compiled mostly from rec.games.board


Africa  Rio Grande Games  2001
Africa  Goldsieber  2001

First, understand that I think Africa is a terrific game, regardless of how many play. Having said that, I think it is best for three, works GREAT for two, is still solid with four, and is acceptable with five. This is a light strategy game with a significant luck element that still has plenty of room for tactics (base camps, nomads, gold/diamond collection, should I even flip a tile?), but you obviously get fewer chances to act (and thus, less control) with more players. Which is why I like the game better near the low end of the spectrum. The 2-player game doesn't have the scoring diplomacy of the multiplayer (specifically with regard to gold and diamond majority/minority scoring), but it makes up for it with action - with around 80-90 tiles to flip (usually 2 per turn per player, sometimes 1 or 0), you get in a good number of turns. And the lightness of it all (though I believe the game will support heavy thinking) keeps the thing humming along at a nice clip. I always enjoy playing this one.

[Dave Arnott, '04]

Africa is a game of maximizing your points with each move - and what it loses as a 2 player game (for not having as many battles for specific areas), it gains in speed of play and sheer brinkmanship. I like it better with more, but it works fine with 2 and is a very enjoyable game.

[Mark Jackson, '04]

Africa is good with two players. I do like it just a little better with more players. With more players, there are more choices on each turn.

[Jim Bolland, '04]


Master Labyrinth  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  1991
aMAZEing Labyrinth,The  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  1986

Another we enjoy with just 2 (and playable with up to 4) is Master Labyrinth.

[Glenn Kuntz, '02]

Aargh! How could I forget that one! My wife really likes Master Labyrinth. I think it's good with any number of players (2, 3, or 4). While I like Master Labyrinth better, some people like The A-Maze-ing Labyrinth better. I don't think you can go wrong either way.

[Jim Bolland, '02]


Atlantic Star  Queen Games  2001
Showmanager  Queen Games  1997

Atlantic Star is one of my favorite games to play two-player. When I first played that way, I didn't dig the idea of each player controlling two colors (symbols), because I'm less than fond of two-player variants that make you muck around with dual sides. But things aren't like that in Atlantic Star. Your extra colors act as a logical extension to your single "side," and not as a separate entity. In fact, they give you more things to do, and it makes for an even better game. (Note: this is also the case when playing with three players). With two players, a player has to take out more loans in order to beat his opponent's score. This adds decisions without increasing playing time. Often, there's a critical point where you must decide whether to give up a good-but-not-great score in order to get more money, or to stick with the good score and risk settling in poorville (one block away from Screwed City). Also, with two players, you almost have to aim for getting bonuses for completed routes, which means a lot more "flushing" of the Charter Board, which leads to a frantic dig-your-own-grave feeling while you're waiting for some *&(?#-ing good cards to finally come up. Lastly, taking a Royal Williams becomes a difficult discoing, because doing so may be a liability, knowing your opponent will likely complete his route with a better ship.

[Mike Mayer, '04]

Atlantic Star works very well for two players. A concept of "neutral tours" is sort of incorporated into the rules for 2, 4 and 5 players, so that the total number of tours is always 6. Thus this game should work equally well with 2 as with any other number of players.

[Henrik Berg, '04]

I think that Showmanager plays even better with two than with more people, since there is less luck involved: With increasing number of players, the probability decreases that an actor you'd like to hire on your next turn will still be available then, i.e. the more players, the less you can plan. It still involves a lot of luck with two players, but my wife and I have enjoyed dozens of two-player games of Showmanager so far.

[Holger Peine, '00]


Attika  Rio Grande Games  2003
Attika  Hans im Glück Verlag  2003

My main gripe about this game multiplayer is that someone can (and usually does) "sneak" in a connection win because another player - not you - wasn't paying attention, or even worse, chose not to do anything about it. Well, that disappears in the two-player game. If the other player connects, you've got no one to blame but yourself. So now, with the "sneak win" removed, what's left is this great, solid game for two. As a multiplayer I think this one is just okay (though many people are just crazy for it), but it turns out to be a real winner when played with two.

[Dave Arnott, '04]

I think Attika is great for 2.

[Simmy Peerutin, '04]

IMHO Attika is one of the best 2-player games - the only other games that have held such a long sway for Tim and I have been Durch die Wuste, Dvonn and Morisi (OK, Go also). I must admit to being biased here - I've only ever played Attika as 2-player. Plays very well indeed and is our current game of choice. We've probably played about 15 games over the last few weeks and consider ourselves as still learning.

