Four Great New Games for Two Players

December 3, 2020

If I had to name the one category of games that’s most important in my life, it would undoubtedly be the games that play well with Two Players. Even more so in 2020, the games that I can enjoy with exactly one other person are invaluable titles in my collection.

Here are four of our favorite games from 2020 that are great for two!

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#1—Aqualin

Directly competitive, abstract, thinky, great components

A fascinating two-player duel of give and take—but mostly take. Aqualin is a tile-laying game in which you’ll be attempting to create “schools” of adjacent tiles. Before your game begins, you’ll decide whether your schools will be made up of matching colors or matching animal types. Your opponent will play for the other.

Each turn, you’ll try to establish those schools by moving any one tile as far as you wish in a straight line, then placing one new tile anywhere on the board. That’s the entire game! It’s absurdly straightforward, but will still have you and your opponent scratching your chins as you attempt to make the best move each turn.

Learn the game with our Play-Along Tutorial.

 

#2—Calico

Indirectly competitive, planning ahead, visually pleasant

Cats and quilts…

…Okay, just in case that wasn’t quite enough of an explanation, Calico is all about designing and creating a quilt. A quilt for cats.

Each round, you’ll choose one patch from your hand to sew into your quilt. You’ve got two main objectives in the game: #1 is to fulfill the pattern and color combinations on your quilt board; and #2 is to create areas in the kitties’ favorite patterns so that they’ll come cuddle up on it!

It plays great with two, and even has a solo-play option.

 

#3—Abandon All Artichokes

Indirectly competitive, quick, some luck involved

There’s no denying the value of a great low-energy game, where a mistake won’t cost you dearly, and finishing a game leaves you ready for another round (not ready to crawl into bed).

Abandon All Artichokes is that game. This easy-to-learn “deck-building” game allows you to choose one new vegetable card to add your your garden each turn. Then you can play the vegetables in your hand to stack your deck or send your artichokes to the compost. Be the first player to draw an entire hand with ZERO artichokes in it, and you win!

For such a light game, the veggies actually have a ton of fascinating synergies and you’ll find yourself stumbling into some pretty rich strategies for our decks without even trying. Best of all, up to five players can play, but it’s just as fun with two!

Learn the game with our Play-Along Tutorial.

 

#4—Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars

Cooperative, free form (no turn-taking), cerebral, lots of reading

A new installment in the Consulting Detective series, The Baker Street Irregulars is a standalone set of cases that need solving. Each case is a new unsolved mystery in which players will work together, gather evidence, and connect clues before making their final judgment.

The 10 cases in this box make for many hours of sleuthing and “Eureka!” moments—great for any duo that likes a good challenge and putting their brains together.

 

Special Mention: Chess

Shout out to a very old game for two players.

My wife and I just broke out my old Chess set for the first time ever, and two games later, we’d played some of the richest head-to-head games of our entire relationship.

It was fascinating to see how little we both knew about the strategy of a game with so much history and depth, and how much we learned over the course of just two hours across the table.

Whether you’ve been playing for years or you’re still not quite sure how all the pieces move, we’ve got you covered in our Chess section for players of all experience levels.

Andy B

Andy B is our Master of Events and Online Wizardry, and that's why you see his picture at the bottom of most posts and events! You'll see him and his beard at all our locations, often with his nose at a computer, creating pages just like this one. His favorite games include The Grizzled, Guild Ball, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle and Legend of the Five Rings.

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