Finding games that you are able to play with only two players can be relatively easy. Finding games that are worth playing with two is another story entirely. It’s not rare to find a game that says 2-4 on the box, is a decent game, but falls flat as a two-player game.
So, to help avoid those pitfalls, I’ve decided to start a new series of articles focused on games you can play with two. Thankfully, I’ve done a lot of two-player gaming over the years. So to kick things off we’ll look at a few games that are easy to pick up and play, which can be finished in about 30 minutes or less.
A game based around speed and a little bit of chaos, Steam Park is an excellent choice for two. In this game you are the owner of an amusement park which is made for robots, trying to make the most money off guests that never leave. The art is by Marie Cardouat, the artistic genius behind Dixit, so you know it’s going to be surreal and entertaining.
The core of the game is based around simultaneous dice rolls – you’re racing to be the first one to finish rolling your dice so you can get the biggest bonus. This can get a bit nutty when there’s four people playing, but with two it’s a fun little exercise that will have you laughing at each other. It’s light and enjoyable, and will play quickly after the first game. You can read more about Steam Park in our review.
If you’re looking to do a little town building using cards and dice, Machi Koro is the game for you. Known for good player interaction, this game does change a bit with two…but not in a bad way.
In a game with four players will find you in the wrong seat at the wrong time at least once in the game, especially if the three people in front of you all roll numbers that allow them to pilfer your coffers. You don’t really encounter that in the two-player game, and it turns into more of a race. But while the essential feel of the game changes a bit, it certainly doesn’t harm the fun. You’ll be able to bang out a game of Machi Koro in 20 minutes, so this certainly fits the bill. Check out our review of Machi Koro for a more in depth look.
Carl Chudyk created a nifty little card game which gets more and more layered the more times you play. Red7 is a deck of 49 cards numbered 1-7 in seven different colored suits. Each color suit has a rank, which is based on their chromatic position (there’s a chart in the game…you don’t need to be a designer or artist to play).
The premise of the game is simple – each player is dealt 7 cards which form their hand and one card which is their palette. The goal of the game? At the end of your turn, you have to be winning. Each colored card has a “goal” written on it. For instance, the starting goal is a red card which means the person with highest card in their palette is winning. On your turn you can play a card to your palette, one to the canvas in the middle where the goals live, or one to both. But at the end of your turn, you have to be winning. If you aren’t? You fold and you’re out of the game.
I was initially worried about how this would play with two, but it’s quick and extremely enjoyable. A round will last about five minutes, and once you’re used to how the colors and cards interact with one another you’ll see how the game is all about trying to set your opponent up to play the cards you want them to play…almost leading them on.
So there you have it – a few games that are quick, easy to learn, and will play just as well with two people as they do with four!