Best Two-Player Board Games

It’s not always easy to find good board games when you only live with your partner or if you live far away from home, like many of us, and you aren’t able to play with your best mates.

In this period of crazy technology evolution, board games are a very good alternative to the bad habit of staring at the phone screen for hours and hours, even more if you are just 2 human beings sharing the same roof.

I’ve written this list of the 10 best two-player board games to help you find out some old and new games that can be played in almost any situation. 

All of these listed below are not too long, time-wise, and can be played by casual gamers too, since the gameplay and the rules are fairly easy to understand.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started!


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Best two-players board games

BEST TWO-PLAYER BOARD GAMES

Carcassonne
2-5 players | 30-45 mins | Age 7+

7 Wonders Duel
2 players | 30 mins | Age 10+

Star Realms
2 players | 20 mins | Age 12+

Hive
2 players | 20 mins | Age 9+

Sushi-Go Party!
2-8 players | 20 mins | Age 8+

Pandemic
2-4 players | 45 mins | Age 8+

Ticket To Ride
2-5 players | 30-60 mins | Age 8+

Codenames Duet
2-more players | 15-30 mins | Age 11+

Azul
2-4 players | 30-45 mins | Age 8+

The Fox in the Forest
2 players | 30 mins | Age 10+

Carcassonne

The most famous tile-based board game

Carcassonne board game cover

This is my go-to board game when it comes to playing with my partner because it’s the perfect mix between fast-paced gameplay and strategy.
You can easily prepare the game in a minute and the gameplay itself is so easy that can be learned very quickly by every casual gamer on earth!

Carcassonne is a tile-based board game (I’d say THE tile-based board game) where the landscape is built by the players while the game progresses. 

It begins by placing the start terrain tile at the centre of the table. 
On each turn, every player draws a random tile and places it adjacent to the tiles that are already played.
To collect points and try to win the game you have to place your meeples on the different terrain types, such as road, city, monastery and field (each of them scores a different amount of points).

Turn after turn the landscape will be created, making the replay-ability of this game one of its strongest pro.

I have also included Carcassonne in the best strategy board games list. Check it out, you may find something interesting there too!


Best Two-Player Board Games: Carcassonne

CARCASSONNE
2 – 5 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 7+


Several expansions have been released over the year, and these are, in my opinion, the best Carcassonne expansions you should get:

Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals

The 1st expansion is probably the best one so far.
New terrain tiles and mechanics have been implemented, refreshing the game but also keeping the same entertaining vibes.
Once you get this expansion, you can’t play the base game anymore!

Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders

The 2nd big expansion to the base game brings us new types of terrain tiles featuring bridges and cities.
There is also a new wooden meeple, the Builder, that can be placed on any unfinished road or city, enabling the new mechanic of which you can take another action once you place a tile on that road or city.
A really solid expansion that is considered the best one by a lot of gamers.

If you are further interested, here is an article where all Carcassonne expansions are listed, check it out!

7 Wonders Duel

A two-player game version of the famous 7 Wonders!

7 Wonders Duel board game cover

For a 7Wonders lover this game is a must buy as it recalls some of the features of its bigger brother turning them into a very simple but at times deep gameplay.

The result is one of the best two-player board games of all time.

The gameplay is quite simple, your aim is to win the game by purchasing a card each turn and developing your civilization.
You can follow 3 different paths to win the game: the military supremacy path, the scientific dominance path and the most common “player with more points” path. 
The different card types and the structure of the gameplay have been deeply developed to help you build a winning strategy.

If you want to know more about this incredible game you can read my 7 Wonders Duel full review.


Best Two-Player Board Games: 7 wonders duel

7 WONDERS DUEL
2 players | 30 mins | Age 10+


In 2016 it has been released the first expansion that adds a lot more fun and variety to the base game:

7 Wonders Duel – Pantheon

This expansion allows you to build your customized Pantheon by mixing different Gods from several civilizations such as Mars and Minerva of the Romans, Anubis and Isis of the Egyptians, Zeus and Hades of the Greek, and so on… 
Each of these Divinities helps your civilization grow and become more powerful than ever!

Personally, I think this is a must-have expansion as it elevates the base game so much.


Star Realms

A Sci-fi deckbuilding game with fast-paced gameplay.

Star realms two-player board game cover

When it comes to deck-building board games for two players, Star Realms absolutely occupies the 1st spot.
It is a very well balanced game, where the aim is to build your deck by purchasing spaceships and bases from the trade-row section at the centre of the board.

There are 4 different factions that can help you win the game, and each of these faction has different abilities and passives (such as the ability to draw an extra card, the ability to restore few points of your Authority score, the ability to generate more money per turn, and so on…)

Once you destroy your opponent’s Authority score, you win!

Honestly, the first time I saw the game I wasn’t impressed at all. Then I tried it, and it was love since the second game!!

Yes, I said the second game because the first one was a disaster. I kept going back and forth between the game and the rules sheet, trying to understand if I was playing correctly.

That’s really the only small downside of the game… I suggest you download the free app on your phone, as I did, to better understand the rules.
Overall, it’s very fun to play and it’s one of the two-player board games that I always recommend if you want to add a bit of spice to the table while playing!


Best Two-Player Board Games: star realms

STAR REALMS
2 players | 20 mins | Age 12+


Hive

The true successor of Chess!

Hive two-player board game cover

I wasn’t too over-excited when I wrote “the true successor of Chess!” in the above sentence, I really meant it.
Hive combines a very easy to understand gameplay with a very deep strategic component.

