Top Two-Player Games and More
November 21, 2021 12:07 PM   Subscribe

At BGG (11/17/2021), W. Eric Martin's "2021 BGG Holiday Gift Guide: Top Two-Player Games" expands on the "2021 BoardGameGeek Holiday Gift Guide" and offers "a quick take on our six suggested games for couples, which range widely in complexity and style of play." Other videos in the series cover Heavy Games, Party Games, and Family Games. If you have difficulty finding these, BGG's advanced search also yields 2021 releases ordered by rank overall, by 'subdomain' (abstract, customizable, family, party, strategy, thematic, and war), and--with small differences--by category (e.g. abstract, wargames, fantasy, science fiction, word games, dexterity games, trivia, 2-player only, etc.). Of related interest: The Dice Tower's 10 recent gift suggestion videos with 12 games per category.
posted by Wobbuffet (20 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was on-line gift-shopping for some 2-player board-games just this morning: I should have waited half a day! This post will be a great resouce for next time...
posted by misteraitch at 12:22 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


My wife and I play a lot of Fungi (which I guess is also called Morels) at the cabin. It's light and fun and has decent mechanics. Patchwork used to get pulled out a lot too, but Indian Summer has usurped it mainly as a game for 3.
posted by St. Oops at 12:38 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I’m excited to see this post Wobbuffet! I’m just at the airport now on my way home from BGG.Con and happened to run into Eric Marten and get a chance to chat with him not even two hours ago. There are so many new game out there, it’s a real service they do to focus attention on some choices. I’m also excited that a game I co-designed made the list (previously in Projects), although the gift list sorting is by why they put it on rather than all the categories of play so I find that a bit misleading.

The mission to establish board games as the perfect gift continues..
posted by meinvt at 12:46 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


But what does this mean for Up Front?
posted by Windopaene at 12:56 PM on November 21


This is great, but I am sad to see no two-player co-op games made it on the holiday gift guide.

I have been loving playing co-op games as a good way to keep people engaged during social interactions. Especially because it does not matter if someone needs to walk away for a minute to get refreshments, and the mood between players rarely turns sour during a gathering. Sadly I know very few co-op games that are doable with just 2 people.

The first two-player co-op I bought last year was One Deck Dungeon. Just recently I have gotten The Crew, which includes a two-player variant in the rule book, but I have not tried it yet. Do other MeFites have other recommendations?
posted by Martijn at 2:32 PM on November 21 [6 favorites]


Great work wobbuffet, one of the games from the first link is looking good to sort out my SIL/BIL for Xmas.
posted by biffa at 3:44 PM on November 21


Watergate has been my go-to with my teen son these days. It's bsically a tug-ofwar for evidence and influence between Nixon and Ben Bradlee and it's such a fun ride.
posted by vverse23 at 3:54 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


“Episode 101 (Holiday Gift Guide & Modiphius Interview)”—Our Family Plays Games, 21 November 2021
posted by ob1quixote at 3:54 PM on November 21


I would love to split these up between "games you can get from mass market aka Target or Amazon with ease," "games that your local specialty game shop might carry" and "games that you're not going to find for sale unless you actively hunt them down."

My wife and I are often on the lookout for something two-player and fun, so I will be digging through these, nonetheless.
posted by delfin at 5:40 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Marijn, I think all of the Pandemic series of games work well with two. If the theme is a turn-off, at least the Rome one pits you against invading tribes rather than diseases. For a more sophisticated set of rules, Ghost Stories and Spirit Island are both excellent and good with two.
posted by meinvt at 6:10 PM on November 21


Martijn: Codenames Duet, Codenames Duet, Codenames Duet! (Is a fun cooperative 2-person game.) I recommend it.
posted by reren at 6:47 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


also Burgle Bros, which has a 2
posted by fleacircus at 8:49 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Shobu looks very interesting. I love abstract games that seem like they could be the prestige abstract game from another timeline.
posted by fleacircus at 8:50 PM on November 21


Lost Cities
Battleline
Patchwork
7 Wonders Duel
Cosmic Encounters Duel
Any number of wargames
Santorini
Hive
Innovation
Jaipur
Watergate
1960: The Making of the President
Wir sin das Volk

Co-op wise both Arkham Horror: The Card game and Lord of the Rings: The card game are both players against the game kinds of co-ops. Spirit Island is listed as best with two.
posted by Windopaene at 9:13 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Patchwork has a number of differently named variants. Nova Luna is the best of them, imo. Similarity puzzley two player games Azul and Sagrada are also great with two players.

The Crew is pregnant game of the year in my group (such as it's been, with fewer game nights in the apocalypse) but it's designed for 3-5 players...

There's piles of good co-op games that are good with two players... Many of them are labeled as 1-N players. Elder Sign (aka Cthulhu Yahtzee), Eldritch Horror, and Mansions of Madness in the Cthulhu genre. Gloomhaven has been really fun with two players, though you see fewer of the characters I think.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:59 PM on November 21


As far as two player co-ops go, over the last year and a half, I’ve seen my husband and a friend play Arkham Horror: The Card Game DOZENS of times. I’m stunned by its replayability. As a bonus, you don’t need to be together IRL, it works very well using virtual table top, they never have any technical difficulties and it’s byoootiful to look at.
posted by pickles_have_souls at 5:45 AM on November 22


My husband adds, re:Arkham

“warning that it's a card game with a lot of expansions, so it's a little bit of an investment.. and it's campaign based so you want to want that kind of 8 linked scenarios.

also they are just starting to repackage the old campaigns into a better sales format where you just buy the campaign in one big box instead of one small box + 6 packs.”
posted by pickles_have_souls at 6:23 AM on November 22


So many great recommendations, thanks a bunch everyone! I guess I will continue to keep an eye on the comments here :)

Some of these games I have heard of, and even played, and never considered that they would be fun with 2 players. Read: basically everything mentioned from Fantasy Flight. My game group played a lot of Mansions of Madness during the pandemic, including custom scenarios, but our experience with balance depending on number of players has been a little all over the place. I might have been too quick to dismiss it for two-player fun because of that.

Time to take stock and see if I need to go support my local game store before the year’s end!
posted by Martijn at 9:04 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Writer Tim Clare just did a delightful Twitter thread of board game recommendations that is worth checking out.
posted by Jeanne at 8:18 AM on November 23


Martijn, I quite like Forbidden Island, a co-op game for 2 to 4 players.
posted by Captain Fetid at 12:33 AM on November 27 [1 favorite]


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