The 14 Best 2-Player Board Games to Play in 2020

Best High End

Carcassonne Board Game Standard

Carcassonne Board Game Standard

Best Mid Range

Hive- A Game Crawling With Possibilities

Best Inexpensive

7 Wonders: Duel

Last Updated: 28th Jan, 2020

Have you ever had the urge to play a board game on a random weeknight, but were short on people? Game nights are a blast, but it can be hard getting everyone's schedules aligned to make that happen. Often times, it's just you and your spouse, roommate, or friend. Well, luckily for you, there's a whole world of board games out there specifically designed for 2 people! In fact, some of the most highly rated board games of all time are actually two-player games.

So, whether you're looking for a two-player board to play with adults, kids or both, we've got you covered. After doing the research, talking to board game experts, and playing through games ourselves, we've compiled the ultimate list of 2 player board games of all time!

Our Top Picks for the Best Two Player Board Games

Best 2 Player Board Games

1. Hive- A Game Crawling With Possibilities


  • Price: $25.60
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Abstract (in the board game community, Abstract refers to a type of strategy game that has no necessary theme and does not have any elements of luck. Chess is the most prominent example of an Abstract game.)
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 9 and up
  • Players: 2
Hive- A Game Crawling With Possibilities

Why we love it: Hive is a unique, well-designed, and highly addictive board game. It's easy to learn and plays in about 20 minutes, making it perfect for a relaxing evening with a spouse or a friend. It's also a great game for traveling. There is no set game board, so you can play anywhere you find a flat surface!

Gameplay: The game is made up of 11 black tiles and 11 white tiles. Players take turns placing their tiles down one by one. You win by surrounding your opponent's Queen. Expansion packs are available that add additional layers of complexity to the game.

Verdict: If you want an Abstract game that's quick, easy-to-learn, and full of strategy, then Hive is the perfect game for you.

Here's an in-depth review with playing instructions:

2. Carcassonne Board Game Standard


  • Price: $30.29
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy
  • Duration: 30 - 45 minutes
  • Ages: 7 and up
  • Players: 2 - 5

Carcassonne Board Game Standard

Why we love it: This is another fun, relaxing, tile-laying game like Hive. However, unlike Hive, it resembles more of your standard board game with game pieces, game boards, and cards. Although it's easy to learn, there's plenty of high-level strategies you'll have to use to really master this game. Also, Carcassonne has a neat generative aspect to it. As you play, you and your opponent are creating an entire countryside even as you compete with one another!

Gameplay: Players take turns drawing tiles and then placing them on the table. Tiles have roads, cities, and fields, and they must connect to one another in a way that makes sense (road to road, city to city, etc.). Each player also has a limited number of game pieces called "Meeples" at the start of the game. Each time you lay down a tile you are faced with the option of placing a Meeple on that tile. Your Meeples on the board can earn you points, but if two Meeples from different players are both present in a given area, like in a city or on a field, only the player with the most meeples gets the points.

Verdict: Carcasonne is our top pick for beginners looking for something with a traditional board game feel.

3. Patchwork


  • Price: $23.98
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Abstract
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Ages: 8 and up
  • Players: 2

Patchwork

Why we love it: Patchwork is one of the most popular 2 player board games out there. It's a very uniquely designed game with aspects of puzzle-solving, resource management, and even Tetris. A board game in which you make a quilt may sound rather dull to you, but don't worry, there are far less "old lady" vibes as you might think. In fact, while this game is fairly light and relaxing, it can also get fiercely competitive, depending on your style of play.

Gameplay: To start, each player has their own quilt board. A time board and the patches are in the middle of the table between each player. Buttons are the currency with which you can purchase patches. Each turn you can either move your token on the time board ahead of your opponent and thus receive a button per spaces moved, or you can buy a patch to add to your quilt board. Patches on your quilt earn you income. The patch also has a label that tells you how many spaces to move on the time board. Turns do not alternate, but rather whoever is behind on the time board always goes next. The game ends after both time tokens reach the last space of the time board. The player with the highest score wins. Each button gives you a point, but you subtract 2 points for each unfilled tile on your quilt board.

