We often get asked to recommend suitable games for two players. Whether for a couple on a romantic date, or just a couple of friends hanging out, we’ve come up with a list of our favorite games designed just for two players.
Patchwork is in my opinion, designer Uwe Rosenberg’s masterpiece. In this game, players take turns buying Tetris-style polyomino pieces to place them on their own board. Players try to fill up their board as much as possible, while earning resources to enable them to buy even more pieces. While taking only a couple of minutes to teach, the gameplay is very fun and addicting.
Jaipur is a simple game of collecting and trading goods in order to score points. On a player’s turn they are able to take or trade cards from the market, or sell the cards in their hand for points. If they are able to sell three or more at one time, they can score better bonus points. It’s simple, fast, and very fun to play.
Hanamikoji is a two-player strategy card game set in Japan. The game revolves players offering cards in trying to win the favor of seven Geishas. Players offer their opponent a choice of several cards, after which the player gets whatever cards are left over. While the game is easy enough to learn, it still offers a lot of strategic depth.
This game has some similarities to Hanamikoji, but is a lot more straightforward type of tug-of-war. Each player takes turns placing a single card at one of nine boundary stones, while trying to achieve the goal of having the best three-card combo on their side of the stone. What makes this a great game is because players are constantly trying to deduce what combo their opponent is trying to achieve, and whether they’re able to counter it.
Fans of chess may appreciate the streamlined gameplay of Onitama. In this game, players must either capture their opponent’s Master or occupy their throne. To do this, players move their pieces by selecting from a number of moves depicted on one of two cards, and then the card they used is then made available to their opponent to use in their future moves. This constant rotation of cards keeps the flow very dynamic, and as a result makes Onitama a rather thought-provoking puzzle.
Hive makes for a more direct comparison to chess in that each player piece has unique moves not unlike each chess piece. Unlike chess, Hive does not use a board. The players form the playing field by connecting and moving hexagonal insect pieces around a central cluster or hive, in order to surround their opponent’s queen bee.