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20 Awesome Two-Player Games You Will Love!

I love games. I’ve loved them when I was a child, and I love them today. They are always a huge part of our family gatherings, and often we play two-player games and sometimes modified games like Guess Who with our own rules to mix things up.

Two-player games are the best because you only need one other person to play, so they’re easier to organize and typically faster-paced than games that require more participants. Plus, it’s a challenge between individuals, rather than relying on others’ influence or input–it is an individual test of skill.

So what are you waiting for? Sit opposite your favorite person and start playing these games. I have included tabletop/desktop games, card games, word games, and board games – so there is something for everyone!

Picture of the word "game time" for two-player games.

Today, I give you our family’s favorite two-player games you can play with your spouse, sibling, best friend, or child. 

Let us dive straight into it.

Contents

Best Two-Player Board Games

#1. Winner: Ticket to Ride

My family and I played this extensively during the pandemic and although the box looks boring, let me tell you, it isn’t. Ticket to Ride is a great game that will coax your screen-obsessed teenagers away from their phones.

My younger one learned this within 5 minutes, and he even beat me the second time we played. It is an excellent game for 2-players, although you can even play this on family game night.

Objective

  • To build tracks across the map of the US.
  • Collect train cards that will entitle you to move forward.
  • Longer the route, the greater your points.

Time

  • Learn within 15 minutes!
  • Average playtime – 30 to 60 mins

Benefits

  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Great for gifting
  • Helps kids learn strategy and geography.

There is a Ticket To Ride for younger kids too. You can check it out here.

#2. Best Overall: Pandemic

A friend gave this to my son as a birthday present last year. We had put off playing it for a while since we mostly played Ticket to Ride above, and, to be honest, who needed a reminder of the Pandemic.

However, last summer we played it once and totally loved it. Now, I often play it with my wife, and it has become her favorite too. 

There are several games in the Pandemic series: Pandemic Legacy, Pandemic Hot Zone North America, Pandemic – Fall of Rome.

Objective

  • Work together to save humanity from 4 diseases
  • Contain the spread
  • The person who cures all diseases is the winner.

Time

  • Easy to learn
  • The average playtime is 45 mins.

Benefits

  • Co-operative and adventure-based game
  • Easy to learn and great for beginners

#3. Best 2-Player Game for Younger Kids: Candyland

Candyland is one of our family’s favorite games. I’ve likely played it close to 1 million times because it’s fun, easy to play and everyone has an equal chance of winning. The best part is that it is suitable for the younger kids; even if they can’t read, they can still enjoy this game.

Win or lose, my granddaughter always wants a rematch. If you’re like me and have difficulty saying no, you can easily find yourself playing ten games in a row. If you’re going to introduce a fantastic board game to your kids or grandkids, CandyLand is a safe bet.

Objective

  • Race your gingerbread man along the path towards the castle while dealing with sweet surprises. The first one to the castle wins.

Time and skill level

  • The average playtime is about 30 minutes.
  • Ages 3 and above

Benefits

  • Classic beginner board game for the little ones.

#4. Best Strategy: Battleship

When I was a kid, my brothers and I often played Battleship. I had forgotten how much fun it was until my son asked for the game as a birthday present. The modern version he got included planes to sink in addition to the battleships and carriers of the classic game.

During my first game against my son, we found ourselves in a battle of wits and luck, but we both knew there would only be one true winner: me. After hours of play with this classic game, it is clear that my competitive nature hasn’t diminished since the last time I played.

The portable design makes taking this wherever you go easy as well – perfect for rainy days on vacation or even just when the mood strikes.

Objective

  • Strategically guess your opponent’s ship/plane placement. The first player to sink all their opponent’s ships and planes wins.

Time taken and skill level

  • About 30 minutes to learn
  • Playtime of about 30 minutes.
  • Ages 10+

Benefits

  • Sturdy boxes to carry the pegs and ships/planes. Makes it nice and portable.
  • Entertaining
  • Enhances kids’ strategic thinking.

#5. Most Entertaining: 7 Wonders Duel

7 Wonders Duel is an intense strategy game my wife and I play almost 50 times a year. You need to use science, military, or prestige to master control over civilization. The artwork in the game is truly fantastic.

