Many of the most popular tabletop board games are designed for big groups—that’s what game nights are about, after all. Two-player games have come a long way since checkers, backgammon, and Battleship, and today the best of them are just as complex and enthralling as any group game.
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Two-player board games- Offline
For fans of single-player games, this is a perfect. A life-threatening disease has spread, and humans have been tasked with saving their race. This cooperative game is based on games like Left 4 Dead and Payday. The entire game takes up an hour or so, but you will easily finish it because it is fast-paced. If you have ever played solo, you would always want a sequel to it.
There are various expansions for it, and one of them is when the world is gripped by a virus, and now you have to survive in an apocalyptic world.
This is a game made for RPG fans. It is a strategy board game where you have to be a lone adventurer who will have to adapt to this ever-changing world. It is a fun game where you must clear out dungeons, fight enemies and do much more.
There are a myriad of choices that you can opt for, so no game is similar to the previous one. You can play this game repeatedly; you can even play it alone. It takes about one to two hours to play, so that is a fair amount of time you will be investing in it. It is just suitable for the two-player version. It achieved the 2018 SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year Winner, which proves why you should make it a part of your list.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a competitive but fantastic board game where you must build railroad tracks across the country. The scoring system works on how efficiently you build cities and other areas. The advantage is that you can build the game within 30 minutes, so the repeat factor exists.
The game play is competitive because it depends on how quickly you can build the longest railroad track or collect the maximum points. The board game community has embraced this one as a game night staple.
Twilight Struggle: The Cold War, 1945-1989
This detailed two-player board game takes more than three hours to complete. Twilight Struggle is a strategy game and best for fans of history. Like most games, this is not a casual one. It highlights the Cold War between United States and Soviet Union. In Twilight Stuggle, you have two players facing off through actual events that took place. You will plan covert missions, and advance the Space Race.
It is a great board game for those looking to play 2-hour long strategy games.
This is one of the few games that have a compelling backstory. Terraforming Mars is about a world 400 years later when humans found life on Mars and started transforming it to make it more habitable.
Players get cards belonging to different corporations and get cards to build cities and industries and much more if there is enough oxygen and water. There are good building exercises in this resource management game. Through this, players increase their terraforming rating, and the player with the highest score wins.
It is a mystery board game that lovers of the horror genre should try. Here, players take on the role of the residents of Arkham, a town situated in New England. Each character has pros and cons, adding an interesting role-playing aspect to the game.
This game will be an actual test in endurance, as you and others will come up against some horrifying encounters. You and another player go through the deck and use your skills to overcome the terrors that await you. Each game lasts about an hour or two, so this will be an excellent time investment. For fans of horror, this is your game.
One of my personal favorites, Carcassonne, is a tile-based game where you need to connect rivers, paths, and buildings. The player has control of ‘meeples’ or game pieces and must decide what best place to set them is. If placed strategically, a player can score major points. It scratches the itch of city building, organization, and more.
The game moves lightning-fast and lasts about 30 minutes. This is a great game for two players or more; a perfect choice for any small gathering of friends or family.
Dominion is a card game where you find yourself as a monarch facing off against other monarchs for control of the land. Players achieve their victory points by building the ideal deck by acquiring different cards to their initial hand at the beginning of the game.
The mainstays of resource management are building castles, hiring goons, and getting money. I love the look and feel of this game; it draws heavily from medieval history.
Games are pretty quick, with games typically lasting about a half-hour.
Agricola is a game initially released in the Netherlands and portrays the life of a simple farmer. However, you’ll soon see that farm life is anything but simple. It’s a turn-based game where players engage with activated action cards. Players have the option of engaging with Occupation or Minor Improvement cards. This builds and builds and eventually culminates in the Harvest at the end.
Two-player board games- Online
Codenames Online is an official version of the party game, allowing you to play with many of its expansions and word packs.
Minesweeper meets Taboo; Codenames has become a fixture of board game collections for hobby newcomers and veterans alike since it first burst onto the scene in 2015. If you’ve somehow missed the instant modern classic, it’s a game of picky phrasing: teams take it in turns to guess words on a grid of cards, guided carefully to their hidden spies – and away from their opponents’ – by their clue-giver’s one-word hints. Trying to gesture at multiple answers with a single clue is key to winning, trying to find the perfect thing to link up “forest,” “bee,” and “sun” (Nature? Flower? Yellow?) or “Olympus”, “planet” and “Big Bang” (Jupiter, perhaps? Or is that too much of a stretch?).
