Looking for 2 (two) player game options
September 3, 2022 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions to buy games (board, card, etc) that would be ideal for 2 people to play.

We find we are looking to play more 'games'. Would love to have suggestions for games that we might look into buying that are good (and not limiting) to two players to play. I have been suggested Sushi Go (and read about it and it looks good) and will add this to the list. We LOVE Spot It, so any games like this, would be ideal. Not looking to play games for very long (45 mins or less would be ideal), but this is flexible. And since we are new gamers, we aren't into anything too strategy based (for expereinced gamers, etc, if that makes sense)

Side note, after hearing SO much about Settlers of Catan, is there a version that can be played with only two people?

Thanks in advance.
posted by dbirchum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
posted by coffeecat at 12:58 PM on September 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

I made a front-page post about two-player games last fall, and people offered a bunch of personal recommendations that sounded good.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:04 PM on September 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Jaipur is a truly excellent two-player card game. It plays pretty quickly too.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:08 PM on September 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

Hanabi is one of my favorite games, and it works quite well with two people (and up to five). It's a cooperative game, not sure if that's up your alley or not. If you know the rules and go quick, 20-30 mins is a pretty normal amount of time for it to take.
posted by wesleyac at 1:10 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh, I also made a post about Crokinole, a traditional Canadian game similar to Carrom--very light but also very engaging. At a little local board game convention in the US, onlookers literally lined up to play it. Getting a good board is totally worth it.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:10 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Classic: cribbage, Quarto, Scrabble.

Modern: Patchwork, Hive, Haven.

(Rivals of Catan is a thing that exists, but it's not nearly as good as Settlers.)
posted by box at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

7 wonders dual, Fungi, Odin's Ravens, Wingspan
posted by foleypt at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2022

Quirkle, Lost Cities, Morels, KingDomino are all pretty great 2 player and are fast to learn and play. Wingspan is gorgeous and more complicated, and also very nice 2 player (maybe 45 minutes for a 2 person round once you know the game- will take longer at first).
posted by charmedimsure at 1:29 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Zombi dice is simple, addictive, and you can play for a short period of time or long period of time. You can play with multiple people or just 2 people.
posted by ljs30 at 1:35 PM on September 3, 2022

posted by Redstart at 1:44 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ticket to Ride is fine with 2 players, and easy to learn.
posted by pipeski at 2:06 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

My kids & I just started playing Mystic Market and have enjoyed it. It worked fine with 2 players. The rules are pretty easy to learn & it doesn't take long to play.
posted by belladonna at 2:19 PM on September 3, 2022

Piquet: perhaps the most elegant and sophisticated two-handed card game ever played, which is a cross between rummy, whist and medieval french. Only reqs standard (short) playing card deck.
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:22 PM on September 3, 2022

Response by poster: Oh, I also made a post about Crokinole, a traditional Canadian game similar to Carrom--very light but also very engaging. At a little local board game convention in the US, onlookers literally lined up to play it. Getting a good board is totally worth it.

YES! I heard about this game. I think I would love it! I heard the boards are super expensive (esp with shipping).

Games like this would be amazing.
posted by dbirchum at 2:38 PM on September 3, 2022

I heard someone raving about Crokinole and thought it can't be that good can it? It is.

Seconding recommendations for: Jaipur, Patchwork, 7 Wonders Duel. I like Hive but it's a little too chess-y for me.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Crokinole is the best, though better at 4 players.

Though so many great two player games. Fox in the Forest, Patchwork, Santorini. Wargames of all shapes and sizes. Battle line, Lost Cities, Thunder & Lightning, Castles of Burgandy.

Go to BoardGameGeek and ask there. You will get more answers than you can tolerate.
posted by Windopaene at 3:47 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go Nut for Donuts play reminds me of Sushi Go, and I wish there were more games like them.