[Brian ?, '04]

Attika is an intriguing mechanism which doesn't really feel much like city-building (any more than Carcassonne) but still manages to be a nice little game. I refuse (much like Carcassonne) to play it with more than 2 players, as the speed of the game is better and there's no wacky diplomacy issues - you either see the move or you don't.

[Mark Jackson, '04]

Attika is very good with any number of players, including just two. In fact, I'd find it difficult to decide if any particular number of players is best.

[Jim Bolland, '04]


Attila  Rio Grande Games  2000
Attila  Hans im Glück Verlag  2000

Played a 2-player game of Attila tonight and had a great time with it! Unlike a lot of multi-player games that claim to be playable with two-players, this one worked really well and we both really enjoyed it. Understand that it takes on a bit of a "race" aspect and much of the game is spent trying to "outrun" each other on the separate influence board (lots of neck-and-neck moments), but it is still a lot of fun. I'm really starting to find that there's more to this game than meets the eye! A good 'un!

[Scott Alan Woodard, '01]


Big City  Goldsieber  1999

We tried Big City 2 player last week, and it worked very well. The 2 player version offers more control, more opportunities to build special buildings, and more chances to create high point playing situations. Time is roughly the same as the 4-5 player game (60 minutes).

[Mark Jackson, '99]

I've played it three times with my wife (just the two of us) and it's been a big hit. Quite tactical, and you could perhaps think about your turn too much, but it works for us. The lovely bits help a lot; you could almost hear "Skywatch One reporting heavy traffic" (sorry, obligatory SimCity reference).

[Michael Tsuk, '99]

The game is card driven, i.e. you need cards to place buildings on the specified lots. With two players you have a pretty good idea where the cards are, because if you don't have certain cards (e.g. factories and parks) then it's a pretty good bet your opponent has them. This leads to all sorts of tactical plays where you try and protect sites you have big plans for (e.g. a shopping centre) from parks and factories. Additionally, the timing of city hall, trams and extra city blocks becomes important - do you spend a turn on these now, or later. Later? It may be too late and your opponent has jumped in and ruined your plans. For me, it works really well as a two player game.

[Doug Adams, '99]

It's a pretty good game with two. I particularly like it because it's not a two-player abstract. That is, there's not perfect information, which is the hallmark of the standard two-player abstracts. I like that aspect because I suck at those types of games. Anyway, I enjoy this one. It's a refreshing break from the standard two-player game formula.

[Derk Solko, '99]


Can't Stop  Franjos Spieleverlag, Franz Josef Herbst  1991
Can't Stop  Parker Brothers  1980

Can't Stop is a good, fast, simple, fun, tense two-player game. Just play until a player has 5 columns instead of just 3. In addition it's a good 3 and 4 player game.

[Brandon Einhorn, '00]

Terrific dice-rolling game from Sid Sackson that works with any number of players. With two players we usually play four columns to win instead of three.

[Dave Arnott, '99]

Designed for up to 4 players, but plays just fine with 2. This game is still printed in Germany, but the older [better -Dave] American version can be found at thrift shops.

[Greg Schloesser, '99]


Carcassonne  Rio Grande Games  2000
Carcassonne  Hans im Glück Verlag  2000

I have done the unimaginable! I think my wife is turned onto Carcassonne! I got her to play a couple times the other night just her and I. Tonight we played again just us two! Carcassonne is a good game in general and it has enough luck that my wife and I can play and it not be a constant slaughter. She actually was stealing points from me tonight, which was rather impressive to see her "gaming." I highly suggest Carcassonne to others trying to break in a spouse/newbie to gaming. It is strategic enough to be interesting to you and easy enough for your opponent(s). Also the game plays 2-5 and scales well. I have played it with 2,3 and 5 players and it has worked great with any number so far.

[Michael Godfrey, '01]

Everyone says it plays great with 2, and it does. Well enough to be one of the stars of the two-player group. The one drawback is that the box size sort of impacts its portability. It's a little too big to easily stuff into a backpack on the way to work, but I can do it. Rating: 8 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]

Carcassonne is a really excellent two player game, especially if you diminish the luck factor somewhat by increasing the strategy: start each player off with 3 (or 4, or 5) tiles that they keep hidden from the other player; on your turn, play one of your tiles and draw another to replenish your hand. As a game that can be played with more than two, it can easily get overlooked as a valid two player game (and in fact, I much prefer Carcassonne with two players than any other number, though it works fine for more than two).

