Best Two Player Board Games

Most board games and card games are designed for multiple players, which leave couples and two players in a predicament. It’s not much fun trying to adapt a board game to work for two players. Take Monopoly, Clue, or Risk, for example. They are great games when you are three players or more but not much fun playing two.

Game designers know this, and they’ve made the effort of designing many board games two players or more can play. They’ve even redesigned popular games for only two players. Then there are board games that only two can play. Here is a list of great two-player board games that vary in difficulty level, age, and type of games.  

Top Picks For Two- Player Board Games

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detectvie The Thames Murders Two Player Board Game With Brown Cover

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a cooperative game where mystery fans compete as against Mr. Sherlock.

7 Wonders Duel is a two-player civilization-building board game for serious gamers and strategy enthusiasts.

Pandemic draws you into the urgency of saving humanity against four spreading viruses. Find the cure. Treat the sick. Stop a pandemic outbreak.

Codenames: Duet is a word deduction game that requires cooperative play - but being quick-on-your-feet

Patchwork challenges couples to build the best quilt - it's fun even if you aren't a craft fan but enjoy solving puzzles

Hive is a strategic and competitive two-player board game for bug enthusiasts and others who want to save the queen bee.

Agricola is a farm-building game where planning and decision-making are essential to overcome nature and beat the competition

Detailed Reviews of The Best Two-Player Board & Card Games

For kids  10 to 99 Years of age

Pros:

  • The flexible structure allows you to follow leads in the order that makes sense to you.
  • Perfect for budding detectives and logical thinkers and people with deduction skills.
  • A highly cooperative and competitive game that keeps you busy for hours.

Cons:

  • No replay value when you solved all 10 cases
  • Case 3 has a publisher error that makes it almost unsolvable in versions earlier than 2016. The corrected version is available to download online.

Solve crime mysteries faster than the famous Mr. Holmes in the two-player board game Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Thames Murders and Others. Players can cooperate to play against Sherlock Holmes, or they can up the competition level by playing against each other too.

There are ten mysteries to solve by visiting locations on the London map and reading stories and newspapers to find clues. If you enjoy reading and finding clues, then this is one of the best game choices for you. The clues you find leads you to a place on the map.

If you like games that don’t require a specific order structure, then you’ll enjoy being a sleuth in this flexible game. Players may visit any place in any order, read all newspapers to date, an interview any informant available.

As you progress as a consulting detective, the cases become more complicated with more clues. The first couple of cases are solvable within 1-2 hours; latter cases will take longer.

Number of players: 1-8

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 2 hours

Complexity Level: Difficult

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10+ years

Pros:

  • A strategic problem-solving game with a frantic fun element
  • Easy to learn and highly repayable
  • Cooperating and working as a team is essential because each character’s skill set is necessary

Cons:

  • Experienced players may dominate the game by directing the next move before others get the chance to work it out for themselves.

Hunting for treasure may be exciting, but how much pressure you can handle in finding the treasure before the island sinks in the two-player board game Forbidden Island. Although you are playing with other players, you are competing against time and teamwork becomes essential.

To be a winner requires strategic thinking, the ability to solve problems, and cooperation with others in finding the 4 treasures on time. Game master Matt Leacock created a board game that achieved considerable awards like the 2010 Mensa Favorite Brainy Games Winner and the Top Board Game of 2010.

Each of the six characters has their skills and unique abilities. The game is for two to four players, which creates a twist to the game because you can’t have all six characters.

If you don’t like the idea of a sinking island, then there is the Forbidden Desert or explore a mysterious platform in Forbidden Sky.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 30-45 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 7+ years

 

Pros:

  • Various win conditions ensure no predictable outcome.
  • A fast-paced, quick but intense game.
  • Fun and competitive game for two players

Cons:

  • Frequent players may need more variety and purchase expansion sets.
  • Some players may prefer larger sized playing cards.

