Joshua tymchyn
United States
New York
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I recently purchased the new Agricola two-player variant and found its speed of play to be exactly the type of thing I was looking for. I then discovered that Le Havre had a two-player variant as well and it got me to wondering...are there any other variants such as these out there? Or just great two-player only games in general?

My family has been playing a number of games over the years, including Catan, Carcassonne, Puerto Rico, etc and we've been trying to split our group up into smaller pairs of two during a couple gatherings. However we would rather find games specifically designed and balanced for a total of two players, rather than playing the games we already have. Can anyone make some recommendations for us?
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Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
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Rivals for Catan, or, the original version, Catan Card Game. Same, same, but different - as they say in Vietnam. I don't like The Settlers of Catan, but I love Catan Card Game. I bought it a long time ago, so it's the version I know, not the Rivals new version.

Carcassonne: The Castle. I hesitate to even mention this one because I don't like it. But others do. It's the 2-player entry into the Carcassonne family.

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Kieren Medley
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Brady
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First thing that comes to mind as far as a two-player variant is Antike Duellum. It is definitely not for everyone, but one that I enjoy.
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Brian Zollinhofer
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Richmond
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If you like Puerto Rico, San Juan is the 2 player card game which I really like.

Hive is a great 2 player game (but it's like Chess - so it is a bit more of a strategic game - no luck).

Jaipur, Balloon Cup, and Lost Cities are all good 2 player games as well...

Crokinole is also an awesome game, but it costs a lot, not just something you can easily grab at your FLGS...
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Krawhitham B
New Zealand
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Are you asking for games that play well with exactly 2? Or are you specifically after "little brother" games, as in Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small being the little brother of Agricola?

I'd say that Carcassonne plays best as a 2 player game, so no need to buy anything new

I will second the suggestions of Rivals for Catan and Lost Cities. I have not played the other games that have been suggested.
 
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Joshua tymchyn
United States
New York
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Krawhitham wrote:
Are you asking for games that play well with exactly 2? Or are you specifically after "little brother" games, as in Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small being the little brother of Agricola?


Either, or, honestly. I wasn't sure if the "little brother" variants were something new or have been around for a while, but I also wouldn't mind finding other games specifically designed for two players. I've found the majority of the games I already own to not be as much fun with just two players (even carcassonne).
 
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Pete K
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Arizona
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My go-to two-player game is Lost Cities. However, you can also check out the series of videos by Rahdo, who specializes in review two-player games, or games that play well with 2.
 
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Kathleen Nugent
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wafflestomper wrote:
If you like Puerto Rico, San Juan is the 2 player card game which I really like. . . .
and Lost Cities are all good 2 player games as well...


San Juan (2004) is NOT a 2-player-only game. It is based on the board game Puerto Rico (2002), and it does play well with two. But it also plays well with 3 or 4.

You might say that Lost Cities (1999) is the 2-player version of Keltis (2008), or Lost Cities: The Board Game (2008). But the 2-player version is the original. The others came later.
 
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Erik Webb
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Edmonds
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You should definitely check out the following geek lists

Best With 2
Recommended With 2

They will let you look at the highest ranked games that users have voted on to play best with 2, and recommended with 2.
 
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Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
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Battle Line
Haggis (it's 2-3 players, but the difference is not noticeable at all; basically plays pretty much the same.)
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Krawhitham B
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Chaotic Ignorance wrote:
Krawhitham wrote:
Are you asking for games that play well with exactly 2? Or are you specifically after "little brother" games, as in Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small being the little brother of Agricola?


I wasn't sure if the "little brother" variants were something new or have been around for a while


This is nit picking but... the word variant is often used on this site to mean "The exact same game, with different rules". This can either be a house rule, or an official variant (such as the 2 player rules for Alhambra.

Sadly, it does sometimes feel like the 2 player option is 'tacked on' so that the game appears to cater for a wider range of player numbers. It is rare that a game that offers 2 to many players is good with just 2 (co-ops being the most common exception to this).
 
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Byron Campbell
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Santa Clarita
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How has nobody mentioned Le Havre: The Inland Port yet?

Also, Ascension: Apprentice Edition came out recently. Doesn't quite fit because it uses the same rules and cards as big brother ascension, but is a smaller selection tuned for 2 players only.
 
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Alexander K
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Seattle
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I think the OP referenced it, but did not use the full title.
 
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
Malaysia
Bangsar & PJ
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The Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel is a 2p version of the board game The Pillars of the Earth.
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MP Szakos
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I'd suggest Famiglia,
Targi,
Rapa Nui,
& 1st & Goal.

+1 Jaipur, Lost Cities, Balloon Cup, San Juan.
 
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Mary Martinson
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Mabank
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Another game to consider is Stone Age. My husband and I have played it with 4 players and with just the two of us and we feel the game is just as much fun with 2. It has a few changes to the rules for 2 players but they seem to work out so that it is balanced and just as much fun to play.

Other games we enjoy for just the 2 of us:
Jaipur
Jambo
Lost Cities: The Board Game
San Juan
Bananagrams
Monopoly Deal Card Game
Ingenious
 
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
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dtroy_de_rapcore wrote:


I'd like to add another one to my earlier suggestion and that is Mr. Jack Pocket, a spin-off to Mr. Jack.
 
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John Karl
United States
Verona
Wisconsin
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Just a quick update to this aging post: the game Patchwork has been extremely popular. I just tried it yesterday and then I bought it. It is a new two-player only game. And don't worry – it's not really about quilting!
 
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Sara Van Landegem
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Louvain
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I'm flabbergasted nobody suggested 7 Wonders Duel yet, awesome game!
 
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Matt Brown
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Okemos
Michigan
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Kaelan wrote:
I'm flabbergasted nobody suggested 7 Wonders Duel yet, awesome game!


Because the thread is over three years old.
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