compiled mostly from rec.games.board

[Stven Carlsburg, '04]

I wholeheartedly recommend Ticket to Ride. It plays great with 2, 3, 4, or 5 players. Another good choice is San Juan, which plays well with 2, 3, or 4. If you want to try out something a little more complex, Tikal is a deep game that plays wonderfully with 2, 3, or 4. I've found it to be quite easy to teach. Quite a few of the latest crop of games scale well from 2 to 4 players. These include St. Petersburg, Attika, and Goa (which is the heaviest of the group). Finally, Puerto Rico is a tremendous game for 3, 4, or 5 and the official two-player variant is excellent.
[Larry Levy, '04] - (multiple entires here)

Here are my favorites (in alphabetical order):
[Joe Casadonte, '02] - (multiple entires here)

It's great when a game can play moderately well with two and then becomes more terrific with 3-6 players (depending on the game). I have learned that the "master" at this two player to more players (in my opinion) is the great designer, Knizia. Here is my list - my wife and I still play all of these as two player and often with more: Knizia Games:
[Norm ?, '04]

We play two-player games during lunch at work as well. Babel is probably our favorite; it's a little more involved than Lost Cities and Balloon Cup, but it plays very well and can usually be finished in 45 minutes or so. Schotten Totten is a very good "play a card, pick a card" game. If you like Lost Cities, there's another Knizia game, Tabula Rasa, with a similar feel. Mystery Rummy 1, Jack the Ripper, plays great with two; if you want something a little less involved, MR3, Jeckyl and Hyde, is a good choice. The latest Mystery Rummy (MR4, Al Capone) also plays very well with two. We really like Katzenjammer Blues with two players, although it doesn't seem many others agree. If you feel like putting your thinking caps on, Kahuna is excellent. Finally, if you have space to play more than just a card game, I'd recommend StreetSoccer.
[Larry Levy, '03] - (multiple entires here)

The following games I find as good with 2 players, as with 3 or 4, although they can seem quite different depending on the number of players:
[Lars Wagner Hansen, '03]

[Gabriel Velasco, '03]

Lost Cities, Caesar and Cleopatra, and Carcassonne, and when you get your wife hooked, go in for the kill with Battle Cry, even though its a bit expensive.
[Thomas Helvard, '03]

Multiplayer games that scale well to two:
[Dave Vander Ark, '03] - (multiple entries here)

[Kevin J. Maroney, '03]

You could try Serenissima. I've only played 2 player, but I really like it, and it was designed as 2-4 players.
[Caleb Diffell, '03]

[Jeff Abramson, '03] - (multiple entries here)

My girlfriend is not a gamer and generally doesn't care for games, but these are the ones she has enjoyed and will even ask to play on occasion:
[Eddy Bee, '03]

Simple 2 player games that have enough to make them appeal to gamers too:
[Brian ??, '03]

The best two-player games (with 1-10 rating) that aren't "portable" Atlantic Star (8) Battle Cry (10) E&T (9 with 2, 10 with more) Entdecker (7) Expedition (10) Samurai (8) Through the Desert (9)
[Dave Vander Ark, '03] - (multiple entries here)

Ones with asterisks are multi-player but great with two: Babel Carcassonne* Formula De* Hare and Tortoise* Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation (I don't like it but others do) Lost Cities
["Blackberry," '03] - (multiple entries here)

Girl Genius: The Works is a great 2-player card game, and can be played with more players too. And the cards are by Phil Foglio.
[Petri Maaninen, '03]

[August de Vries, '03]

One that has been quite popular with my normally non-abstract strategy gaming wife is Quarto. The rules are simple, and it plays fast enough that you can get a nice series of games into a half hour.
[Josh Adelson, '03] - (multiple entries here)

I'd say the ones below work great for 2-4 players. I've played them all with many different combinations of players.
[Mike Mayer, '02] - (multiple entries here)

Very good from our perspective are Hera & Zeus, (it takes several games to absorb the possibilities), Battleline, Babel, Caesar & Cleopatra...I could go on and on..but those few are good for the moment, I guess.
[Jeff Binning, '02]

My wife and I like 2-player Wyatt Earp. Our other favorite games for two players are:
[Jeff Abramson, '02] - (multiple entries here)

I've tried Dragonland, Mamma Mia and Samarkand, all of which play well with 2 as well as with more.
[Alan Kwan, '02] - (multiple entries here)

I was actually surprised how well Mamma Mia worked with two players. It seems almost as much fun as with a larger group. If only there were more cheesy Italian accents, then maybe it would be as much fun.
[Paul Sauberer, '02]

I know that opinions may vary regarding Wyatt Earp as a two-player game--I prefer my rummy games with more than two players, personally. One game that I think works just fine with 2-5 players is Ivanhoe. I also recommend Through the Desert as a game that fits your criteria. If you don't like Reiner Knizia's games, I give up! :-)
[Josh Adelson, '02] - (multiple entries here)

[Lin Parkh, '02]

I'm a wife who got sucked into the German/designer game hobby along with my husband so I can offer up a few suggestions:
[Susan Rozmiarek, '02]

We think El Grande works fine with 2 if each plays with two colors. Of course, El Grande works best with 5, but this version is about as good as a 4-player game.
[David B Eggleston, '00]

Games we've been happy with 2-player are (in approximate order of complexity/newbie friendliness):
[Joe Casadonte, '02] - (multiple entires here)

My wife and I enjoy to play:
[Robert Martin, '02]

It's not German, but Titan works well with 2, 3, 4 or 6 players. Also RoboRally - 1 board, 3 flags, 2+ players works well
[Eric Gorr, '02]

[Eric Landes, '02]

[Jeff Abramson, '01] - (multiple entries here)