[Nathan Sanders, '03]

A great two player game. My wife enjoys this one.

[August de Vries, '02]

Very easy to learn, relaxing to play, each game lasts only about 20 minutes, beautiful to look at, and only costs about 15-20 bucks. I can't recommend this one enough - I could play it every day. It is a wonderful game that I think is actually best with only 2 players.

[Robert Martin, '01]

I didn't really like Carcassonne until I started playing it with two players.

[Mike Shuck, '01]


Carcassonne - Hunters & Gatherers  Rio Grande Games  2002
Carcassonne - Die Jäger & Sammler  Hans im Glück Verlag  2002

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers makes for an excellent 2-player game, which is less luck dependent than standard Carcassonne (in my opinion the tiles are better balanced and the endgame less dominant). The only game getting more two-player play in my family is rummy (which my sister just loves to kick me around in).

[Bill Nitsche, '03]

I think the *new* Carcassonne (Hunters & Gatherers) is even better for 2 players than the original.

[Joe Casadonte, '03]


Careers  Parker Brothers  1957

I LOVE Careers and think it works just as well for two as for three or four. But part of my fondness for the game is personal. Plus I think it's cool that you get to essentially set your own victory conditions and that, on another level, it's also a nice dime-store psychology personality test (What is your formula for success? More love than money? Do you value money as much as fame? etc.). The game is not for everyone, but I have found that most people who dislike the game have NOT played the original version of it. For some reason they "rewrote" the game board and changed a few things so as to really ruin game play. You want the game board that has the Uranium Prospecting path, not the one with Mountaineering.

[Dave Arnott, '99}

Yep... the old version was best. We played it the other night as an "end-of-evening" game.... first time in years. It is still quite fun.

[Randy Simcox, 99]


Carolus Magnus  Winning Moves  2000

I can recommend Carolus Magnus as a very beautiful and enjoyable 2 person game. Some luck, some strategy - overall suited my tastes since it is not completely strategic (causing one to attempt to outsearch your opponent on each move for the best play, and thus creating long turns of silence)

[Dave Green, '00]

While not strictly a two player game Carolus Magnus is an excellent two player experience. My wife loves it. Highly recommended.

Well, my love at first sight with this game has already run the course. Having played well over twenty times I can finally see the game for what it is. A dice fest. The game is just place three blocks to best keep control, which means luckiest dice rolls win since you have no control over what blocks you get to work with. Plus, if one person refuses to play any pieces to the board and stick strictly with a fight for color control the opponent has no choice but to do the same. Even one or two plays to the board gives the other enough of a lead to hold onto color control which has ALWAYS ended in victory. We've played numerous games with one person doing nothing but laying down for control and the other trying ways to counter. In the end it's always futile. It doesn't matter how many you play to the board if you don't control the color when it matters. This is with two players. I have not tried it with three so maybe there's hope, as the game mechanics still intrigue me and I would like to get the love affair going again.
[Nick Danger, '00]

But there are lots of other decisions which affect the outcome (choice of what disk to play, choice of where to move the king, choice of how to assign wild dice rolls). In particular, the fact that you get to decide which color to assign to the wild dice rolls seems to contradict your idea that you have "no control over what blocks you get to work with". I do agree (of course, as in every dice game I've played) that it's possible to get bad rolls which prevent you from winning.

[David desJardins, '00]

I think Carolus Magnus is one of the best two-player games I've seen. The key is not to fix your strategy on what you hope to get, but modify it constantly based on your current resources, and take opportunities where you find them. Play to the flow of the game, not to a fixed concept. Great game!

[Rob Derrick, '00]

Big thumbs up. I've only played the 2 player version so far but it is very fun. Lots of great bits and plays a bit like El Grande but a bit lighter. Still, lots of decisions and a dash of luck highlight this gem. I'd give it a solid 8 based on my first 5 playings.

[Dave Bernazzani, '00]

Make that TWO Big Thumbs up! I've really enjoyed playing this game. You really have to keep an eye on several areas at the same time; your opponent's reserve, the numbered disks played (or not played), where the majorities are, where the emperor is, which territories/regions are vulnerable etc.. It has many features reminiscent of El Grande, but this game is easier to learn, plays faster and is much better with two players. However, like El Grande, Carolus Magnus can cause a player to suffer from information overload! There is so much to keep track of that it can be difficult to know exactly what to do. Also, the tactical situation is very fluid; changing constantly. I've only played the two player version. This game is a must buy. I rate it a 9 (maybe a 10!).

