My husband and I are big gamers, but we’ve struggled with finding two-player (non-word) games that we both enjoy. Slowly, we’ve accumulated a small but dependable list of go-to card and board games that are perfect for that free evening at home when we’re looking to enjoy something competitive together. =)
1. Ticket to Ride (2-6 players)
Our friends Woodley and ElizbSo far, we’ve played the Nordic Countries (2-3 player) and North America (2-5) versions of this board game. For two people, we prefer the Nordic map. This game is great because a) it only takes about 15 minutes to learn, b) it’s a good blend of strategy and chance, and c) you really have no idea who’s going to win until the very end. (Those last two put a big gap between Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan.)
2. Gobblet (2 players)
My family gave us this game for Christmas and it was a winner! Andrew describes Gobblet this way: it’s like a cross between Connect Four and Chess. I agree. The more you play, the more obsessed you get with figuring out a winning strategy. This game can be finished in five minutes or take twenty, it just depends on how quickly you can “checkmate” your opponent.
3. Golf (2-8 players)
Remember what I said about games that are mostly chance? Throw that out the window with this game. Despite the fact that it’s about 95% chance and is as basic as a game gets, for some reason it never gets old. There are several variations of this game, but we play a version similar to these four-player rules. All you need is a deck of cards, pen, and paper, and we usually play to 100 points.
4. Set Cubed (2-4 players)
We already liked the card version of this game, but my mom recently gave us Set Cubed, which we prefer for two players. It’s turn-based as opposed to “whoever’s the fastest to make a set”, so you can take your time and really think. A pair can finish Set Cubed in about 15-30 minutes. This game makes me feel like I’m working my brain, which is rewarding even though so far, I’m in the loser’s bracket. Andrew’s always got an edge at the brainy games.
5. Cribbage (2-4 players)
Like any card game, Cribbage involves a lot of chance, but the possible strategies are varied, so we haven’t grown bored with it. We own a travel version, which is convenient for places like the park or an airplane. It’s another one you can finish in less than 30 minutes, and the winner often can’t be determined until the very last turn of the game.