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The Best 2-Player Board Games for Adults

Check out my list of the best 2-player board games for adults. I’ve compiled a mix of personal favorites and popular picks that work well with two players, even if they aren’t specifically designed for two. The list includes quick games for a casual night in, as well as longer, more strategic options for those who want to settle in for a cozy night of gaming. Plus, we’ve provided portability details to help you choose the perfect game for your needs.
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Best Board Games for 2 People 

In a previous blog post, I shared my recommendations for trending portable board games suitable for a variety of player counts. In this post, I’ll focus on the best 2-player board games.  

As someone who has played numerous 2-player games, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to find a game that strikes the right balance of strategy, mechanics, and playtime. While some multiplayer games can technically accommodate 2 players, they may not be as enjoyable as playing with more people. To address this, I’ve compiled a mix of my personal favorites and popular picks for 2-player games that work well with two people, even if they aren’t specifically designed for two players.  

The list includes options for both quick games to play with a friend and longer, more strategic games for cozy nights in. For each game, I’ll provide a brief description and portability details to help you choose the right game for your needs. Whether you’re looking to try something new or expand your collection, I’m excited to share my top picks for 2-player board games with you. 

The Top 14 Picks

Azul 

Azul is a tile drafting game where players take turns drafting colorful tiles and arranging them on their board to score points. Players must strategically decide which tiles to take and where to place them, balancing their need for points with the risk of giving their opponents advantageous tiles. Azul is designed by Michael Kiesling and was published by Next Move Games in 2017. I would personally rate this as a 10/10 for the beautiful artwork. The game requires a playing area of approximately 20 x 20 inches. It won the 2018 Spiel des Jahres award, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the board gaming industry. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2-4

  • Number of Game Pieces

    100+

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Calico  

Funded with $10,000 on Kickstarter in an impressive 12 hours, Calico is a tile-laying game where players try to create the coziest quilt by strategically placing patterned fabric tiles onto their board. Each tile has different combinations of colors and symbols, allowing players to score points in various ways. With over 100 unique fabric tiles, each game is different, making it highly replayable. Calico is designed by Kevin Russ and illustrated by Beth Sobel. It was published by Flatout Games in 2020. The game requires a playing area of approximately 12 x 12 inches. It was nominated for the 2020 Golden Geek award for Best Family Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Low-Medium

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    1-4

  • Number of Game Pieces

    150+

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Patchwork  

Inspired by the designer’s love of quilting, Patchwork is a two-player game where players compete to create the most beautiful and efficient quilt by purchasing fabric and creating a patchwork board. Players must balance their need to purchase the best fabric with their desire to fill their board as quickly as possible. Patchwork is designed by Uwe Rosenberg (also known for creating the popular game Agricola) and was published by Lookout Games in 2014. The game requires a playing area of approximately 14 x 14 inches. It won the 2015 Golden Geek award for Best Abstract Strategy Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    15-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    33

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Sequence 

Sequence is a classic game of strategy and luck, where players take turns placing chips on a board to form a sequence of five in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Each turn involves strategic thinking as players attempt to block their opponents while also completing their own sequences. With a mix of luck and skill, Sequence is a timeless game that is enjoyed by players of all ages. Sequence is designed by Doug Reuter and was published by Jax Ltd. in 1982. The game requires a playing area of approximately 18 x 12 inches. It won the 1982 Mensa Select award. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-60 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-12

  • Number of Game Pieces

    104

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The Genius Star 

The Genius Star is a two-player game that involves placing numbered stars on a board to form lines that add up to 15. Based on the Korean reality show “The Genius Game”, players must strategically place stars and block their opponents while also aiming to form their own lines of stars. With a unique board and simple mechanics, this game offers a lot of strategic depth and is perfect for a quick game with a friend. The Genius Star is designed by Ta-Te Wu and was published by Jolly Thinkers in 2019. The game requires a playing area of approximately 12 x 12 inches. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    Low

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2-5

  • Number of Game Pieces

    28

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7 Wonder Duel  

7 Wonders Duel is a two-player version of the popular game 7 Wonders. In this game, players compete to build the best civilization by drafting cards that represent different structures and technologies. Each card has a different function and provides unique benefits, so players must carefully choose which cards to draft and which to leave for their opponent. 7 Wonders Duel is designed by Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala and was published by Repos Production in 2015. The game requires a playing area of approximately 10 x 10 inches. It won the 2016 Golden Geek award for Best 2-Player Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Low-Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    150+

Check Out The Price

Fox in the Forest 

This is a trick-taking game for 2 players that features a unique scoring system where players aim for a certain number of tricks, but not too many or too few. With only 33 cards in the deck, players must strategically manage their hand and predict their opponent’s moves. Fox in the Forest is designed by Joshua Buergel and was published by Foxtrot Games in 2017. The game requires a playing area of approximately 12 x 12 inches. It was nominated for the 2018 Golden Geek award for Best Card Game. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    33

