You are here for the best 2 player board games and you have come to the right place. There is a board game for every occasion and any player count. Some are built solely to be enjoyed by multiple people but there are also games that are just for 2 players. It may be a cooperative situation or it might be mono e mono but there is plenty out there. There are so many different genres out there, it is hard to rank a definitive list, but we did our best.
The best 2 player board games are one that puts so much on one player’s soldiers. Many board game mechanics do not work with two players, but there are also many mechanics that are perfect For it. We took many different things into account to create this guide. This is our list of the 20 best 2 player board games.
20 BEST 1 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 3 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 4 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 5 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 6 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 7 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 8 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
20 BEST 9 PLAYER BOARD GAMES
#20 | Santorini
The bottom title on our list of the best 2 player board games goes to a beautiful game set in the beautiful backdrop of Santorini Greece. The game is for the whole family, it is very easy to learn and play, but has very in-depth strategy for the more hardcore gamer.
You are constructing multi-level buildings on the glorious island and the first player to reach a certain level wins. You have only two things to do each turn, move a builder and build up. How you move along the grid and make building choices will decide everything. This is a great title for the list of the best 2 player board games because it is a classic versus matchup. It is like if tic tac toe was good; an intense back and forth with simple actions that can decide everything.
#19 | Carcassonne
Carcassonne is often known as the top “gateway” board game out there. That means it is what people show to non-board gamers to get them interested in the hobby. It is easy to learn, simple to play and a guaranteed good time. You can play with 2 – 5 people but it is satisfying with 2 players.
This is unlike other euro strategy games that typically have more interwoven player interaction, but with Carcassonne’s gameplay, it is not necessary. Get your fix here. Basically you draw a tile, connect it anywhere on the board it makes sense (road to road, castle wall to castle wall, etc) and then decide if you want to place a guy down to try and score points on an improvement. Very easy. Carcassonne is here because it is a great game in general, it just happens to be fun with 2 players, so go for it.
FOR MORE: Carcassonne Page | How To Play Carcassonne | Carcassonne Review | Games Like Carcassonne | Buy Carcassonne on Amazon
#18 | Hive
Hive is the first game on the list of the best 2 player board games to actually be designed specifically for 2 players only. in case it is not clear, Hive is about a collection of insects. It is very minimal and made up of only 11 black tiles and 11 white.
Each player gets their own color and a turn is placing a new token or moving an already existing one. Every insect moves in a different want and your goal is to surround your opponent’s queen bee before they do the same to you. It is like Chess mixed with Go. It is a great 2 player game because everything you do is in direct contradiction to your opponent, a perfect yin and yang.
FOR MORE: Hive Page | Games Like Hive | Buy Hive on Amazon
#17 | Aeon’s End
Aeon’s End is one of the more popular deck-building board games out there. Its particular hook is that it is more of a cooperative adventure against the game than a versus. You can play with 1 – 4 players but it is absolutely built for 2 players to be the best experience.
Together you take your characters and try to defeat some mighty fantasy beasts before they destroy the world. If you like deck building and dungeon crawling in a 2 player package, this entry on the list of the best 2 player board games is for you. And if you like this one, you can take it a step further and embark on a multiple-session campaign in Aeon’s End Legacy.
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#16 | Azul
Azul has won the coveted Spiel des Jahres, the most prestigious award a board game can receive. If that is not enough to inspire you to check it out, listen to this. You are a cathedral designer and you have been summoned by the king to design his empire using “azulejos”, Portuguese tiles. You have a grid and you need to fill it in with groupings of patterns by drafting a variety of tiles from the available factories.
This is a top-notch abstract strategy game. The problem is that these types of games just do not do well with two players, but with Azul that is not the case. The tile drafting mechanism is built in a great way to accommodate 2 players as well as 3 or 4. This game is great in general but for its type, it has the rare distinction of being a game that works with 2 players.
FOR MORE: Azul Page | How To Play Azul | Azul Review | Games Like Azul | Buy Azul on Amazon
#15 | Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
This is probably the newest title on our list of the best 2 player board games. It came out at the end of 2019 and it is already making waves worldwide. You will also find this title on the best 1 player game list because 1 – 2 is the sweet spot and this game is at an incredibly high caliber. This adventure game brings together the very interesting Arthurian legends and Celtic mythology.
In a land slowly sinking into the Wyrdness and torn apart by conﬂict, survival is not easy. This may seem like some other games out there but what is special here is that Tainted Grail has the possibility of completely splitting of your overall story to create something completely new. Check out this great title that is great alone or in 2 person co-op.
