2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Talk about nerdgames FOR NERDS.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:18 pm

Hey guys, Can anyone recommend some good 2 player tabletop/board games?
Me and the wife have just had our first kid and are about to move 90 miles from where we are currently living. This threatens to limit social activities for a while and we don't want to get into a rut where she's sat idly flicking through Facebook on her iPad while I disappear off and boot up Civ or XCOM for another 4 hr session. I've seen a good few 4+ player games but aside from dusting off the old Cribbage board or crushing her at chess again (she's not a fan) 2 player seems a bit of a niche?
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Grudgeal

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Grudgeal » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:58 pm

A bit. A few off my head:

Carcassonne. Go. Hive. Hnefatafl. Pachisi. Rivals of Catan.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:16 pm

"TO GOOGLE".....

cheers fella
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Ygor
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Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Ygor » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:39 pm

Maybe a lame answer but chess is still awesome, last I checked.

And Dominion is a fun deck builder as far as card games go and I've heard good things about Netrunner too (although it has specific setting that may not appeal to everybody).

EDIT: You can also try this link- http://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/wiki/wsig/two_player ;)
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:49 pm

Chess is a weird one. We are both intelligent well educated people and last time we were both in education her IQ was higher than mine, but there's something about chess that I can do a hell of a lot better than she can. As I am my father's son I'm incapable of pulling punches and after the nth drubbing she declared me the best at chess and refused to play me anymore :(
Carcassonne sounds good (bonus points for being somewhere I've actually been to as well) I'll try that reddit link when I get 5 mins with her.
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Ringwraith

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Ringwraith » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:57 pm

Chess has problems in that once you pass the initial novice step because it's a fixed state game with no element of randomness in it, there's basically a series of optimal strategies for things.
Thus it can quickly becomes a memorisation test and doesn't really give you a lot of room to "do" much.
It's a very extravagant game of rock-paper-scissors but it's not very obvious to a casual glance.
So it can quickly spiral into something it didn't seem like at the beginning.

Anyway, not sure I have many off the top of my head, so all I can do is suggest hitting up Shut Up & Sit Down for any of their opinions on board games, though you might have to dig for any two-player ones in particular, although Tash-Kalar is pretty interesting, not played enough to say much more though.
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby krellen » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:30 pm

More random names to add to your google list: Race for the Galaxy, Kahuna, Lost Cities (this one is good because it's pretty simple, so you can play it with the kid in a few years too.)
Adeon_Hawkwood

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Adeon_Hawkwood » Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:55 pm

Smallworld works well with 2-players (although I tend to houserule out a few of the more powerful combos with two players).

grahams_xwing wrote:"TO GOOGLE".....

Not sure if you're familiar with it or not but Board Game Geek is a good resource for information on board games (and generally better than just googling them :)).

If you're willing to dig through there's a number of geeklists written by people recommending two player games. This one looks pretty good:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17244 ... ied-or-not
Moridin

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Moridin » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:19 am

I have to point out that most roleplaying games can work fairly well with just one player and a GM(with some adjustment for things like combat encounters - but you're supposed to adjust encounters to the party anyway - and possibly, especially in games like D&D, a bunch of helpful NPCs following the PC). What kind of tabletop games do you two enjoy, anyway?
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby grahams_xwing » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:39 am

We are pretty new at the whole genre to be honest. Traditional board games aside (Scrabble, Risk, Cribbage), we haven't dabbled in anything that isn't a mass marketed party game. Just that recently my wife has shown a newfound interest in games of various types, she's gotten heavily into casual IOS titles and LOVED Cards Against Humanity. When I floated the idea of getting some different 2 player stuff to have something to do together in the evenings that didn't necessarily revolve around a TV or a tablet she seemed really eager. The ultimate aim is to build up a new circle of friends when we move, but that (along with finding a good childminder) will take time and so we are looking to broaden our horizons (without ...actually going outside or anything).
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lostclause

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby lostclause » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:42 am

This is going to be very hit and miss, hopefully one of the themes of the games will grab you since I don't have an idea for what you guys like mechanically. I recommend researching each one before you consider a purchase, board game geek usually has videos of people playing so you can get some idea of how they work.

Netrunner: A cyberpunk themed asymmetrical card game with a hacker taking on a massive corporation. An LCG though so if you like it be prepared to spend a lot of money. A bit complex in terms of rule but I definitely think it's worth it.

