Top 15 Best 2-Player Board Games for Adults Ranked

As we all know, board games aren’t just for kids anymore. Sometimes it’s hard to get an entire game group together for an epic gaming session and sometimes you don’t want to have to babysit the youngins.

There’s only one solution. You need a 2-player board game for adults. Now get your head out of the gutter — these aren’t just sexy-time games. These are board games that play well with 2 players and are complex enough to satisfy that gaming itch without an overly simplified experience. 

Today we’re scouring the shelves to find the best 2-player board games for adults you can play guilt-free. 

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best 2-Player Board Game for Adults

In a hurry? Check out our favorites below.

Best Cooperative

The Captain is Dead
For some goofy sci-fi action, The Captain is Dead is a fun romp through classic tropes and perfect for two.

Best Fantasy

War of the Ring (Second Edition)
War of the Ring is the classic struggle of good vs. evil. For an epic showdown between 2 players, War of the Ring delivers an amazing experience.

Best Overall

Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle is one of the best modern board games that have come out in recent years. It’s rich with strategy, theme and perfect for 2-players.

#1. War of The Ring

War of the Ring Board Game

An epic power struggle between good and evil, War of the Ring is not only a fantastic war game, it’s perhaps one of my favorite 2-player games of all time. 

Can you really find a more classic struggle than Tolkien’s fantastical world of Middle Earth

Each player controls either the Free People of Middle Earth or Sauron’s forces. What makes War of the Ring so intriguing is that it’s not just a large version of Risk with a board full of miniatures. Each faction has a distinct feel to it. Sauron’s armies are unending and powerful, yet his power base is within Mordor itself. Armies need to spread out across middle Earth and if given enough time will simply overwhelm everything in its path. 

The Free People of Middle Earth rest their hopes on the Fellowship reaching Mt. Doom and destroying the One Ring. Their numbers are limited but complete destruction of the enemy isn’t their goal. Their goal is to hold out long enough for the Fellowship to complete its task.

War of the Ring truly offers an incredible Lord of The Rings experience. The story is rewritten on the board in real-time. Members of the Fellowship can fall at any moment, pivotal battles that hold back the tide of orcs can be lost, and solitary units can hold back a bottleneck of forces. 

War of the Ring’s theme is perfectly suited for 2 players and creates one of the most thematic gaming experiences I’ve encountered.  

War of the Ring (Second Edition)
  • For 2 4 players
  • Takes about 2 hours to play
  • A massive 70 x 100cm Game Board in two sections, 16 Action Dice,...

#2. Twilight Struggle 

Twilight Struggle Board Game

As much fun as replaying the Cold War sounds, Twilight Struggle takes an underutilized period of world history and creates an incredibly atmospheric and historically sound board game. 

Unlike most games, thermonuclear war and the complete eradication of your enemies is not the goal. Players struggle to gain the most influence over a Cold War world in which the domino effect actually has consequences. Twilight Struggle is considered one of the best new modern board games. The various strategies and complexity of the game have actually led it to be played competitively worldwide.

Besides an incredible 2-player experience, players are also treated to perhaps one of the best historically researched boardgames I’ve ever seen.

Twilight Struggle
  • 2-player game
  • Great strategy game
  • Takes about 3 hours to play

#3. Star Wars: Rebellion

Star Wars Rebellion Board Game

A game of cat and mouse on a galactic scale, Star Wars: Rebellion lets players relive epic Star Wars moments in recreating the actual conflict between the evil Empire and the stalwart Rebels. 

Two players clash either as the indomitable Empire with endless resources or the Rebels launching guerilla strikes. Each faction has different strengths and weaknesses but it all blends together into an incredible showdown. 

Star Wars: Rebellion is another fantastic 2-player board game in which adults can really sit down and duel it out

Star Wars: Rebellion
  • A board game of epic conflict between the Galactic Empire and...
  • A classic Star Wars experience, in which the actions of a few...
  • Contains more than 150 plastic miniatures to represent your...

