Do 2-Player-Only Games Have Enough to Chew On?

My wife and I love to play games with each other. We play a lot of Euro board games and a lot of Trivial Pursuit – though less of the latter in recent years due to our discovery of other fun board games.


Often, when it’s just the two of us, we’ll get out a game that can accommodate 3, 4, or more players – Agricola, Castle, Le Havre, Stadium Checkers, etc. Rarely will we play a game specifically designed for only 2, even though there are only two of us. Not Lost Cities, Hive, chess, Aton, etc.

My wife doesn’t especially care for really abstract games. That kicks out games like chess. She also doesn’t like the idea that you’re supposed to think several moves ahead in that one. The others are fairly short and feel abstract too.

We have had fun with Odin’s Ravens, Mr. Jack, and Carcassonne: The Castle. Maybe it has something to do with the length. But most of the other 2-player-only games have received a meh reaction – often from both of us.

I think the main problem is that there isn’t enough meat – enough opportunity for implementing tactics and strategy – in most of the games we’ve tried. Again, chess would have that, but….

It’s almost as if, once we’ve played a 2-player-only game, we’re done with it forever and don’t need to try it again. With other games there’s normally some tactic or strategy that we can see we’d like to try the next time we play. That lure draws us back to the game again and again until we’ve exhausted all the possibilities or have tried them often enough to be satisfied that we’ve done the best we can do.

I suppose that may not be totally accurate in each and every case, but it probably is true most of the time. I know I’m waffling here, but that’s what happens when I try to generalize too much.

My Problem with 2-Player-Only Games

2 thoughts on “My Problem with 2-Player-Only Games

  • August 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Fortunately, my wife likes simple short abstracts…

    Here’s a list of game we play after the kids are in bed and we are short on time… maybe some of them will fit your situation…

    Lost Cities (board game)
    Stone Age
    Hey That’s My Fish (strategic w/ 2p)
    Pandemic (a favorite of hers!)

    • August 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks for the ideas, Kevin.

      I’m really looking for 2-player-only games that we’ll both like. We do like the multiplayer games of Ingenious (even though I don’t own it…yet), Carcassonne, and Qwirkle. My wife doesn’t care for Small World, Pandemic (though we really should give that one a second chance), or Hive. Lost Cities (i.e. Keltis), Stone Age, Hey! That’s My Fish!, and Dominion are for more than 2. I saw Battleline played once and figured she probably wouldn’t care for that either, but we should try it sometime to make sure one way or the other.

Comments are closed.