Get Your Geek on – Board Games for Two
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! You might be wondering how to spend some time with your significant other and get your geek on. Don’t worry, Gameology has you covered. In this article, I will be discussing some great games for two players. Some of these games were designed as two player games, some of them are cooperative, and, just in case you crave competition, I’ll have a few for easy entry into 1v1 competitive play.
Basic Two Player Games
Looking to have some fun between the sheets? Patchwork is a spatial-awareness game in which you’ll be sewing a quilt. Like any good blanket, you’re aiming for yours to be square and without holes. You and your opponent take turns selecting new pieces of fabric to add to your design (the pieces all resemble the different Tetris pieces). This game has multiple strategies you use to win and you will be rewarded for keeping track of available information. This is probably the easiest game of all the recommendations, if you or your significant other is inexperienced with gaming.
7 Wonders Duel
Based on the best seller (7 Wonders), 7 Wonders Duel boils down the core of its predecessor into a two-player format. You’ll be stewarding a civilization through three ages, selecting which resources to exploit, buildings to construct, technologies to research, and soldiers to train. 7 Wonders Duel features a mechanic that unlocks new cards to draft for your opponent every time you select a card. You must choose wisely to ensure you have all the prerequisite cards to build for the future, while still scoring the most points and warring against your opponent.
Twilight Squabble is also a (spiritual) successor to a popular game, Twilight Struggle. This is a small-box game that pits players against each other in the Cold War, with players playing as the US or the USSR. While this game is actually quite complex, it plays fairly quickly and gives players all the depth they could want from this tense period of world history.
This is a quick two player card game that features a duel between Connor McCloud and The Kerrigan. You’ll have to play cards carefully while attacking and defending in order to create powerful combos that can swing a game in your favor.
The Forbidden Games
All the Forbidden games function similarly. The first of them, Forbidden Island, has players scrambling to collect artifacts from a slowing sinking Island and escape with them. Players can’t be eliminated and have to work together to be successful. Difficulty can also be increased to increase the challenge, making the island much more difficult to escape. Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Sky have only slightly different features, but feel unique due to their changes in location.
Pandemic is a classic board game that’s won a slew of awards. Because it is cooperative, it’s easy to scale down to 2 players. Specifically, the bad stuff only happens at the end of each player’s turn in this game, meaning less players have to deal with less problems total. You and your partner will be racing around the world to contain and eradicate four viruses before they wipe out the population of the Earth.
The Arkham Games
If you want your partner screaming (in terror) this Valentine’s Day, take a look at the Arkham universe. All of the Arkham games are cooperative and scale well down to two players. In each, you play as a team of investigators unraveling mysteries and/or preventing the machinations of the great old ones and their followers. Each game presents a different take on this type of adventure: Arkham Horror takes place in a city; Eldritch Horror plays out on a world tour; Mansions of Madness lets you role-play your characters; and the Arkham Horror LCG lets you progress a card game through campaigns.
Holding On is a semi-narrative board game in which you must split your time between treating a terminally ill John Doe and piecing together his memories in order to ease his burden before he passes. If you liked the Notebook, Holding On will pluck at your heartstrings while challenging you with its mechanics.
Do you like escape rooms, but don’t want to go out in the cold? The Unlock! Series consists of 9 distinct games, each at $14.99 each; in each game you will be navigating a challenge similar to an escape room. These games will provide you with puzzles, clues, tools, etc to navigate through their stories. These games are primarily only played once, but their low price tag will still provide you with a lot of bang for your buck. Themes from various titles of Unlock! include: mad science, Arabian nights, survival, spy games, and the wild west. Each version of Unlock provides a unique experience.
Travel with your partner across the universe in Star Wars: X-Wing. Pilot the various starships of the Star Wars universe against each other in this 1v1 dogfighting miniatures game. X-Wing makes miniature games easier than ever with pre-painted miniatures, movement templates, and cards that you use to assemble your squadron. Games play through in about an hour and the rules are simple enough to learn in a session. The Core Set comes with everything you need to get going, and it’s replayability is limitless.
Magic: the Gathering
Magic is the big dog of collectible card games—it’s both the oldest and most successful. While there are decades of cards available, new players can get in surprisingly easily. I recommend picking up one of the available Planeswalker Decks, since they’re a pre-built and ready to go out of the packaging (plus they each come with a couple booster packs that you can use to improve your strategy). Magic: the Gathering provides infinite possibilities for play and will keep you and your significant other interested for a while.
Smallworld is a light strategy game that really shines at a low player count. Though it supports more players, the action economy of the game provides a robust experience when playing with two. Players lead various races through their expansion and decline; scoring points for how successful each of their races was. With plenty of options in the base game alone (and expansions available), Smallworld is a game that will intrigue you every time you play!
Well that’s all for today folks! Here’s hoping you have a spectacular Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for some other options, feel free to stop by to get some specific insight into what will best suit your needs!
~ Andrew Narzynski
Editor’s Note: Some of these games are available for purchase on our website (see the links in this article), but as we haven’t completed our entire catalog, much is still only available in store.