It Takes Two: 7 Games We Love to Play as a Couple
Tim (my husband) and I have been playing games together since we met. It’s how we met, actually in February 1987. We’ve been together ever since: living proof that the couple who plays together stays together.
With February being the month for lovers, I’ve put together a list of our favorite games to play together – just us two. Not all of these games are made for just two, though many are, but all of them provide excellent game play for two players.
I consider a game excellent for two when the contest is always close and engaging, when you have to be constantly aware of what your opponent is up to and modify your play accordingly. What I don’t like is head-to-head conflict, so you won’t find any war games or war-like games on this list.
A jolly good competition or a cooperative romp against the board makes for a great time. Throw in some flowers and chocolate and you’ve got the makings for a very fun and special Valentine’s Day – in my book anyway. On to the games.
2. Jaipur, a set-collection card game of acquiring and selling goods, which features beautiful artwork and interesting game play. We never get tired of it. Look for a run-down of this fun and gorgeous two-player card game here next week.
3. Aton, an abstract strategy game with an Egyptian theme. I’m not usually a fan of abstract strategy games, but for this one, I make an exception. With four ways to win, you have to watch your opponent with a hawk’s eye, while also trying to further your own strategy. The rulebook can be a bit confusing until you learn how to play. Of course Tim and I would be happy to teach you. Full run-down of game play later in this newsletter.
4. Ticket to Ride. While there are two Ticket to Ride maps expressly made for two to three players (Switzerland and Nordic Countries), we’ve found the boards that support up to four or five players to provide closer competitions for two, particularly the original with the USA 1910 expansion, the 10 Year Anniversary Edition and Europe.
5. Pandemic. I just love a good cooperative game! What could be better than working together as a team saving the world from a four-virus Pandemic? Saving the world from four viruses – one a virulent strain – and a fifth mutated virus in Pandemic: On the Brink! Or better yet, playing it campaign-style with an ongoing storyline, like characters in a TV series, where the results of every game carry forward into your next game. I’m talking Pandemic: Legacy baby! You can find full reviews of Pandemic and its expansions, and Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 right here.
6. Castles of Burgundy. A great, medium-weight Euro game that’s surprisingly quick when played with just two. Castles is my favorite game of all time. It’s been #1 on my Top 10 list for several years now. It’s a bit difficult to describe: there’s tile placement, dice rolling and multiple paths to victory. It’s very tactical: you have to make the most of the options available to you. Each player board offers a new and different challenge. What your fellow players do affects your available options as do the dice you roll, though you can augment your dice rolls with workers. It’s simply an awesome game! And it plays beautifully and quickly with just two.
7. Can’t Stop. I’ll warn you now. This push-your-luck dice game is totally addicting. Don’t be surprised if you can’t stop playing it. Your goal is to win three columns, by reaching their tops first with your cones. You advance your cones with dice rolls. Each turn you roll 4 dice and must pair them up to choose in which column(s) you’ll advance your working cones. You can only advance up to three cones each turn, pressing your luck by rolling again. If you roll numbers that don’t match any of the columns your working cones are in, you lose all progress made that turn. I told you it was press your luck! It’s also addicting.
While I could certainly make this list even longer, seven will have to do for now. I hope you’ll check them out and let me know which you like best. I’m also interested to hear what your favorite two-player games are.