Catan IS playable with just two. There are multiple 2-player rule sets out there with slight adaptions that make it work even better. Which version of those - or what adaptions you might decide you prefer in your household for 2-player - might take a little bit of figuring out. (We've picked and chose among them, and I can't tell you which ended up being the most favorite - we tend to decide each time we play, depending on who is actually the two playing. And how spiteful we feel... sometimes the robber gets totally ignored as it is.)

We've also been known to be totally obnoxious and each play two or three colors, either pretending we have a team, or playing them as if they were separate people. We've also turning it into 3-way, with a "ghost" third person that we cooperated on, lol.

Rivals for Catan (and it's expansion), Struggle for Catan, and the dice version are also great. I prefer Rivals and it's expansions to Struggle, but it depends on what kind of mood we're in, too.

Patchwork, and Patchwork Doodle. (For Patchwork Doodle, I highly recommend the expansion if you can get your hands on it.

If you like Co-op games, Forbidden Island and Desert are both good with two people, and the gameplay is different. I can't comment on Forbidden Sky, because it's STILL sitting here unopened, we're that silly.

Cribbage is like the absolute vintage standard of two-player games. It's relatively easy to learn - I did at age five - but tough to master. (My dad and uncle had more than a decade of scores in a notebook, taking turns with who was ahead, when my uncle passed away a few years back.)
posted by stormyteal at 4:54 PM on September 3, 2022

- Azul

- Go is a game that takes "minutes to learn and a lifetime to become a highly skilled expert" so you can play it at any level, and for a shorter game just use less of the board.
posted by aniola at 5:02 PM on September 3, 2022

Re: cards, magic the gathering and solforge are great.
posted by coldbabyshrimp at 5:49 PM on September 3, 2022

Queendomino is a current favorite in our house, but I think I really should have gotten Kingdomino - it’s supposed to be faster moving. People say a round takes about 15 minutes and Queendomino usually takes close to an hour for us. I think Queendomino adds some complications that don’t add that much to gameplay - there was a bit of a learning curve.
posted by Kriesa at 6:24 PM on September 3, 2022

Response by poster: Go

Which game is Go?
posted by dbirchum at 7:53 PM on September 3, 2022

Cosmic Wimpout!
posted by vrakatar at 8:18 PM on September 3, 2022

Which game is Go?

Go. I'm sure the comparison isn't close to perfect, but it's a little like Othello, if you've ever played that.
posted by papayaninja at 5:09 AM on September 4, 2022

Lots of great suggestions here already! Also wanted to chime in with 6 nimmt!, a super fun card game that's a quick play, and Magic the Gathering, which is probably easier to pick up if you know someone who can teach you (worth the time!).
posted by sickinthehead at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2022

Best answer: Here are some of the games that my partner and I have played and enjoyed. I’ve included a few that might go over 45 minutes (but not too much) and/or might be a little bit more strategic as a ‘stretch’ category. I’ve added an asterisk for the ones we really enjoyed. Have lots of fun!


* Carcassone

Cosmic Encounter Duel

* 7 Wonders Duel


Nova Luna



Cottage Garden

Unstable Unicorns


The Ming Voyages

* Race for the Galaxy

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small



The Awful Green Things from Outer Space

Twighlight Struggle

* Arkham Horror: The Card Game

* Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases


* Portal 2 The first Portal is also great, worth taking it turns to play.

* Castle Crashers

* Dungeon Defenders

* Rayman Legends

Until Dawn

Army of Two (would only recommend the first two)

* Earth Defense Force


* Divinity: Original Sin

* Divinity: Original Sin 2

* A bunch of the Resident Evil games.
posted by mkdirusername at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2022

See also this previous post.
posted by tiamat at 1:45 PM on September 5, 2022

I love Othello and it's very simple and satisfying. Cribbage is fun once you figure out the rules. Mancala is addictive. As far as new games: Terraforming Mars is good with two people, but maybe more complicated than you want (it isn't actually complicated once you start playing, but there's a steep on-ramp).
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2022

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