[Eddie Campisano, '00]

Carolus Magnus is an exceptional game. The strategies, which are already varied and fascinating in the two player game, get even
better when you add another player. Carolus Magnus may be the best three player game available. A worthwhile purchase.

[Scott Reeves, '00]

What a great game! Reminiscent of some of Reiner Knizia's best games (particularly DDW). The tension between trying to keep up with the opponent in all areas whilst making enough headway to score points, and the "I want to do 5 things, I'm only allowed to do 2" factor had me wondering if the good doctor was using a pen-name to try to secure his first SdJ! Both my partner and I loved this one. For two, it's got enough theme and action to avoid being labeled too dry or abstract. The three-player version looks even better. Straightforward to play, we picked the rules up in no time (although they weren't always written in the most easily-understood way, and there are a couple of points they could have been clear(er) on). Definitely one for the El Grande/El Cab fans. Oh, great bits as well. Didn't like the title much (but Charlemagne was already taken). Not sure about the 4 player game, either (haven't actually tried it, you understand). Partnerships in games aren't really my cup of tea - when I win, I want *all* the glory to myself, thank you :-)

[Richard ??, '00]


Cartagena  Venice Connection  2000
Cartagena  Rio Grande Games  2000
Cartagena  Winning Moves  2000

I've played Cartagena with 2,3,4,5 players and It played very well every time. The 2 player was surprisingly good. It developed into a game of cat and mouse and the endgame was very tense.

[Boomer, '02]

I think it's terrific with 2, either open or closed card holdings. It's great with 3 as well, but I like 2 the best. Although intially I really enjoyed the game, it quickly wore out it's welcome (we always played with 4 or 5). I then tried it with 2 and 3 on http://youplay.it and fell in love with it again.

[Chris Lohroff, '04]

I've also played this a bunch online, and it reminds me somewhat of two-player Ticket to Ride: Players slowly advance in the game, building up a horde of cards while doing so, then *BAM* cards go flying as you both race towards the end. There's more bluffing involved in two-player Cartagena as you'll sometimes advance a guy solely to see whether the opponent jumps on the opportunity to leapfrog you -- an opportunity you're primed to take advantage of as well. The ability to read an opponent's hand is critical as you want to find safe spots to advance to. In sum, not too meaty but great for ten minutes.

[W. Eric Martin, '04]

Eric's observations are spot on. I've played Cartagena both ways, and for two, the Jamaica "hidden cards" version is the one I think works best. Of course, I prefer to play that way with ANY number of players, as the other "open info" version can really slow the game down. On the other hand, the "open info" game with two can be quite tactical (almost too much so), which may be your thing. Either way, the game does, in fact, work well with two.

[Dave Arnott, '04]


Castle  Eurogames / Jeux Descartes  2000

Decent with 2, better with 3. It has its chaotic moments (thanks Bruno!) but I'm OK with that. The interplay of the cards is very interesting, and there's some real strategy you can try to employ to use the card effects to your best advantage. Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]


Citadels  Fantasy Flight Games  2002
Ohne Furcht und Adel  Hans im Glück Verlag  2000

How does it play? Great! I like it even better with two (or with three, where again each player chooses two characters, but no characters are discarded apart from the initial and the final card) than with 4+ players. It's more tactical (though still not predictable), less chaotic, and an added opportunity for tactics is to plan your move for *both* your characters ahead (e.g. first get gold as the merchant, then spend that on several buildings as the builder).

[Holger Peine, 00]

I love this game with either 2 or 3 players, or with a full group. This versatility makes it probably my favorite "non traditional" card game of all time. I think I prefer it with 2 players, though, in part because of the minimal down time. The challenge of trying to outthink your opponent here continues to work even with only two players. Tense and fun at the same time. You can get a complete game done in less than 30 minutes when playing with 2 or 3. With a full group of 5 to 7 you'll spend up to 90 minutes playing a game. Hans im Gluck components are far better, but the Fantasy Flight set includes expansion characters. Do like I did and buy both. The only pure card game I rate a 10.

[David Vander Ark, '00 & '03]

I think this game plays so well for two, that I won't play it multiplayer anymore! How can I go back to having only one character? In the two-player game, if one of your characters gets assassinated, your other character still gets a turn, so you're not just sitting there watching other people play. Not only that, but because it's just you and your opponent, no longer will the Assassin attempt to hit the leader and kill you by mistake - the assassinations are less random and consequently more strategic. Choosing characters first or second - both have advantages - is more important now and thus the King becomes more valuable than in the multiplayer game. What's amazing is that the game is just as fun, if not more so, with only two, retains all of its mechanics and feel, and plays in about half the time. Why *wouldn't* you play this two-player?

