Top 10 – Games That Are Best With 2 Players
Probably should have done this list sooner with people needing to shelter in place during Covid-19 pandemic, but better late than never. I’m talking about games that work well with 2 players versus 2 player only games because I’m not sure that I’ve sat down with enough two player only games, but there are certainly some that work really well at two, even though they can play more.
To add in a little more detail about making the list, I’m saying that these games are best with two players, so two player games still do count. But I’m talking about games that could play up to a high number, but for some reason, time between turns, randomness of the game, I think that they work best with two players and would recommend trying them there first or that they’ll be most enjoyable at that player count.
Let’s see the list…
10 – Sword & Sorcery
This dungeon crawl game I’ve only played at two players, but I can’t really see playing it with more. Now, even at two players we’re controlling more characters, two each, but that hasn’t caused the game to bog down. I feel like, with more players, we’d end up spending more time in discussion for this cooperative game and planning to then have fairly random results on the dice. The game needs to be snappier with how you get through it, and with only two people at the table, even though I might not be taking my turn, I can always be the one rolling for monsters, and if there aren’t monsters, turns go incredibly fast. With more people, there’s just be more downtime for players, even if playing with the same number of characters. Sword & Sorcery, though, is a very fun ameritrash style dungeon crawl game where you’re chucking dice and leveling up to get through a fairly generic fantasy story with a few choices in it.
9 – Star Wars: Imperial Assault
I’ve done with solo and two players, and I prefer two players in this game, for the reason that, using the app, you need to do house keeping, and that house keeping can be a bit of a bear, but, if you are splitting the duties between two people it makes it easier. Plus, the minimum number of characters you can play with is two, so even solo you’re controlling two characters. This is the Star Wars dungeon crawl game taking place as Vader is chasing the rebels from their first base eventually leading to Hoth and beyond. You are not playing the main characters, Vader shows up as a side character whom you can’t beat, but that’s fine, the game is a lot of fun, and it feels a bit like a Rogue One type of game, but, for me, more enjoyable.
8 – Five Tribes
Now, I enjoy Five Tribes at all player counts, two through four, but I think it works best at two for one main reason. When determining play order for each round, it is done by bidding. Normally, each person has one play order marker, but in two players, each player has two. That means that you can set it up where you go twice in a row. Five Tribes is really a point salad type of game where everything you do is going to give you points, with an Mancala mechanism thrown in there where you’re moving meeples and then get to keep the matching colors of meeples to do something. So if you can see two really good moves, playing two players, allows you to bid for them and set up two good turns for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll probably only get one of them, which might mess up strategy.
7 – Skulk Hollow
First of the two player only games, Skulk Hollow is a ton of a fun as one player plays the foxen kingdom and the other an old guardian that has awoken on the lands. Each side has their own goal, the foxen trying to take down the guardian, but the guardian might have other things to consider like killing the foxen leader or maybe killing a certain number of the foxen kingdom, placing out a number of tentacles, or something along those lines, it varies as to which guardian you play. This gives the game a lot of replayability, because not only do you have the different guardians, but different leaders for the foxen kingdom. So playing the two sides gives a different game feel and playing the different leaders or guardians against each other can change things up as well. The card play is very slick in the game, and the whole thing just works well and looks really cool on the table.
6 – Hats
This was one of the first games when I thought of the list. Hats is a game that plays more than two, but definitely one that I think works better at two. At four, it’s just more random, and I’m not sure that I’ve played it at the three player count. In this game you have a hand of cards that you are playing down onto a table at the Madd Hatter’s tea party. Where you play a card gets you the previous card that was there, and you’re trying to set it up for getting the most points. At four players, the scoring is just more random. You can card count so potentially set up a scoring to help you, but with that exception of one scoring, you’ll just need luck on your side. But at two players, there’s more strategy to the play. You can go digging for cards and try and set-up what looks like poor scoring for yourself to only swap it at the end of the game to get even better scoring. It becomes much more of a strategic experience at the two player count and is a more interesting game that way.
