My Top 10 Favorite 2-Player Games (Sunday Sitdown) - hypernaturalgames.com

My Top 10 Favorite 2-Player Games (Sunday Sitdown)

Jamey Stegmaier
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Jamey discusses his favorite games that are designed for (or primarily played with) 2 players.

Games Jamey has played that are mentioned in this video: Targi, Fog of Love, Stratego, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, Star Realms, Patchwork, 7 Wonders Duel, Jolly & Roger, Magic, Hanamikoji, Fields of Arle, Star Wars Rebellion, chess, Battle Line, Stronghold, Fantasy Football 2052, Android: Netrunner, Arkham Horror Card Game, Twilight Struggle, Jaipur, Santorini, Onitama, Princess Jing, the Rose King, chess, Hive, A Few Acres of Snow, Shadows in Kyoto, Ravens of Thri Sahashri, Lost Cities

Games Jamey hasn’t played that are mentioned in this video: Raptor, In Between, Morels, Crystal Clans, Longhorn, Cosmic Run, Summoner Wars, Daxu, Mage Wars, Spirits of the Wild, Dark Is the Night, Thunder and Lightning, Legend of the Five Rings, Fantasy Baseball 2045, Bottom of the Ninth, Caper, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

Would be added later: Blitzkrieg, The Rival Networks, Mandala, Odin’s Ravens, Fox in the Forest, Fox in the Forest Duet, Codenames Duet, and Keyforge

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118 Comments

  1. Jamey, have you tried Codex Card Time Strategy? It does everything Magic does but improves on many of the shortcomings. My favorite two player game, along with Santorini.

  2. I think you should try war chest if you like chess

  3. My picks: Spirits of the Wild, my wife and I play a lot. Also BATTLESHIP can't go wrong there

  4. Chess is so great you listed it twice 🙂
    One fairly unknown 2-player game is Roma – it's simple and fairly quick, I haven't played it for ages but it's a good gateway game or filler. 6.8/10 on BGG

  5. i really enjoy fugitive from fowers games.. have you tried that one out? it plays very fast yet strategically and hast very cool art.. plus the box is a cool little suitcase with a magnetic closure.

  6. eminent domain: mircrocosm. This is the most game you can possibly pack in just 18 cards.

  7. I do admit that a legacy or modern or vintage cube draft is very hard to beat

  8. To add a few great 2 player games that my wife and I tend to lean toward. Fleet, Fleet Wharfside, Mintworks, Fjords, Morels, Shields Up, I Hate to Kill you, Odin’s Ravens, Dragon Farkle, Shut the box and Dig Down Dwarf. Those would be the ones I would say you should play.

  9. Nice list, you might want to try Ginkgopolis (Pearl Games) too. 45 minutes for 2 player game and yet very deep. Drafting, resource management and area control. For me, this game shines with 2 plagers because of the drafting; you have your own goals but also have to get in the head of your opponent. It gives very tense and sometimes grinding decisions. Fantastic game!!

  10. As much as I like playing a short, casual wargame like your favourites from time to time, nothing beats a solid miniatures wargame for me, when it comes to 1on1 competition. They have come a long way since my beginnings with Warhammer Fantasy, now I enjoy Warmachine for its incredible plethora of creative options with every turn (tournaments are played with chess clocks ALWAYS, because players can be overwhelmed by those options easily and stall), reduced impact of randomness and the hobby part outside the gaming table (planning your lists, painitng, converting etc) No regular boardgame offers that kind of scope.

  11. Wow, we really share the same taste! I also still have my childhood copy of Stratego and my boys LOVE to play different versions of it (Star Wars Stratego, Pirate Stratego…). Since I know we share the same taste in board games I have ordered Jolly & Roger which luckily is still available in Germany 🙂 If you like Agricola, have you tried the 2-player Caverna (Cave vs. Cave)? I love it and my guess is you would enjoy it very much, too!

  12. Pocket Hive. More portable than any game previosly mentioned. With all three expansions more strategic than even chess. Worth checking out.

  13. So you are THE Stegmaier? Nice to meet ya, mate. Sorry to say… I'm not good on your games particularly 🙁 .

  14. Can't believe Jaipur didn't get a mention. A brilliant set collection game that has consistently been on the Most Played BGG monthly listings. Also Triumvirate, a quirky two-player trick taking game, better than Fox in the Forest IMHO

  15. My 2-player games mostly encompass my son and I playing and as we're both not keen on sharp competition we tend to play storytelling (like 'Legacy of Dragonholt') or puzzle-solving games ('Exit', 'Unlock' etc). The key is often that the game should be easy to set up, easy to learn, and easy on game length. I do prefer 1-4 player games. Having said that, of my 2 games-in-design one is solo and the other is 6-10 players. Both with social themes.

