Games for Two Players

Games for Two Players

Hello Bali!

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, a polyomino game for two players
Patchwork image from Big Boss Battle

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, a trading game for two players
Jaipur image from The New York Times

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.


I-cut-you-choose is the driving mechanism of Hanamikoji
Hanamikoji image from Random Nerdery

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.

Schotten Totten

Setting up winning hands in Schotten Totten
Schotten Totten image by Daily Worker Placement

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.


Cards show available moves in Onitama
Onitama image by Meeple Like Us

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.


Strategy game for chess lovers
Hive image by Tabletop Wanderers

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.

Posted by Downtime
Board Games for Newbies

Board Games for Newbies

We often get asked, “What are some recommended board games for newbies?”

As of this writing, our board game library has just a little over 200 titles on the shelves. While it’s still a modest collection compared to larger more established board game cafes, it’s still overwhelming to new gamers who have only ever played Monopoly and Uno.

I have compiled a small selection of popular titles that we have often used to introduce board game newbies to this wonderful world of ours, based on a few criteria.

First, the rules must be easy enough to teach. I have found that board games that take over 10 minutes to teach tend to be overly complicated for newcomers. People just want to sit down and start having fun as fast as possible.

Second, the game must be relatively short. At the end of a gaming session, I hope people will look at each other and say, “That was fun, let’s play again!” Conversely, if they end up not liking it the game should finish quick enough so that they could move on to something else.

The last criterion is language-independence, largely because English is not the primary language at our location. Therefore I often prefer board games that require little or no reading at all.

Enough of that, on to the recommendations!


Loonacy // Image: Parents at Play

This is a card game of fast reflexes for 2-5 players. Players start with a hand of 7 cards, each of which has two different pictures. On the table will be a number of open cards. If you see a picture on the table that matches one of yours, play your card on top of it. Do it quickly before someone else does. The first person to completely get rid of all their cards wins the game! This game is quick, fun, very easy to teach, and is suitable even for younger children.


Tsuro // Image: Brian Holaway

In this simple tile-laying game for 2-8 players, you are laying down tiles with squiggly tracks of various patterns in front of your marker stone. Your stone then must move through the the newly-laid tile, following its track until it reaches the end. If you go off the map, you are eliminated. The last person remaining on the map wins the game! Dead-simple, Tsuro is one of the easiest introductory board games for newbies.

Hey That’s My Fish!

Hey That’s My Fish // Image: Shut Up and Sit Down

In this game instead of adding tiles you will be removing them from the board. The board is made up of hexagonal tiles depicting one, two, or three fish each. You choose one of your four penguins to move. Pick up the tile he is standing on and move him along a straight line to a new tile. You cannot jump over any gaps in the board, so don’t get trapped in a corner. The person with the most fish is the top penguin! 


Splendor // Image: The Board Game Family

This is one of our favorite board games for newbies. As gem merchants, you take turns acquiring gems from the supply. You will use them later to buy cards which gives you a discount on future cards as well as some prestige points. Splendor is one of our favorite games for 2-4 players to introduce to new gamers, as it only takes about 5 minutes to learn. What’s more, this game perfectly teaches the concept of engine-building and victory points.


Dixit // Image: Boardgamegeek

If you like a board game which exercises your imagination then Dixit may be a good fit. From your hand of 6 picture cards you choose one of them to play face down. You must then give out a hint to help other players to guess your card. Other players then choose one of their cards which most matches your hint, and add it to form a pile top of your card. From those shuffled pile of cards everyone else tries to figure out which one was your original card. However: you only get points if some—but not all—other players guess your card.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride // Image: Hobby Lark

For a slightly longer game lasting about an hour, try the ever-popular Ticket to Ride. In this game for 2-5 players, you compete against other players to build train routes by paying cards matching the color of the routes on the map. In addition you also have objectives that you must fulfill by connecting various cities on the map. If you’ve got a little time to spare, Ticket to Ride is one of the best medium-length board games for newbies.

Which other titles do you think would be a good introductory board game for newbies?

Posted by Downtime in Journal
What is a Board Game Cafe?

What is a Board Game Cafe?

Welcome to Downtime Cafe, the first board game cafe in Bali.

So, what is a board game cafe? Just like any other great cafes we make great coffees, teas, juices, and other drinks for you. We also have delicious, freshly-prepared food and snacks for you like other restaurants.

However what really sets Downtime Cafe apart from everyone else is our large library of board games. We invite you to come to eat, drink, relax, and play any of our over 200 board games. That’s right, board games.

Board games like Monopoly, right? Nope, wrong! Surely just as modern blockbuster movies have evolved quite a bit since the silent black and white films of Charlie Chaplin, modern board games have come a long, long way since the simple dice-rolling days of Monopoly a hundred years ago.

Spirit Island // Image: Co-op Board Games

Our library includes some of the most popular modern board game classics like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Azul. Casual gamers like to have a laugh with board games like Dixit, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Exploding Kittens. On the other end if you like a challenge we also have thinkers’ strategy games like Great Western Trail, Spirit Island, and Root.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, we have a board game that’s right for you. We have plenty of space for you to stretch out, and lots of tasty food and drinks. So come visit us and see for yourself what a board game cafe is about!

Posted by Downtime in Journal