5 – Star Wars Rebellion
Technically it can be a four player game, but Star Wars Rebellion is really a two player game where one side plays the Empire and the other the Rebels. At four players, you just split the two sides up and it’s still just two people playing the Empire and then two playing the Rebels. Keep the decision making more focused and Star Wars Rebellion is great. It’s a good cat and mouse game as the Empire tries to hunt down the Rebel’s secret base and the Rebels are trying to do missions and survive long enough to turn the tide against the Empire. You can have Darth Vader face off against Obi-Wan as in the movies, but maybe Darth Vader will run across Chewbacca or Han Solo or Wedge Antilles, you never know. There’s good strategic play, but then also a lot of fun space battles and land battles on planets surfaces that you can partake in as well which are good dice chucking.
4 – The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
I’ve played The Dresden Files with, I believe, all of it’s player counts, and I think that I like two players the best. Mainly because it’s a faster back and forth turn taking game instead of waiting for things to get passed around between more people. You do have the interesting thing of playing two characters with their decks shuffled together, which can create some interesting situations, but overall, I feel like it works pretty well. In this game you’re playing through the Dresden Files books, and you’re trying to defeat villains and solve cases. But you have limited resources to do that, so you’re balancing keeping those resources up by discarding cards, but also knowing that you won’t likely draw any or at least many more cards, so what you have in your starting hand you’ll have for the game. The game play is smart, and I like that you’re playing through a book at a time. A very enjoyable game for fans of the series, and an interesting puzzle for those who haven’t read them.
3 – Dice Throne
Dice Throne can technically be played as teams or King of the Hill style where you go after the person who has the most life, but I like it best at two players. There are a couple of reasons for this dice chucking combat game that make it work better at that count. First, there is less downtime. Either it’s my turn and I’m playing cards and rolling dice, or it’s my opponents turn and I’m likely rolling my dice on defense. With higher player counts, it’s going to potentially put you in a situation where you don’t roll anything for a couple of turns. The other thing is that the game is just faster overall. With the higher player counts, again more turns, but to go with that, more health to get through, so you could, theoretically, have someone eliminated and then sit there watching for a bit. But at two players, once you get the other person’s health down to zero, game over and you can reset and play again.
2 – Hanamikoji
Two player only game where you are trying to win the favor of Geisha. It’s a unique theme as you are playing down cards to give them gifts, but what makes it most interesting in the card play in the game. Each player, per round, is given four actions that they can do once in a round, you can play a card secretly or discard two cards secretly, and those a fairly normal sorts of actions. But the other two are very interesting. You can play down three cards face up, your opponent gets to pick one of those gifts and put it on their side to win a Geisha’s favor and you get the other two, and then the last action is that you can put down two sets of two cards in front of you where your opponent again picks which one they want and you get the others. It offers some really brain burning decisions, and often times you need to force your opponent to decide your strategy by the cards you put down when they are choosing from them. Rounds are very fast, and the game is just a lot of fun.
1 – Marvel Champions
Now, I can’t say that I’ve played this at higher player counts than two, but I have played it at one player. From what I’ve heard with four players, the game can be a little bit slow between turns as you’re waiting for everyone else to go. But at one and two players this game is a lot of fun. In two, you can think about strategy more so, and develop interesting combos or strategies that work well together as compared to solo game play. Now, both I enjoy a lot, but teaming Captain America up with Thor taking down the Green Goblin was a blast, or you can do She Hulk and Spider-Man versus Ultron. You have a ton of different options and playing at two players it allows you to do a team up that maybe you wouldn’t normally see in the comics or maybe one that you really love from the comics that you can now play in game. Marvel Champions is just a really good card game that lets you feel like a super hero.
This list, I was worried, was going to be hard, but there are some games that are just two players that I really love and others that I really do think work much better at two players. Maybe later this week or the start of next week I’ll do a six plus player list for when things start to normalize again and we can do board game nights. I know that I have one of the big two player games missing from my list, it’s on my shelf, but I haven’t done 7 Wonders Duel yet. I’ll need to get it to the table, and there are a lot of other games that are enjoyable to very good at two players, but I just prefer them with more.
What are some of your favorite two player games? Are there some games with higher player counts that are just better at two players for you?
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