Arctic Scavengers: Seats up to 5 players but works fine with two. A deck building game themed around building a tribe in the frozen wastes. Pretty simple but very powerfully thematic.

Mage Wars: Kind of self-explanatory, you play dueling mages who summon monsters, wield arcane weapons and of course hurl spells. Similar to magic the gathering in some ways but more like an action game than MtG's rts approach. Very rules heavy though, if you don't like complex rules, stay away.

Masques: A clever game that end up being like a logic puzzle for 2-4 players. Cheap and simple to learn, a good beginners game. I'd highly recommend it.

Elder Signs: A dice-rolling game themed around the cthulhu mythos for up to 7 players but works fine with two (you can just have more than one investigator each). A bit complicated, unless the theme appeals, or just the idea of rolling dice, I can't recommend it highly.

Lords of Waterdeep: The Dnd theme is a bit of a red-herring, this is a worker placement game that works quite well with two players. Pretty simple to learn and play with enough new stuff to make each game interesting.

Zombies!!!: Okay, this one I haven't actually played two player but it would probably be fine. A very simple game about escaping a town filled with zombies, lots of mayhem and betrayal. If you have an aversion to gore however this game's art might very well put you off.

Bananagrams: Don't know how well this would work two-player but in my mind this game fixes everything wrong with scrabble. Good, light party game about showing off your lexicon as fast as possible.

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation: A really good two player game with asymmetrical play. Pitting the stronger forces of evil against the cunning of the Fellowship. Does tend to wear out it's welcome after a certain number of plays as you figure out optimum strategies but if you like LotR this might be a good place to start.

Death Angel: Unless you like warhammer 40k, probably skip over this one. If you do like 40k this is a cheaper version of Space Hulk, appealingly chaotic and strategic without being too complicated.

That's all that I can think of, if you have any questions about any of these please feel free to ask.
Moridin

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Moridin » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:04 am

grahams_xwing wrote:We are pretty new at the whole genre to be honest. Traditional board games aside (Scrabble, Risk, Cribbage), we haven't dabbled in anything that isn't a mass marketed party game. Just that recently my wife has shown a newfound interest in games of various types, she's gotten heavily into casual IOS titles and LOVED Cards Against Humanity. When I floated the idea of getting some different 2 player stuff to have something to do together in the evenings that didn't necessarily revolve around a TV or a tablet she seemed really eager. The ultimate aim is to build up a new circle of friends when we move, but that (along with finding a good childminder) will take time and so we are looking to broaden our horizons (without ...actually going outside or anything).


Well, if you're willing to try jumping right into the deep end, I've always liked the design of Don't Rest Your Head. It doesn't require much materials either, just the book, some coins and different colours of d6s.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby grahams_xwing » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:31 am

You guys are ace.

Not one cry of 'N00b!' or 'OMG, you've never played x???' etc.

Looking forward to looking these up and getting our game geek on now.
Rack

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Rack » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:00 pm

I'd definitely second the recommendation for Netrunner, it's a lot of fun in the box and can just grow and grow from there. Also try Summoner Wars, there's a free (I think) version on the ipad so you can see if it appeals before sinking money into it. Actually buying board games on the ipad is a great way to try things out. Small World, Pandemic, Galaxy Trucker, Ticket to Ride and Ascension among others have good ipad ports, while these are generally games that work best with 3+ players they can still be fun with 2 and the ability to find out how they play for only a small investment is very useful.
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Ygor
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Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Ygor » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:14 pm

If you want a simple, yet elegant game to play, then Tsuro may be for you. It looks pretty good, in a simple way, rules are not very complicated and I quite like it :)
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SpammyV
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Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby SpammyV » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:05 pm

Ascension is a deckbuilding game that can be played with two people. I don't think it would be too bad with just two people, certainly pushing harder for the mind-games aspect. On the downside, games might feel a bit more predetermined.

If you can find a copy and you like the license, Privateer Press put out a Voltron two-player board game based on their Monsterpocalypse rules. I really like Monsterpocalypse so I can vouch for the rules being good. It would be a game with a bit more complexity to it but I think it would be fun.

