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The Best 2 Player Board Games for Adults, Couples and Competitive Players

Let me be honest. Board games are typically much more fun with less people for me because there is much less downtime. Find some of the best 2 player board games on the market here. With sections for fun two player board games for couples, adults and competitive players.

I want to jump right in with some of the best board games for couples.

(Related Reading – List of Fun 2 Player Card Games)

Several Fun 2 Player Board Games for Couples

I have played half of these two player board games with a significant other of mine from the past. The other two I would recommend solely on how the games played out when I played with my friends.

Spoiler – 2 of these board games are also fit for double date night if you know another couple that is into games.

1. Santorini – Great 2 Player Board Game for Couples on a Double Date

Difficulty – 2/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2-4
Length – 20 min.

Let’s start out with one of my favorite board games for two players. Santorini is very easy and quick to learn. The pieces in the game are really neat as well, making this a great board game for couples.

There is a simple way to play the game if you are just wanting to enjoy a simple game with your significant other. Or you can add a bit of depth to the game by playing with the god power cards. This allows your workers to do special actions or have alternate win conditions. Santorini is very fun to play with or without the god cards.

An even cooler fact about this game is that it plays really well for 2 teams of 2. Making it the best two player board game for a double date night!

(Related – Ever thought about making a board game? Get the answers to many questions new board game designers have here.)

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2. Patchwork – Easy to Learn Abstract Board Game for 2

Difficulty – 3/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2
Length – 15-30 min.

Similar to Santorini, Patchwork is a very easy game to learn. This drafting game has both players choosing different shapes of materials to make a quilt. Win the game by creating the most efficient quilt.

While this game has a winner at the end, I can see couples choosing to want to help each other out as well. Seeing if they can beat their previous high score (with the fewest spots remaining).

I like to think of this board game as turn based Tetris. You are constantly thinking ahead trying to be the most efficient with the game pieces as possible. Patchwork is perfect for couples that enjoy turn based, abstract strategy games.

3. Labyrinth – Another Fun Game for Couples on Double Date Night

Difficulty – 2/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2-4
Length – 20 min.

Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies of all time. This board game has nothing to do with the movie thematically other than you are in a giant maze. But it does a great job at making you have to think your way through this ever changing puzzle.

Every turn, players manipulates the labyrinth and move in one direction. The goal of the game is to collect all of the treasures that they have set out to capture and to leave the labyrinth.

This is also another great board game for couples to have at double date night. It plays great as a 2 player board game but is also fun with 4 players.

(Related Read – Check out these exciting games for players that love drafting cards)

4. Splendor – The Perfect Game to Play with Your Partner’s Parents

Difficulty – 3/10
Ages – 10+
Players – 2-4
Length – 30 min.

Splendor is one of my favorite board games of all time. It is so simple to learn and yet hard to master. Every decision you make ends up being meaningful. As a board game designer it’s difficult to do this so I appreciate it more when a game designer is able to pull this off. And Splendor does this well.

I have played Splendor both as a 2 player board game and a 3-4 player game. And it is just as fun for me to play with 2 players as it is anything else.

(Any DIY Fans out There? Check out how to print cards for your games at home)

Some of the Best 2 Player Board Games for Adults

When you get home from your job and just want to relax, a large game night with a lot of people can be a bit overwhelming. With this in mind I bring you 4 really fun two player board games for adults to enjoy after a long week of work.

5. Crokinole – Top Dexterity Game that is Enjoyable by Adults and Kids

Difficulty – 1/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2-4
Length – 30 min.

Crokinole is a great dexterity game. I love simple and fun games and Crokinole is just that. Although it’s not technically a board game, it’s a game that is enjoyed at board game conventions.

I remember playing my first game of Crokinole at Gen Con several years back. Gen Con is the biggest board game convention in the United States, maybe in the world (is Essen Spiel bigger? I don’t know). My family and I took turns playing the nice set that was set up in a room off to the side.

It was a lot of fun battling for board position against my brother as we tried to flick our way to victory. I really enjoyed the 2 player version of this game as it was much less hectic. There weren’t as many random pieces in the way which I liked.

A plus for this game is if you are a master woodworker, then you can make a sweet looking customized set yourself 🙂

6. Hive – An Exciting Two Player Abstract Tabletop Game

Difficulty – 5/10
Ages – 9+
Players – 2
Length – 20 min.

I haven’t played this board game yet but I can tell you that I see it many places when looking for new board games to buy. There are recommendations all over the internet for this game.

Awhile back I was looking for a new board game to play that would be perfect for me to play against my mom or brother. This was one of the few I was looking between as the game play and reviews looked really good.

One thing that attracted me the most was that the replay-ability seemed really high. Especially if you wanted to buy an expansion or two.

Expansion characters to add to your copy of Hive include:
– Ladybugs
– Pillbugs
Mosquitos

Each of these characters have a unique action that provides a lot of replay-ability when mixed with the original critters.

(Do you have an idea for a board game? Take the first step to making your own game here)

7. Jaipur – One of the Best Set Collecting Card Games for 2 Players

Difficulty – 3/10
Ages – 12+
Players – 2
Length – 30 min.

Jaipur is mostly a card game. But I am adding it to this list of 2 player board games because it does have some nice little pieces in addition to the cards.

The artwork on this game is very nice and I imagine that this would be a great two player board game for couples as well. It’s easy to learn and doesn’t take a long time to play. It’s a little long to be considered a “filler game”. Though I’m sure you could use it as a filler board game once both players have played several times.

This is another one of the few 2 player board games on this list that I actually haven’t played but want to real bad. Based on the awesome artwork, easiness to learn and high ratings and recommendations I’ve seen everywhere.

