass-produced game mimics history closely. If you’re the type of person who wishes they could time travel and change the outcome of worldwide events, it’s a title you’ll want to add to your collection. With its adult theme and President Donald J. Trump expansion pack, it’s safe to say that the game is best played by a mature audience.
If you love playing chess, Chess Armory’s wooden set is ideal for hours of strategic gameplay. Part of its appeal is the beautiful board with inlaid walnut. It’s classier than cardboard chess sets, or android sets on your smartphone, and has timeless appeal. It’s also large in size and folds for easier storage. The game board itself measures 15″ by 15″ and the Staunton wooden playing pieces measure 3″ for the King. While Chess is the ultimate time honored strategy board game, we added it on this list as it is one of the most recognisable two player games in the world.
The design of the game is among the most impressive things about it. There are felt straps to keep each piece secure while the chess set is being stored. Despite being large and giving players plenty of room to play, when stored, the game is very compact. It can also be left out in a dedicated spot if you want to use it as part of your décor. Chess, is what you might call the perfect game. Whether it is your cup of tea or not, it has stood the test of time, with roots back around 1500 years. It has been entertaining people for that long and has earned its title as one of the all time best games.
The manufacturer’s recommended age for playing is three years old and up. The pieces aren’t so small that they couldn’t be used by children safely. This chess set doesn’t come with a rulebook so it’s important to already know how to play or, if it’s your first time playing, learn how to from other sources. It is a classic chess set, that adds a touch of elegance to the all time classic competitive game.
If you’re up for the challenge, Codenames has you try to guess the identity of the agents from those on the table through the delivery of one-word clues. Each player places a key card in the holder with one side of the card visible. A 5×5 grid on the card with nine colored squares represents the different agents you have on your side as well as one black square representing an assassin. The idea is to identify each of the fifteen agents without revealing the assassin or other characters before time is up.
Once the one-word clue is delivered to your opponent, you give them a number. They must identify at least one agent to continue with their turn. If correct and they continue to name the number of agents you stated with the clue you had given earlier, they can take a final guess. If a bystander is identified, the game is over. If an assassin is identified, neither party wins. It helps to work together while competing separately with this game.
The game is best played by people ages 10 years old and up. It provides a great length of gameplay for two players because each is dependent on the other to correctly identify agents and avoid identifying assassins who threaten the outcome of the game.
Travel the streets of Victorian London as part of the Baker Street Irregulars. While you’re at it, masterfully seek out clues and track leads. Using Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, try your hand at solving 10 cases. You’re given a map of London, a casebook, and newspapers for each of the mysteries available. What you do to try to solve the case determines what happens next in the game.
Fantasy Flight Games’ Sherlock Holmes: The Thames Murders & Other Cases comes with everything needed to become a master sleuth. Unlike the other two player board games, the pieces of the game are as important as the rules of the game. Without the casebooks, map, and newspapers, it’s difficult to play. Once one case is solved, it’s time to move on to the next.
The game can be played with as few as one player but is more fun when there are two players or more. Each case can be considered a new game and take up to 90 minutes at a time to solve. It’s ideal for players aged 12 years old and older.
The game is named for a medieval fortress located in Southern France. It is all about laying tiles throughout the countryside. The tiles dictate the role each player plays. For example, they can be Knights, Monks, Farmers or Thieves. Using the follower tiles to your advantage to score as many points as possible is the purpose of the game. There are also tiles that represent Cities, Roads, Monasteries, and Fields which expand the board game and allow for more follower tiles to be placed.
Strategic in every way, the more you think about the placement of the follower tiles, the more points you’ll end up earning. The idea is to disrupt the progress of the building of the city and the use of all of your tiles in the most thoughtful way possible. If you don’t place a follower tile, your opponent surely will. The game is very similar in nature as Azul, another tile-led board game for two.
Recommended for two or more players, this game is perfect for people seven years old and older. It provides at least 35 minutes or more of gameplay in one session.
Latin for “farmer,” Agricola is a game where you play the role of a farmer who lives in a shack with your spouse and very little material possession. The idea is to have families grow to sizeable numbers throughout the game but requires a great deal of planning as each person must be fed. Players plant crops such as grain and vegetables and also raise livestock for food. Each turn, you’re allowed to take action for yourself and one for your wife that helps build your homestead.
This game has you and your opponent taking turns through 14 game turns as well as six harvest cycles. At the start of the game, you’re given seven occupation cards and seven minor improvement cards. Each helps you strategize gameplay more conveniently. The player who builds the biggest farm and family wins.
The game can be played with as few as one player but is more fun with two. It provides at least 30 minutes of gameplay. It is recommended for players age 12 years old and older.
This board-less game is similar to Scrabble with its tile pieces. It challenges players to take their tiles to create anagrams with them in a crossword puzzle-style format. Nothing more than the banana-shaped bag and tiles are needed to play. There is no board, paper or pencil required to enjoy this portable game. It can fit in a bag or suitcase and be traveled with.
The Double Bananagrams set comes with twice the number of tiles (288) for even larger groups. As few as one player and as many as fifteen can play on the one bag of tiles. Lightweight yet durable, the plastic material that makes up the letters withstands a lot of use. This game is one that will get a lot of action. It’s great for kids who are learning how to spell, too.
If there is anything a person can learn from today’s best 2 player board games of all time, it’s this. Imagination is key. There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to manufacturers and the wildly clever games they develop regularly. After reading the descriptions of some of the most popular board game options available, do you find yourself interested in playing any of them?
Requiring nothing more than another player and time to familiarize yourself with the premise of the game and its rules, you can have a fun-filled experience with very little effort. Rather than rely solely on electronic devices and gaming systems to provide outstanding challenges and meaningful conversations, you can sit with someone you know, in the flesh, and connect over a game that you play for hours. An inexpensive way to get lost in the moment, the best two player cooperative board games seldom disappoint. In fact, you may find them addictive and want to try a new title from the list each week.