Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Luke Turpeinen
Top 5 Two-Player Board Games
One of the things I love about board games is the way they can get such a large amount of people to have fun together. While I love having large games of six or eight people, sometimes you only have one other person to play games with. Many games aren’t designed well for only two players and finding games that work at that level can be difficult without a large game budget or access to test copies of games. Nicole and I own a lot of board games, but most are for three or more people or they don’t work very well with only two players. Here’s our list of board games that we enjoy playing two-player!
A recently Kickstarted game with an Arthurian theme, Guile is an exclusively two-player memory game that takes about ten minutes to play. While the game doesn’t have a lot of depth, it is an entertaining and family friendly card game. Players arrange the Knights of the Round Table into a circle, with each player taking ownership of every alternate knight. Players then draft a hand of cards rated one through four and distribute them, one per knight, on the play space. After that, going in knight order and alternating players, each knight is given the chance to switch their card with any other card on the table- this happens twice. At the end, you flip over all of the cards and whoever has the most points wins! Guile is great as a little mental floss between games or as an easily transported game that the entire family could play, even on road trips or at the airport.
Mr Jack Pocket
Some gamers may be aware of the game Mr Jack, an average sized board game set in Victorian London. This version is pocket sized and balanced specifically for two-player action! In Mr Jack Pocket one person plays the role of the elusive Jack the Ripper and the other plays the role of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Watson and their dog. The game board is a 3×3 grid of tiles that have a double purpose of being suspects in the recent Whitechapel murders as well as the streets and buildings that make up that district. Players take turns selecting actions from a limited action pool, including moving the detectives around the outside of the grid or repositioning the buildings to block the detectives’ line of sight. At the end of the round players check the board state to find if Jack can be seen by one of the three detectives and the Jack player announces yes or no. The game is ultimately a game of deduction and the Sherlock player has a finite amount of turns to deduce which suspect is really Jack. Play is fun and fast, a great two player experience!
This small, inexpensive game doesn’t pack a lot in the way of production values (hello ancient clip art!) but what it lacks in fancy illustrations it more than makes up for in perfected gameplay. Battle Line supports exactly two players, who take the roles of Alexander the Great and Darius the Mede in a tactical card-placing game. Each player plays a card and draws a card on their turns, trying to set up the best rummy/poker set over a line of nine “flags”. The first player to control five total flags, or three adjacent flags, wins! There are six suits, with cards ranging from one to ten. Because players are placing only one card at a time on their turns, there is a large focus on feinting and card counting to determine which cards your opponent can place in any given area. Battle Line is deceptively complex and engaging, and a great addition to a two-player game library.
Blood Bowl Team Manager
Continuing with the theme of placing cards in lines, Blood Bowl Team Manager is another excellent addition to a two player game library. While the game supports from 2-4 players easily, it’s also one of the few games that functions really well with only two participants. Players take the role of coach/manager of a fantastical rugby team, and they take turns assigning players to important games that come up during the course of a season. You can build and customize your roster as well as gain team tactics as the game progresses, with the ultimate goal of winning over the most fans. Blood Bowl Team Manager is a great two player game that can accommodate even more people, making it a solid purchase for almost any board game cache.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures
It’s rare that a miniatures game should catch my interests, and I’m not usually the kind of person to do well at tactical war games of any sort. That said, I really enjoy playing Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures. I’ve yet to play a Star Wars game (video/role playing/table top or otherwise) that makes me feel as much a part of the original series action as this game does. Players take control of either the Empire or the Rebellion, out fit their ships with pilots and weapons upgrades, then play out dog fights of scenarios that always seem to be fun and engaging. Apart from the base set which includes X-Wings, Y-Wings and several types of TIE Fighters, there are also mini expansions for A-wings, Boba Fett’s Slave One ship and even the Millennium Falcon. There’s just something great about putting Lando and that fish guy from Return of the Jedi into the Millennium Falcon and blowing up faceless Imperial pilots…