#4. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion Board Game Box and Cards

If you’re not ready to commit to the massive black hole that is Gloomhaven, you can try the prequel instead. You also won’t have to shell out $100 for this one or deal with a game box the size of the car. Jaws fo the Lion is a normal-sized board game that acts as a beginner’s guide to the world of Gloomhaven. It’s an easy a bite-sized version that’s much easier to play and won’t destroy your bank account. 

You’ll still have the nitty-gritty dungeon crawl experience with artwork and gameplay fans of the series can enjoy without dedicating an entire week to set up and tear down. 

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
  • Playable as a stand-alone game or as an expansion to Gloomhaven
  • Cooperative campaign game of tactical combat set in the...
  • Players will assume the roles of 4 new hardened mercenaries and...

#5. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Featured

I’m a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective series. The puzzles feel pulled straight out of an Arthur Conan Doyle novel, and I absolutely love the components. 

This is a fantastic game for a duo to pore over and flex their deductive mind muscles. Clues are scattered throughout the city, and with a gorgeous map of London and a copy of the post, players will need to decipher clues left behind and solve mysteries together. 

It’s an excellent way to spend an evening or to ponder over throughout the day.  

#6. Underwater Cities

Underwater Cities Board Game Box and Components

“Life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there.”

Underwater Cities is one of those games that works well at all player counts, from solo to 4 players, but with 2 players, the game really comes alive. 

Players compete to build their underwater havens using interconnected underwater domes. Each dome can support a number of facilities and it’s quite the balancing act to get the proper ratio of food, fresh water, and the all-important victory points. 

The board and artwork on the cards are beautifully designed reminiscent of the classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: A World Tour Underwater by Jules Verne.

Underwater Cities
  • For 1-4 players
  • Ages 13+
  • 90+ minute playing time

#7. Android Netrunner: The Card Game

Android: Netrunner Card Game Box, Components, and Expansions

For a cyberpunk game that will never disappoint, Netrunner throws down with the best of them. Netrunner is the classic struggle between prodigy hackers and corporate monsters. 

This deck-building living card game offers incredible abilities and strategy that 2-players  can explore together. Although it’s out of print, there’s a huge community still ready to hack megacorporations and it was popular enough in its heyday that there are still quite a few copies floating around. 

Android: Netrunner pits 2 players against each other. One plays as the brilliant hacker looking to take down the megacorporations that are running the world and the other as that very same megacorporation with near-limitless resources. 

Android: Netrunner
  • New life for the classic card game by Richard Garfield
  • High-stakes futuristic gambles and intrigues in a cyberpunk...
  • Exciting asymmetrical game play pits a corporation player against...

#8. Memoir ‘44 

Memoir '44 Board Game

Memoir ‘44 is a fantastic introduction to war board games. Memoir ‘44 falls into the category of game that plays amazingly with only 2 players. Not only that, but it’s one of the best gateway war games out there too.  

Two players face off across the battle line as commanders in this card-driven war game. Players submit orders to their troops to move and attack the enemy. Memoir ‘44 offers numerous historical scenarios and if that doesn’t keep you busy, there are plenty of expansions. 

If historical war games aren’t your thing you can also check out BattleLore, a fantasy-themed game that uses the same ruleset.

#9. Patchwork

Patchwork Board Game Box and Board

Patchwork has an odd theme but it’s a fantastic game with a lot of strategy involved. As you may imagine from the name, Patchwork is all about making the most beautiful quilt possible. That, of course, requires players to compete for the all-important victory points. 

This specifically-designed 2-player board game is easy to pick up and play and offers a lot of fun strategy. Players take turns buying patches for their quilt to place on their own 9×9 grid.

Patchwork
  • For 2 Players
  • 15 minute playing time
  • Abstract, strategy game

#10. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

Agricola All Creatures Big and Small Board Game

Agricola is one of the quintessential Euro games, and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is its smaller cousin. 

It’s a distilled version of Agricola that’s still rather complex for a 2-player variant. 

Each player starts with a little 3×2 plot of land that can be used to raise various animals. As the game progresses, more upgrades and more land to build on becomes available. Players familiar with the original Agricola will find it very familiar. 

