Two player games.
December 10, 2005 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Two player games.

I want to play board games with my husband. We've tired of checkers and chess. Any favorite two player games? Card game suggestions are welcome as well. Not so much with the video games - we've got plenty of those. I'm thinking more along the lines of sitting in front of the fire.
posted by dpx.mfx to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (41 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Take a trip to your local games store and find a lot of cool ones :)

Our favourites:
- Guillotine
- Robo Rally
- Trivial Pursuit Lord of the Rings DVD edition (yeah, we're geeks)
- Lunch Money (very, very good. But a little disturbing and not for kids)...and it's expansion: Beer Money
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:55 AM on December 10, 2005

posted by cribcage at 11:57 AM on December 10, 2005

Boogle can be fun with two people. Also Go if you have time to play it. Gin Rummy, or Rummy 500.
posted by ugf at 12:00 PM on December 10, 2005

Done and done.
posted by etc. at 12:03 PM on December 10, 2005

Some of our two player favorites:
- Go
- Risk
- Trivial Pursuit
- Monopoly

You might also want to check out Matthew Baldwin's game guides:

2004 Games Guide
2005 Games Guide

posted by beautifulstuff at 12:03 PM on December 10, 2005

My wife and I are pretty fond of "Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers", mainly because she's not as much of a fantasy or science fiction fan as I am and because the game's very neutral in that regard: No rampaging goblins or anything, and a pleasant, pastoral set of pieces.
posted by mph at 12:03 PM on December 10, 2005

Normal card games: Cribbage and Cassino.
Other games: Starship Catan (resource gathering/building game) and Hellas (a very light wargame with an ancient Greek flavor).
posted by CrunchyFrog at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2005

Risk and Scrabble are both great fireside games.

I'll bet you could even combine the two. Rabble: The Game of Word Conquest.
posted by milquetoast at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2005

Backgammon. Simple to learn, impossible to master.
posted by punilux at 12:15 PM on December 10, 2005

Abstract type games:
Go [as an aside, this is my favorite game of any type ever, it's unreal]
Backgammon and variations

Military type gams:
posted by panoptican at 12:18 PM on December 10, 2005

I asked this question too back in the day.

I ended up getting Lost Cities, which is great fun.
posted by selfnoise at 12:23 PM on December 10, 2005

Two-player games that my girlfriend and I enjoy:

San Juan
Balloon Cup
posted by skwm at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2005

Rummy 500
Dominos (Flower and Scorpion or straight up Bergen)
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:36 PM on December 10, 2005

Shoot, my post got hosed due to bad HTML formatting. Here's the rest of the games we enjoy:
Balloon Cup
Carcassone:The City

You can view a ton of similar lists at Search the GeekLists for "2 player games". Here are a few good ones:
30-Minute 2-Player Games I've Played at Lunch
Non-Gamer wife: Which 2 player game to introduce?
Great games for 2 players that are also great with more
Help me find 2 player games that my wife would play too!
posted by skwm at 12:37 PM on December 10, 2005

It's kind of dorky, but I really like playing Skip-Bo with my boyfriend when other games get old.
posted by pazazygeek at 12:49 PM on December 10, 2005

Blue Moon is a nerdy game, similar to collectable card games but without the irritating and expensive collectable aspect (Though you can buy expansion decks, you don't _NEED_ to, and you get whole decks and know what you're going to get). It's really fun though!
posted by aubilenon at 1:11 PM on December 10, 2005

heads up poker.
posted by devilsbrigade at 1:33 PM on December 10, 2005

Quiddler is a lovely combination of rummy and Scrabble.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2005

Settlers of Cataan
posted by shmegegge at 2:36 PM on December 10, 2005

Ahhhh, Skip-Bo. Someone else plays it too! I've been playing that game with my family since forever. My grandmother is vicious at it.

The suggestions in this thread are great! I'd also recommend Caesar and Cleopatra. It's not too long, and quite a bit of fun. It's got "orgy" cards, though, so might not want to play with your mother.

Catan is great, but it's not playable with two players. Starship Catan might be different than Starfarers of Catan, but I've played the latter a few times, and it's not two player friendly.
posted by heresiarch at 3:55 PM on December 10, 2005

Second the backgammon suggestion.
posted by djgh at 4:11 PM on December 10, 2005

Settlers Of Catan, by Mayfair Games is intended for a group of people; however, I have enjoyed goofing around with just a single opponent.

