Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Multi-player games for two players

Ryan Metzler recently posted a top-ten video of his favorite multi-player games for two players - that is, games made for two or more players but that are his favorites as two-player games.  His video is both quick and informative, and I bumped up a number of games on my wishlist as a result.

Just for kicks, I thought I'd create my own list of multi-player games that my wife Kathy and I tend to like as two-players, and here's what I came up with:
(c) Lookout Games
Used by permission
  1. Le Havre:  We've always been big fans of Agricola, and LH  is like Agricola on steroids.  We've only ever had time to play the shortened version, and we've never played it with more than two people, so I feel as though there is so much more potential that we haven't even tapped yet.
  2. Citadels:  This is still the best get-inside-your-head game for the two of us.  I love it with two; I love it with a group as well.  
  3. Agricola:  A staple game for us.  I am so grateful that when we first started playing, I must have won against Kathy three or four times in a row, but she just decided that she was going to keep playing until she could beat me.  That day came, and she has never looked back.  We like it both family style and with cards, depending on the mood we're in, as well as with the Farmers on the Moor expansion.
  4. Puerto Rico:  No, it technically isn't a two-player game, but there are several two-player variants on boardgamegeek, and we found one that works for us.  It's not the preferred way to play PR, but for us it's a great two-player option in its own right.
  5. Traders of Carthage:  Such a deceptively simple game.  I feel as though we are only beginning to appreciate the depth of this gem.
  6. Ticket to Ride:  You know, you'd think we'd be tired of this game by now, but frankly, TtR is just a fun game.  Even with just the two of us.
  7. 7 Wonders:  Again, like PR, this is a game that's more fun with more players, but it's still a good card game for the two of us to just sit down and play.  I'm not usually fan of two-player instantiations that depend on a dummy third hand (like Alhambra), but this one for 7W works.
  8. Ingenious:  My wife is not usually a fan of abstracts, but this Reiner Knizia design is just a clever, engaging piece of work.  Aesthetically appealling, too, even more so than Qwirkle.
  9. Empyrean, Inc:  We have played this game so much that we bought a second copy that's still in shrinkwrap, just as an investment against a future when it would be unobtainable.  I think the publisher Versal Technologies is out of business.
  10. Chrononauts:  This bizarre little Looney Labs concoction still keeps us engaged.  What a kick this game is.
I know there are better games out there; the Ryan Metzler video makes that clear.  But we like our collection, so when we're not playing a strictly-two-player game like Jaipur or Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League, these are the games that help us unwind at the end of the day.


  1. That's a pretty good list. I've only tried Puerto Rico once as a 2 player, and as I recall we liked it. I think we tried Agricola as well, but I think that just wasn't Becky's cup of tea, regardless of # of players. Ditto with Citadels. We have yet to try 7 Wonders as 2 players.

    Lots of TTR games though. The "Nordic" map, and the Switzerland map are specifically designed for 2-3 players, as they are tighter and can force more interaction for less players. We find that often on the U.S. or Europe map, we rarely compete for the same routes. Same for our one play of the recent "Heart of Africa" expansion. Of the two "small" maps, I prefer the Nordic map. The Switzerland map has a serious problem with a runaway leader if they get the right cards. In fact, there are certain cards I take out of the game if we play that map.

  2. I need to look into getting some of the other TtR maps. They do sound a lot better for a smaller number of players.