[Dave Arnott, '01]

I'll second other people's choice of Citadels as a 2-player and more game. I believe I might actually prefer the 2p version, but as the developer has mentioned in the past (or maybe it was on the game's website), it really is almost 2 different games within one box. The interaction and the dynamics in the 2p game is much different than with more people.

[Mike Felts, '03]


Clocktowers  Jolly Roger Games  2004

Clocktowers is far better with only 2 or 3, and it particularly shines with 2. I've played it a few times with 4, and the game still works but you don't get many actions at all. And it is just a bit too hard to track what colors folks are picking up.

[Frank Branham, '04]


Condottiere  Eurogames / Descartes Deutschland  1995

My wife and I have played 2-player Condottiere many times. It actually works quite well. Why? Because the Drum, Bishop, Winter, and Key cards add a whole lot of strategy to what cards you play and when. In many rounds, all the cards aren't played in a single battle because of the intervention of one of the above-mentioned cards. Quite often we play for two or three cities before running out of number cards. There's definitely more to it than just laying down your cards.

[Robert L. Jones, '98]

I've played it with 2,3,4,5 and 6, and had a blast in every case. It can go a bit long with experienced players, but I still think it is a fabulous game, and has hooked my wife and other non-gamers.

[Randy Monk, '98]


Corsari  Dal Negro  2003
Corsari  Rio Grande Games  2003
Corsari  Piatnik & Söhne  2003

Corsari is also a very nice 2 player rummy variant... my wife has now trounced me at it twice in two weeks, and actually asked to play it again.

[Mark Jackson, '04]

I will chime in with Mark's recommendation of Corsari as a good two-handed game. My mom was quite charmed by it in July (beating me in a long, seesaw battle to 100) and added a copy to her own collection. Another point worth making is that, using the rules as written, as players are eliminated from the game one by one upon reaching 100, even if you start with four you will usually finish up in a two-player Corsari game.

[Stven Carlsburg, '04]


Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1996
Daytona 500  MB  1990

Daytona 500 works superbly as a two-player game. Detroit/Cleveland is lame at any number, and only slightly more tolerable with two. Throwing these two together just because they have the same card system does a serious disservice to Daytona 500.

[Stven Carlberg, '00]

I agree with Stven, by the way. I much prefer Daytona 500 to Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix., though I don't think the two-player version of Daytona works as well as the multiplayer version. But it is fun, still, with only two - especially trying to hold that huge hand of cards!

[Dave Arnott, '00]

I've played it several times 2-player. It works quite well -- in fact, I think I'll give it another go soon. I can't quite recall what we did about auctions -- I think we just did them as provided for in the rules. Each player ends up with 3 cars.

[Chuck Messenger, '98]

I'll echo Chuck on this one... it works great for two players... although I still enjoy trying to convince someone else to speed me to victory in a 6 player game.

[Mark Jackson, '98]


Through the Desert  Fantasy Flight Games  2000
Durch die Wüste  Kosmos  1998

Like the box says, this game is really as great with two players as it is with more. You play with less camels on a smaller part of the board, so you still have to watch out a game doesn't end too soon or too late (to your disadvantage, that is). Because of the smaller board, its is not easy to claim many hexagons without your opponent being able to mess it up.

[Peter Hein van Mulligen, '00]

Through the Desert plays very quickly for two players -- it'll make you want to play two out of three -- plus it's still recognizable as Through the Desert.

[Stven Carlberg, '01]

Two-player Through the Desert is not bad at all. Maybe you could say that it's a completely different game, like two-player Tigris & Euphrates, but IMHO it works very fine. Of course it gets much more cerebral and "go-like", since you're playing against yourself as much as your opponent.

[Stefano Gaburri, '01]

It plays equally well with two as with three, four, or five. (Plus it has cool plastic camels!)

[Tucker, '01]

It plays fine with 2 player, BUT, there are other games that play better with two. Maybe if you played the two player game using two colors that might prove to be more interesting. Your decision making is more limited with 2 players. It will work, if you are looking for a light-weight version of Go. I think Knizia's Olix is a better choice for 2, however.