Verdict: Patchwork a classic strategy game that has stood up against the test of time. It's our top pick for competitive, Abstract games.

4. Raptor


  • Price: $27.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Card-driven, Strategy
  • Duration: 25 minutes 
  • Ages: 9 and up
  • Players: 2

Raptor Board Game

Why we love it: Raptor is another quick, fun, and easy to learn game that features two asymmetric yet balanced sides, meaning each player is not the same character and does not have identical abilities. This allows you to get more unique play-throughs of this game as you alternate between being either the Raptor or the scientists. There are also lots of fun details that really bring the theme to life. I mean, who doesn't love dinosaurs?

Gameplay: In Raptor, you play as either the mother raptor trying to escape into the wild with her babies, or as a team of scientists who are trying to neutralize the raptor and capture her babies. Each round, players draw cards. The player with the lowest card does the corresponding action, while the opponent gets attack or movement points equal to the difference between the two cards. The scientists win by either neutralizing the Raptor (giving her 5 sleep tokens) or capturing 3 of her babies. The Raptor wins by either killing the scientists or by helping three of her babies escape. It's a good old fashioned face-off.

Verdict: Raptor is our top pick for card-driven 2 player games.

5. The Castles of Burgundy


  • Price: $30.41
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Eurogame (Eurogames are a category of board games that come from the German school of board game design. They are usually light on theme but heavy on strategy. Players compete with each other indirectly as opposed to direct combat.)
  • Duration: 30 - 90 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and up
  • Players: 2 - 4

The Castles of Burgundy

Why we love it: If the idea of getting to build your own kingdom from the ground up sounds appealing to you, then you'll love The Castles of Burgundy! This is a dice-driven game that has lots of interesting choices and great replayability. It's a bit more complex than some of the other games on this list, but don't worry, after a couple plays everything will start clicking. 

Gameplay: This game is all about building up your princedom. You do so by placing settlement tiles from the game board onto your player board. Each tile, once on your player board, has certain functions it performs. Victory points are awarded for settlement tiles, filling out a region of your player board, and from unused money or resources at the end of the game. The game is played in five phases of five rounds each. The player with the most victory points at the end of the fifth round wins

Verdict: Castles of Burgundy is a great game for anyone who loves complex strategy games. We especially recommend it for those who have a lot of board game experience.

Here's an in-depth review of the game (Courtesy "NO BS Guide"):

6. Twilight Struggle


  • Price: $65.00
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Political
  • Duration: 2 - 3 hours 
  • Ages: 13 and up
  • Players: 2

Twilight Struggle Deluxe Edition

Why we love it: Twilight Struggle is a cold-war themed game which puts you in the heart of a fierce political struggle. The storyline covers 45 years from 1945 on. If you have a friend that loves history and is willing to sit down for a good 3 hours, then give this game a chance! Yes, there are a lot of rules and complexity, but it's so worth it. Many in the board game community consider this to be a top ten game of all time, so we wouldn't forgive ourselves if we didn't put it on the list.

Gameplay: You play as either the USSR or the USA in a post-WWII world. The game takes place over 10 rounds, during which each player will play cards, move units across the map, acquire allies, and ultimately attempt to gain power and control for their world superpower. The player with the most points after the last round wins. Most of the gameplay is driven by cards. The cards' actions take place on the game map, which will remind you of a more complicated version of a Risk board. However, unlike Risk, it is not a direct player-to-player combat game. Event cards add a great historical flavor to the game. Be prepared to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, NATO, peace protests, and more. And of course, do your best to avoid the ever-present threat of world-ending nuclear war!

Verdict: This game is perfect for folks who love history and don't mind a longer game full of twists, turns, and strategy.

7. Jaipur


  • Price: $24.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Trading, Family, Card game
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and up
  • Players: 2

Asmodee Jaipur

Why we love it: This game generates a lot of great player interaction. You'll be making deals, buying and selling, and hopefully not upsetting your opponent too much… remember it's just business! 

