In this post i will present a list of my favourite games for two players (starting with 10th place and till the first). Some of the games i mention have special variants for larger number of players or team variants (two vs two), bet they are usually considered as games for two players, so i have included them in this list.
So, let’s begin:
10. Memoir ’44
The only war game in my collection and on this list, though it’s considered as a very light war game. Very eye grabbing with colorful maps and plastic soldiers. Apparently this was the main thing which stimulated the purchase, that i haven’t played toy soldiers enough as a kid 🙂 Game’s system is very simple, based on cards pointing on which side and with what number of units you can attack. In the battle dice with special symbols are used. I’ve played a few games with father and maybe with brother, but unfortunately this game is not seeing any day light since. For the most part because of the long setup time and because board takes much space. But also because of a rather high luck factor while drawing cards and rolling dice.
Very simple abstract game, though forcing to crunch your brains and training memory. Maybe this game got on this list also because we got a very pretty wooden version of it from suppliers (which we later gifted to our co-workers in another department), or maybe because from the very beginning i was winning almost every game of it with my colleagues. Although, my unbeatable rank went down later 🙂 Oh, those diagonals, never forget about the diagonals!
Another abstract game. Very portable, because in the box there is a baggy which can hold all the components and the rules. Whole game is consisting of 22 tiles made of pleasant to hold plastic. This game can be played on a grass, sand, without worrying that a wind may carry cards or components may be damaged in some other way. Every tile has its own unique movement. The game is simple and fast, but it stimulates you to think hard on your moves, foresee moves, prepare for your opponent response. Maybe it can be compared with chess, but in a smaller scale, with a shorter play time and playful theme (insects).
7. Warhammer: Invasion
The game which is very attractive with its theme (“fantasy”) and mechanisms. It’s only that i couldn’t win it at all lately 🙂 That’s why my rating for it is a bit lower. But when some time passes after the last loss, i feel the urge to play it again. This is a game with an open confrontation against the other player, but one can also go for structures and assisting units building, try getting some good stuff for completing special tasks (“quests”). Also, different races look very different, have specializations in certain areas. Some are better attacking, the other are better defenders, third one have better buildings, others are sneaky. A good tactical cards based game with an interesting “fantasy” theme with orcs, elves and dwarves.
6. Star Realms
Small, simple deck building game. It came from nowhere and suddenly became very popular thanks to its attractive illustration style and very good amount of strategy in such a small package (the game consists of a small box with a deck of cards). There are four factions in the game, which ships are getting additional possibilities, if you are using more than one ship/base of that faction on a turn. It allows the creation of interesting chain reactions. The game is short, but after the session you feel that you have created something special, some interesting combination. There is also a decent mobile app for this game with an artificial intelligence of varying difficulty.
Very simple card game for two. But very colorful, attractive and.. it has camels! 🙂 This game is forcing you to balance between a desire to gather more cards of the same color, so you can get more points after selling them and a desire to have a free hand, so you can grab a more valuable card when you see a chance. Some might not like games with sci-fi theming. So maybe this game will interest them with its Arabic bazaar theme. Although the game is very abstract in essence.
Another game with an Arabic theme. This time it’s about nomads living in a desert. Although the game is more of the abstracted area control and worker placement style. But when the other player with his move cuts you off the huge part of the board and choices, it feels like you are in a real desert. The game makes you to think ahead about your moves, to have concrete, reachable goals and to not avoid to harm your opponent by blocking a card or place which is very valuable for him 🙂 The game looks very simple, but it will take not a single play to understand the prevailing tactics and to know what cards are in the game and what they can offer.
3. Balloon Cup
I didn’t expect that i would like this little game so much. But this is one of the most played games for me at this point. Mainly because it is so fast. Very fast to learn. But it has nuances which can be grasped after a larger number of plays. Some are blaming it for a high luck factor (when drawing balloon cards). I partly agree, but you can always (almost) adjust to the situation and manage risks.
2. Magic: The Gathering
Very popular collectible card game (CCG) in the whole world. I’ve never played it live, but in my Steam account computer versions of this games are generating the highest number of played hours. However i dislike the latest electronic versions of this game, i still play them occasionally, because the game itself is awesome. Although sometimes very depending on luck. But one can partly manage this factor by creating a deck, choosing how many resources and which warriors or spells to have. I like greatly to create a deck with various symbiosis between spells, to create a deck of certain theme (fire, water, etc.). Although i consider this game a two players game and i play it this way mostly, but i also like greatly the “Two-Headed Giant” variant of it, when two players has one pool of lives and are fighting against the other two players.
1. Summoner Wars
Magic game is competing with Summoner Wars for the first place, but SW is still winning, because it has a battlefield, on which your summoned warriors have to move. Which gives more tactical depth. Game mechanisms are very well crafted. Everything works smoothly. It is not very long game. You always want to have one more session. There is a large number of different factions. I own only 3, but it already gives a lot of variety. One can try this game for free with a mobile app. Even if it only allows to play for one faction in a free version. However as an opponent you can choose from a large number of factions and in this manner to learn their features and tactics. Game’s page says it is for 2-4 players. But 4 players variant is for teams and it is usually played exactly with two.