7 Wonders Duel is designed for two players and is as much fun with a similar style of play than the award-winning 7 Wonders. The object is to build a civilization with the best army that will crush your opponent. If you prefer a more peaceful victory than invading your opponent’s capital, you have two other options. Become prestigious by winning the most victory points or achieve a monopoly through scientific advancement.

In the ancient world, the civilizations move through three Ages building wonders that strengthen their game. With only half of the cards revealed and multiple winning options, you are never sure if your strategy is working; your opponent may surprise you at the last move.

If you are a frequent player, don’t fret, there is the Pantheon Expansion pack available.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5-10 minutes

Average Playtime: 30 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10+ years

Pros:

  • A challenging game that is easy to learn.
  • Players experience the urgency and drama as if they are part of the Pandemic world.
  • Cooperative play. Teamwork is essential to save humanity.

Cons:

  • Players who prefer playing against other players may find a cooperative concept difficult to grasp
  • Need to play a game before players understand the game

If the idea of saving the world interests you, then join the disease control team in Pandemic and protect the world against deadly diseases. You play against time to find the cures before the virus spreads.

It’s essential to work together as a team to find solutions. Pandemic is a great game to inspire teamwork and strategic play. Players must decide which actions to take next. Do they treat the diseases, find a new cure, build research stations, or fly or drive across the globe?

The game starts with nine infected cities. With each round, the number increases, and epidemic cards may re-infect previous cities that may cause chaos if wrong actions are taken.

Easy to understand the board game allows for all ages to play, requiring tactical and strategic moves to save the world. Players control the difficulty level by deciding how many epidemic cards they place in the deck.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 10-15 minutes

Average Playtime: 25-45 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium to High

Recommended ages: 8+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8+ years

Pros:

  • The game is easy to learn
  • A strategic word deduction game that is fast-paced
  • Improves cooperative skills

Cons:

  • Could be too advanced for younger players in finding the right word clues

Instead of competing against each other, players work together as a team to win in Czech Games Codenames: Duet. The object of the game is to find the 15 agents among a grid of 25 that includes assassins and bystanders. Should you reveal an assassin, you lose the game.

Just like in the spy world, countries may work together, but they don’t reveal all their secrets to the world; they often communicate in code. With numbers and single word clues, players communicate to help each other find the agents and avoid the assassins.

Codenames Duet is a fast-paced strategic word game that could improve kids developing teamwork and cooperating skills by working together. For those who don’t like the challenge of finding the best word clue or trying to decipher the clue, the game may be frustrating.

Number of players: 2-4

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 10+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 11+

Pros:

  • Relaxing yet competitive game for two players
  • Quick but engaging game
  • Ideal for kids, teenagers, and couples

Cons:

  • Not for gamers who want complicated, integrated games and not a relaxing game

Patchwork may look straightforward, but there’s a catch. Uneven pieces of fabric require strategic planning and the ability to solve problems. When you’ve placed your fabric piece on the board, you can’t move it.

Created by game designer Uwe Rosenberg, this classic board game inspires creativity, problem-solving, and healthy competition. The competitive game challenges players to create the highest score with their patchwork quilt design.

A game could take up to 45 minutes, depending on the competitive play. The idea is to complete as much of the quilt as possible with the unique shapes. Kids who like solving puzzles will enjoy that element in the game. Creative kids who want to become textile designers will enjoy the idea of creating a quilt with odd pieces.

The secret lies in the buttons, which is the money currency and gives the quilt that final touch.

If you enjoy Tetris, then you may enjoy this engaging quilting game with its strategic puzzle-solving element.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 8-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8-adults

Pros:

  • A strategic game for two players.
  • Tile pieces are durable with beautiful designs.
  • Portable with a pouch for storage and travel

Cons:

  • Some players don’t like to have to continually concentrate during a game.

Hive is a two-player board game that requires strategic thinking like when playing Chess. The objective of the game is to protect your queen bee that she isn’t locked in by opponent bugs.

The game is quick to grasp but requires strategic thinking. Set up time is fast because you don’t require a board; a flat surface will suffice to place the tiles.