[Richard Hutnik, '00]

Yes, works well with two (just got DdW recently, and have put it to the test)

[Pete Clinch, '00]

It plays very well with two, but then I am biased ^_^ I tend not to like two player games that much but I think this is one of the better multi player games that works with two, i.e. a lot of them claim to play with two but result in a duller if not unplayable game. Games like DDW and Samurai *actually* work with two (as do nearly all of the Reiner multi player games that claim to go down to two players). As with many of these, it becomes a more serious game as you have
better control over what happens, so it will depend on what sort of games you like.

[Chris Lawson, '00]


El Caballero  Hans im Glück Verlag  1998

I actually prefer El Caballero as a two-player game rather than a multiplayer game.

[Bill Campbell, '99]

Like Bill, I also prefer this as a two-player game. With more players, it is very hard to plan your actions, and things can get a bit random. It is very easy for players to gang up on a single opponent! Although the rules do not state it, I'd recommend to let the number of available tiles depend on the number of players. Use five tiles with four players only, but with two players, it's best to use only three tiles.

[Peter Hein van Mulligen, '00]

I agree that El Caballero plays very well with 2 players. It is at least as good as the multiplayer version and may, ultimately, wind up as my preferred way of playing this game.

[Larry Welborn, '99]


Elfenland/Elfengold  Rio Grande Games  1999
Elfenland  AMIGO Spiel + Freizeit GmbH  1998

It's far better with more, but I've played a half-dozen 2-player games of Elfenland and found it works just fine - even using the whole board. We have even achieved all 20 markers on more than one occasion. The interaction level is definitely lower with 2 players, but still enjoyable.

[Dave Bernazzani, '99]

I would disagree. My wife absolutely loves Elfenland; but after one 2-player game she decided that 3 was the minimum needed. Yes, you can play with 2 players but to us the game wasn't very fun. Not too much interaction as each player tends to do her own thing.

[Larry Welborn, '99]

Elfenland has been played 6 times since its introduction a week ago. Part of the reason for the quick replay (besides it being fun) is that I won the first 4 games by two points or less and my wife wanted to beat me. She won the last two. And if history teaches me anything, it is that I will have to plan future strategies carefully, while learning to adapt to new situations, if I am to win again. There seems to be a lot of room for this in Elfenland. It's a good game for two and I look forward to playing with more.

[Matt S., '98]

In 2-player Elfenland, the board is too sparse. This means that there is very little interaction - it's relatively rare that you can make use of the other player's travel counters, or mess them up by placing the "wrong" counter in their intended path. So we went ahead and tried a 2-player variant: we halved the size of the board. We just folded the board in half, and used the side with Grangor, Jaccaranda, etc. This board half seemed to have the most balanced terrain types. We each drew 4 counters and 8 cards per round, as usual. However, we placed 2 tokens of each player color per city. We chose a start city at random (by flipping the top city card -- after removing the unused cities). We then dealt a city card to each of us, as per usual. The game played very much like the normal game, except that interaction was much more common, and decisive. It seemed to work quite well having 2 tokens per city. You could choose to sweep one part of the board at a time, or to do two complete circuits. Another twist was that there were two "doglegs". In the normal game, there is just one (i.e. a city which has only one access link -- you must enter and exit through the same link). This worked out quite well -- it was a difficult decision as to whether to attempt to clean out one or both of these doglegs. It was much more satisfactory than the standard 2-player version of the game. Far more interactive.

[Chuck Messenger, '98]


Entdecker  Goldsieber  1996

Entdecker is sometimes maligned as being too random, but with only two people each player tends to have more control over the construction of islands in spite of the random tile draw.

[Bob Scherer-Hook, '98]

I also would add Entdecker - in fact many suggest it is better as a two player game than it is for 3 or 4.

[Cafe Jay, '97]

Entdecker works well for 2 players.

[Rich Shipley, '96]


Tigris & Euphrates  Mayfair Games, Inc.  2000
Euphrat & Tigris  Hans im Glück Verlag  1997

Euphrat & Tigris is different as a two player game, but still very good. More abstract in feel, but no less challenging. Worth trying.

[Mike Siggins, '98]

Tigris and Euphrates is good for two, though not quite as good as for three or four. What is lost is the necessity of deciding which amongst your foes you can best afford to help or hinder -- of course this is generally true of any reduction to two players -- but Tigris for two is still a good game with generally the same wide range of tactical opportunities and possible strategic lines to pursue.

