My Top 10 Favorite Multiplayer Games That Play Great with Just 2 Players -

My Top 10 Favorite Multiplayer Games That Play Great with Just 2 Players

Jamey Stegmaier
Views: 31203
Like: 654
This weeks list includes mentions of Dominion, Everdell, Five Tribes, Mansions of Madness, Terraforming Mars, and the top 10:

1. Parks
2. Shards of Infinity
3. Fantastic Factories
4. Glen More 2
5. Sagrada
6. Castles of Burgundy
7. Legacy of Dragonholt
8. Spirits of the Forest
9. Isle of Cats
10. Bunny Kingdom

00:00 – Introduction
01:05 – Top 10
16:20 – Design and Production

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Intro animation by Jeff Payne


  1. Everdell is one of my favorite two-player games. It does scale well up to four as well, but it is really good at 2-players. You and Megan need to give that one a try. 🙂

    I'd also add Above and Below by Red Raven games to that list as well. It's a fun story-telling/city-building game that plays really well at 2-players.

  2. I am among those that get to experience games only at two players; my brother picked up the hobby, and in the beggining his wife tried it but didn't take to it, so it left just the both of us. So it's really important that games play well at two and feel like they were made to be that way. We tend to dislike a lot of player interaction, specially if it's agressive, so if a game is a bit looser at two is ok, even welcome.

    We have a bunch of SM games (Scythe, Tapestry, Wingspan, and Viticulture) and they all do two player really well. The only one I think could be a little tighter is Scythe, since combat is an achievement that triggers endgame, and since resources should be scarce (as it is in our world) and fighting over them is a big part of politics and conflict. But also I see Scythe more as an euro engine building game than a combat game, so it's ok. One thing we do occasionally is use the modular boards to close off sections of the map so that we get a little bit more restricted for space and resources.

    I like Uwe Rosenberg's games at two (Agricola being tighter, Caverna is very open and fine, so is A Feast for Odin – if you pursue different strategies). Vital Lacerda's games are also amazing at two; I'd go as far to say they should only play at two because they are so heavy. Having more than that can extend the game way too much, and AP is a big deal on those games.

    Out of the honorable mentions, I only haven't tried Everdell, but all others work great at two. I really like them.

  3. Great list! I also like Carcassonne with two players. Tile drawing luck can tarnish the experience when playing with some of the expansions, but I find it to be a very satisfying head-to-head experience.

  4. That lovely cat is just living his best life. We all need to be more like him.

  5. You dont like Lords of waterdeep at 2 players? 😮

  6. My girlfriend and I like to play heavier Euro games at 2 because it eliminates a lot of the downtime you'd get at higher player counts. Some of our favorites are Underwater Cities, Dinosaur Island, Paladins of the West Kingdom, Spirit Island, and Gaia Project.

  7. Five Tribes is fantastic at two. You each get to play twice each round, I think bidding for turn order can become even more important at various points in the game, it is much less prone to AP and zips right along. I primarily play games at 2 players and when I have the chance to play any of them at higher player counts it becomes a different experience. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think when you talk about having more control at 2 players, it's a more strategic experience. The more you add, the more the game state changes between turns, and it becomes more tactical and reactionary. I don't mind this, but the primary reason I would play with 3+ players is for a more social experience. Winning becomes almost an afterthought at higher player counts. I really enjoy Terraforming Mars and Wingspan at 2, and most Feld games I've played I much prefer at 2, in particular CoB, Trajan, Carpe Diem and Bora Bora.

  8. Glassroad is one unpopular game that works great with 2 players.

  9. I am surprised that no-one mentioned through the ages in the comments. It is fenomenal 2 player super-heavy game.
    Additionally, almost all coops play the best in two, especially escape rooms and detective games.

  10. I wasn't a fan of Fantastic Factories. My group and I thought the game was bland. I just got Castles of Burgundy and I can't wait to try it with my Wife. As far as a game you haven't mentioned, My best friend and I play Great Western Trail at 2 players. We love this game! Thanks for the list!