7 Wonders Duel isn’t for young kids; it takes too much strategic thinking, so skip this one if you want a game to play with children under 10.

Objective

You have to invade your opponent’s capital by achieving scientific mastery or crafting a city with the most points.

Time taken and skill level

  • The average playtime is 30 minutes
  • It is a strategy and adventure game that 10+-year-olds will enjoy.

Benefits

  • It has multiple unique-win situations
  • Short and sweet.
  • 7 wonders are well done in art and mechanics.

Best Two-Player Word Games

#1. Winner: Scrabble

We keep this classic word game handy for trips. It’s an excellent two-person game which is nice since there always seems to be a couple of people that love word games and want to play constantly.

We always have a good time playing Scrabble. You’ll have a blast trying to think of obscure words that earn lots of points while also stumping your opponent. Though the real challenge is when they come up with something you haven’t heard before, then you must decide whether to dispute its use.

Scrabble is an excellent two-person game which is nice since there always seems to be a couple of people that love word games and want to play constantly. The best part about this particular game? You can increase your vocabulary while having fun.

Strategy

  • Make words by drawing 7 tiles. Every letter tile carries certain points.
  • The winner with maximum points wins.
  • Try making bingo words (where you use all 7 tiles) to get a points bonus 

 Time taken and skill level 

  • Takes about 45 minutes to play.
  • Great for ages 8+

Benefits

  • Competitive, interactive, enhance vocabulary.

#2. Best Overall: Czech Games Codenames: Duet – The Two-Player Word Deduction Game

If you liked the original codenames game, you’re sure to enjoy this version designed for two players. Codenames Duet is a phenomenal game that encourages lateral thinking and wide-ranging vocabulary.

You can play this one with your 10+-year-old kids. And while you’re here, why not mix it with the original Codename game for a bigger pool of agents?

Objective

  • Guess 15 codenames correctly without running out of time or hitting an assassin.
  • You give clues to locate an agent on the grid.

Time and skill level

  • Fairly easy to master
  • The game finishes in 15 minutes after which you’d want to immediately start another one.

Benefits

  • Fun to play
  • Great for 2 players but even better as a party game.

Best Two-Player Game for Couples

A couples game can enhance your relationship and make you laugh. They are a great way to reduce stress and even add some spice to an intimate relationship.

#1. Winner: Our Moments Couples Game

I’ve heard many funny stories from friends that play this game. Although I haven’t played it yet, I plan to soon. It’s an excellent way to learn about your partner’s accomplishments, dreams, and desires.

But play with caution because sometimes you learn or expose more about yourself than you should, especially early in a relationship. I wonder what I’ll learn about my significant other after years of being together.

Objective

  • Answer questions or have thought-provoking discussions about a topic on the card.

Time taken and skill level

  • Whether you’re on your first date or have been married 50 years, couples will love this game.
  • Gameplay time depends on how much time you discuss each card.

Benefits

  • Helps foster great relationships; aids communication
  • Can be played anywhere.

Other similar conversation starter games/ games for couples:

  • Intimacy – with questions like ‘describe our first kiss’, this is one great game to rekindle intimacy.
  • Love Lingual – This one consists of questions created by psychologists to improve communication or start a conversation on the first date.
  • Couple Connect -This couple game also has questions and task lists created by psychologists in important areas like dreams, love-life, spirituality, etc. It is a perfect way to learn more about your date or get to know your partner more intimately.
  • Talking Point – Nurture your relationship with 200 great questions that will make you smile, laugh, and giggle.
  • The Ultimate Game for Couples – This one has several fun questions and challenges!
  • Loopy – This sexy game is recommended to couples already having a certain level of intimacy with each other. It will help you learn many intimate secrets about each other and even spice up things in the bedroom!

Best Two-Player Card Games

We love playing UNO, but I wanted to find some two-player card games that you might not have heard of, so here is a couple I’m sure you will enjoy.

#1. Winner: Tee Turtle Unstable Unicorns

I had to get a review of this game from my teenage daughter. She had a blast playing Tee Turtle Unstable Unicorns her friends. However, she told me it would also be great for adults.

It’s an unpredictable, creative, and funny game. I read somewhere that Unstable Unicorns generated almost $1.8 million on Kickstarter, which says something about it. 

