The 8 Best Two-Player Board Games That Are Really Fun

The winner is the Sequence Stem Strategy Game

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Spending quality time with a child or loved one is easy with a fun, engaging, and quick-to-learn game designed for two players.

We researched more than a dozen two-player card, dice, and board games, considering factors like intensity, price, and age range. After narrowing down our top picks, we deemed the Sequence Board Game as our best overall two-player game, thanks to its high entertainment value, versatility across multiple ages, and high replay value.

Here, our favorite two-player games of 2022.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Jax Sequence

4.5
sequence-board-game
Courtesy of Walmart.
What We Like
  • High replay value

  • Equally fun for kids and adults

  • Easy and fun to develop strategies

What We Don't Like
  • Can be less engaging with a large group

What do buyers say? 89% of 30,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

If you think a little healthy competition is good for game night, then you can't go wrong with Sequence, a versatile strategy game you can play with two people or a large group. The versatility and excitement of this game makes it our top pick in this category.

The concept of the game is relatively straightforward: you put down playing cards from your hand and place a chip on the corresponding space on the game board. The object is to get five chips in a row, but your opponent may very well see your strategy and work to block your progress. Even though the game is relatively simple, people say it's both entertaining and challenging for players of all ages.

Our tester found the concept easy to grasp for all ages and were hooked immediately on the game after playing one round. Each game felt unique, making for high replay value. There are different techniques and strategies to play every time, making every round exciting and memorable. The game also teaches valuable skills to younger players like sequencing, strategizing, and decision-making, according to our tester. The only downside is the game can get less fun and competitive the more players you add.

Number of Players: 2-12 | Age range: 7 and up | Duration: 30 minutes

What Testers Say

"This game offers an alluring combination of luck, variables, stealth, and strategy that had my kids and me hooked."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best Collaborative : Czech Games Codenames: Duet The Two Player Word Deduction Game

4.4
Codenames: Duet

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Collaborative

  • High energy

  • Easy to learn

What We Don't Like
  • Could be a bit advanced for young players

If you usually love working with other people during team based games, the best two player game for you might be something collaborative, rather than competitive. Try Codenames: Duet, which promises to provide hours of fun with its cooperative gameplay. This game is an adaptation of the highly rated, team-based game Codenames board game, adjusted so it can be enjoyed by just two players.

During gameplay, you take turns giving one-word clues to your partner, striving to identify your team of “secret agents” from a grid of 25 cards. If you reveal the assassin or too many innocent bystanders along the way, you lose!

This game does a great job blending the basics of the original Codenames with cooperative play, making it a great two-player game that you'll want to play over and over. Plus, the rules are easy to learn and gameplay is quick!

Number of Players: 2 | Age range: 11 and up | Duration: 15 minutes

Codenames Duet
The Spruce / Sage McHugh

Best Strategy: Asmodee 7 Wonders - Duel

3.8
Asmodee 7 Wonders - Duel

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Fun and challenging

  • Various strategies can be used to win

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to grasp

Love a game that challenges your brain to think outside of the box? This pick is an adaptation of the award-winning original board game, 7 Wonders, but it's designed specifically for two people.

During the game, two players go head-to-head, competing to build a civilization to crush your competition, striving to build architectural “wonders” along the way. You can win by achieving military, scientific, or civilian supremacy, so you can play a different strategy every time you play.

Reviewers call this game one of the best two-player games they've ever owned. Many love the variability and mechanics of 7 Wonders: Dual, writing that the numerous ways to win make it an engaging game with lots of replay value.

Number of Players: 2 | Age range: 10 and up | Duration: 30 minutes

7 Wonders: Duel

 The Spruce / Sage McHugh

Best Theme: Z-Man Games Pandemic

3.5
Z-Man Games' Pandemic

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Promotes teamwork

  • Educates about public health

What We Don't Like
  • Instructions can be confusing

Cooperative games are the latest trend in board games, allowing you to work together instead of competing against one another. If you're looking for the best cooperative game to play with two people, you should definitely consider Pandemic—but only if you're up for a challenge.

The object of this cooperative game is to save the world from an outbreak of disease by working together to contain and cure the various strains. This game is especially challenging, as epidemics and outbreaks can spread diseases across the board faster than you can contain them, and there are several ways you might lose.

Reviewers write that this game is particularly addicting, as you'll want to keep playing until you can best it. Pandemic has ample replay value, as no two games will ever be alike, making it in essential for your collection of board games.

Number of Players: 2 | Age range: 8 and up | Duration: 45-60 minutes

What Testers Say

"There is something unique and appealing about the way teams feel like they are fighting against the game, ultimately spurring great camaraderie."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best for Families: Spin Master Games Santorini - Strategy-Based Board Game

Santorini

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Strategy based

  • Great visuals

  • High quality materials

What We Don't Like
  • May take a view games to develop strategies

Whether you're 8 or 80, you'll love playing the strategy-based board game Santorini. While you can play this game with up to four people, it's still just as fun and engaging when you have two players.

The object of the game is to build structures on the island, racing to be the first person with a three-story building. Each player also holds a game-changing God card, however, which you'll need to anticipate if you want come out on top.

Many people play this game with their families, as the rules are easy enough for children to grasp. However, there is still a lot of critical thinking and strategy involved in Santorini, making it a top-rated game, even among experienced gamers.

