These are some of my favorite two-player Strategy board games. Perfect to play for date nights, and to gift and play during the holidays!
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two-player board game gift guide
- Pandemic Legacy Season 2 – (2-4 Players) This game is about a pandemic sweeping the globe (hits a little close to home these days!). It’s a cooperative board game where you play a group of survivers trying to keep the world alive by completing various objectives. This is a legacy style game where your decisions and actions carry over to future games so it’s unique every time you play. We had so much fun playing this one on date nights!
- Ticket To Ride Nordic Countries – (2-3 Players) In Ticket to Ride, players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to build railway routes to connect different cities on the map. The longer the routes and the more you complete, the more points you earn. There are several versions of Ticket to Ride that take place in different countries and even a kids’ version. This game is quick to learn and requires pretty much no setup
- Ingenius – (1-4 Players) Players take turns placing colored tiles on the game board, earning points for the number of matching colored symbols you get in a row. That might sound pretty basic, but it can be pretty cutthroat! It’s very easy to learn which is nice if you’re playing with someone new at a holiday gathering.
- Agricola – (1-5 Players) This farming game is all about maximizing how many actions you can take to ramp up your small house and get the goods necessary to survive. There are a few expansions for this game if you want to add a new twist or more complexity.
- Small World – (2-5 Players) You play a zany cast of characters (think dwaves, wizards, giants, orcs, etc) in a quest to control an area of the world that’s simply too small for everyone. Your goal is to expand your empire and push others into extinction. The characters are funny and all have differen strengths and abilities that affect the game so it’s a little different every time you play.
- Smash Up – (2-4 Players) There are several versions of Smash Up and I’m linking the Marvel one here as it might be a great gift for a Marvel fan. This is a card game where each player plays a combination of two groups of Marvel heroes and villains with various abilities. Your goal is to take over bases and score the most victory points. Since there are so many combinations of characters you can choose from, each game plays out a little differently which makes it fun!
- Othello – (2 Players) This is sort of like a fast-paced game of checkers with a lot more strategy. You try to trap the other player’s pieces between your own, and when your do your flip their pieces over to your color. This game is quick and light but still very competitive. I like how quickly things can change so you never quite know who’s going to win.
- Le Havre – (1-5 Players) This game is set in a French port and players vie to ship the most goods. You acquire materials, build ships and buildings, and feed workers. The player with the most money wins!
- Hey, That’s My Fish – (2-4 Players) This is a quick, light game that’s entertaining and something you can play with younger kids (ages 8+), too. It’s also tiny so it will fit in your purse and be a great stocking stuffer. You each play hungry penguins competing for their next meal by gaining control of the ice. As you race to collect the most fish, the ice starts to crumble and you’re goal is to be the last one standing.
- Dominion – (2-4 Players) This is a card game where you each play the monarch of a small kingdom. You collect more and more cards as you play and each card has different abilities you can use to outsmart your opponent(s)—there’s a lot of strategy involved! This is a longtime favorite of ours and there are numerous expansions that add more cards and nuances to the game play.
- Zombicide – Zombicide is a cooperative game where you play survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Players work together to battle the zombies (that keep multiplying!) and complete a variety of missions. There are several missions to choose from which changes up the gameplay slightly so it feels a little different each time you play. This is really fun with two people and also pretty quick to teach others.
- Bananagrams – (1-16 Players) Bananagrams is a crowd favorite at our family gatherings. Games are quick, it takes no time to learn. It’s nice because there are no turns—everyone races simultaneously to create the most words before the letter tiles run out. Bonus points for it fitting in your purse (and stocking)! I linked the newer Double Banagrams here which includes double the tiles so you can play with up to SIXTEEN people.
Have a fantastic day!