Board Games

10 Great Two-Player Board Games Via

Board games are in the midst of a renaissance. As more and more people are putting down the game controller and picking up some dice, a plethora of new board games are hitting the shelves. But many of the most popular games are only good if you can get together a group of four or more friends. Just try playing a game of Monopoly or Risk with two people — it’s really not that much fun. Thankfully, some brilliant game makers have released board games that are specifically designed for only two people; and a lot of them are actually more fun than games that require a gaggle to really get going. Here are ten great board games made just for two.

10. Fungi

In Fungi, the object of the game is to collect sets of mushroom cards. Each mushroom set has a different size and value, and mushroom cards can be drawn from the common supply located in the middle of the table (also referred to as the forest). Although hand-size is limited, you can increase your hand-size by taking a basket with you when you go forraging for mushrooms. You can also obtain extra points by getting butter and cider and putting them in your pan before cooking the mushrooms. This game feature some similarities to Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities but there’s a little more going on in Fungi which makes it quite a but more enjoyable. Also, the idea of a game that revolves around finding and eating mushrooms is freaking adorable. Via

9. The Duke

The concept of The Duke is similar to chess. Each playing piece moves around the board in a specific manner and the object of the game is to capture the Duke. However there are two main aspects that differentiate The Duke from chess. First of all, each piece is a double sided tile that can only be moved in the direction indicated on the side of the tile that’s showing. And, once a tile is move, it must be flipped. Secondly, although both players start with the same number of pieces on the board they can choose to place them in different starting positions. In addition, as the game progresses, players can draw new pieces that have different abilities. It’s this fun twist on a classic game that makes The Duke a fun foray into tactical gaming. Via

8. The Rivals for Catan

Rivals is a two-player, card-based version of Settlers of Catan. Much like the original game, it revolves around collecting resources and concludes when a player reaches a set number of victory points (seven for the base game). Some cards will have locations or special abilities that you can play or build using your collected resources and, as the game progresses, players acquire specific buildings and people in addition to settlements and cities — all of which can increase their total victory points. There are multiple expansions for the base game that add in a lot of fun variations. Via

7. Balloon Cup

At first glance this game might not look like much, but it’s actually quite a bit of fun. The objective of the game is to win Balloon Cup trophies. To win a trophy, players need to hand in the correct amount of cubes; and to obtain cubes, players need to have the highest or lowest sum of balloon cards at a location tile. There are four tiles, on one side of a tile there are mountains, and on the other side there are plains. To earn cubes, have the highest sum at a mountain tile and the lowest at a plain tile. On the first tile you can win one cube, on the second two cube and so on. The cubes are drawn randomly from a bag. Players place balloon cards, with a specific number and color, in front of tiles that have a certain number of cubes on them. Cards can be placed either on your side or on your opponents side but the card color must match the cube color. When there is an equal amount of cards on both sides of the tile as there are cubes on it, the cubes must be claimed by the player who wins (highest or lowest sum of the numbers on the cards). If you have the right color and right amount of cubes, you claim the trophy of that color. The first player to claim three trophies wins the game. Via

6. Jaipur

Jaipur is an accessible and uncomplicated economic game where six different types of goods — from rupees to camels — can be gathered. Both players start the game with five cards and, on your turn, you can choose to either take a card from the market or sell goods from your hand. You can only have a maximum of seven cards in your hand and when you sell cards you take the same number of tokens from the corresponding stack of the cards you sold. Some goods will be more highly valued than others, and each time a good is sold its value decreases. Players can achieve bonus tokens by selling three, four, or five goods at the same time and a round is over when three stacks of tokens are empty. The player with the most points at the end wins the round and the game is over when a player wins two rounds. The real strategy of Jaipur is deciding when to take additional cards and when to sell cards. For instance, sometimes taking a card pre-emptively can be a good choice if you know it will hinder your opponent. In a nutshell, Jaipur is a game of tiny decisions that carry great importance. Via Amazon

5. Mr. Jack in New York

This game features moving parts and a board that changes throughout the course of play. At the start of the game one player is given the role of Jack the Ripper and tasked with trying to escape the city, while the other player plays the role of the detective trying to nab him. Whoever decides to play as Jack the Ripper then draws a character card in secret, which becomes the character that the detective needs to catch to win the game. There are also other non-player characters on the board that have special abilities each player can utilize. Once the dynamics of the game are understood, it becomes an incredibly fun exercise in deductive reasoning. Via

4. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

In LOTR: The Confrontation, the game board is divided into several areas depicting Middle Earth. One player plays as Frodo and his friendly Fellowship of the Ring, while the other plays as the dark forces of Sauron. The goal of the Fellowship is to move the ring to Mount Doom so it can be destroyed, while the objective of Sauron’s force is to catch Frodo or reach The Shire before the ring is destroyed. Each character piece has a specific value and both players also have hidden characters that can use special abilities. As players move around the board, if their pieces encounter one another a confrontation takes place. In a confrontation, both players draw a card and then add the value of that card to the value of their piece engaged in the confrontation. The player with the highest total value wins the confrontation, but special powers could come into play that change the outcome. LOTR: The Confrontation is a fun and fast-paced strategy game that also does a nice job of telling Tolkien’s classic story. Via YouTube

3. Akrotiri

Akrotiri is a game that’s easy enough to learn how to play, but often requires a lot of strenuous thinking to play well. The core gameplay centres around tile laying and market manipulation. Players use small boats to pick up goods and then sell those goods for money that can be used to purchase treasure maps. On a given treasure map, you see a temple surrounded by icons that represent a specific direction the wind is blowing. During your turn, by placing tiles on the game board that have the same icon found on the treasure map, you can locate the hidden temple and secret treasure. Each player has a set number of action points they can use on their turn and deciding how to use them most efficiently is where the real brain power comes into play. Although Akrotiri can get a little complicated at times, it’s a very fun and engaging game because it requires a deeper involvement than a lot of other two-player games. Via

2. Star Realms

Star Realms is a basic two-player deck building game set in a distant future where different races battle over resources. To win, you need to build up your fleet of bases and starships until you have enough power to wipe out your opponent. Similar to other deck building games, you want to try to obtain cards that work well together; and in Star Realms, that means getting cards that are from the same faction. Cards can be purchased using “trade” points and players attack each others “authority” points using “combat” points. The first player to reduce their opponent authority points to zero is declared the winner and supreme ruler of space. Via

1. Targi

Targi is a resource management game that involves placing workers in rows and columns in order to gain resources. Where you place your workers will depend largely on which resources you want to obtain and tensions quickly rise if one player blocks the other player’s access to a specific row or column. There is also a robber in play that can influence the course of the game, but only to a lesser extent. Even though Targi can get pretty involved and takes some time explaining to newcomers, what makes it such a fantastic game is the way it cleverly balances verbal player interaction with internal mental work. Via
Wes Walcott

Wes Walcott

Wes is a devourer of media. He ravenously consumes podcasts, books, and TV shows with seemingly no regard for review scores or subject matter. If encountered in the wild, Wes is said to respond positively to verbal cues relating to X-Men or the SNES. The subject can be easily captured and tamed using Transformers or Gundam models.