When you’re stuck inside with the same person for long periods — during a relaxing vacation, or maybe a long holiday break, or maybe a global self-quarantine undertaken in the name of preserving public health — it can be tough to find things to do together that are fun for both of you, without fighting.

Enter the board game specifically designed for two players. A small but growing subset of the board gaming hobby, board games (or card games) for two are among my very favorite games to play, especially because most of my board gaming adventures are undertaken with only my wife as my gaming partner. And we play a lot of two-player games.

An important caveat: Due to the coronavirus pandemic you may have heard about, it could be difficult or inadvisable to visit your local game store, or even to have games shipped to your home in a timely fashion. Many board games are also at least somewhat expensive. If you’re not in a position to buy any new games, for whatever reason, you quite likely have a deck of cards, which is one of the most foolproof ways imaginable to pass the time. Check out this website for a long list of great card games, many of which are meant for two players. (I’m partial to gin rummy.)

But if you would like to look beyond the pleasures of a deck of cards, below is a list of nine games designed specifically for two players. They don’t include two-player role-playing games (though there are some fun options out there), nor do they include games that are designed to accommodate more players but are still fun for two. All of these are designed specifically with two players in mind, and they’re all fairly easy to learn, requiring only 10 minutes or so of rule reading. Many of them are available in digital versions as well.


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