All Creatures Big and Small plays in about 30 minutes and scratches the itch for a hardcore strategic Euro game in a small package.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
  • First expansion for best selling Agricola
  • New Mechanics and options

#11. The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet 

The Captain is Dead Board Game and Dangerous Planet Expansion Boxes

As the name implies, a ship crash-landed on an alien planet and the captain has met his/her unfortunate end. It’s up to the remaining crew to survive and get the heck out of dodge. 

In this cooperative game, players are boldly going straight into a dumpster fire. The captain is dead, aliens are attacking, and everything is awful. Luckily, the plucky crew is still alive and if they can just nab enough artifacts to satisfy fleet command, they can go home.  

It’s never that easy, though. 

The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet is the sequel game to the Captain is Dead and offers just as many horrifying situations for the crew. It plays excellently with two players and is a must for any sci-fi fan.

#12. Hive

Hive Board Game Box and Components

Hive hits a lot of 2-player lists, and there’s a reason for that. It has such a wide appeal of all age groups from children to adults, it’s highly strategic, and it can be played literally anywhere.
I really enjoy Hive and one of the best things about it is its portability.

The pieces consist of hard plastic so the entire thing can fit in a small carrying bag, and it can be played on any flat surface. I’ve traveled with my copy, and Kendra and I have sat at many pubs around the world playing it with a few (or more) pints. A game that is completely resistant to beer spills is rare indeed.

Hive
  • High quality
  • Soldier ants and grasshoppers
  • Made by Gen42 games Honored for excellence by Mensa select

#13. Jaws 

Jaws Board Game Box and Components

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

I was absolutely horrified to get in the water for weeks after seeing this movie and even as an adult, it’s still always in the back of my mind when I get into the ocean. 

Jaws the board game revisits classic Spielberg cinema with Hooper, Brody, and Quint. Jaws comes in 2 acts. The first is the hunt for the shark. One player takes control of the shark and attempts to eat as many swimmers as it can. The other controls the trio as they save swimmers, closes the beaches, and ultimately tags the shark with barrels to locate it. 

Act 2 is the iconic showdown between shark and man. The human players try to fend off the shark as it destroys the ship around them, circling for the kill. Depending upon how many swimmers the shark ate in Act 1 determines how many ability cards either side receives before the final showdown. 

Jaws is an incredibly thematic movie that translates beautifully into a 2-player game. The mind games between the shark and human player are some of the best I’ve seen and make for a great tabletop experience.

#14. Welcome to…

Welcome to... Your Perfect Home Board Game Art and Box

This is a bit of a silly one. 

Board game themes are known to run the gamut from high-energy fantasy and sci-fi to the absolutely mundane. Welcome to… falls into the latter. 

In Welcome to… the goal is to build the most successful suburban neighborhood. Players compete to see who can successfully construct a flourishing neighborhood and complete the public goal. Welcome to… offers fast-paced suburban action because players are simultaneously taking their turns together. 

It offers a lot of variable setups, so even with 2 players, you’ll have plenty of variety in this interesting game.

Welcome to... Your Perfect Home
  • 1 to 100 players
  • 25 minutes average playtime
  • Number of players: 1-100

#15. Fog of Love

Fog of Love Board Game Box and Game Components

Fog of Love is a couples game that doesn’t necessarily require a couple to play. Fog of Love is like a relationship-simulation board game. Players create their avatars to play out scenes of two potential lovers destined to cross paths. Whether they end up together in a fairy tale romance or fall apart faster than a bad Tinder date is entirely up to the players. 

Fog of Love is one of those games in which the story players create is more important than the actual gameplay. There is, however, a game behind this excellent story builder and a very definite way to win. 

Players find themselves in various odd situations that test their relationship. Whether the actual players are in a relationship or not isn’t necessary as the stories that come out of Fog of Love are like watching a really good rom-com, which is perfect for any 2-player group.

Fog of Love
  • Includes 1 rulebook, game board, 2 dual sided character cars, 2...
  • 2 custom token boxes to contain each players tokens
  • 1 custom organizer insert, 110 scenes, 4 love stories

Wrap-Up

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed our list of best 2-player board games for adults. Did your favorite make the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts on our picks and which ones you’ve tried too! Drop a comment below and let’s talk board games.