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Games that Are Worth Purchasing Solely for Playing Two-Player, but Are Capable of Supporting More Players
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I'm in the common situation of liking board games, not having the time and energy to join a game group, and playing mostly with my wife. There are a large number of great games made for two players, but usually they are smaller in scope than games that can accommodate more players.

This list is of games that are playable by 2 or more, but are worth purchasing solely to play as a two player game. If it does not "officially" support 2, but has a two player variant that makes it a worthwhile purchase, that is just fine. I don't want any games that only support two on the list, as those are obviously worth purchasing just for two players.

To be clear, for purposes of this list, it does not matter how the game plays with more than two players. It does not matter how many players it is "best" with. What matters is whether the game is worth purchasing only to be played with two players.

Other geeklists that are similar are here, but none are as comprehensive as this aims to be:

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/2816
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/984
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/14971

A particularly good list is here, with much more in depth commentary:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/14040

A geeklist with 2-player variants is here, which includes some of the variants discussed below:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/15749

Feel free to comment or add more games. I've added games that I think are worth purchasing just for two, and games that I haven't played, but appear from forum comments and other geeklists to be worthwhile.

May 2009: Edits made. I rearranged to put some of my favorite two player games on top. (dragging is annoying for large geeklists!)



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76. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:938]
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Here's one. There's only 2 sides, so it's almost "best" with 2, but it supports 3 and 4 players as well...
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77. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:280]
Susan F.
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
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The two-player variant of Bohnanza does an excellent job of "forcing" trading between the two players, making for an enjoyable hand-management game.
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78. Board Game: Blokus 3D [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:599]
 
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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Rumis is currently one of the favorite 2-player pure strategy games of me and my girlfriend, and also a great game for 3 and 4 players. It also has the advantage of quick-to-explain rules.
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79. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1311]
Tom Fisher
United States
Lakeville
Minnesota
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challenging with two players. I actually enjoy it with 2 rather than 4.
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80. Board Game: Palazzo [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1054]
Tim Loomis
United States
Austin
Texas
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An underrated game that works best with 2. As with all two player games, the person you play with can make all the difference ...
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81. Board Game: Zero! [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1461]
Guy Riessen
United States
Sebastopol
California
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Fantastic very abstracted aerial combat game that scales very well to more players. Campaigns (take about an hour) play great with 2 players, while dogfights (take about 15 minutes) play great with more players.
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82. Board Game: Silverton [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:935]
Guy Riessen
United States
Sebastopol
California
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One of the best "train games" out there for 2 players, but this one can be played with 1,2,3,4 players--only suffering some slowdown with more players. Highly recommended if the topic or game-genre interests you at all.
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83. Board Game: Whistling Death [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:1883]
Guy Riessen
United States
Sebastopol
California
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Perhaps the "heaviest" game on the geek, which while having MUCH shorter rules than ASL (80 pages for the full rules vs. hundreds for ASL), is far FAR more strategically and tactically complicated. There is an immense difference between wrapping your head around moving squads of soldiers around, and flying a plane in 3 dimensions trying to line up shots while moving a couple hundred miles an hour. But this plays extremely well with players flying 1v1 or 2v2 style dogfights, and adding more players just makes the furball bigger! It has great online support with scenarios and new plane data all the time.

Target audience is small (you have to be willing to let a 2 minute-in-real-time dogfight play out over a couple hours), but out of my entire collection this is probably my favorite 2-and-up player scaling wargame.
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84. Board Game: QUICKSingle Card Cricket [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Ian Cooper
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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Supposedly primarily a 4-player game, but it's at its best (and that's really good) as a two-player game.
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85. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1047]
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86. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:60]
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87. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:309]
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88. Board Game: The Napoleonic Wars [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1201]
Matthew Barratt
United Kingdom
Royal Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
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89. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:288]
David Reed
United States
College Station
Texas
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Yspahan is excellent with two players, if you use the special two player rules from Ystari. I have not yet tried it with more players, but I have heard that it is good with all numbers - it just has a different flavor based on number of players (more strategic with less, tactical with more).
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90. Board Game: Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:531]
Matthew Barratt
United Kingdom
Royal Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
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Despite a stated minimum of 3, it works well with 2.
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91. Board Game: Formula Dé [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:406]
chris carleton
Canada
bon accord
Alberta
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My wife and I race three cars each: easily manageable and makes for a six car race, which is at least what you need for an exciting race. We also use a point system for 1-6 place to force us to race all of our cars intelligently. Definitely worth getting as a game for two.
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92. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:167]
Clare C
United Kingdom
Unspecified
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This is good with 2. One player is the Overlord, the other plays 3 heroes. Cuts down on decisionmaking time and allows for a swift strike ninja
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93. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:482]
JessA
United States
Southwestern
Michigan
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A Gren Fox in lieu of Miss Turtle Artist's fox
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This is one of our favorites for two players. But can play four. Works with five pretty well, too, if you add your own components, not good with more.
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94. Board Game: Soldier Kings [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:3574]
guillaume dormoy
France
Besançon
Franche comté
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With two players, it is stractegic, with eight players, it is fun! Be carefull about minor country alliance and units restrictions.
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95. Board Game: Master Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1625]
Dean
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Plays great with 2, and can handle more. Probably better with 2 actually.
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96. Board Game: Quoridor [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:771]
Dean
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Another great two player game that can play with four. Again, probably better with just two.
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97. Board Game: Treehouse [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:4250]
Dean
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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My favourite boredom buster can handle many players, but I usually play with just two. If you frequently need to keep a young child entertained and don't have access to something bigger (say at a restaurant) this is a great purchase.
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98. Board Game: I Go! [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1749]
Kevin Cachia
United States
Springfield
Pennsylvania
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I'll toss Corsari on the list to make an even hundred.

I think this one's just spiffy as a two-player, much better than most rummy games. Since you can decide when to end the hand, the game of chicken you wind up playing really sparkles. I haven't tried it with more than 2, though I expect the diminished control you can exercise would really lower the fun for me. Aarrrrrr.
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99. Board Game: Iliad [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1158]
Chris Hansen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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This game p;lays much differently with two than it does with three. My wife and I quite enjoy playing it together, but also enjoy playing it with more people. With two players, there is no "Gorgon" round, which is probably just as well, and you can pass without leaving the game.

We bought this game specifically because it supported two or more players and have not been disappointed with it.
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100. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:82]
Per Trygve Myhrer
Norway
Trondheim
Unspecified
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This is the best game I have played with 2 players in the ticket to ride series.
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