  16. If you like Chess and Onitama, you might enjoy Tak – another 2-player abstract strategy game.

  17. Star Realms works for me because it is more about building the most efficient deck while under fire more than it is a combat duel.

  18. In my small collection, I have Hive and Claim as my 2p go to games. They're great little and fast games. I've also recently tried Patchwork and loved it, but as you said it felt to me that I would prefere A Feast for Odin.

  19. Add Jambo to the need to play list… sounds up your alley

  20. Hey Jamey, have you ever tried The Duke? Great 2 player game, like advanced chess. Quick play, many variations to try and the rules are on each piece so easy to learn.

  21. Hi Jamey,
    1) I was wondering whether you could do a video regarding solo games / adding a solo or solitaire mode to a game in order to make it playable as a 1-player game. I would like to know what your thoughts are as a designer – and the types of design choices which go into making a game playable solo – for example, adding an automa system.

    2) Regarding this video, I was wondering how much thought designers give about the 2-player games. I know it probably varies, but do designers usually consider the 2-player game at the same time as the other player counts, or afterwards? (Unless they are specifically designing a 2-player only game, which you were talking about in this video).

    Thanks.

  22. 7 wonders duela with expansion and Ashes: The Rise of Phoenixborn is my two favourite 2 player game

  23. Not sure if intentional but you put chess down twice in the description.

    Also I love your list. Patchwork, 7 Wonders Duel, Jaipur and Onitama are my favourite 2 player games plus Five Tribes and Yamatai that I love to just play with 2 players.

  24. The whole video I was thinking Lost Cities. Mind blown that I never heard it on any if your list. It's okay though, it's on my top 3. Along with Mr. Jack, take a look at those 2 games 😀

  25. I realize Five Tribes doesn't fit you criteria for two player games, however, it adds a mechanism that actually makes the game play more interesting at a two player count. And the extra action each turn makes the bidding for turn order so much more important at two players. It is one of my go to games for 2 players.

  26. If you like chess and MTG drafting, I highly suggest Knightmare Chess!

  27. Surprised Lost Cities wasn’t somewhere in here. I’ve played thousands of games thanks to the great (though old) iOS app. Light on theme but heavy on strategy 🙂

  28. I like your list a lot. I am a huge fan of Patchwork and Star Realms. I think you should try YINSH if you haven’t played it—it’s like a brilliant smash up of Connect Four and Othello and the bits have superb production value. I also love Innovation as a great two player game. I have been told by many people that Innovation is only good with two players and dreadful with more players.

  29. 2 player games

    Hive
    MTG (use duel masters mana rule. Take out all land cards since mana is the only issue. Make all cards lands. Harder decisions to make).
    Santorini
    7 wonder duel pantheon
    Patchwork
    Castles of burgundy
    Lost cities CG 2019
    Five tribes
    Chess

    I didnt like hanamikoji.

  30. Thunder and lightning fired stratego for me.

  31. What do you think about Shards of infinity ? Vs Star realms ?

  32. Starship Catan is one of my all time favorite 2 player games. I wish they'd reprint it. I know it was reprinted as a different game with a different theme, but it's not the same as the Starship Catan theme.

  33. Targi is fun and simple but we found it's replayability lacking. In fact, we were bored with it after about 5 or 10 plays.

  34. I do agree with your opinion that dueling games are a bit repetitive, but I absolutely love Dominion as a 2 player game. It feels more like two players trying to get above one another, not trying to push each other down.

  35. Targi rocks, even though I find it hard getting people to play my German version with. And yes, Stratego. I also still own my childhood version. Haven, Lost Cities, Tash Kalar and Naga Raja are some of my recent favorites for 2.

  36. chess, shogi, international draught, go. You don't need anything else

  37. Is that tapestry on the table before it was fully realized given the time this video was recorded?

  38. On your insights around Magic the Gathering and how every card seems to add interesting mechanics and how unique they are, I have a non-physical game suggestion: Legends of Runeterra!

    It's by Riot games, the people who made Mechs vs. Minions the game that you love so much. I love the interesting mechanics they have in that game and how clearly they're explained in the 9 or so tutorial games you first play starting out. It has beautiful art and animations, feels great to build your deck of cards, and very easy to understand as all the various unique mechanics are clearly explained in-game and off-game. Although it's a dueling game, no matter how hard you're being beat, there's always a chance to win if you play and time your cards right.

    They also have this feature called "Labs' where they release interesting experiments on the traditional duel format…. one mode they have now is where you can team up with another person, and duel two other players. They also have an interesting system of refilling energy to spend… refreshing game in the domain of Magic, Hearthstone etc.

    Mostly recommending this to maybe get some ideas for mechanics that can be translated to board games!

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