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The Best Games for Two

I get it. A dedicated group that consistently wants to jam some board games can be tough to come by. People come and go, move, get married, have kids, and embark on all sorts of other lame adult quests that get in the way of what we’re all REALLY put here on Earth to do: Roll dice, draw cards, and move pieces.

But luckily for us, it’s often easier to find just one person who’s willing to sit down every now and again and get in a game or two. Be they partners, best friends, or roommates (Will, if you’re reading this please pick up a gallon of milk), eventually you’ll come across someone who has a similar hankering for strategy/card/bluffing games that you do. But who has the time to figure out which 2 player games are actually worth it? That’s a rhetorical question, the answer is me, this is what I do.



The Best Games for Two

Hive is, bar none, my absolute favorite 2-player game we’re carrying at the moment. Stop reading this article, shut off whatever device you’re reading this on, and go play this game.

Imagine, if you will, chess. Are you imagining chess? Excellent. Now imagine all the pieces are bugs. That’s what Hive is like. But what separates it from chess is that there’s no board, the playing space is built by you and your opponent as you place more and more of your hexagonal pieces. Each bug moves in a unique way, and your ultimate goal is to surround your opponent’s queen bee while defending your own. It’s a game that lets you think several moves ahead of your opponent, and rewards players who strive to outwit each other. If you only try one game from this list, make it this one.

Thanks for not clicking out of this article when I told you to, by the way.


The Best Games for Two

Trick-taking games have stood the test of time not just because they’re quick to pick up, but also because of their fast pace. Fox in the Forest is no different. With gorgeous thematic art on each card and unique effects for each odd numbered card, it’s a charming little game that has deeper strategy than it seems at first glance. It’s a game of hand management to the point that it almost feels like you’ve got your entire deck in your hand. You can perfectly sequence your hand to best your opponent, or you can just as easily back yourself into a corner.

One highlight of this game’s design is that scoring highest isn’t the only route to victory. Strategically winning only 3 or fewer tricks in a round will reward you just as many points as scoring well. In a similar fashion, if you win too many tricks you’ll find that you’ve burnt out.


PATCHWORKThe Best Games for Two

This is the game I break out when I want to show someone that there’s more to board games than Monopoly and Yahtzee. In Patchwork you’ll need to use careful time and space management to craft the best quilt you can. Consider it to be similar to Tetris, except you have to carefully plan out which pieces you’ll be choosing for your board. Despite its serene quilt theming, it can be a real nailbiter. I often find myself staring across at my opponent hoping that they don’t pick the piece I want, or that they don’t see their opportunity to take multiple turns in a row.

Like many games on this list, Patchwork is easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Don’t be discouraged if  your first score is in the negatives, because this game has several routes to victory for the players to discover. Despite being required to fit all your pieces inside the box, you’ll need to think a bit out of the box to best your opponent.



The Best Games for Two

Alright, alright you can put down the pitchforks. I know this isn’t distinctly a two player game, but hear me out. How better to emulate the feeling of being Sherlock Holmes than bringing along your very own Watson? This game can make for an excellent night of hair-pulling, evidence scouring, red string and red wine.

Inside are several cases, a map, and Sherlock’s notes for you to compare your answers with. The game emulates what it would be like to walk down the streets of mystery-riddled Victorian London, albeit with fewer chamber pots. It’s less of a true “board” game, but you’d best believe the game is afoot in this box.

So go find someone who’s got that same itch as you for more games in their life. That’s what games are made for anyway, to be shared. Or go kick your roommate until they relent, and you can finally show them the marvels of modern board games. That’s what I did, and it worked out alright for me.

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