This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series The best board games

As nice as it is to fight for victory in a large group, sometimes you just don't have the time or the people. Of course, this is not an obstacle to a nice gaming experience. The five games presented here only need one other person besides you. Any other person could just watch. Both two-player variants of "classics" and standalone games can be found on the list.

Playing in pairs is a bit of a gamble on many titles that list 2-4, 5, or 6 players. Some core interaction mechanisms just don't transfer to the smaller number of people and you're sitting at the table with a moderately exciting game that can only unfold its true potential with 3 or more players. This cannot happen with the games on this list. They are intended exclusively for two people. Some are variants of successful games that are only "released" in the original for 3 or more people, and others are independent titles. We can recommend the following five games to all board game pairs, 2-person flat shares and other constellations of two people.

7 Wonders Duel

7 Wonders Duel is available through Asmodee. Image: Asmodee

The highly successful 7 Wonders series has recently grown with 7 Wonders Architects. Back in 2015, Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala got together and developed the 2-person version of Bauza's hit game 7 Wonders. Like the big brother, the duel is played over three ages. The drafting of the hand cards is replaced by a specially arranged display. Open and hidden rows of cards alternate here. However, drafting has not completely disappeared, even with two people. This applies to the eponymous wonders of the world. One person chooses a wonder of the world from the four revealed cards and the other chooses two from the remaining three cards. The last card goes to the first person. The second set of four wonders is awarded with reversed roles. As the mathematically gifted readers may have noticed, a total of eight wonders of the world were distributed in this way. To ensure that there is not one too many wonders at the end of the game, the last remaining unbuilt wonder is discarded during the course of the game.

The gameplay is very simple. The player whose turn it is chooses an open, free card. This can be used to perform three different actions. It can be built in your own city if you have enough resources or enough money for missing resources. If you do not have enough resources or money or do not want to place any of the available cards, the card can also be discarded for the latter. As a last option, the chosen card can also be placed face down under one of your own wonders of the world and this can be built. In addition to victory points, the wonders of the world also offer additional bonuses in most cases.

The game ends after the third age if none of the two victory conditions have been achieved. An earlier end can be achieved through military or scientific superiority. If no player was able to gain the upper hand in the two areas, the collected victory points are counted at the end of the game.

7 Wonders Duel always offers a new gaming experience. Due to the variable structure, it is practically impossible to play the same game twice. The three possible ways to victory contribute to the fact that the game does not get boring so quickly. Should this happen at some point, there are also two extensions. On BoardGameGeek, the 2-player variant is listed even higher than the base game.

The game is recommended for ages 10 and up and lasts around 30 minutes. There is also a successful adaptation in the Board game arena.

Spirits of the Wild

Spirits of the Wild is a board game developed by Mattel. Image: Mattel

Probably the easiest game on the list comes from Mattel. This game is about offering sets of colorful stones to the Spirit Animals on your own tableau. In addition to the two tableaus for the players, the central element is the bowl in which the colorful stones lie and the bag from which the bowl is filled. In your turn, one of the six action cards is used and turned over. The actions enable you to take stones out of the bowl or put new ones out of the bag into the bowl. In addition, some cards can move the coyote. This blocks one of the five animals on the opponent's tableau.

If you decide to make your used cards available again with the corresponding action card, you can also use one of the two face-up Spirit power cards. These offer various stronger effects compared to the personal action cards.

The game ends as soon as the fifth power stone becomes visible. Then the individual animals on the player boards are scored. These give points for different sets of stones. For example, an animal gives points for pairs of stones of the same color. Other animals may require different colors or only stones of the same color. With the transparent power stones, the points of the animals can be doubled. However, if they are on the animals during the course of the game, this animal is closed and no further stones can be placed there.

The simple rules and clear options make it happen Spirits of the Wild also for beginners to a suitable game. Despite the obvious luck factor when drawing the pieces, the tactical aspect should not be underestimated.

The game takes 15-30 minutes to play and is recommended for ages 10+.

Fair

Targi by Kosmos is a true classic. Image: Komos

According to the BoardGameGeek community, here comes the most complex game on the list. At the same time, it also has the longest playing time. In the worker placement game Fair the players take on the role of the leader of a Tuareg tribe. They trade in goods that are readily available, such as dates and salt, and goods from far away, such as pepper. This is done with the aim of getting gold and perks and expanding your own tribe. The gameplay is divided into five phases. Initially, the robber figure is moved one space further on the border cards. If it lands on the “Raid” space, the players must give up goods or victory points. For the second step, the robber figure blocks the square it is on. In this second step, the workers are placed. In addition to the restrictions imposed by the robber figure, the corner squares, squares on which another character is already standing, and squares opposite the figures of the opposing tribe are also blocked. When both have alternately placed their three Targi figures, they distribute their two tribe markers on the goods and tribe cards in the middle.