The aim of the game is to surround your opponent’s queen bee by using your different tiles, representing grasshoppers, ants, beetles and spiders.
Each of these insects can move in a different way (such as chess indeed) and you need to think about multiple move-set combinations to win the game.
It has good longevity, as you can play different matches and each of these will be different every time you play. 

Among the games listed here, this one requires a good degree of concentration.

If you are interested you can check the Hive review and expansions article to further understand if the game is for you!


Best Two-Player Board Games: Hive

HIVE
2 players | 20 mins | Age 9+


Sushi-Go Party!

Grab the best sushi and leave to your opponent the rest. Be the sushi master!

Sughi Go Party board game cover

In this fast-playing card game, the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. 
Mega maki, super sashimi, nigiri and endless edamame are some of the featured food in the game. 

You earn points by picking winning sushi combos (e.g.making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi) and you can customize each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of more than twenty delectable dishes.

Dip your favourite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value, but be sure to leave room for dessert or else you’ll eat into your score!
Gather the most points and consider yourself the sushi master! 

This game has the well known “draft and pass” mechanic, already seen in 7Wonders and other games.
Round to round you need to evaluate the cards you should keep and the ones to pass.

Thinking about clever plays is the way to go to win the game over the opponent!

Overall this is a very fun game!
What a missed opportunity the poor quality of the components tho.


Best Two-Player Board Games: sushi-go party!

SUSHI-GO PARTY!
2 – 8 players | 20 mins | Age 8+


Pandemic

Cooperate with your teammates to find a cure for a plague!

Pandemic board game cover

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a pandemic, with your hands tight and without any chance to help the world getting out of that situation?  

Is it a pretty accurate description of our feelings during the past months, isn’t it? 

Well.. instead of thinking of what you can’t do, why don’t you think about what you can actually do: playing Pandemic!

Pandemic is Matt Leacock’s most famous creation and it’s a co-operative game for two to four players.
You and your friends are members of an elite disease control team and you have to work together to discover a cure for each disease that has simultaneously broken out all over the world.

The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues. 
The fate of humanity is in your hands!


Best Two-Player Board Games: pandemic

PANDEMIC
2 – 4 players | 45 mins | Age 8+


Ticket To Ride

Build railroads across the country to connect different cities.

Ticket to Ride board game cover

I HATE trains by all means!
I’ve wasted so many hours of my life waiting for delayed trains while commuting between my house and my workplace that I feel uncomfortable even just mentioning them.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a train enthusiast to love this game!

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure where players collect cards of various types of train cars, that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities in various countries around the world.
The longer the routes, the more points they earn.
Additional points come to those who can fulfil their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

It’s definitely one of the pillars of modern board games and a must-have in everybody’s collection. 
It’s the perfect game for a family night as it’s very easy to teach/learn and it has a good replay-ability. 

Within a few years, we will refer to Ticket to Ride as we refer to Monopoly now (even though this is probably already happening!).


TICKET TO RIDE
2 – 5 players | 30 – 60 mins | Age 8+


Codenames Duet

Cooperate with your partner to find the hidden agents, without revealing the assassins!

Codenames Duet board game cover

Codenames Duet is the co-operative version of the very popular Codenames.

You and your partner are covert operatives on a secret mission: contact 15 agents while avoiding a band of enemy assassins.
You know the agents that your partner can contact safely. Your partner knows the agents you can contact safely. 
By giving each other one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board, you try to find all the agents before your turns run out.

It’s one of the perfect two-player board games to choose from if you want to create a bond with the person in front of you.
Trying to understand the partner’s mindset it’s one of the funniest things you’ll ever do! 

Expect a rollercoaster of emotions (anxiety amongst all) and a lot of fun!


CODENAMES DUET
2 – more players | 15-30 mins | Age 11+


Azul

Embellish your palace using beautiful tiles.

Azul two-player board game cover

Azul is a tile-placement game in which players compete for the highest score by claiming tiles and arranging them on their board to score points.

Extra points are on offer for collecting sets of the same colour of tile or for creating particular patterns, while there are penalties for taking tiles that you’re unable to use.

But every tile that you claim, affects what your rivals can take next. You’ll have to make choices that help you without helping them too much!

This game won the “Spiel des Jahres” award in 2018 and I couldn’t agree more. 

It’s very quick to learn, but very difficult to master! 
Thanks to its replayability you will come back playing at it many times, trying to beat your highest score.


AZUL
2 – 4 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 8+


The Fox in the Forest

Win the tricks -but not all of them- to accumulate points and win!

The Fox in the Forest two-player board game cover

The last spot on this list is occupied by a fairy tale themed trick-taking game.
If you are a fan of this category of games, you’ll love this one!

Like traditional trick-taking games, each turn you have to play a card and win the trick over the opponent, but in this two-player board game there are special cards that have unique abilities and effects, that make the game much better than the average.

But what makes the game so interesting and challenging is the points scorer mechanism: you have to find the perfect balance between winning and losing tricks, as if you win too many of them you’ll be considered “too greedy” and you don’t get any points.

So, to round it up, this is a trick-taking game that just works. You won’t be disappointed!


THE FOX IN THE FOREST
2 players | 30 mins | Age 10+


Thanks for taking the time to read this article!

Next time you don’t know what to do with your partner, why don’t you try playing one of these games?
It’s actually easier than finding a movie to watch on Netflix, give it a try and let us know!

…until the next article, bye!