What are your favorite two-person games?
August 14, 2009 12:33 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite games that two people can play?

Looking for (non video) games that two people can play. Favorite card games, domino games, etc. Also looking to expand beyond dominoes and cards specifically. We enjoy those a lot, just wondering what else is out there!

(I know there have been a couple of similar questions, but those were either very specific ("conversation games"), or included video games, and got a lot of answers suggesting thsoe)
posted by entropic to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (43 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

Also, goofy "kid games" like Jenga and Don't Spill the Beans can be fun.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:35 PM on August 14, 2009

We used to love to play Uno with only two players. We called it "Killer Uno." It was fun and goofy.

Also, Connect Four.
posted by Melismata at 12:39 PM on August 14, 2009

Piquet, a 15th century card game for 2 players.
posted by ceri richard at 12:40 PM on August 14, 2009

My wife and I used to play it in bed all the time. It's a card game, but a bit more.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Heads up Texas hold 'Em poker (or Omaha if you want to get fancy), Scrabble, 2nding Boggle, Mastermind, Backgammon, games involving manual dexterity like Operation (especially when alcohol is served). I also like fiendishly hard 20 Questions (or 30 questions, or 40)
posted by pointystick at 12:43 PM on August 14, 2009

Mr Jack is a very good game for two players.

Another thread reminded me of Scrabble. Scrabble is by far at its most strategic with only two players.

Crokinole is a little expensive since it's made of nice looking wood, but works great with two players.
posted by aubilenon at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2009

We like Othello and Mastermind.
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2009

How do you feel about the classic board games? Chess, checkers, backgammon, etc.

Besides those, here are my favorite games with only 1 other player.

Beer Money (also, the original Lunch Money, I just happen to only own Beer Money)

Last Night on Earth (allows up to 6 players, but 1 on 1 works well if you happen to love the zombie movie theme)

Magic: The Gathering (doesn't have to be expensive and is really an excellent card game, especially if you design decks to be interesting against each other, or just pick up some pre built decks)

Here is a list of 2 player games on boardgamegeek.

I realize that you may not want games that require a purchase of something that is only for that 1 game, but I tend to like that sort of thing.
posted by utsutsu at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

Backgammon is a good time. Also a ton of board games can be played with only two players, some that are meant to be: Stratego, Battleship, Pentago. Others like Scrabble and Sequence are maybe more exciting with multiple players, but I've enjoyed them with just two.
Anyway, I hope you meant board games, 'cuz that's all I got.
posted by purpletangerine at 12:45 PM on August 14, 2009

Lost Cities.
posted by Prospero at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mancala! I have this one, or one just like it - it is such a great game.
posted by firei at 12:48 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding backgammon. My favorite relaxing, yet entertaining two person game.
posted by Precision at 12:48 PM on August 14, 2009

Disc Golf
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:49 PM on August 14, 2009

All these games are on boardgamegeek.com:

Lost Cities
Balloon Cup
Dungeon Twister
posted by meta87 at 12:49 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Board Game Geek has a BUNCH of awesome lists of two-player games. Here are a few: 1 2 3 4 5

Personally, I'll attest to the awesomeness of Lost Cities (short, easy game) and Carcassone (a little bit more involved but still easy to pick up).
posted by jbickers at 12:52 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Carcassonne (you can play with more people, but two works just fine)
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2009

Seconding Lost Cities.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:00 PM on August 14, 2009

My favorite two-person game is Pente.

I'm told that it's similar to Go (which I've never played), but simpler. I like simple.
posted by cribcage at 1:00 PM on August 14, 2009

Nthing Cribbage and Backgammon. Also: Scrabble, Abalone, Battleship, and really any classic board game that says 2+ players.
posted by usonian at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2009

Nthing Board Game Geek. Our favourite two-player board games: Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Yinsh, Puerto Rico (the two-player variant).

