There are few activities in this life that make memories like Game Night. The friendly competition, the creative problem solving, the lighthearted treachery; throw in some snacks, and it all adds up to a great time. There are hundreds of tabletop games to choose from, but sometimes creating the same fun for just two players is a challenge! 

I was recently in the middle of a round of Scrabble with my fiancé when something hit me. Although we both love Scrabble dearly, it's the only board game we own, and we found ourselves growing a little bored with the predictability. So I set off to familiarize myself with two-person games, and I've discovered a whole world of possibilities. From classics like Chess and Backgammon to modern gems like Jaipur and Hive, here are 40 of the best board games for a duo - or more! 

I would be remiss to exclude Scrabble, because it really is my favorite. It's a classic word game where players use letter tiles to create words on a game board.Each letter has a point value, and the goal is to form high-scoring words by strategically placing the tiles on the grid, the spaces on which also have value. Scrabble tests vocabulary and strategy, making it ideal for word nerds like me.
Property development, landlord drama, and intentionally bankrupting your friends and loved ones is the name of the game in Monopoly. It's best to play in a group, but two people can certainly go head-to-head in the competition to be the board's most ruthless Capitalist.The game's strategy lies in managing finances, making deals, and developing property sets with houses and hotels to increase rent. With elements of luck, negotiation, and ice-cold competition, Monopoly provides hours of engaging and often intense gameplay, challenging players to become savvy property tycoons.
Battleship is another classic two-player where opponents hide a fleet of ships on a grid, then each player takes turns calling out coordinates to try to deduce where the other's ships are and sink them.If military strategy or tiny aircraft carriers are your thing, Battleship's got plenty of both. And this edition even includes a "Salvo" feature that allows more advanced players to launch multiple simultaneous attacks. Fun!
Backgammon is a game that's as well-loved today as it was at its creation back in the 17th century. There's a reason it's had that kind of staying power: the combination of strategy and luck, plus the pace of gameplay keeps things fresh and exciting.The rules are deceptively simple. Players move checkers around a briefcase-like board - the goal being to be the first to clear the board of their markers - using dice rolls to determine moves and decisions on how to advance, hit, or block the opponent's checkers.
I've got great news: Connect 4, the childhood favorite 4D tic-tac-toe game, is still super fun to play! Two players face off to rule the grid, trying to get four colored checkers in a row to win.Not much has changed with Connect 4 fundamentally, but this modern iteration now features a a pop-out function that allows players to eject one disc from the bottom or drop one in to add dimension and an extra challenge.
Who doesn't love Jenga? There's intrigue, suspense, and the anticipation of inevitable disaster! Players take turns removing one wooden block at a time from a stacked tower and then place it back on top.The objective is to keep the tower standing while testing dexterity and balance, but as the game progresses, the tower becomes increasingly unstable. Thrilling!
Risk is the audacious contest for world conquest where players scheme their way to global supremacy. With armies, alliances, and a dose of cutthroat diplomacy, it's a game where friendships crumble as continents fall.With 300 pieces and cards to speed up game play and add Secret Missions, the world of warfare comes to life on Risk's highly detailed playing board. So, grab your troops and let the battle for world supremacy begin – just remember: it's not personal, it's just world domination.
"Playing doctor" takes on a whole new meaning with this one. You use tweezers to pluck out all kinds of ridiculous "ailments" from a patient without touching the edges. One slip up and the buzzer goes off, warning of an impending malpractice suit! It's all about steady hands and a good laugh – the perfect prescription for a fun night in.
The classics stay classic for a reason. This beautiful wooden chess and checkers set is destined to become a family heirloom. The box's interior is lined with velvet to safely house all the game pieces, plus it opens up to lay perfectly flat as a regulation-sized board!
Yahtzee is one of the more casual entries on this list, perfect to play while your attention is split (i.e. deep in a Netflix binge.) It's a dice game where you roll five dice three times to create combinations like straights, full houses, or five of a kind.It's all about luck and a touch of strategy as you decide which categories to fill on your scorecard. So shake those dice and let the good times roll!
Boggle is a bit like the OG analog version of Wordle, but instead of trying to guess a predetermined word, you find existing words in a jumble of mixed up letters. But you've got to be fast! the person who finds the most words before the timer runs out wins!
Mancala is an ancient two-player strategy board game that's been captivating minds for centuries. It features a wooden board with rows of small pits or cups, each filled with different colored stones.Players take turns scooping up and redistributing these pieces, aiming to sow and capture as many as possible. With simple rules but complex tactics, Mancala offers a timeless challenge, promoting critical thinking and counting skills while delivering hours of enjoyable gameplay.