#14 | Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle is another game on the list of the best 2 players games that is specifically built for a mono e mono showdown. You are an Ally to the US superpower and you take on missions that surround real-life events like the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.
It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower using an interesting dice rolling component.
#13 | Grand Austria Hotel
In Grand Austria Hotel, you find yourself smack in the middle of the Viennese modern age. Influential artists, powerful politicians, and tourists from all over the world are populating this cultural city of Vienna and need a hotel room to stay in. Hire staff, satisfy guest’s needs, and gain the emperor’s favor. Only then will your little café become the Grand Austria Hotel. This is a fun action drafting, dice-rolling game that has plenty of action and great thematics.
The game can play with up to 4 players but gets long and crowded the higher up you go. Grand Austria Hotel is a great 2 player game because you have just the right amount of action for a satisfying chase to glory against another player. With this lower player count, games are also a much more manageable 60 minutes than much longer.
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#12 | Seasons
The greatest sorcerers of the kingdom have gathered at the heart of the Argos forest, where the legendary tournament of the 12 seasons is taking place. Take your place, wizard! Equip your ancestral magical items, summon your most faithful familiars to your side and be ready to face the challenge! Seasons is a tactical card drafting and dice rolling game with plenty of take that. In phase 1 of the turn, you put together a 9 card deck and in phase 2 you have the tournament where you roll “seasons” dice.
The dice do things like increase how many cards you can have, gain energy or draw additional cards. Everything gets you victory points and high total wins. The game can be for up to 4 but 2 players are best to set up a real solid player versus player showdown. An easy choice for the list of the best 2 player board games.
FOR MORE: Seasons Page | Games Like Seasons | Buy Seasons on Amazon
#11 | Star Wars: Rebellion
Star Wars: Rebellion is a board game of epic conflict between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance for 2 – 4, but everyone widely agrees that 2 players are best. There are many Star Wars board games out there and many could have made the list of the best 2 player board games, but none of them make you feel like you are part of the great war like Rebellion.
You control the entire Galactic Empire or the fledgling Rebel Alliance. You must command starships, account for troop movements, and rally systems to your cause. Given the differences between the Empire and Rebel Alliance, each side has different win conditions, and you’ll need to adjust your play style depending on who you represent. Dice rolling through area control is how you win this one and oh boy is it fun. A big recommendation for any 2 player game need.
#10 | Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is not like other board games. There is no rolling and there is no luck, it comes down to your skills as a detective. you will also find this game on the best single-person game list and that is because this game is just great for a small number of people.
It is like an escape room but over a wider canvas. In this case, it is late 19th century London. You then have to decipher clues, retrace steps and find evidence to get the job done. Why were two lions murdered in Hyde Park? Who is responsible for the missing paintings from the National Gallery? Who murdered Oswald Mason and why? These are just a few of the cases that will challenge your ingenuity and deductive abilities.
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#09 | Kingdomino
Another Spiel des Jahres winner on the list of the best 2 player games is the 2017 title Kingdominino. It in Dominos meets civilization-building. Players collect two-panel tiles to create a 5×5 grid. You can put it together how you want because similar terrains next to each other are going to get you bigger points. You have to fight for pieces from a communal pile of four round after round until the grid is complete.
The reason Kingdomino is a title on the list of the best 2 player board games is because of an interesting phenomenon. Whenever you draft four things in a round amongst two people, there are great ways to make that very strategic. That is just math. The wheel is amazing on its own (someone picks 1st and 4th) but with Kingdomino you throw strategic choices in their by weighing more powerful pieces versus the choice to pick earlier in the next round. It really is a genius. Sure you can play with 3 or 4 with equal joy, but the 2 player game is really well-weighted.
FOR MORE: Kingdomino Page | How To Play Kingdomino | Kingdomino Review | Games Like Kingdomino | Buy Kingdomino on Amazon
#08 | Patchwork
Patchwork is all about making the greatest quilt you can and it is designed specifically for a 2 player versus game. It is an abstract strategy game that uses piece drafting and strategic placement to get big points and ultimately a victory.
This is very much like several other titles on this list the best 2 player board games (Azul, Kingdomino, Carcassonne). There is something about this back and forth that just lends itself well to a 2 player showdown. The theme of this game also scores points. Where else could you have this much fun making a quilt? Unless you are into making real quilts.