  11. I appreciate your goal of having games that play well at 2 players. That is how I play most of my games. I love games that scale well.

  12. One of my favourites which scales great is Keyflower. A great auction, worker placement game which scales with the number of tiles in play from 2 to 6. Such a good head to head at 2 players.

  13. Thanks so much for this. Based on your video we went out and found PARKS at our area Target store. We've played once and love it. I am glad you included Dominion in HM but obviously I think it should have been higher.

  14. Res Arcana and Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North have both been dominating two-player play recently.

  15. I enjoy Caylus Magna Carta with two as well, though 3 is the best.

    p.s. might be just me, but you are very (too? 🙂 close to the camera….

  16. I'm kind of ashamed I don't have any Stonemaier games. You're such a good influence on and representation of the community, Jamey. It's cool to see someone that is part of the industry always promoting games they had nothing to do with just because they are a fan and want the industry to grow as a whole. That said I was totally planning on doing some more research and finding the Stonemaier game that would be my next purchase, but some dude made a great video on 2 player games and convinced me to buy Parks.

  17. Thanks Jamie – very helpful list as I predominantly play solo or 2 player co-op but would like to get my other half into competitive games. In fact I’ve just bought wingspan for that reason and I know he’ll love the theme. For 2 player co-ops I think Aeons End is a good choice.

  18. Thanks for sharing! Loved hearing your enjoyment of PARKS at 2 players really stems from leaning into the relaxing element of the game 🙂 You're right, at those higher player counts, there can be some stiff competition for trail site space!

  19. When I watched the first video about Fantastic Factories I knew it was going to be something special.

  20. IMO I think that Bunny Kingdom does fine at two, but the two player rules are a bit weird.

  21. There used to be a whole tournament scene for two player Dominion. Definitely worth playing at two players, if Dominion is your thing

  22. Viticulture is superb at 2 player, really got my SO into gaming, can't thank you enough Jamey

  23. I really like Five Tribes, Carcassonne, Tash-Kalar and The Ancient World with just 2 players.

  24. Another great video Jamey. Playing primarily at two players this was super interesting. Also have to say since you've met Meghan and moved to your new place you look so happy and healthy, pleased you found a place for a fulfilling personal life alongside your passion for boardgames. Great to see. Keep up your amazing work 👍

  25. I kind of prefer playing brass on 2 rather than 4. I think the 4 player game an get a bit long some times

  26. 10. New York 1901
    9. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
    8. The Quest for El Dorado
    7. Azul
    6. Carcassonne
    5. Forbidden Desert
    4. Wingspan
    3. Through the Desert
    2. A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
    1. The Castles of Burgundy

  27. It's similar to Sagrada, but I really like Blueprints at two players. In particular, the added rule where you have to discard a die from the pool in addition to drafting one adds a nice additional tactical element.

  28. Great list!! My top pick would be Grand Austria Hotel

  29. Jamie, which expansion for Shards of Infinity is the one that allows for co-op play?

  30. Great list Jamey and you've given us at least a couple more to consider adding to the list that never ends 🙂 We really enjoy Tzolkin at 2 players – there is no dummy player to manage, just seeding the board to take up spots on the gears for scaling. Another one we love is Pulsar 2849 which seems to fly under the radar but it continuously makes it back to our table and is my wife's current #1. We enjoy Tapestry although we found it to be much better at 3 players though we have not tried the shadow empire variant yet – that has some dummy player management if I recall. Love Wingspan and recently picked up Viticulture Essential edition but hasn't been unwrapped yet. Pendulum on pre-order, look forward to checking that out. Other 2 games in our top 10 include Dominion, Castles of Burgundy, Castles of Mad King – slightly better with 3 though I think, Smallworld, Clank, Everdell, and Pandemic. Love your work, content, and games…cheers!!

  31. I wish I didn't had to manage AI in Tapestry 🙂
    Overall very nice list, now I have some games to check.
    Many coops are nice at 2 players, as I sometimes wish for shorter game and with more players some coops tends get long. Aeon's End is nicer with two players, as you get two turns, not one per round. Mentioned Isle of Cats is very nice, but I also like it at 3 and 4 players. Roll Player also, as it tends get longer with more players.

