Enjoy tile-laying games like “Alhambra” but don’t have a lot of time on your hands? “Kingdomino” is probably what you’re looking for and it’s family friendlier to boot. It supports 2-4 players & ages 8+ with an average play time of about 15 minutes. Essentially, players are trying to create a 5×5 grid and score the most points based on the size of their territories multiplied by the number of crowns that are on said territories. Turn order is determined by which tiles player choose in the future which is a neat feature that much-needed strategic element to a game like this. Special thanks to Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
“Unlocked: The Mansion of Mana’s” setting feels like it was heavily inspired by “Clue” and other similar murder mysteries in that you and other strangers arrive at an old Victorian mansion complete with separate invitations. Only here, you’re competing (as kids) to become Uncle Alfie’s apprentice by helping him get out of a plane of existence that he was caught in during his research of interplanar travel. Put simply, you’ll be unlocking rooms via ancient runic stones and the firs player to make it through the mansion will become his apprentice and win the game. Special thanks to Sean Howard from Good Knight Games for providing me with a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything featured here (included the rules) subject to change.
“Zero” has been around for a while (1998-ish?) and has gone through several printings. This particular printing by Blue Orange Games (designed by Reiner Knizia) draws a lot of similarities to “UNO” in the sense that you’re trying to score zero points. Instead of getting rid of all of the cards in your hand however, you’ll always maintain your hand size of nine. Your ultimate goal is to get five cards of the same color and five cards of the same number by swapping cards from a public pool. Special thanks to the folks at Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
I didn’t realize how cut-throat the food truck business actually was until I laid my hands on this game. “Truck Off – The Food Truck Frenzy”, a game that’ll be launching on Kickstarter in February 2017, is designed for 2-6 players and takes about 30 minutes to play. While the goal of earning the most money at the end of the game might sound simple, you’re going to be going up against competitors (other players) looking to seize the opportunities before them and put you out of business. I’d like to thank Adam Rehberg from Adam’s Apple Games, LLC for providing me with a prototype copy for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you read about in this article (including the rules) subject to change.
We consider ourselves a gamer-family, though there are plenty of times where only two of us are available for a game when we’d like to do something together. This, coupled with the suggestion from a friend that I make some sort of list, led me to this post.
The below is a list of my top-ten recommended two-player board games, though this list comes with a few caveats. For one, there’s no consideration to publication date. Secondly, I only listed games that I actually own. Lastly, there are PLENTY of games that work great as a two-player game but support more, however there were so many that I had to restrict my top ten list to two-player only games. I did include a few exceptions in the honorable mentions section and honestly wanted to list more than I did.
Are there better two-player games out there than the ones I listed? Probably…but again, there’s a good chance I’ve never played them (you know, because I’m human and all). The list is done in video format, so go brew some popcorn and microwave some coffee…or something…and enjoy the show! Links are provided here for your convenience, because I’m awesome that way.
At first glance I thought that “Element” would be confusing, what with the way each of the four elements behave. While there is a learning curve, all it’ll take is a couple of games to get a handle on what’s going on. Essentially, each player gets a sage piece and it’s up to you to entrap your target so that it can’t move. Doing so earns you the sweet taste of victory. Entrapping your opponent involves placing elements down around them and/or using your own piece as a roadblock for a possible venue of escape.
Would you be insulted if I told you that your hat was duller than a goat? Probably not, not unless you take your hats (or your goats) very seriously. Meet “Argle Bargle”, the insult generating card game where your goal is to sap the life from your opponents through the clever use of insults. This game will be campaigning on Kickstarter in January of 2017 should you wish to get in on the fun. Before we begin, I’d like to thank Game Creator Zeke Brill for providing me with a limited edition prototype for preview purposes. While my prototype looked fantastic, it’s important to stress that they aren’t usually representative of the final product.
“Liar’s Dice” isn’t exactly a new game, though the 30th Anniversary Edition just rolled its way onto the market for around $20-$30 depending on where you shop. It’s bidding, bluffing, and dice-rolling all in one game and let me tell you…it’s fantastic! I opted to do my review in video form, so check out the below video to see my thoughts. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out my Amazon browser on the right sidebar. If they don’t have it there, try Miniature Market (where I purchased the game from).
