Top 12 Two-Player Board/Card Games
Hey y'all! It's Sara here. Between my migraines and Kyle's crazy medical school schedule, it can be difficult to 1) find time to spend together and 2) use that time intentionally to bond and refocus on US rather than just watch Bones or Person of Interest. Again. Thus our board game collection was born! We've found that board games are a perfect way for us to maximize the limited amount of time we have together each night. Board games help us to engage with each other (and get off our phones/laptops), and usually don't take too much energy for when I'm not feeling great. Plus, the cost is relatively low! You buy a game once and then get to replay it over and over again for free! And on a med school budget, you can't beat that!
However, wanting to play awesome 2 player games and finding them is a different story. We've had to go through a LOT of duds to find those really great games that we play over and over again. And we've compiled this list so that you don't have to go through the same mistakes we did! You can just jump right to the really fun ones without wasting your money on the ones that aren't super worth it.
So here they are! Our favorite two player board and card games! Some of these can be played with more than 2 players as well, but all of them are fantastic for that one on one time!! Don't see a game on our list that you think should be on it? Let me know in the comments and we'll try it out! We're always looking for our next board game obsession :)
1. Skull King
Y'all we're obsessed with this game right now! Skull King is the perfect mix of luck and strategy. The goal is to correctly predict the number of tricks you can win each round based on the cards that are in your hand. But you never know what you opponent has in their hand or what order they're going to play their cards in. So there's luck, strategy, and some statistics too! There's tons of re-play value (evidenced by the fact we've had it for less than a month and we've played it almost 20 times!) and you'll quickly be just as addicted as we are!
2. Escape - Curse of the Temple
Apperently this is a collectible now? We got Escape - Curse of the Temple right after we got married years ago and it's probably hands down one of our favorites! It's cooperative, timed, and super intense! In a fun way of course :) No one takes turns, you're just racing together as fast as you can to finish your tasks and escape the temple before time runs out!
We prefer cooperative games because we get to work together and talk a lot more than when we're silently playing against each other. So this game is awesome for that! It also has quite a few expansions that add a ton of complexity and fun once you've mastered the base game. TOTALLY WORTH IT GUYS!!
They've also got a zombie version that looks like a TON of fun! We haven't tried it yet, but it's definitely on our list!
3. Seven Wonders Duel
If you've ever played 7 Wonders before, this game is the two player version! You can ONLY play it with two players while the games we've already mentioned can be played with 2 or more. 7 Wonders Duel gets played over and over again at our house because there are so many different ways to win. Plus it's fun to beat Kyle's butt every single time.
4. Monopoly Deal
Anyone else have awful memories of playing Monopoly as a kid?? My older siblings were waaaaay too competitive and the games dragged. on. for. ever. Well Monopoly Deal is the card game version of Monopoly and WAY better in my opinion. It's also the cheapest game on this list so that's always a plus! Instead of taking hours, we've played in 15 minutes or less almost every time! And unlike monopoly, the favor changes swiftly and frequently in this game, so one minute you can be losing and the next you've almost won! No more sitting around for hours watching someone cream you.
Quite appropriate (or inappropriate) given our current worldwide circumstances! Pandemic is another cooperative game (yay!) so there's lots of positive interaction between you and your partner as you're trying to save the world from four growing pandemics. There are lots of ways to lose and only one way to win, so buckle up because this one is intense AND FUN!
If you're really into board games, Pandemic Legacy is like Pandemic but on steroids. It's unlike any game I've ever played before! You play it 12 times (it's structured to be played once a month throughout a year). The outcome of each game you play affects the next game, so if you lose a game, it's big deal! AS the games go on, you add new elements, put stickers on the board, rip up cards, lose characters. Seriously, it's insane! But super super fun :) Highly recommend for a string of date nights!!
Chick-a-pig is different than any game on this list. It's kind of a mix between checkers and chess and.... animal farm? Get your chick-a-pigs across the farm by bouncing off walls, your opponents, and hay bales while trying to block the other player and avoid the cow poop! It's a strategic game with a fun theme that is easy to play over and over again!
If you've ever played Carcassonne, then you'll like Alhambra! It's similar to Carcassonne in the fact that you are building your own city (or your Alhambra) and getting points for it, but you have to buy the tiles you use before hand. There's more strategy to it than Carcassonne which Kyle and I both liked!
When you play with just 2 people, there are special rules to follow which include and imaginary friend named Dirk. He's a butt. He always steals the tiles I want. Anyways, a lot of the times when big games like this have special 2-player rules, they're kind of dumb and the game sin't as much fun anymore. Not with Alhambra! We still have a ton of fun with the special 2-player rules.
9. Sentinels of the Multiverse
This is another cooperative game, and you should only start Sentinels of the Multiverse if you have a hour or two to play! We've actually had to set a time limit in our house where we can't start playing this game if it's after 8pm. Otherwise we look up and it's after 11pm by the time we finish. Without fail. So this is a great one to play while you're stuck at home self-quarantining! Each player is a superhero who has their own deck of cards, and you're all working together to defeat a villain who has their own deck of cards. And each game you choose a new environment in ehich to play which has it's own deck of cards. It's a TON of fun, really interactive (yay!) and strategic.
This one has LOTS of expansion packs. They're not necessary to play the base game (like some other games) but I think you'll quickly find yourself buying the expansions because each one give you more heroes and villains and environments that add a lot of variety and intrigue to the game!
10. Ticket to Ride Europe
This is one of Kyle's favorites! You're building train tracks across Europe to complete your goals before your opponent snatches up the tracks you need. We like the Europe version better than the America one because this one has extra elements that make it easier to play and make it so you not totally screwed if someone steals a track you really needed. It's not a very interactive game so we've been intentional about talking about other things while we play; politics, how our days went, what we're stressed about lately, embarrassing stories from our childhood. All those fun things :)
This one is another of Kyle's favorites! Dominion is a deck building game with LOTS of variation. You only use like 8 types of cards to build your deck each game, but there are over 20 options in the box, so each game can be incredibly different. This one also don't evoke a tone of interaction between the players so you have to be intentional about it!! Make a point to talk while playing the game. It's a fun one, but will only help strengthen your relationship if you put in the effort!
12. Machi Koro : Bright Lights Big City
This last one is (again) one of Kyle's favorites!! I think this one is a spin off of the original game Machi Koro, but it's the only version we've every played and it's great for us! Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City is a mouthful to say, but it's really fun! It's a good mix of strategy and luck (as most of the games Kyle and I like to play are). As someone once told us, it's kind of like a mix of Catan, Yatzee, and Monopoly! You'll just have to play it for yourself and see :)
That's our list, folks! Hopefully you'll be able to use some of these games to help strengthen the relationship between you and your partner. Put your phones away (preferably in a drawer somewhere), grab a snack, and commit to focusing solely on each other. I promise that you'll see a difference in your relationship almost immediately!
Have a great 2-player game that didn't make it onto our list? Let us know what it is and why you love it in the comments! We're always on the hunt for a great new game!