Each tile is decorated with one of the five types of bugs — each bug hast its rules of how it can move.

A portable game that can travel with you wherever you go.

Number of players: 2

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 8-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8+ years

Pros:

  • One of the best worker placement games
  • A competitive game without aggressive actions like battles and destruction
  • Planning is essential, but the outcome isn’t known

Cons:

  • Players may have to wait for other players to decide on their actions.
  •  Some find the game complicated in the beginning

Agricola is a turn-based, worker placement game where the goal is to build and expand your farm. The game starts with the farmer and his spouse, which means you have two actions each turn, one for the farmer and one for the wife.

Each farm chore can only be done by one player at a time, which means strategically, you can block another player’s progress or force them to do other actions. The game is low aggressive because there are no battles or destruction; you can only inconvenience your opponent, not destroy or harm their farm. Parents who want their kids to have competitive fun without aggression, Agricola is a great pick.

Players need to decide which chores are a priority to build the farm, stockpile, and feed the family. Players continuously faced with making difficult choices.

Number of players: 1-5

Set up time: 10 minutes

Average Playtime: 2 hours

Complexity Level: Medium

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 10=15 years

Pros:

  • A card-theme board game for a variety of ages.
  • Easy to learn and fun to play.
  • Teaches kids card game principles.

Cons:

  • Too many players fill up the board too soon.

Sequence is a two-player board game that requires strategic and decision-making skills. The object is to create a row of five pieces while simultaneously blocking your opponent from creating their rows.

The board shows two packs of cards. Each card lies with its image face up. Each player is dealt seven cards. When it’s your turn, you select a card in your hand to play by placing a chip on one of the two options on the board. That’s where the strategy and fun start, choosing the right one that will enhance your play.

There’s always the wild card to benefit a player and have a negative impact on the opponent. The Jack can be played as any card, or you could remove an opponent’s chip from the board.

The player who scores the required number of sequences wins.

Number of players: 2-3 or up to 12 in three teams

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 10-30 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 7+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 6+ years

Pros:

  • A quick but intense game for those with limited time who enjoy the action.
  • Word game fans will enjoy the frantic competitive element
  • Very portable game for traveling

Cons:

  • Players who don’t like thinking on their feet may find the game too stressful.

 

Bananagrams adds additional competitiveness and excitement to traditional two-player board games like Scrabble. In Scrabble, players take turns, not so in Bananagrams. With this game, each player races to see who can finish all the letters building a grid.

All you need to play is the banana-shaped carrying pouch containing 144 plastic letter tiles and two players. No board, pen, or scoring devices are necessary.

Each player creates a word grid, trying to deplete all their tiles. When that happens, players take another tile. The game continues until all the tiles are taken.

The game is easy to play and teaches kids spelling and new words during play. Bananagrams pouch is compact and convenient for traveling.

Number of players: 2-8

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 15 minutes

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 7+ years

Reviewed recommended ages: 8+ years

Pros:

  • A fun way to learn about history, and the timeline of events
  • Player take part in a challenge at the same time so no extensive waiting for your turn
  • The game is a standalone or integrates with other Timeline series cards.

Cons:

  • Generally, older players may have an advantage over younger players because of life experience and been exposed to more information.

Timeline Challenge is a series of trivia games that may delight history fans and players who like to know facts. The original Timeline game was a card game that included topics like historical events, music, cinema, and science and discoveries.

Time Challenge transformed playing cards into a complete board game for two players. It is a set of mini-games increasing the difficulty level of the game. It is a standalone two-player game or serves as an expansion to Timeline.

Although the board game may remind you of Trivial Pursuit, moving around the board isn’t determined by the dice roll. It’s related to how many points the player earns answering correctly during a Trial (mini-challenge). If there are more than two players, players who are furthest behind have two opportunities to catch up by playing Challenges against each other.

Number of players: 2-10

Set up time: 5 minutes

Average Playtime: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Complexity Level: Easy

Recommended ages: 10-15 years

Reviewed recommended ages: 12+ years

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