#07 | Stratego
This is a classic board game from 1946 that people have almost forgotten about completely. It is a great game that deserves some respect as a wonderful best 2 player board games option. It is as if Risk, Chess, Battleship and Guess Who had a board game child.
You have a secret force of soldiers that all have different strengths and weaknesses; your opponent has the same. You are going to have to move against each other and the key is that you put your guys in certain places that are going to take down your opponent’s guys when they are matched up. It is fast-paced, a lot of fun and a literal and metaphorical showdown. Stratego is only for 2 players.
FOR MORE: Stratego Page | Games Like Stratego | Buy Stratego on Amazon
#06 | Res Arcana
In a high tower, an Alchemist prepares potions, using vials filled with otherworldly fluids. Further out, in a sacred grove, a Druid grinds herbs for a mystical ritual. In the catacombs, a Necromancer summons a bone dragon… Welcome to the world of Res Arcana! This is a great strategy board game for 4, but it runs best with 2 players.
Choose your mage, gather essences, craft unique artifacts, and use them to summon dragons, conquer places of power, and achieve victory! The game is a fantasy card game with elements of card drafting, hand management, variable player powers and plenty of take that. The game is newer, coming out in 2019, and has already been setting table tops on fire across the world.
FOR MORE: Buy Res Arcana on Amazon
#05 | War of the Ring
In case it was not clear from the title, this best 2 player board games list entry centers around the Lord of The Ring universe. You command either the Free Peoples or the Shadow Armies. Initially, the Free People Nations will not attack Sauron, so they must be attacked first or persuaded by Gandalf or other companions to enter war.
This is a miniature based combat game that can be won through shear strength or by the fellowship of the ring arriving at Mount Doom to be destroyed. There are many options and many possible outcomes. This is a great 2 player game because, like many other titles on this list, it is all about a one on one, all-out war. And like Star Wars you can be the very best or the very worst of a universe.
FOR MORE: Buy War of the Ring on Amazon
#04 | Codenames: Duet
The first of two games that are big hits adapted into 2 player games is Codenames: Duet. In case you haven’t heard about the monster success that is the party games Codenames, here is a recap. Four or more people split into a red and a blue team. You are all spies who need to get your operatives out of the field before your opponents do the same.
Each round, one representative from each team look at a decoder card that signals hidden spies under a grid of 5×4 picture clues (original was just words, pictures is where it is at). It is that representative’s job to give one-word clues that correspond to more than one clue. Getting them right frees your people and wins you the game, but don’t get your opponents cards or worse yet the secret guy who ends your game immediately. What is different about duet is that the 2 players are working together to find all the agents. A fun twist.
FOR MORE: Buy Codenames Duet on Amazon
#03 | Android: Netrunner
Android: Netrunner is an asymmetrical living card game specifically built for 2 players. Set in a cyberpunk future, the game pits a megacorporation and its massive resources against the insurgent talents of lone runners. You each play as a side and not only is the gameplay fun, but the deep story and captivating theme are off the charts great.
Runners have to steal from and sabotage corporations, while the corporations have to further their evil agendas. This futuristic card battle and resource management game is fun that you really can’t get anywhere else though. It is very sad though, we are hearing as of recently this game can’t be made anymore because of a licensing issue. Not sure if that’s true but stuff is still available on Amazon.
#02 | Star Realms
Star Realms is a favorite in the deck building world and it just happens to be exclusively for 2 players. This is a great game that takes all the best things about engine building and 1-on-1 combat and puts it in a neat little space package. There are different factions that create fun combos for many levels of strategic gameplay.
The game has cards that come and go but also bases that stick around. There are many things about this game that you are not going to get elsewhere and it is both light in commitment needed and heavy in fun all out strategic combat. This top game on the list of the best 2 player games has spawned numerous expansions and has a very big following. All for good reason.
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#01 | 7 Wonders: Duel
The top spot on the list of the best 2 player board games goes to an adaption of a card drafting classic. 7 Wonders Duel is built from the 3 – 7 player game 7 Wonders. 7 Wonders is such a great game, but it is impossible to play that kind of drafting game with two people. That is why it is so nice to see the designers build a 2 player version, and past that, to see it be amazing.
In Duel, players are not drafting cards simultaneously from hands of cards, but from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of each round. A player can take a card only if it’s not covered by any others, so timing comes into play as well as bonus moves that allow you to take a second card immediately. As in the original game, each card that you acquire can be built, discarded for coins, or used to construct a wonder.