**Edit – I ended up buying Jaipur after a reader suggested it to me. He said he loved playing this with his wife so I gave it a try. It is a really fun game and was very simple to learn and play. But it also rewards great strategy and decision making. I highly recommend this game for both adults, couples AND competitive players.

8. Stratego – My Pick for Favorite Classic 2 Player Board Game

Difficulty – 3/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2
Length – 15-45 min.

What a classic! Stratego is a two player board game that I grew up playing a lot of. Actually, I think I played this more than I played Chess as a child.

This board game has each player set up their battlefield (board game pieces) at the start of the game. Each team has a flag that the other team has to capture but must be careful because there are also bombs placed throughout the map.

Use deduction and risk evaluation to find and capture your opponents flag to win the game.

My favorite aspect of the game was definitely setting up my side of the board at the start of the game. I loved playing this with my grandma growing up. She taught me a lot of sneaky moves and how to get a decent read on your opponents. I still use those skills today when I’m playing trading card games competitively. Thanks Memaw!

Looking back on it, I don’t know how this didn’t make my list of board games to play with grandma. Oops.

4 of the Highest Rated and Best 2 Player Board Games for Competitive Players

Now this is the perfect section for Drew and me. My little brother and I have loved playing the best 2 player board games we could find for as long as he has been able to play. Our current favorite board game for 2 is 7 Wonders Duel. And our favorite 2 player card game at the moment is a drafting game called EPIC.

I want to start this portion of the list with the 2 player board game version of the classic, Carcassonne.

9. Carcassonne: the Castle – Competitive 2 Player Version Based on the Original Carcassone Game

Difficulty – 4/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2
Length – 30 min.

This 2 player board game was designed specifically for 2. It is very highly rated and well suited for competitive players and casual players alike.

Both players simultaneously build within the castle walls. Score points for having everything from knights on towers to squirrels on houses. The theme of this game is cool in that you are building a castle. Every tile placed must be within the castle walls.

I am reminded of the days I spent on the Alabama beaches as a child where I would build my own sandy stronghold. Unfortunately, the tides of the gulf coast always seemed to wipe my wonder away during the nights high tides. This game is exciting for me because I love planning things like castles.

I was a big Age of Empires video game player when I was younger and I also liked the Tycoon games. Roller Coaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon to name a few. And this 2 player board game feels like “Castle Tycoon” in board game form.

(Related – Ever thought about making a board game? Get the answers to many questions new board game designers have here.)

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10. Onitama – A Fun “Chess Like” Game for Two Competitive Players with a Great Theme

Difficulty – 3/10
Ages – 8+
Players – 2
Length – 10-30 min.

Onitama is a very fun, chess like game. Except all of the pieces can make the same moves. But the moves are constantly changing.

Each player gets several cards with different move options available to them. These are played face up. And when a player uses a move, then that move card makes it’s way to the opponent. This allows the opponent to then use that move. This has players constantly planning ahead.

When you initially see the game it looks simple and as if there is not much to it. But having played this awesome two player board game, I can say it has a lot of depth to it. It’s replay-ability is also very high because you select different move action cards each game.

One downside to the game is that there is not a lot of variance. So if there is a large skill gap between you and your opponent, then the better player usually wins. Much like in chess. This is why I recommend Onitama as a great two player board game for competitive players.

11. 7 Wonders Duel – A Great Two Player Competitive Game with Multiple Paths to Victory

Difficulty – 5/10
Ages – 10+
Players – 2
Length – 30 min.

Don’t you just love moms? Aren’t they the best!

After a tough week of work I visited my mom. “Surprise!” She had bought us Seven Wonders Duel to play when we only had 2 players.

I had heard quite a lot of good things about this game but was skeptical. This 2 player board game is like the sequel of the original drafting game, 7 Wonders.  And you know how hard it is to live up to the hype of a great original.

But let me tell you. This game is currently my second favorite tabletop game right now. The only other game I enjoy more than this game right now is EPIC. I have written about both EPIC and the original 7 Wonders before if you want to read about that as well.

The game designers did such an amazing job at balancing this board game and making every choice feel meaningful and fun. They took the few annoying things about the original game and improved upon them. Or just removed them completely.

The scoring at the end of the game is much more streamlined and intuitive. If I only could recommend 1 of these 2 player board games to you, it would be this one. And it is deep enough for competitive players to enjoy while being simple enough for casual board gamers to enjoy building the 7 wonders of the world.

(Edit – I have now played the 7 Wonders Duel with it’s Pantheon expansion. This is a great addition to this already enjoyable 2 player board game for competitive players. I like the expansion because it takes out some of the variance in the game and adds a very cool new mechanic.)

12. Twilight Struggle – One of the Highest Rated 2 Player Games of All Time

Difficulty – 7/10
Ages – 13+
Players – 2
Length – 120-180 min.

Rounding out our list of some of the best 2 player board games around is Twilight Struggle. Not only is this board game rated the top two player board game on the market. But it’s consistently seen in many top 10 board game lists of all time.

I’m suggesting this game to competitive board gamers because the difficulty is higher than most other board games. Based on what I have read and watched about Twilight Struggle would suggest that it is also full of strategy and important decisions. Making this the perfect 2 player war strategy board game for competitive players.

What Are Your Favorite Two Player Board Games?

I hope you found some good suggestions in the list above to try out with your friend. I’m most eager to try out Jaipur with my mom and Twilight Struggle with my little brother. But would also be happy playing another 50-100 games of Seven Wonders Duel before moving to my next game also.

Do you have any board games you enjoy that work great for 2 players? If so, let me know in the comments below so I can try them out!

 

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