It’s been a while since I’ve personally seen a good Mafia-esque game. As a person of Italian decent myself, I can appreciate games themed in such a way even if I don’t go around shaking down my next door neighbors for protection money. “Goons and Gats” is looking for your help on Kickstarter right now, though you can buy it on the Gamecrafter as well if you don’t want to wait.
You may not think it, but “Connect 4” can be quite a challenging game. “Brix” takes it to the next level, introducing both colors and symbols to satisfy a player’s victory condition. One player receives both a symbol (X or O) and a color (orange or blue) and if they can manage to get four in a row of either, they win. Some blocks of your color may have symbols belonging to your opponent, so it’s easy to help them out if you’re not careful. The game supports two players at ages seven and up with an average play time of ten minutes. Special thanks to the folks at Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes. I opted to do my review in video form, so check out the below video to see my thoughts. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out my Amazon browser on the right sidebar.
So, you think you’re unparalleled in the game of “Jenga“, do you? Perhaps your dexterity skills need a bit more of a challenge? Why not give “Kaboom” a spin and see how well you do building up towers for points while others try to knock them down with their catapults? Don’t fancy someone messing with your creations? That’s OKAY! In the next round, you’ll be the one firing the shots and creating destructive mayhem. It supports two to five players at ages six and up and has an average play time of about twenty minutes. Special thanks to the folks at Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes. I opted to do my review in video form, so check out the below video to see my thoughts. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out my Amazon browser on the right sidebar.
I used to enjoy reading the “Highlights” magazines when I was a kid, especially the “can you spot the difference between the two pictures” section. “Pinpoint!” plays along with that theme. Each card has 5 images on it…one Original image and four with variations. Players use process of elimination to locate the Original by pointing out differences in the other four pictures. It’ll challenge both kids and adults alike, guaranteed. It supports one to six players at ages seven and up with an average play time of ten minutes. Special thanks to the folks at Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes. I opted to do my review in video form, so check out the below video to see my thoughts. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out my Amazon browser on the right sidebar.
Who doesn’t like a good mind-teaser? In this two player game for ages seven to adult with an average play time of ten minutes, players will be snapping U-shaped blocks onto an ever-changing three-dimensional shape in an attempt to surround one of their colored dots to win the game. It’s not as confusing at it sounds, but it will make you scratch your head a bit as you attempt to out thwart your opponent. Special thanks to the folks at Blue Orange Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes. I opted to do my review in video form, so check out the below video to see my thoughts. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out my Amazon browser on the right sidebar.
100 orbital points is all you’ll need to win this game but in reality, it’ll take you a bit of luck and brain power to get there. “Orbital”, a 2-4 player card game that’s presently being sold on The Game Crafter, has a relatively simple premise but is pretty engaging at the same time. In short, you’ll be playing orbs of different colors in front of you which you can later activate for their special abilities, though doing so will force you to discard it from play. This is key, as orbital cards, the very thing that scores you orbital points, requires orbs. Before I go any further, I want to thank Game Creator Doug Clelland for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
While I’m all in favor of games that have an average play time of less than a half-hour, there are days where I long to sink my teeth into a game that’s both meaty and heavy. “Feudum”, an upcoming Kickstarter project, looks like it’ll fit that bill and then some. Per the Kickstarter campaign page, “Feudum mechanics include action programming, area influence, hand management and a unique economic ecosystem. The game features the kinds of strategic complexities found in deeper games such as Terra Mystica, Brass, Caylus and Dominant Species.” Like I said…meaty and heavy.
So I recently published the 2016 DGA Awards and got to thinking: “Will people just take my advice and go out and buy the games I listed without any thought to whether or not they’d be a good fit for their family?” Experienced gamers who know their way around the board, I figured, would be OK in that regard. Newcomers, on the other hand, may be a bit overwhelmed by the games I had listed should they rush out to buy them. To that end, I came up with a short list of games that I feel would be idea for beginners to play. There’s more out there, obviously, but the below should get you started.