Please note that if you plan to play 2-players, there are many cards you have to discard first. You can get this list here.

Objective

  • To collect as many unicorns as you can! That simple!

Time taken and skill level

  • Best for ages 14+
  • Most games take 1 hour or longer.

Benefits

  • Cute, funny, and very creative
  • Requires strategy

#2. Best Overall: Dutch Blitz

My sister introduced us to this one. She plays it regularly with her kids, and soon we were hooked as well. Some people will compare Dutch Blitz to the older games like Nerts or Speed Solitaire that we play with regular cards. 

I personally find Dutch Blitz extraordinarily charming, and the cards also have that rustic charm about them. Be warned that it does take some time to get used to all of the game’s rules. But once you do, you and your family will love it. 

Objective

  • You have to get rid of your Blitz cards and the first player to do so wins. Not an easy job as there are no turns – you simply have to be fast and place your cards in the respective center Dutch cards pile.

Time taken and skill levels

  • It is a bit tricky to learn. It is best to learn Dutch Blitz from someone who knows the game.
  • Recommended for kids 8 and over.

Benefits

  • Spirited and fun game
  • Teaches speed and fast thinking
  • Teaches you to lose with grace.

Best Outdoor Two-Player Games

#1. Winner: Ring Toss

Ring toss is a fun game for all ages. There is a bunch of variations in the game. I dedicated an entire article to the different types of ring toss games I suggest you read.

Objective

  • In this simple game, you and your opponent take turns tossing rings onto stands.
  • Each stand has different points. Most points per round win.

Time taken and skills needed

  • Easy to set up, simple to learn, and game playtime can be as short or long as you like.
  • Fun atmosphere.

Benefits

  • Helps develop healthy competition.
  • Enhances hand-eye coordination and motor skills

#2. Best Overall: Throw Throw Burrito by Exploding Kittens: Extreme Outdoor Edition 

I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t heard of Exploding Kittens. The game is the creative brainchild of cartoonist Matt Inman of The Oatmeal, and if you aren’t following him on social media, you are really missing out on his quirky sense of humor. Throw Throw Burrito is another excellent offering from the creative genius.

Do note that TTB  may be deemed a tad bit ‘immature’ by some serious players but, most players will find it hilarious. The moment you blow up the 3-ft burritos, you’d want to fling them at someone!

We played this on family game night with several other couples, and we were in splits. (However, when the game first arrived, I played it with my wife just to get a feel of things. And boy, did we have a blast then, too- so it is perfect for 2 players as well).

Objective

  • Collect cards, play your hand, and throw massive burritos at your opponent.

Skills needed and time taken

  • Ages 7 and above
  • 15 minutes of playtime.

Benefits

  • Great for picnics, camping, etc.
  • Simple and easy
  • Helps you burn calories.

Best Two-Player Tabletop Games

#1. Winner: KLASK: The Magnetic Award-Winning Party Game of Skill – for Kids and Adults of All Ages That’s Half Foosball, Half Air Hockey

KLASK is an award-winning game (and 2015’s No.1 game in Sweden and Norway.) There are KLASK tournaments held worldwide – such is its popularity. You will find this arcade favorite in bars, game stores, and clubs.

Objective

  • Like foosball and air hockey, try and score but avoid the KLASK!

Time taken and skill levels

  • Fairly easy to learn – a couple of games and you will master it.
  • Each match lasts 10 minutes on average. You can set up longer tournaments too.

Benefits

  • Enhance speed, aiming, and dexterity

#2. Best Overall: Shuffleboard and Curling 2 in 1 Table Top Board Game 

Why buy one game when the same board can give you two awesome games?

Objective

  • Take turns rolling your pucks while also trying to push other player’s pucks off the board. 

Skills needed and time taken

  • Perfect for new and skilled players
  • Time – as short or long as you like.

Benefits

  • Two games in one great board.

Conclusion

2-player games are great when you’re short on human resources. 

The above list of games contains something for everyone. Some games are ideal for date nights, for playing with your teen (or tween or in-between), and even for elderly parents. They will definitely help you pass the time on rainy, snowy days.

For more suggestions for game nights, click here.

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