For card and dice games, I summarised some of our favourites on my website: games for couples.
posted by Paragon at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2009

entropic: (I know there have been a couple of similar questions, but those were either very specific ("conversation games"), or included video games, and got a lot of answers suggesting thsoe)

There have been a couple identical questions.
posted by mkultra at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2009

Pass the Pigs
posted by xsquared-1 at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2009


It's "like chess" in the sense that it's a two-player strategy game using game-pieces that have various powers, but sooooo much more fun.
posted by Pomo at 1:47 PM on August 14, 2009

I like Beggar My Neighbor.
posted by spiderskull at 1:51 PM on August 14, 2009

Blokus, Rummikub
posted by orme at 1:54 PM on August 14, 2009

posted by pianomover at 1:56 PM on August 14, 2009

Here's a simple drinking game a friend and I invented.*
    Tennis Two players sit across from each other at a hard table. Each player places a shot glass on the table in front of him/her. Players try to bounce quarters off of the table, over their own shot glass, and into their opponent's. Players drink whenever a quarter lands in their shot glass, even if it was their own bounce. Two quarters are in play at all times, and must be shot promptly upon receipt.
*I'm sure we weren't the first to think of this, but it was a spontaneous creation.
posted by martens at 1:57 PM on August 14, 2009

I really like Egyptian Ratscrew. If you've got two good Ratscrew players going the advantage can shift all the time and it keeps the game really exciting. It can be played with more than two players, but it's more difficult to find a lot of skilled players, so head-to-head is often more exciting. The game relies on awareness and reaction time, as well as giving added advantage to players who can count cards or memorize sets in the deck.
posted by scrutiny at 2:04 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, cribbage and yes, Lost Cities! Yahtzee is also very good as a two-person game.
posted by redfoxtail at 2:06 PM on August 14, 2009

I like "Analog-Boggle." This is just the same idea as regular boggle, except that you don't need the board. Pick pseduo-random words with a total of 25 letters, scramble them in a manner of your choosing, and build a 5X5 grid. Then play Boggle as normal.

The setup takes a little while, but this is a great airport game when you've got nothing else.
posted by awenner at 2:13 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you like poker-type card games, Chinese Poker.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:23 PM on August 14, 2009

Spite and Malice, a card game
posted by soelo at 2:37 PM on August 14, 2009


quarto is a fun game with a simple set of rules, but can be quite difficult when playing against someone if both of you are good at thinking several moves ahead. I like to think of it as a great game of chess for people who hate chess and don't want to spend a lot of time playing (there are only 16 pieces, so a maximum of 16 moves from start to finish)
posted by markblasco at 2:53 PM on August 14, 2009

Play Jenga with chopsticks. Don't allow anyone to use their fingers to touch the pieces. It almost becomes a whole new game.
posted by markblasco at 2:56 PM on August 14, 2009

Casino is another card game that works well for two. It's a good game to chat and drink beer and play — simple enough, once you learn the rules, that you can keep it in the background, but still varied enough that it doesn't get old.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:18 PM on August 14, 2009

Dittos to Carcassone!
posted by mattholomew at 3:26 PM on August 14, 2009

Cribbage is the correct answer. But also Lost Cities, San Juan, Blokus... and, you know, chess, if you're old school like that.
posted by Casuistry at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2009

Gin rummy! I could play for hours and hours. Spit (the card game) is fun, too.

I also used to love Chinese Checkers as a kid. And yeah, chess.
posted by emd3737 at 6:38 PM on August 14, 2009

Seconding Rummikub.
posted by spilon at 8:20 PM on August 14, 2009

Just because it's almost as fun to say as it is to play: Farkle!
posted by SquidLips at 9:11 PM on August 14, 2009

Set is one of my favourite games, which I like best as a two-player game, but it's also easily played by more and also can be played solitaire if you wish. There's a bit of a learning curve with it but I've introduced many people to it and most of them end up loving it. Also, if you like Set, Set Cubed is probably worth picking up.

If you like Scrabble or other word games, I like:
posted by lwb at 9:47 PM on August 14, 2009

Go is a great game for two. There is even a nice handicapping system if you find that one of you is better than the other at any given point in your enjoyment of the game.
posted by boba at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2009

I agree with Carcassonne. Another good one is Dominion, which is good for 2-4 people. It's a card game focused around building your deck, which represents your land and resources. I just got it and have been playing it with my GF.

I strongly disagree with Rummikub. What a boring game, full of non-decisions.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 9:40 PM on August 17, 2009

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