  32. I really appreciate you having the player count with other player count variants included… that feels so much more open and honest as a consumer compared to just "1-4" where we just know that 1 player was a variant anyway, etc.

  33. Great video. Like you, I don't mind if a game feels different at lower or higher player counts. My favourite game is Agricola, and I love it at two players. Plays in about 45 minutes, turns are quicker, tough decisions, and is super tight. I also love Railways of the World, and play it mainly at two players. With certain maps it is looser with two, but I find it a lot of fun either way. Others that I love at two players are Legendary Encounters: Alien, Century: Golem Edition, Arboretum, The Crew, Ascension, Azul, The Castles of Burgundy, Pandemic, Horrified, San Juan, Ghost Stories, Villainous, and Orléans, to name a few.

  34. Just listened to all your videos on Kick Starters. A lot of helpful information but now I have to go through all your blog posts… ha ha…

  35. Designing my own deck building cooperative post apocalyptic permaculture survival adventure game… just noticed my idea of leveling up abilities sounds similar to shards of infinity. I wonder how that works. Thanks for the content!

  36. I still say Legacy of Dragonholt isn’t a game just a glorified CYOA novel.

  37. Twilight Struggle might be one of the best board games ever, and is only a two player game ( US vs USSR during the Cold War ). Spirit Island is a great coop choice with two ( up to four ), my wife and I play, it and have tons of fun, it has lots of difficulty tweaks, and replayability. We agree on Sagrada, it is fast and fun, and I can always get my wife to go for a couple games. Race for the Galaxy is another good choice for a quick fun two player experience, but it can go up to 4. I still need to look at Scythe and Wingspan. We tend to play most games on PC, as long as it has a good port, just to save the time of setup and avoid the pieces becoming cat toys.

  38. Hi! Thank you for your videos! Have you played Res Arcana? We got crazy about it, playing 2 players version for a month again and again and it gets more and more exciting. Looking forward to try also 4 players version soon.

  39. I play 2-player a lot with multiplayer games and my top 10 at the moment would be

    1 Terraforming Mars
    2 1830
    3 Firefly
    4 Race For the Galaxy
    5 Eclipse
    6 Scythe
    7 Wingspan
    8 Through the Ages
    9 Castles of Burgundy
    10 Pulsar 2849

  40. My husband & I love playing Wingspan together!

  41. I really like Oceans from North Star Games at 2 players. Evolution, its predecessor, wasn't quite as good at 2 players as at higher counts (in my opinion), but I know that 2 players was a design focus for them for Oceans.

  42. I'd add Paladins of the West Kingdom to the conversation and perhaps also Empires of the North. I completely agree with all of the games that I've tried that is on your list.

  43. The best 2 player game is Scythe. Idk if you’ve heard of it, it’s from a small Indy developer. It’s the only game my non gamer wife likes, and we play it just us 2 alll the time.

  44. I don't like playing Bunny Kingdom in 2 players because the rules say that you take 10 cards in to your hand and put 10 cards face down in front of you as reserve cards. Then each time before you choose a card you pick up a card from the reserve and add it to your hand. You play 1 card and discard one more card then pass the other cards to your neighbour. So i think you played the game wrong at 2 players Jamey. In a 3 or 4 player game you play 2 cards but not in a 2 player game. That is why i don't like bunny Kingdom at 2 players.

  45. I'm a recovering MTG player that started with Beta… however, I can say that MTG is probably best at two players.

  46. Thanks for this video! I love that your games work so well at 2 players. My wife and I played Wingspan 35 times during the pandemic and it seriously never got old. I decided I actually like it best with 2 for exactly the reason you mentioned: we can finish in almost 30 minutes most of the time! We just picked up Viticulture and so far feel the exact same way, we love how quickly it can move with 2 players. Keep up the good work!

  47. Pleasantly surprised to see Parks at number 1. Picked it up right before the pandemic and have really received return on the investment. When we aren't playing Parks, we're playing (and loving) Wingspan.

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