The Best 2-player Board Games

Board games are usually designed to bring people together and be played in groups. For that reason it’s often suggested that you play board games with a larger number of players for the maximum amount of fun. However, gathering a large number of people at the same time and location might prove to be difficult or you might be in the mood for testing your gaming skills dueling a friend, partner or perhaps sibling. Board games that are specified for two players are also a lot more likely to rely on raw skill and cognition to win rather than chance or probability.

Whatever the case, we’re lucky enough to have quite an interesting list of board games optimal for two players. There are several types of board games for 2 players including the two categories we’ll be looking into here, strategy games and card games.

Our picks of the best board games for two players leave little to be desired by anyone who’s looking for a properly challenging and equally entertaining game to play against just one opponent.

Strategy Games

Strategy games are those in which winning is heavily dependent on the players’ decision making skills. Based on that description alone, a lot of people might argue that every game is a strategy game but the truth is that each game tests decision making to a certain extent. In strategy games every little decision the player makes directly affects the outcome of the competition.

If testing your decision making skills in a fun board game match against any opponent of your own choice sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out these strategy games made for two players.

1. Patchwork


Patchwork is a form of art, in which the designers use precious fabrics to create beautiful textiles, a process that inspired the popular strategy board game Patchwork.

Patchwork was designed by renowned board game designer Uwe Rosenberg and published by Lookout Games in 2014 and is said to be the best strategy game for couples. The exceptional game isn’t too complicated to learn nor so easy that it would bore you. It’s a great game that’s ideal for new players and younger players alike. It’s also a great option for relaxation since you don’t have to dedicate too much energy or focus to the game but it’s bound to be a pleasant and gripping experience.

The rules of the game are simple: You’re required to make a quilt from the different tiles that you receive. Players compete to build the most aesthetic (and high-scoring) patchwork quilt on a personal 9×9 game board. The game takes up to 30 minutes to finish and has been published in numerous editions that are each unique in their own way.

The box includes:

  • Quilt boards
  • Time tokens
  • Neutral token
  • Patches
  • Button tiles
  • Double sided central time board
  • Rule book

2. Codenames Duet


Codenames, originally designed by Vlaada Chvátil and Scot Eaton, is probably one of the most popular party games ever published. However, the famous deduction game also features a 2-player version that’s designed to be played by two people.

Just like the original version, in Codenames Duet your objective is to contact friendly undercover agents while avoiding enemy assassins that lurk around the block. Each player is given a clue which they must associate with the pictures behind the agent cards and find their friendly forces in the crowded city. Misunderstanding the clues may lead you to coming in contact with the wrong people, in which case, it is needless to say, you lose the game.

It can also be played online which is greatly appreciated by frequent players and convenient for anyone who wants to try the game out before purchasing the physical copy. Each round might take up to 15 minutes and the game package comes with:

  • 15 green agent cards for cooperative play
  • 100 double-sided Duet key cards
  • 11 timer tokens
  • 1 assassin card (Oh no!)
  • 1 pad of mission maps
  • 1 card stand
  • 1 rulebook
  • 200 cards with 400 new words (compatible with Codenames)

3. 7 Wonders – Duel


7 wonders – duel is Repos Production’s two player adaptation of the widely known and played 7 wonders, the strategy board game. It’s a compact take on the original game which can be played in a much shorter time, exclusively by two players. Designed by the remarkable Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala, 7 Wonders – Duel aims to adapt the immersive gameplay of 7 Wonders into one-on-one battles.

Take the helm of your civilization and decide to invest either in science, military or prestige by building structures that serve as tokens of your civilization’s superiority. See if you can beat your friend in a civilization building strategic game made specifically for two players, playable in up to 30 minutes.

It features two expansions by the names of “Pantheon” and “Agora” and additionally, there’s an app that allows you to experience the game on your mobile device.

Will your city achieve glory, or will your opponent stop you from constructing all your Wonders?

Contents of the box include:

  • 1 game board
  • 23 Age I cards
  • 23 Age II cards
  • 20 Age III cards
  • 7 Guild cards
  • 12 Wonder cards
  • 4 Military tokens
  • 10 Progress tokens

Card Games

You might have already figured that these categories share a couple of titles and that’s almost inevitable in the world of board games. Some games are played with cards, some with dice, some with miniatures and some with a mixture of all the above, so it’s very difficult to distinguish between these types.

If games that are mainly played with exchanging and drafting cards are your cup of tea, though, we highly recommend that you check these ones out:

1. Omega Virus: Prologue


Omega Virus: Prologue is a real-time structure-building card game, set in the world of The Omega Virus.

In this game you take the role of an space explorer and are tasked with restoring the broken parts of a space station that’s being taken over by a rogue computer virus, using the card deck that you are dealt, which is identical to that of your opponent’s.

The game is comparably easy to learn and perfect for short sessions since it can easily be wrapped up in 15 minutes.

2. Summoner Wars


Published by Plaid Hat Games in two editions (second edition in 2022), Summoner Wars is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that puts you against your opponent in a magical battle arena where you fight for the title of the most powerful summoner of the realm using a set of cards that each carry their own unique properties.

You have an immense number of units, spells and abilities in your disposal and the game’s artistic designs and visuals are top tier. It’s definitely worth keeping your eye on and sure to provide good entertainment for you and your chosen rival for at least a few hours, give-or-take.

3. Cascadia


If you’re a fan of Ecosystem, but have ever faced the problem of being a couple players short, you’re going to love this one. Cascadia is a 2021 board game designed by Randy Flynn and published by Flatout Games.

Cascadia is a highly –righteously—praised tile drafting game for up to 4 players. It involves a dual-layer puzzle that progresses over time as more habitats and wildlife are added to each player’s individual ecosystem located in the peaceful lands of the pacific northwest and represented by a series of tiles in a special order.

Just like Ecosystem, Cascadia challenges players to build their own natural biome as harmoniously as possible and the player who builds the most efficient one is declared winner.

It can be played in 30-45 minutes and doesn’t take long to learn, making it one of the better options on the list for newcomers. However, it is by no means easy to master!

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, your options are all but limited when it comes to good board games for 2 players. Based on your play style and preferences you have the means to make a simple meet-up into an engaging and competitive gaming journey.

If you’ve been thinking about what board game to bring up with your roommate, or which games you can play with your spouse, or introducing a friend to the world of tabletop games, you should have a pretty solid lead on where to start after reading this article.

If you ever find yourself one player short for any of these games, also check out our list of solo board games to play by yourself.

What are some of your favorite board games that can/have to be played by 2 people? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

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