[Stven Carlberg, '01]

When Reiner playtested the game with two he found that it worked very well hence the reason the box states the game is playable with 2 to 4. It does play differently because you have so much control over events, so it becomes more 'chess-like'. You can be sure that if a Reiner game says it plays with 'n' then it does work with 'n'.

[Chris Lawson, '00]

2-player E&T is faster (45 minutes to 1 hr), more 'go-like', and will tend to produce run-away games the first couple of times you play. As you get better, though, you learn how to use either unification conflicts or monuments to produce big point swings so that a lead is never safe. This produces extremely interesting and tense games.

[Tom Lehmann, '98]

I agree with Tom, the first couple of games of this we played *were* blow-outs, but once we "got" it, this was a nice, solid two-player game. Plus, you already have it in your game collection already, don't you? One of the few games that says "from 2 to 4 players" and makes good on the promise. Recommended.

[Dave Arnott, '99]

My wife and I used to play 2-player E&T when it first came out. We've played 20 times or so before moving on to some other game. Besides those games vs. my wife, I have played another 40-50 times at boardgamegeek. IME, 2-player E&T feels quite different from 3 and 4-player E&T. 2-player is a rather brutal and bloody game, where if you lose big early you can find it very difficult to catch up, and if you have a way to hurt your opponent you should often do so. At boardgamegeek, I have met many players who have lots of multiplayer experience but were trying 2-player (vs me) for the first time. Some of them end up really enjoying it like I do, but the others would say "hmm... that was, well, interesting, now let me get back to 3 and 4-player E&T!" :)

[Anthony Kam, '03]

I have played several 2-player games of this (actually more games with 2 then with more players) and most of our games have been quite full of conflict or of 'mixed' kingdoms. One player eventually builds a monument in order to increase his rate of gaining points, and that is the cause of conflicts, as the other player tries to take control (temporarily or permanently) of that monument by external or internal conflict. Quite a good 2-player game.

[Ola Hansson, '98]

I have heard that the Mayfair version listed the game as 3-4 players. This is a mistake. The German version listed the game as 2-4 players and it works very well with 2. My wife and I have played this at least 20 times with just the two of us, and we both enjoy this game a lot with 2 players. Highly recommended.

[Anthony Kam, '00]

E&T is a bit weak for 2 players - the game has tendency to be runaway. Once a battle is joined, the winner can get a boatload of points and loser has to waste an action to place his leader back on the board. This tends give one player a lead making it harder for his opponent to come back.

[Richard Irving, '98]


Express  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1990

Another nice game for 2 is Mayfair's Express. It's best for two pairs of partners, but as it is really a hand-management game, it does not lose much if only played by 2. The hand management problems can be maddening at times and the comebacks dramatic. A single hand lasts 15-20 minutes and entire game is over at 100. Much more fun than Mille Bornes or Touring.

[Richard Heli, '99]


Filthy Rich  Wizards of the Coast  1998

Interesting game mechanics (the "board" is a ring binder containing 4 CCG card sheets). Objective: Get rich and buy luxuries; the first player to buy three luxuries wins the game. Players launch business by placing business signs in the numbered card sleeves of the binder and roll dice to determine income (and taxes) for launched businesses. Small amounts of money can also be made by playing action and asset cards. Works great for 2 and is a lot of fun. With two players, the playing time is shorter than in the multiplayer version; one game takes about 30 minutes.

[Stefanie Kethers, '99]

A slightly-flawed multiplayer game that is actually quite terrific for two. But with fixes. We recently played it four times with these fixes:

For games 2 through 4 we added this:
For games 3 and 4 we tried these:
Every one of these fixes worked GREAT. The games were all quite fun, and not one of 'em was a runaway, though again, a few of them felt like they were going to be runaways. These were all 2-player games, though I don't think a three or four player game would be any less fun, and would surely benefit from ALL of these fixes. At least the "global" ones anyway (the fixes we used for all four games). I definitely went from wanting to like this to actually liking it - especially as a two-player game.
[Dave Arnott, '99]


Forum Romanum  Franckh-Kosmos Verlag  1988

I don't know, if the game is available in Britain, but my choice is Forum Romanum (Franckh Kosmos), author: Wolfgang Kramer. The game is excellent for 2, as well as 3, 4, 5 or 6 players!

