So many board games are created for groups, so it’s easy to forget that playing a board game with your significant other (note: does not need to be a significant other, housemates or family members are also allowed to play) is a great way to pass the time. Here are our five favourite two-player games.
When I first heard of this game, it was described to me as “chess with insects”. In this two-player strategy game, each player gets a set of eleven tokens with a creepy-crawly on it. With a mix of grasshoppers, beetles, spiders and ants, your task is to completely surround the opposition’s Queen Bee. Each token has different rules to follow and the board changes shape with every move. The box says a game takes about twenty minutes, so in theory, it won’t take up an entire evening, but you might end up wanting to play it over and over. (Designed by John Yianni).
2. Ticket to Ride
The board for Ticket to Ride is a beautiful map of North America, covered in different coloured train routes. Players collect cards that represent train carriages of those colours, and when they have enough, they can claim the route. You get points for the routes that you complete, plus extra points if you create the longest continuous route in the game. There seem to be two main game styles - either concentrating on building your own train routes or just trying to mess up everyone else’s plans. Not interested in the idea of a North American map? There are different versions and expansions available, such as Europe, Rails and Sails and the Orient Express! We’ve found this is a great introductory game for those individuals who are fed up of playing Monopoly and are looking for something a bit more interesting. Great for a family game, too! (Designed by Alan R Moore).
3. Hand of the King
One for Game of Thrones fans here. Hand of the King mixes the mechanics of a board game and a card game into one - the board is built from cards featuring characters from Game of Thrones that players aim to collect. You collect cards by moving the Master of Whispers himself, Varys, across them. If you have the most characters from a house, you get their banner. If you collect the last member of a house on the board, you gain a special power. This is another fairly short game, but every time you play it, it feels completely different, partly due to the board being made up of cards that move every time you play. One great feature of this game is the stunning artwork, which definitely pays homage to the characters found in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga. And you know what they say, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” (Designed by Bruno Cathala).
Named after the capital city of Rajasthan, which is a state in Northern India (thank you, Google. In this game, you play as one of two traders fighting for an invite to the Maharaja’s court. Only the trader with two Seals of Excellence gets that invite, and so you need to gain those seals through being the most successful trader. Each turn you can either take or sell cards. The goods are leather, spice, cloth, silver, gold and diamonds, but you also have my favourite cards of the game - a herd of camels each! It’s the best of three rounds and is a great casual game where you won’t get too frustrated with your opponent. Also, look out for the camel with an extra buddy! (Designed by Sébastien Pauchon)
5. Odin’s Ravens
The Norse God, Odin, has two ravens named Huginn and Muninn. Every morning, he sends his two ravens out into the world to bring him news. Each player is one of Odin’s ravens, racing to get back to Odin first. Playing in opposite directions along a track made up of domino-style cards depicting different land types, Odin’s Ravens can invoke the power of Loki - the trickster god - to hold up the other raven’s journey. This is a fun, competitive game for two players, and the second edition, in particular, has some beautiful artwork. Although the mechanics may sound simple, the impact of your opponent’s actions on your own journey means that playability of this game is high. (Designed by Thorsten Gimmler).
- The Lost Expedition
- Forbidden Island