Just for Two
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Sometimes you only have one person around to play with. Here's a handy review of some two-player games.

When I am trying to convince my partner to play a game, I like it to be a fast (1/2 hour) game that's pretty quick to set up and put away. So if you don't value those things, this probably isn't the best list for you.

Fast set up = Take it out of the box and play!
Medium set up = You're gonna have to shuffle some cards, and maybe even lay some stuff out.
Long set up = Your partner will only play it with you if you do the grunt work to get it ready.
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Dominion and its expansions are pretty great as a two-player game. While there are a few cards that don't work as well with two players (Pirate Ship), most work just fine. It's quick, fun, and infinitely replayable.

Cons: Setup/cleanup takes a while.
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2. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Lost Cities is designed as a two-player game. Players use numbered cards to invest in expeditions. There is not much of a story to this game, its mostly about managing the cards in your hand. Set up is very fast.

Pros:
Game play is super-easy to learn
Strategy is harder to learn and nuanced
The player with the best strategy consistently wins

Cons:
The player with the best strategy consistently wins, so new players will always lose against experienced ones.
Gets boring - I don't want to play it more than once in a row, although I do keep coming back to it.
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3. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:58]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game was also designed for two players.
This game is new to me, so I can't say much about its replay value, but so far it is great!

It has a medium set up time and is fast to play. Players tetris pieces of quilt into their gameboard, which costs money (in the form of buttons) and time. The game takes about a half-hour.
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4. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:884]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game takes a medium time to learn, and a relatively long time to set-up (ie, my partner says, "I'll play if you set it up").

Players put machines into their factory and connect them via pipes. Each player turns over a machine at the same time and then everyone grabs for the machine they want to put in their factory.

Factory Fun is great as a two player game! It's a little easier than the version for more players, just because there aren't as many machines to assess and grab. But it's still really fun, and playing it with two players is a great way to get good at it.

Cons: This game can take a long time (1 hr +), especially with beginners or people who want their factory to be absolutely perfect.
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5. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:588]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game is easy to learn and has a medium set-up time.

Players collect mushrooms in the forest, and then cook them.

Pros:
Easy to learn
Fast gameplay
Strategy is takes longer to learn
Nice artwork

Cons:
I'm not sure of this game's replay value. So far it's pretty good, but it's not the first game I reach for when I want a two-player.
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6. Board Game: JAB: Realtime Boxing [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2733]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This was designed as a two player game. It takes a medium amount of time to learn, and a medium amount of time to set up.

In this game, players punch each other by placing cards on the other player's 'body.' I have a lot of fun with this game! It is very silly.

Pros:
Realtime, no waiting for other people to take turns
Fast-paced gameplay
Really different from other games

Cons:
This is not a game for anxious people - my partner won't play it with me, it makes him too nervous.
Point counting seems a little arbitrary, although the better player seems to always win the match, so maybe it's not.

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7. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1714]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game is easy to learn and fast to play. It's basically a betting game, and works well as a two-player. If you're looking for something fast and fun that won't take up much brain power, this one is for you.



 
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8. Board Game: The Awful Green Things From Outer Space [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1629]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game was designed as a two player game.

I played this once or twice when I got it, but haven't touched it since. Setup takes a while, the rules require a lot of looking things up, and play time is over an hour, which is just not what I'm looking for in a two player.
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9. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:179]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game takes a medium time to learn (probably less if you're familiar with the other Agricola games, which I am not.) Setup takes a medium amount of time.

This game was fun to play a couple of times, but we have not played it again since we got it. Setup takes too long for us, and so does counting your points at the end.

Pros:
Interesting game play
Cute wooden animals
Good two-player for people who like Euro-style games

Cons:
Turns can take a long time
Counting up points is time-consuming
Not a lot of variety for replay
 
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10. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:116]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game is easy to learn and has a medium set-up time.

Splendor is a really fun game with four players, but not as good with two. In the four player game, the available cards change much more quickly, which means players have to reserve cards more often. In the two-player version, cards will sit out for several turns, so players can wait longer to buy them. As a result, we have never gotten to the third tier of cards in the two player version. It's just not necessary in order to win.
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11. Board Game: Sneaks & Snitches [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2750]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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I like this game a lot with more people, but it falls flat as a two-player.
 
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12. Board Game: Travel Blog [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3775]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This is not great as a two-player game, even with both players playing as two characters. It's just more fun with more people.
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13. Board Game: Skyline [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3420]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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This game is fast to play and setup takes a medium amount of time.

This is a dice rolling game in which players build towers. It is just better with more players.
 
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14. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:307]
Rachel Stevens

Cambridge
Massachusetts
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Finally, a game for when your partner won't play with you at all.

Friday is a one-player game. I was obsessed with it when I first got it, which lasted for about a week and a half, at which point I was consistently winning. So, good to borrow from someone.
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