Number of Players: 2-4 | Age range: 8 and up | Duration: Not Listed

Best for Adults: Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride

4.5
ticket-to-ride

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • High quality board and pieces

  • Quick and exciting gameplay

What We Don't Like
  • Requires a lot of space to play

If you're looking for a board game to play with adults, you can't go wrong with Ticket to Ride. This extremely popular game can accommodate up to five players, but it's equally entertaining when there are just two of you.

Ticket to Ride is recommended for players eight and older, and each game will take between 30 minutes in an hour. To play, each person races to build train routes across a map of North America, connecting various cities and earning points along the way. You can earn bonus points by having the longest continuous path or by completing routes given on your “destination tickets.”

People describe this as a “light” strategy game, because you do need a game plan to win, but it's not too thought-intensive. Overall, many people say this is one of their favorite board games, and it gets especially competitive when you're playing with all adults.

Number of Players: 2-5 | Age range: 8 and up | Duration: 30-60 minutes

Best for Kids: Zobmondo!! The Ladybug Game

Zobmondo!! The Ladybug Game

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Kids learn counting and reading

  • Based on luck

  • Fun and colorful artwork

What We Don't Like
  • Instructions may take a while for kids to grasp

Keep young children entertained for hours with the two-player Ladybug Game. This is a perfect first board game for little ones, as it's easy to grasp and supports both reading and counting skills.

During the game, players lead their ladybug home across the board, trying to avoid praying mantises and aphids, which will hinder their progress. The game teaches children about numbers, words, and colors, all while being a whole lot of fun.

This is a great game for children in preschool and lower grades of elementary school, and many note the games are fast-paced and easy to understand for all ages. Overall, it may not be a whole lot of fun for adults, but The Ladybug Game will certainly keep children engaged.

Number of Players: 2+ | Age range: 3 and up | Duration: 20 minutes

Best Card Game: Gamewright Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island
Photo from Amazon
What We Like
  • Cooperative

  • Easy to develop strategies

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • Can be challenging for young kids

While categorized as a board game, Forbidden Island is actually more of a card game—but that doesn't make it any less fun for two players.

This cooperative game is recommended for players 10 and up, and each round takes about 30 minutes. The award-winning game takes you on an adventure to capture four sacred treasures from ruins on the island, and it requires strategic thinking and cooperation to win. What's cool about Forbidden Island is there are multiple levels of difficulty, so it can be as challenging as you choose.

One of the highlights of this game is that it's easy enough for children to play, yet still challenging for adults. Reviewers call it clever and lots of fun.

Number of Players: 2-4 | Age range: 10 and up | Duration: 30 minutes

Final Verdict

Our top pick is Jax Sequence (view at Amazon) because of the high replay value and suitability for various ages. If you are looking for something cooperative to work together with your partner, opt for Codenames Duet (view at Amazon). The high-energy collaborative game involves giving clues to find the right agents in a crowded city.

What to Look for in a Two-Player Board Game

Intensity

Are you looking for some easygoing fun or do you want to embrace your competitive side? Board games come in varying degrees of complexity and invoke various levels of competition; it’s all about how you prefer to play. Of course, some people can make tic-tac-toe cutthroat, so some of it comes down to who’s playing, too.

Some games test your knowledge and strategy skills while others are based solely on luck. Certain games involve teamwork, while others are about outwitting each other. Consider who’ll be playing and what their abilities are. Generally, having a good mix of games on hand is always a good idea.

Often, more strategy based games have a longer duration, which is good to keep in mind when playing with kids. Consider your child's attention span and if you prefer quick and engaging gameplay for longer and more intense games that can last for hours.  

Portability

Consider where you will play your game the most. If you are playing on road trips or bringing on vacations, opt for a card game for something lightweight that is easy to take on-the-go. For staying at home, you can go for a pick with more pieces that requires more space.

Age Range

Each game comes with a suggested age range for players, which can help you hone your choices depending on who’ll be playing. Remember, however, that those are just suggestions, and the compatibility will also be based on players’ individual strengths and maturity levels. Some of the best games are those that are challenging enough for all ages but are still simple enough for the youngest players and offer varying levels of difficulty.

FAQ
  • Can you play Pandemic with two people?

    Yes. Pandemic is a cooperative board game that is designed for small groups of two or more players that fosters teamwork rather than competition. In the game of Pandemic, two or more players work together to contain and cure varying strains of a disease in order to save the world. Bear in mind that some reviewers say that Pandemic is more challenging with just two players. 

  • Does multiplayer mean two player?

    According to Merriam Webster, multiplayer simply means more than one player. So that could mean two players, three players, or more, depending on the game. This means that any game that is designed for more than a single player, such as Solitaire, can be defined as multiplayer, including but not limited to two-player games. 

  • What is a board game?

    A board game is a game that is played using a tabletop board marked with a pattern around which small pieces are moved according to a set of rules that changes according to which game you are playing. There are board games built around a wide range of themes for people of all ages. Examples of popular board games include unbranded games such as checkers, chess, and backgammon, and branded games such as Monopoly, Clue, or Scrabble.

Why Trust the Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. 

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Multiplayer. Merriam Webster

  2. Board game. Cambridge Dictionary