The tranquil joy of needlework and quilting are gamified in Patchwork, where players compete to built the most beautiful quilt they can on their 9" x 9" playing board. It's sort of like if your Grandma had invented Tetris.I won't lie, I was a little surprised to see how many good reviews this game has on Amazon, considering how wholesome it is compared to the war-and-deception genre of board games. But folks seem to be genuinely delighted by it, and that genuinely delights me, too!
Jaipur is designed specifically for two people who compete to become the Maharaja's favored personal trader by collecting goods like spices, textiles, and gems and selling them at the market to amass a fortune of rupees. It's a fast-paced game that blends strategy, luck, and a quick hand.
Another word game recommendation from the writer? You don't say! In all seriousness, Bananagrams is a madly fun twist on the classic crossword puzzle genre. Players race against each other to create a grid of interconnected words using letter tiles from a shared pile.The catch? There's no turn-taking - everyone plays simultaneously. It's a test of vocabulary, speed, and adaptability, where you can rearrange your grid at any time to accommodate new letters. The first player to use up all their tiles shouts "Bananagrams!" and wins!
I played Codenames with a group of friends one winter while snowed in at a cabin, and we were entertained for literally hours. In this two-player version, you and your teammate work together as spies to identify secret agents from a grid of words while avoiding assassins.You take turns giving one-word clues to guide your partner in guessing the correct words associated with the team of agents. Codenames puts your powers of communication and deduction to the test!
Build your railroad empire, and have a great time doing it with Ticket To Ride! The goal is to complete destination tickets by claiming train routes between cities on a colorful map.Players collect train cards, strategize routes, and race to complete their journeys while blocking opponents. This is an elegant game that takes less than 15 minutes to learn and can be replayed time and time again. With over 24,000 ratings on Amazon, Ticket To Ride is a newer entry that has a lot of love from the tabletop gaming community.
Leave it to the Scandinavians to invent a thoughtfully-designed, no-electricity-needed tabletop version of air hockey. You and your opponent use magnetic strikers to maneuver a little ball across the board.The object is to score points by getting the ball into the opponent's goal while avoiding obstacles like magnets that can trap your striker. Game play is designed to last only about 10 minutes so it's fast, frantic, and ideal for tournaments of champions!
Here's a German import that's sure to BEAN-come a new favorite (har har...I'll show myself out...). In Bohnanza you and your opponent are bean farmers trying to cultivate the most profitable crops. You trade or donate beans strategically, sowing smartly to reap the biggest rewards. Everyone who plays swears it's way more fun than it should be.
Racoon Tycoon dares to ask the question, "What if raccoons possesed business savvy?" In this game, players wheel and deal in a charming animal kingdom, trading goods, constructing buildings, and duking it out in auctions. With its adorable artwork and engaging gameplay, Raccoon Tycoon is fast becoming a new classic.
Explore the Himalayas, trek through the rainforests of Central America, and wander through the Egyptian desert in Lost Cities. In this card game, you embark on expeditions to discover lost civilizations, strategically building campaigns while using investment cards to maximize profits.The challenge lies in balancing risk and reward. Unsuccessful expeditions can incur penalties. In this sixth edition of the game, the board is double-sided for even more adventure! With its simple rules and tactical depth, Lost Cities offers intense competition and endless replayability.
In the world of immersive tabletop games, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective reigns supreme. In it, players are plunged into Victorian London to solve intricate mysteries alongside the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes.You gather clues from newspapers, interviews, and locations, piecing together the puzzle to crack each case. Every decision matters in this game, so use your best deductive reasoning to make Holmes proud.
If animals appeal to you but more in a getting-back-to-nature and less a becoming-an-anthropomorphized-beaver sort of way, Cascadia might be just the game for you. It's all about laying tiles and building patterns to create your own diverse ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest.Each decision impacts the delicate balance of nature, and the goal is to maximize points by creating compatible environments for various species. Cascadia is serene yet thought-provoking, making it an engaging game for nature lovers.
Morels takes you on a delightful forest foraging adventure where collecting and cooking mushrooms is the name of the game. You acquire different varieties of fungi to earn points. But you must weight the risk of waiting for better mushrooms against the threat of your current haul spoiling!
Build a Medieval fortress city in Carcassonne, the classic tile-laying game where you build the board as you play. Fill your little fiefdom with roads, cities, monasteries, and fields and use the "meeples" to roam the land and score points.Simple enough for a child to play yet dynamic and endlessly replayable, Carcassonne is one of the most popular games on the list.
The Fox In The Forest is as whimsical as a fairytale - one that you take an active part in! As sly foxes, you and your teammate are on a quest through an enchanted forest, seeking to win tricks and score points.The game's breathtaking artwork and unique card abilities add a magical touch to each round and the cooperative spirit make this one of the best games for couples.