Kaliko is a domino style game.
posted by chase at 4:18 PM on December 10, 2005

The game Balderdash is pretty fun and can be played with two people. If you want to be a little more creative -- you don't need to buy anything to play this game -- just grab a dictionary and make up your own rules.
posted by Mike C. at 5:02 PM on December 10, 2005

I'm going to put in my vote for Go as well. It takes a bit of time to get into it, and games last a while, but it is definitely the most interesting game that I've ever played.
posted by number9dream at 5:06 PM on December 10, 2005

All of my top five are listed aside from Sequence. It's a fun and (simple) strategy game that isn't so complicated or involved that it hinders conversation.
posted by imbri at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2005

All the old Avalon-Hill Tactics II-type games (if you can find them).
The card game Spite & Malice.

And do look at the previous discussions in etc.'s links.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:37 PM on December 10, 2005

i've always enjoyed scrabble and cribbage.
posted by brandz at 6:38 PM on December 10, 2005

Forget everything else, give Go a shot. It's the oldest game we have as a civilization, and can become quite the intimate and personal experience in a match. If you achieve even a middlin' level of understanding of the game, a game with your partner can be like baring your souls.

Other benefits include keeping both the creative and analytical sides of your brain challenged, warding off dementia, and a built-in handicapping system that would allow for even games regardless of your respective strengths.

A good easy tutorial:

It does take a bit of study to get any good at it, tho'. I also like Cribbage for a more casual time. :)
posted by p7a77 at 7:18 PM on December 10, 2005

Wait...Settlers Of Catan is two player? Wikipedia lists it as needing at least three players. Are there rule variants for two players? (Or are we actually talking about the two player card game?)

I hope I don't sound like a stickler...I only ask because I really want to play the game, but I can't get any of my friends interested.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:31 PM on December 10, 2005

I got turned on to Phoenix which I rather enjoy. It's a two player (only) game.
posted by majick at 7:54 PM on December 10, 2005

I highly recommend Mancala ... you can also buy some relatively cheap Mancala boards that are decorative enough to be worthy of the coffee table.
posted by frogan at 8:28 PM on December 10, 2005

Once upon a Time is a great storytelling card game and can be a blast if you and your wife are creative types. I played it at my college's gaming club and had a lot of fun playing it with one other person and in a group.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:02 PM on December 10, 2005

er you and your husband I mean. Whoops.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:04 PM on December 10, 2005

Another mention for Stratego. It's like a cross between poker and chess. Scrabble for two players can be a bit of an endurance challenge, esp. if you are both strategically minded resulting in a closed board. For three or more it is great.
posted by Manjusri at 12:53 AM on December 11, 2005

I second mancala and skip-bo (skip-bo can be played with more than two as well so good to have when friends come around. Have you tried Rummikub? It's a pretty fun tile game, a combination of Rummy and dominoes.
posted by katyggls at 1:34 AM on December 11, 2005

Uno. I dig it, specially the two-person insanity (reversing to one's self, skipping the other player etc). I don't mean to start a debate on Uno rules either :)
posted by bdave at 6:18 AM on December 11, 2005

Mayfair offers rules for the two-player variant of the basic Settlers game. I didn't enjoy the two-player variant, although I enjoy Settlers (and the expansions) so much, I've played them for 12-14 hours straight. /tangent

For two players, I second Pente and recommend Kensington which is no longer available commercially, but apparently quite simple to mock-up on your own.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:35 AM on December 11, 2005

Rook, Skipbo, Uno, Phase 10 (all card gards)
posted by blue_beetle at 9:00 AM on December 11, 2005

Another vote here for Mancala and Go. Never overlook the classics. Nine Men's Morris is a lot of fun. Scrabble, of course. And a couple of decks of cards and a copy of Hoyle's Book of Games will keep you going through many long nights.

Kosher Jenny: Thanks for recommending Once Upon a Time. I designed it, and am still madly proud of it. However I'd have to say it's not an ideal two-player game.
posted by Hogshead at 9:57 AM on December 11, 2005

Also, Cheap Ass Games makes an array of amusing board and card games, some of which are simply downloadable and printable.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:18 AM on December 11, 2005

posted by fidelity at 8:00 AM on December 12, 2005

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