Board games are a great way to escape the real world and have some good clean fun. But when there are only two of you, the choices are severely reduced. This list should give you a good idea of the types of games you can play well with two players.
We have some short games and some extremely long ones, but all of them are a lot of fun to play with just you and one other person.
Boss Monster (opens in new tab)
Become the evil leader
Boss Monster puts you as the Evil Baddy of a video game. You have to build the levels of your dungeon and the more heroes you kill, the more points you score! This is the perfect two-player game as race top beat your opponent and even stop them from winning.
Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil (opens in new tab)
Use this as an infection vector for the RPG
The great thing about these Dungeons and Dragons inspired board games is that the monsters play themselves. So when it's just the two of you, you can both play the good guys, and defeat evil together!
This game is not going to be finished in 20 minutes though, so be prepared to fight your way through multiple levels over the course of a couple of hours.
Quirkle (opens in new tab)
Bright colors and simple gameplay
Quirkle is a brilliant mix of dominoes and scrabble. You have to make collections of either shapes or colors and score based on the length of the line you make.
This is perfect for two players who want to play quick, lighthearted games instead of one long one.
Forbidden Island (opens in new tab)
Don't let the island sink
Forbidden Island is one of the first games I ever played with a gaming group and it sparked my love for games. It's also the game I use to bring my non-gaming friends into the fold and "infect" them with a love of gaming.
You are adventurers on an island trying to capture as many treasures as possible. Beware though, the island is sinking and it will not give up its treasures easily.
Castle Panic (opens in new tab)
Tower defense but in real life
Castle Panic is an almost perfect modern game, blurring the lines between video game and board game perfectly. Like the tower defense games you find on mobile phones, you have to defend your keep from the ravening hordes arrayed against you.
Like other games in this list, the monsters play themselves automatically, so two of you can work together to win the game. Two-player games are always more fun when they are cooperative as it gives you a third player for free!
Carcassonne (opens in new tab)
Become the lord of all you survey
Most of my favorite games are ones that let you build the board as you play. This gives you an almost infinite number of boards to play so each time is a new experience.
Playing Carcassonne as a two-player duel is a lot of fun as you never really know who wins until the very end. While you can get points as you play, the big numbers happen at the end, so the suspense builds as you play.
Go head to head
When you're itching to play a board game but there is only the two of you, it can put a dampener on your board gaming activities unless you lay in a stock of good two-player games to see you through. My wife and I play a lot of two-player games — our kids aren't quite ready for games yet — and I think our favorite is likely Boss Monster (opens in new tab). Graphically, Boss Monster is beautiful, with 8-bit graphics resembling early Super Nintendo games, and the gameplay is endlessly recyclable.
If you are looking for something bigger, with epic storytelling and the chance to fight monsters in deep dungeons then The Temple of Elemental Evil (opens in new tab) is the game for you. Because it's made by the team who make Dungeons and Dragons, the board game follows on a storyline that can draw you in and keep you playing for hours at a time.
Whichever games you choose though, the very best two-player games are normally cooperative. Co-op games really let you add a third player into your game without the need to include another human. When it's you versus the game, there is less chance of animosity, which, for two-player games, is a godsend.