["Michael" <Cavalier@aol.com>, '01]

[Stefanie Kethers, '01]

[Jeroen, '01]

[rstloup@aol.com, '01]

Two-player games:
[Patrick Brennan, '01]

Here are a few games my wife and I enjoy as 2-player:
[Chuck Smith, '01]

[Greg J. Schloesser, '01] - (multiple entries here)

[Mike Mayer, '01] - (multiple entries here)

Titan plays very well for between 2-6 players. It also has quite a lot of depth of play.
[Ray Tsai, '01]

In addition to the others' fine suggestions, I'll suggest Samarkand on the lighter end, and La Citta on the heavier.
[Alan, Kwan, '01] - (multiple entries here)

[Jim Bolland, '01]

Carcassonne is the best game IMO that scales well from 2-5 players. Another game that scales well from 2-4 is Tigris & Euphrates. Carcassonne is definitely the lighter of the two, but both are very good at any number of players.
[Michael Godfrey, '01]

[Keith Ammann, '01]

My wife and I got started with Lost Cities (some 85 games ago). We were always looking for good 2-player games to fill in the time. The absolute BEST games we found for two players (in order):
[Norman S. Pollack, '01] - (multiple entries here)

["Blackberry", '01] - (multiple entries here)

Big City (my favorite), Durch die Wuste, Samurai, and Master Labyrinth.
[Stu Macher, '01]

I second the nomination for Samurai & Through the Desert. My wife and I have played the following and enjoy them thoroughly (They are in the order of "enjoyability"):
[Norman S. Pollack, '01] - (multiple entries here)

Tikal makes a decent 2-player game, but as you might expect is better for more. A few games that my wife has enjoyed for two are Caesar & Cleopatra, Mystery Rummy (the Jack the Ripper version), and Lost Cities (all are card games). Some others that I have played with two and enjoyed are Torres, Union Pacific (better than you might expect) and Battle Cry.
[Dennis Murray, '00]

Titan the Arena - a superb card game by the old Avalon Hill. While it's stated for minimum three players, it is also a lot of fun with two.
[Tom Alaerts, '00]

[Hunter Johnson, '00]

If you want an "old school" game that's also fun and wacky, try The Awful Green Things From Outer Space (Steve Jackson Games).
[Justin B. Green. '00]

How could I forget The Awful Green Things? Great game.
[Scott Reeves, '00]

[Scott Tullis, '00]

There are a number of very good 2 player games out at the moment. If you are looking for card games try the Kosmos 2 player line.
[Craig Massey, 00]

[Dave Bernazzani, 01]

Here are my suggestions (I have limited to card games since you mentioned those specifically above):
[Justin Berman, '00]

Currently, my favorite 4 player games that work well with 2 are:
[Dave Green, '00]

WarChest is a two-player boardgame from Lance & Laser. I think WarChest is more likely to appeal to boardgamers, even though it happens to use pewter miniatures as its playing pieces.
[Jeff Dee, '00]

[Ben Baldanza, '99]

[Greg Schloesser, '99] - (multiple entries here)

My best 2-player good games are:
[Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson, '99]

[Randy, '99]

What I like to play with my husband:
[Shari Jackson, '99]

[Dietmar Logoz, '98]

[Wolfgang Lüdtke, '98]

[Steffan O'Sullivan, '98]

One of my favorite two-player games is GOOTMU, which was probably intended to work best at 4-6 players. It doesn't work well at all with 4-6 players, alas, but is a great two-player game!
[Steffan O'Sullivan, '98]

[Sjöholm, '98]

[Frank Brahham, '98]

The Awful Green Things from Outer Space - definitely not a traditional war game, and loads of fun.
[Mark Thomas, '98]

Abstract 2-player games - Pure skill
[Stephen Tavener, '98]

In no particular order except how I see 'em in the closet :-)
[David Kuznick, '97]

[Doug Adams, '97]

[mpetty26@tir.com, '97]

[Frank Wimmer, '97]

Two-player only games:
[Joe Huber, '97]

[Ralph Boerke, '97]

In two letters: Go
[Mike Hayman, '97]

[Roger Eriksen, '97]

[Glenn Kuntz, '97]

[Chuck Messenger, '97]

My favorite two player games at this time are:
[Bruno Faidutti, '97]

I recommend Go, Xiangqi (also known as Chinese Chess), and African stone games.
[John Baker, '97]

One of the best abstract strategy games to come along in recent years is a two-player gamed called Fibonacci.
[Steve, '97]

Also: Drünter & Drüber and Tutanchamun
[Bob Scherer-Hook, '97]

Knighmare Chess - simple (if you know Chess) and fun.
[Magnus Lundgren, '97]

Fast Food Franchise is similar to Monopoly without deals. It is a better game and works two player.
[Bruno Wolff III, '97]

My personal favorite is Games Workshop's Space Hulk. It plays quickly, is only of medium complexity, and a complete hoot!
[Kirk Botula, '97]

These are all games I enjoy playing with two players; none of them were designed strictly as two-player games:
[Bob Scherer-Hoock, '97]

[Mitchell Thomashow, '97]

[Jae 'Polar Bear', '97]

My wife & I enjoy Spielkarten (the Settlers Card Game), Take 6, and Linie 1/Streetcar. Another recent addition is Freight Train, which my wife REALLY likes because I haven't been able to beat her at it (yet!).
[Mark Jackson, '97]

[Peter Wotruba, '96]

Ghosts (many publishers, mine is Schmidt, but I think it's another one now).
[Bruno Faidutti, '96]

[Paul Evans, '96]

Two Player List homepage

Multiplayer Board Games That Also Work For Two

Games Designed Just For Two

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Last modified: 17 Jan 2005