Castellan is a Steve Jackson game where you combine tower and wall pieces to make enclosed courtyards, and your score is based on the number of towers in each of your courtyards. It's a very fun game for two people, and it's simple enough (all matching shapes, no reading or tricks) that when your kid gets older they can play as well.
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lostclause

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby lostclause » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:13 pm

grahams_xwing wrote:You guys are ace.

Not one cry of 'N00b!' or 'OMG, you've never played x???' etc.

Looking forward to looking these up and getting our game geek on now.

Honestly I only began my collection this year, it doesn't take long to get to familiar with a lot of the hobby. Plugging into the local university's board game club is a good way to 'try before you buy' and you'll usually have someone there to explain the games for you.

Ygor wrote:If you want a simple, yet elegant game to play, then Tsuro may be for you. It looks pretty good, in a simple way, rules are not very complicated and I quite like it :)

I forgot about this one, I second what Ygor says. Plus it can be hilarious as you accidentally annihilate one another. Actually given your fondness for chess this might have some similar appeal in terms of planning ahead.
Steve C

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Steve C » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:34 pm

There are plenty of deck building games that are two player. Magic: The Gathering being the most famous. It is pretty easy to limit yourself from spending too much when you are both making decks from the same pool of cards. $10 buys a big box of ~1000 common cards. There's plenty of other deck building games that you could get into the same way- on the cheap by buying other people's unwanted cards.
Dork Angel

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Dork Angel » Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:15 pm

Check out www.boardgamegeek.com for idea's. Incidentally Star Wars: Episode 1 – Clash of the Lightsabers is a cool little 2 player card game if you can get your hands on it.
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StashAugustine

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby StashAugustine » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:17 pm

(Does it still count as necromancy when the forum is this slow?)
Surprised nobody mentioned Twilight Struggle. Two-player card-driven game about the Cold War. The goal is to prove your dominance by influencing countries around the world. Each player has a hand of cards with both an 'operations' value and an event, you can play a card either for ops (the bread-and-butter actions) or events, with the catch that certain events are tied to a faction and playing an enemy event causes it to happen. (So if Russia plays "Fidel" they choose between kicking the US out of Cuba and taking it over or using its ops value to place their influence or remove the enemy's anywhere, but if the US plays it the event occurs and then they play ops.) This means that there's a wonderful tension to each turn, where you have to deal with your opponent's bad events, predict what he has, figure out what you need to do, and play your cards well. It's relatively simple- takes ~15 minutes to teach verbally and less than two hours to play once you get used to it. It should be available in most decent game shops.
Vulture

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Vulture » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:07 am

Although this is too late to be of any practical use, I have to mention backgammon. Pretty easy to learn, largely skill based, but with a significant slice of luck too to keep things interesting. Unless one of you is much, much better than the other, you'll both have a decent chance to win each game. It takes about 5-15 minutes to play a game, or you can try match play for multiple rounds which lasts longer.


Mankala is a simple game that can be played almost anywhere, since you just need piles of counters, and can grab pretty much anything small to use as game pieces (stones, lego bricks, olives (if in a restaurant).

Tantrix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantrix) is a pretty awesome game to play too. 2-4 players, but the 2 player version is perfectly playable. It can be played without much thought, but can also be pretty mind-bendingly strategic to play it well.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA
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Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby dudecon » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:52 am

My wife and I have spent many an enjoyable evening over a couple rounds of Galaxy Trucker. It's basically a round of Carcassonne (which we also play and enjoy, especially for shorter play sessions) followed by a short and simple scoring "race". The latter influences your decisions in the former, and it's all very well put together. Good if you both like spatial puzzles, and goes up to five players (where the strategies are a bit different).
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Ringwraith

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Ringwraith » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:11 pm

But usually with more comedy.
As things inevitably go Wrong in one way or another.

If you want to see a very long video of people playing Galaxy Trucker, you can!
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StashAugustine

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby StashAugustine » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:29 am

Vlaada Chatvil, the designer of Galaxy Trucker, is basically worshiped as Jesus in the Something Awful boardgame thread, although I can't personally attest to his games. I really wanna get Mage Knight, though, and if you're into worker placement Dungeon Lords/Petz are supposedly quite great.
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Ringwraith

Re: 2 Player tabletop/boardgames

Postby Ringwraith » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:08 am

The Shut Up & Sit Down guys liked him so much they did an entire one of their early longer-format episodes about his games, though more recently, like the aforementioned Tash-Kalar review.

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