Gameplay: You and your opponent play as two powerful traders in the city of Jaipur, India. You are competing for a Seal of Excellence, which will give you an invitation to Maharaja's court. This is a fast-paced game. Each turn, you can either sell cards in exchange for goods, or you can buy cards using tokens. As you play, you also need to manage your camel herd, which can earn you some major points at the end of the round. Mastering this game is all about risk/reward decision making… how far do you want to push your luck!

Verdict: If you want a light, fast-paced card game to play with a family member or friend, you have to give Japuir a try.

8. Lost Cities


  • Price: $16.82
  • Game type: Family, Card game
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Players: 2

Lost Cities Card Game

Why we love it: Lost Cities is another simple and fun family game with a very little learning curve. You can jump right in playing this cleverly designed and relaxing card game, during which you lead a team of explorers trying to uncover lost and ancient cities.

Gameplay: While Lost Cities is essentially a card game, a game board is included to help keep things organized and add to the theme. The cards have 5 colored suits representing different expeditions. The numbers on the cards range from 1 to 10, indicating different stages of the journey. The object of the game is to collect as many cards of the same suit in sequential order as you can. Each turn a player either plays or discards a card. You can only play a higher number card than what you have previously played. The strategy comes from deciding which and how many expeditions you will pursue.

Verdict: This is our top pick for card game lovers.

9. Splendor


  • Price: $38.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Family, Engine Building (Engine Building games are any in which players create as a system for generating resources/tokens/points. Generally, that system (or engine) becomes more efficient and powerful as the game goes along.)
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Players: 2 - 4

Splendor

Why we love it: This is another fast-paced, easy-to-learn game with a ton of strategy and replayability. Like Jaipur, it is centered around trading and buying-and-selling, but with a bit more engine building - meaning you create a system for generating resources as the game progresses.

Gameplay: In Splendor, you play merchants trying to get as many prestige points as possible. You do this by purchasing shops, transportation businesses, or mines. The first player to achieve 15 prestige points wins. Each turn, players can collect gems from their various establishments, buy cards with those gems, or reserve cards for future use to prevent opponents from purchasing them. Buying cards increases your wealth income, and some cards give you prestige points directly.

Verdict: Splendor is perfect for those that like fast-paced, trading card games like Jaipur, but with a little more of an engine-building component to it.

10. 7 Wonders: Duel


  • Price: $24.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Card-driven
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Players: 2

7 Wonders: Duel

Why we love it: People (including myself) absolutely loved the original Seven Wonders. This remake of the game is specifically designed for two players. It had us a bit skeptical at first, but we were relieved to learn it still includes all the elements that made the original game so much fun: multiple balanced paths to victory, a suspenseful point system that determines the winner at the last second, resource management, risk-taking, and a fast pace of play.

Gameplay: Each player plays an ancient civilization trying to become a world power. This can be done through military might, scientific development, or victory points (which are acquired through cards, building structures, and various other methods.) Players take turns drawing cards laid out in the center of the table. Each card can be built using resources, discarded for coins, or used to build a wonder. Resources can be bought using coins or obtained through cards. The more of a resource you have, the more costly it is for your opponent to buy, representing your monopoly power over that resource. Each time you acquire a military card, your army token advances toward your opponent's capital. If it reaches the capital, it is an automatic victory. If you acquire six scientific symbols, you also win automatically. If neither of these scenarios takes place, then whoever has the most points at the end of the three ages wins.

Verdict: This is our top pick for 2 player engine building games.

11. Five Tribes


  • Price: $41.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Worker-placement
  • Duration: 40 to 80 minutes 
  • Ages: 12 and up
  • Players: 2 - 4

Five Tribes Board Game

Why we love it: Five Tribes is a beautiful looking game with well-made components. The rules are straightforward and easy to learn, but the strategy takes a while to get the hang of. It forces you to make a variety of risk/reward decisions on the fly, sometimes with imperfect information. That's what makes this game so enticing!

