Just the two of us

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

Board games for two

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator


Most games need at least 3–6 players to really get going. There are a few of those games out there that can be made playable for two with some seriously tweaked rules, but sometimes you just want to snuggle up with your significant other and play a little something. Here are a few suggestions.

For those who like a little adventure and some card counting there is Lost Cities (1999). In this card game, you play a pair of explorers mounting an expedition to various archaeological sites, trying to make a profit. Players take turns playing different coloured cards in numerical order, hoping to outscore their partner. This is a good game for casual players.

For the crafty type there is Patchwork (2014), a simple Tetris-like game for two, where you try to build the most complete quilt at the lowest cost. Very laidback and surprisingly engaging and complex.

For the spies in your life might I suggest Nowhere to Go (2012), a very simple strategy game about blocking your opponent’s escape. It is similar to the classic video game Snake (1976) or the light-cycles in TRON. Simple, fun, and a quick play to boot.

For the entomologists and competitive types there is Hive (2001), a game in which you lay tiles strategically in an attempt to surround your opponent’s queen. Surprisingly heady for a game about bugs.

For the true intellectuals out there you can never go wrong with a classic like Chess (c. 1475). I cannot say much more about it as books have been written on the strategy, but I can say that if you don’t like random chance in your game, this one’s for you.

And finally, for those bleeding hearts who don’t like conflict and just want to save the world, there is Pandemic (2007)—or any other co-op game for that matter. It lets you and your partner team up to save people, leaving everyone with a feel-good vibe by the end. Unless you lose.