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Santorini  

Santorini is a very popular strategy game for 2 players where each person takes turns moving and building blocks on a board in an attempt to outmaneuver and trap their opponent. The game’s simple rules make it easy to learn but difficult to master, as there are many ways to approach each turn. The playing area for Santorini is a 5×5 grid, and the game was designed by a mathematician, Dr. Gordon Hamilton in 2016. The publisher of the game is Roxley, Spin Master Ltd. Santorini was a nominee for the Spiel des Jahres award in 2017. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Low-Medium

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    20-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2-4

  • Number of Game Pieces

    78

Check Out The Price

Battle Line  

Battle Line is a card game for 2 players where players compete to win a series of battles using a hand of cards with different troops and tactics. Players must carefully manage their hand and predict their opponent’s moves to outmaneuver and out-strategize them. The playing area for Battle Line is a 9×10 grid, and the game was designed by Reiner Knizia in 2000. The publisher of the game is GMT Games. Battle Line was a nominee for the International Gamers Award in 2001.  

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    60

Check Out The Price

Onitama 

Inspired by the Japanese game of Shogi, Onitama is a strategy game for 2 players where players take turns moving their pieces on a 5×5 grid and attempting to capture their opponent’s master pawn or move their own master pawn to the opponent’s starting space. Players have access to a limited set of moves, which makes each game unique and challenging. The playing area for Onitama is a 5×5 grid, and the game was designed by Shimpei Sato in 2014. The publisher of the game is Arcane Wonders. Onitama was a nominee for the Spiel des Jahres award in 2017.  

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    15 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    16

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Carcassonne 

In this tile-laying game designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, Carcassonne requires players to take turns placing tiles to create a medieval landscape. Players must strategically place their meeples on the tiles to claim cities, roads, and farms to earn points. The game is simple to learn and can be played with 2 to 5 players. Each game typically lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. Similar to Catan, the playing area for Carcassonne is modular. The game was designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede in 2000. The publisher of the game is Hans im Glück. Carcassonne was awarded the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Medium

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2-5

  • Number of Game Pieces

    72

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Kahuna 

Designed by Günter Cornett and Alvydas Jakeliunas, Kahuna is a strategy game that takes place on a set of islands. Players place bridges and gain control of the islands by placing a majority of their tikis on each island. The game is played with cards, which dictate which bridges and tikis can be placed on the board. Kahuna can be played with 2 players and each game typically lasts around 30 minutes. The playing area for Kahuna is made up of 12 islands, and the game was designed by Günter Cornett and Alvydas Jakeliunas in 1998. The publisher of the game is Kosmos. Kahuna was awarded the Deutscher Spiele Preis award in 1998.

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Easy

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    50

Check Out The Price

Mr. Jack 

In this two-player game, one player takes on the role of Jack the Ripper while the other plays as an investigator trying to catch Jack, a notorious criminal hiding among the people of London. The game is set up using tiles that form the streets of London, and each character card and the game board is unique. Players take turns moving characters around the board and using their special abilities to try to outsmart their opponent. The game is designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc and typically lasts around 45 minutes. The playing area for Mr. Jack is a small board, and the game was designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc in 2006. The publisher of the game is Hurrican, Asmodee. Mr. Jack was awarded the As d’Or – Jeu de l’Année Prix du Jury in 2007.

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    Low

  • Durability

    High

  • Gameplay Time

    30-45 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    23

Check Out The Price

Mr. Jack: Pocket Edition

Mr. Jack Pocket Edition

 

Mr. Jack Pocket Edition is a simplified version of the original game that still retains the core mechanics of deduction and two-player gameplay, but with a smaller footprint and fewer components. In the pocket edition, there are only 8 characters, and the game board is replaced by cards. Each game typically lasts around 15-30 minutes. Players must use strategy and deduction to try to either escape as Jack or catch Jack as the investigator. Designed in 2010, Mr. Jack Pocket Edition shares the same designers, Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, and publisher, Hurrican, Asmodee. Mr. Jack: Pocket Edition was awarded the Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game in 2011. 

Travel Game Index

See How This Game Stacks Up

  • Portability

    High

  • Durability

    Medium

  • Gameplay Time

    15-30 minutes

  • Ease of Play

    Moderate

  • Number of Players

    2

  • Number of Game Pieces

    9

Check Out The Price

The Final Score 

So there you have it, my top picks for the best 2-player board games! I hope you found this list helpful and that it inspires you to try out some new games with your favorite gaming partner or someone totally new. Let me know your favorite games from the list and any new 2-player games you plan to add to your collection.  

By using the affiliate links in this post, you can purchase or book something, and in turn, I will earn a small commission. This comes at no additional cost to you and helps me cover the costs associated with running this site. For more information, please refer to my privacy page. Thank you for your support!

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