Codenames’ simplicity makes it the perfect choice for a board game to play online, helped by the release of an official browser app developed by creator Czech Games Edition. The free online version includes word packs from multiple Codenames games – including two-player spin-off Duet and multiple bonus packs – and various languages, with a slick interface that makes tracking previous clues and the number of spies left easy. All you need is to send your friends the link to your room and start guessing away.
Player count: 2 or more
Backstabbr turns the hours-long strategy classic into a tense online game of alliance and betrayal that can play out over days or months.
Diplomacy is a classic of the grand strategy genre, emerging in the 1950s as a game of devious plotting and brutal betrayal. Players attempt to lead their European nation to victory by conquering the map and forming uneasy alliances to get ahead. Teaming up is necessary to force opponents’ units out of regions, but actions are submitted in secret and all resolved at the same time, with players promising to help each other out one moment, only to turn traitors and invade them the next. No wonder it’s considered a real-life friendship-wrecker.
Lying to your friends for real in person – even in the context of a board game – can understandably make some feel uncomfortable. Luckily, free browser-based Diplomacy clone Backstabbr offers a way to engage with the game’s tense tactics and social strategy with an added separation layer. The gameplay is the same as on the tabletop. Still, players’ direct interactions are confined to ‘press’ communications – presenting the chance to lean into roleplaying your early 20th-century leader and address increasingly passive-aggressive missives to “My dear Czar”, “Fellow Europeans” or “Unwelcome neighbour”. The stretched timeframe of the online game also allows the political machinations to feel less intense, with turns playing out over days and weeks rather than minutes and hours.
Backstabbr offers a way for more people to experience a timeless classic with some of its pricklier aspects softened – just enough to make it fun rather than infuriating, anyway. The social strategy epic continues to stand up as a board game like no other, and its online counterpart might well be the best way to play today.
Player count: 2-7
Drawphone is Telestrations in all but name, as players draw and guess at their friends’ doodles.
Online board game library Rocketcrab brings together a number of popular party games in mobile-friendly form, offering a browser-based hub for favourites from social deduction game Spyfall to third-party spins on group games Wavelength and Just One.
One of the standout games available to play for free is Drawphone, a game similar to hit board game Telestrations – itself based on the delightfully-titled public domain game Eat Poop You Cat. True to its name, Drawphone plays like a game of Telephone, but with drawings: each player draws something, then passes the ‘paper’ to their virtual neighbour, who guesses what the previous person drew, before the guess becomes the clue for the next doodler – and so on until everyone has contributed to the chain of pictures and guesses.
With no real points on offer, the reward is seeing how close (or far) the final guess came to the original prompt. Not particularly, as it often turns out, making the compounded misunderstandings and misinterpretations funnier.
Player count: 4+
Catan Universe offers an online board game version of the classic trading title.
Catan is everywhere, from official shoes and notably-less-official beer cans to the tables of Hollywood stars and (at some point) even the silver screen. It’s only natural, then, that the board game classic has a firm presence on the internet, too.
Catan Universe brings Klaus Teuber’s trading-and-building hit to PC and phones as an app that replicates the original Catan, as well as several of its many expansions from the last 25-plus years and even some unique variants.
Players can challenge their human friends or AI opponents to games, with the free version of the online board game offering a tutorial, up to three-player matches and access to the Catan card game The Duel.
Catan remains a steadfast game for those new to the hobby for a reason – and its digital version makes enjoying the classic whether you’re new or have been playing for decades a cinch.
Player count: 3-4
Jinteki offers a way to play Android: Netrunner online and test out its various cards and decks.
Android: Netrunner has had a heck of an afterlife. Despite the beloved living card game about hackers and the megacorporation systems they crack into being officially cancelled in late 2018, it’s managed to live on in physical form thanks to community-led Project NISEI and in suitability digital fashion with online version Jinteki.
Jinteki offers up Netrunner’s full catalogue of cards for players to build digital decks and try out in two-player matches, as well as in a selection of different formats available via the browser-based app.
Here is the detailed list of offline and online board games you can play with two or more players. Once you start playing these, your weekends and game nights are always sorted!