The last two steps now lead to the actions in step four. Now the cards on which the Targi figures and tribal markers are located are activated. The cards in the middle are replaced by a card of the other type after use. Tribal cards are laid out in a 3×4 grid in front of the players. In addition to victory points, they bring one-time or permanent advantages. At the end of the round, the starting player changes and the new goods and tribe cards are turned over. It then continues with step one again. This process continues until a person places the twelfth tribe card in front of them or the robber figure reaches the fourth raid card.

Now there are points. The victory points collected in the course of the game in the form of silver crosses as tiles and on cards, some tribal cards and, depending on the symbols on the tribal cards, also individual rows in the grid are the point suppliers.

In Fair you will find a very successful balance between clear set of rules and tactical play. As usual in worker placement games, when and where is very important for placing the Targi figures. The interaction between the players is high.

is recommended Fair Ages 12+ and takes about an hour to play.

Bohnanza The Duel

Bohnanza is an evergreen by Amigo Games. Image: amigo

The oldest game on this list is Uwe Rosenberg's classic card game Bohnanza. While the basic game is suitable for 3-5 people, The duel the popular bean fun for two people. The hand mechanism from the original is also retained in the 2-person variant. The order of the cards in hand may not be changed after they have been drawn.

The bean farmer whose turn it is must play the first card in his hand and may play the following one. A total of three bean fields are available for this purpose. Unlike in the basic game, different types of beans can be placed on one field in a duel. A new type of bean must always have the next higher value. After growing the hand cards, three cards from face-down piles are revealed and the person whose turn it is has to give away a bean from the middle or from their hand. This offer can be declined. In this case, the other person must make an undisclosed counter-offer. If a gift can be agreed upon, the next step is to plant the beans that were given and revealed. When the turn is over, two bean cards are drawn.

Another element that Bohnanza The Duel separate from the basic game are the bonus cards. Each player has three of these in his hand. These cards show combinations of bean varieties. As soon as this is on any bean field, you show the card and take it for your own point stack.

At the end, the thalers of the harvested beans and completed Bohnus cards as well as the pennies on the front of the Bohnus cards are added up and the person with the higher total wins.

Bohnanza The Duel successfully transfers the popular mechanism of the successful card game to a 2-player game. The high degree of interaction when giving away, where bluffing is also allowed, and the constantly changing composition of the hand cards in combination with the valuable bonus cards ensure a varied gaming experience for two.

A game takes about 45 minutes. The game is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Preview Product Rating Price
AMIGO Spiel + Freizeit Amigo 01658 Bohnanza duel, game AMIGO Game + Leisure Amigo 01658 Bohnanza Duel Game * 9,39 EUR

patchwork fabric

Patchwork is a Rosenberg board game for two players. Image: Lookout

To end the list, we find two aspects that have already been found in other titles. The game is again by Uwe Rosenberg and it is also in the Board game arena accessible. In patchwork fabric the players create the most beautiful but above all point-rich blanket out of various patches (polyominoes) on their personal 9×9 tableau.

The two game pieces of the players are on the central schedule. All patches are distributed around this. The pawn is placed clockwise in front of the smallest tile. If it is your turn, you can now buy one of the next three tiles in front of the character. Each patch costs buttons, which represent the game's "currency", and time. Time is "counted" on the central schedule, where the token advances that many steps. If you pass one of the button symbols, you get button income equal to the buttons that are on your own patches. Some fields also offer special patches that are exactly one field in size. These are very useful for plugging holes. Whoever is the first to completely occupy a 7×7 square receives the bonus tile, which is worth 7 buttons at the end.

It is always the turn of the person who is further down the timeline. So it can happen that one person is allowed to make several moves in a row. If you can't or don't want to afford any of the three available tiles, you can move onto the field exactly one step in front of your opponent's piece. Choosing this option grants button income equal to the steps drawn.

The game ends as soon as both have reached the target field. Now everyone has to pay 2 buttons for each empty field. Whoever has the most buttons wins the game.

The game of solitary puzzles on your own board is given an exciting degree of interaction thanks to the pull mechanism. You can "decide" which patches you want the other person to choose from. There is also a small "race" for the special patches, as these are almost indispensable for a closed ceiling.

If you don't like the look of the classic edition, you can choose from a variety of special editions, from A for Americana to W for Winter Edition, all of which have a different look. Patchwork is suitable for ages 8 and up and takes about 30 minutes to play.

Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API