Gameplay: In Five Tribes, the Sultan of Naqala has just died, and now control of the land is up for grabs. You must move the Five Tribes - Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers - across the land to gain influence. The tribes are represented by wooden "Meeples" which you can move across the board in a similar fashion to the game Mancala. There are various kinds of tiles you can choose to maneuver your Meeples to. Some tiles allow you to summon the powerful Djinns. The game ends when a player owns 8 different city tiles or when there are no more legal moves to make. The player who gained the most victory points is the winner.

Verdict: In terms of complexity, Five Tribes is the goldilocks of board games - it's perfect for those who want something not too heavy or too light.

12. Battle Line


  • Price: $33.15
  • Game type: Competitive, Strategy, Card game
  • Duration: 20 - 30 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and up
  • Players: 2
Battle Line

Why we love it: Battle Line is a fun, fast, and easy to learn card game like Lost Cities, but with more direct combat, as its name would suggest. It combines elements of Poker and Rummy, leading to lots of fun player interaction, bluffing, and tension.

Gameplay: To start, nine flags (plastic pieces) are placed in a line between the two players. Each player starts with a hand of 7 military units. The rest of the troops are placed in the deck face down in the center. Players form "battle formations" on each side of the flags, in hopes to beat the formation the opponent has placed on their side of that same flag. The formations are groups of 3 cards that make a hand in poker (3-of-a-kind, flush, straight). The first player to capture 3 flags wins.

Verdict: The theme really shines through in this game, so if you're into ancient combat, this one's for you. 

13. Codenames: Duet - The Two Player Word Deduction Game


  • Price: $18.99
  • Game type: Cooperative, Family, Interactive
  • Duration: 15 - 30 minutes
  • Ages: 11 and up
  • Players: 2 - 4
Codenames: Duet - The Two Player Word Deduction Game

Why we love it: Let's be honest, playing 2 player board games against the same person over and over again can really take a toll on a friendship. Every once in a while, it's good to play a cooperative game in which you're both on the same team. In Codenames: Duet, you and your teammates are working together to uncover your agents in the field. Trying to decipher your teammate's one-word clue makes this game fun, interesting, and often hilarious.

Gameplay: The game board is comprised of a five by five grid of random word cards. Each player has the location of some of the spies on the grid. You take turns giving one-word clues that relate to the word on the card where your spy is located. Working together, you need to find 15 spies without revealing an assassin before time runs out!

Verdict: Codenames: Duet is our top pick for casual, quick, cooperative 2 player games.

14. Agricola


  • Price: $47.99
  • Game type: Competitive, Farming, Eurogame
  • Duration: 30 -150 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and up 
  • Players: 1 - 5

Why we love it:  Agricola is a farming game with a quaint "Little House on the Prairie" vibe. While it's definitely more complex than some of the other games on this list, it's such a classic that we just had to tell you about it. The gameplay is centered around worker placement and resource management, so if you like to budget, make spreadsheets, and conduct deep level cost/benefit analysis, then you'll love this game.

Gameplay: Each player is a farmer who starts out in a wooden shack with your spouse. You can choose to have children throughout the game which, although provide you with additional workers, also require more food. Each turn, you take two actions which can vary from collecting firewood, building fences, planting crops, or other farm-related activities. Each player also has 7 occupation cards and 7 minor improvement cards that they can use (or not use) throughout the game. Agricola lasts 14 turns plus 6 harvest seasons. The player with the most points at the end of the last turn wins. Points are scored for crops, animals, fields, pastures, family members, stables, houses, improvements, etc. 

VerdictAgricola is an intermediate to advanced game that is perfect for two analytical and competitive gamers!

Let's Wrap Things Up:

Two player board games are fast catching up on popularity. While playing board games for a large number of players or even solo games are fun and engaging, but they're not as intense as the two-player format. The benefits are quite obvious, as well. You just need two players to play, the competition is direct, the gameplay is swifter, and the games usually complete in less than 30 minutes.

We sincerely hope you were able to find the perfect 2 player board game for your needs. If you would like to recommend a particular game which you found interesting, please comment below. I'll update the list accordingly.

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