Animal husbandry gets the tabletop treatment in Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. Designed for exactly two players, All Creatures Big and Small focuses on building a farm, adding pastures and structures with the goal of breeding and housing animals. The player with the most livestock and widest variety of beasts by the end wins!
Another one of the aspiring adventurers. Forbidden Island tasks players with recovering priceless artifacts from a sinking island filled with perilous boobie traps. You work together as a team in a race against the clock to find sacred objects before the island disappears into the deep.It's a thrilling immersive gaming experience that one Amazon reviewer calls a "nail-biting, cooperative adventure in an inexpensive package."
Caper: Europe reminds me a little bit of if Ocean's Eleven were a Wes Anderson movie. In this card-based game, you assemble a motley crew of thieves all with unique abilities to collect valuable loot and compete for dominance.You'll need to outmaneuver your opponent's strategies and carefully plan your heists because you are always at risk of being thwarted. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your date night is ready.
In Azul, you are a master tile craftsman tasked with creating the most beautiful and intricate mosaic in a grand Portuguese palace. Draw tiles from a central bank and earn points for collecting matching colors and patterns, but watch out - drawing a mismatched tile will cost you a penalty.With gorgeous, high quality pieces and an infinite array of possibilities, Azul is sure to become a staple of your games closet.
This game is a unique way to tap into your powers of intuition and test your communication skills. In Wavelength one player tries to guess a hidden point on a spectrum while another player dishes out clues. But these clues can be hilariously cryptic, sparking debate, inciting wild guesses, and provoking peals of laughter.
Ready for a blast from the past? Blockbuster and Chill is a movie trivia game for those who remember fondly the weekend ritual of browsing the aisles at their local video store. You and your partner will team up, competing in a series of challenges and trivia to collect movie cards.It's all about channeling your inner cinephile and recalling iconic movie moments or quotes to earn points, but beware the dreaded Late Fee! And, as always, remember to be kind and rewind.
Imagine Trivial Pursuit but add in brain-busting puzzles and riddles and you've got Wit's End. Players navigate a winding track of challenges, each more perplexing than the last, spanning various categories like history, wordplay, and general knowledge.You'll need to use all your smarts to advance. The goal? Reach Wit's End, but it's easier said than done!
Shobu is an elegant abstract strategy game in that evokes Chess or Go that combines minimalist simplicity with tactical depth. Each player has two wooden boards in front of them, representing the elements of land and water.Smooth river stones are the playing pieces and the goal is to push your opponent's stones off the board. It's a game that's simple to learn yet challenging to play, requiring careful planning and foresight.
If you had one of those National Parks passports as a kid (or still break it out on road trips as an adult), I have the board game for you. It's called Parks and in it, you score points by visiting as many US National Parks as you can, snapping photos and acquiring gear and resources along the way.It's a gorgeously-illustrated immersive tabletop game that takes you on a journey through our beautiful country without ever having to leave your living room.
Innovation is a card game where players work through ten levels of gameplay and human history, discovering inventions and and claiming achievements. It's definitely on the more advanced end of the spectrum but if you're looking for a riveting experience you can get lost in for hours, this is the game for you.
The object of Hive is to surround your opponent's Queen Bee while protecting your own from the same threat. Each player gets 11 tiles representing five different insects, each with specific movement rules.As you add more tiles and more bugs to the playing surface, it becomes more and more challenging to keep you Queen safe! This game is fun, challenging, portable, and - coolest of all - MENSA-approved!
This one was just too kooky not to share. There are actually a lot of "political intrigue" type games on the market, but Watergate stood out to me as one of two where you have the opportunity to actually play as Richard Nixon.This is a card-based game that reenacts the biggest political scandal of the 1970s. As I said, one player is Nixon and the other is an investigative journalist à la Woodward/Bernstein. My favorite part is that the board is designed to look like one of those intricate conspiracy theory maps with thumbtacks and red string connectors.
Yinsh is a unique game where you move rings along a grid on a hexagonal board. The pieces can be blocked and flipped to change color and the goal is to complete a line of five of your own pieces, but it's way harder than it sounds.To illustrate this, the manufacturer's note starts this way, "Sometimes you will have the impression that there is nothing but chaos on the board." If you're game, Yinsh just might be your game.
Sagrada is a pattern building game where you play a master stained glass artist contructing a window in the Sacrada Familia. Described as "stained glass Sudoku," players use the translucent colored dice to map out the desired pattern on their boards.Objective cards provide the rule structure. By the end there may only be one winner, but everyone has created a masterpiece.