[Bert Hess '97]


Frachtexpress  Franjos Spieleverlag, Franz Josef Herbst  2001

This game is a "normal" train game using the Hellrail system. It says 3 or more players on the box, but we've played it a lot with 2. The only downside with 2 is that the end game seems to drag just a bit. But I'm a big fan of "pick up and deliver" type games (like Auf Achse), and this one does a great job of forcing you into making painful decisions. Rating: 7 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]


Freight Train  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1996
Freight Train  White Wind  1993

I'd rate this an 8 if it didn't take so much room to play! Very complex game that's really simple at the same time. One of my favorite Moon games. Rating: 7 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]


Fury of Dracula,The  Games Workshop 

"Fury of Dracula" definitely plays better with two players! First, it's quicker, but the main problem with many players is that the hunters have to discuss their moves and the Dracula player gets to listen in for free. (Sending Dracula out of the room just gets time-consuming and annoying). Interestingly, our "prefered interpretation" of the rules tend to limit Dracula's freedom. So Dracula must declare when he misses a turn, when he moves twice, and when he has eaten a vampire etc. This tips the games towards more interactive affairs where Dracula has a good chance of facing two fights per game. Dracula still wins more than half the time, though (by running away from the fights as soon as possible). A hugely enjoyable game.

[Michael Switzer, '99]

If you want to include wives, my suggestion for a great family game for two but as good with 3 or 4 try Games Workshop's "Fury of Dracula". Up to 3 players hunt down a hidden drac (played on a separate screened off map) trying to get him before he creates an undead empire. Lots of fun. We play with only one house rule to help the vampire player in that he can choose day or night if he attacks but he cannot attack on the first turn.

[Mike Hayman, '97]

I'd have to argue this one. With two players you have one player moving Dracula once, You then have the other player moving Lord Godalming followed by moving Dr. Seward and then moving Van Helsing before Drac has another turn. I've played it two players and avoid it whenever possible. With 3-4 though it's quite a game.

[Dana Richmond, '97]

I'd have to argue with Dana - this is a fine 2 player game, in some ways better than with 3 or 4 players. A players turn only takes about 30 seconds and I've found that even though Dracula isn't moving, he's *very* interested in where the Hunters are moving, and thus involved in the turn. In addition, the draw card feature will bring Dracula into a Hunters turn when a bat card is drawn. I've played this game many times, possibly more than any other board game, and have never found the Drac. 'time drags' problem Dana indicates is there. This game is a MUST if you like Bram Stoker's book - this game treats the book with great respect. Not something that Hollywood seems to worry about.

[Doug Adams, '97]

I think it is best with four players, but it is workable with two and is a very elegant game.

[Kevin Gonzalez, '97]

Perhaps that's a meaning of the word "elegant" I was previously unfamiliar with. :-) In fact I'd say the opposite: it's a little inelegant/too complex. It's very clever, but I don't see the elegance. Fun game though. It's Scotland Yard with a TON of chrome added (which I feel is a good thing, as I find SY dull to the point of self-induced eye-gouging).

[David Kuznick, '97]

Another great game that works like Scotland Yard is Fury of Dracula. I have played this hundreds of times, 90% of them as a 2 player game where one player controls all 3 hunters. (Fury of Dracula DOES have 1 hunter designated as the individual victor, but the fact is Drac wins about 50% of the games over the long haul).

[George Fagin, '97]


Get Out  Cheapass Games  1996

I recently played Cheapass' Get Out with two players and found it fairly satisfying, inasmuch as anyone will admit to being satisfied with a Monopoly variant. :-) Seriously, it boils down to a race between the players, but it's an entertaining race. There's a little interaction between players, but not a lot -- hard to even put a dent in someone's plans, let alone really screw them over, because nobody ever really *has* a plan to put a dent in.

[Keith Ammann, '99]


Goa  Hans im Glück Verlag  2004

Goa plays remarkably well with two, particularly considering it is an auction game. Money becomes quite important and the ebb and flow of which player is dominant, as cash changes hands, is quite interesting. Extended use of the flag can be quite devastating, as you can usually force your opponent to put less desirable things up for auction, thus cutting into his income stream. And of course, building up your system is as interesting as ever. I think the two-player game is almost as good as the game with four, and plays better than it does with three.

[Larry Levy, '04]

We've only played this as a 2-player so far, so we can't say much about the difference between 2 and more players, but it plays very well as a 2-player game. The auction phase might become a problem, and we suspect money is far more important with 2 players than with more (because of the auctions). But still a great game, and I suppose game length would increase quite a bit with more players, so it can probably be safely recommended as a two-player game.

[Henrik Berg, '04]

Goa works very well as a two player game. I haven't played it enough to say just how good it is compared to playing with three or four players, but I'll happily play with any number of players, anytime! (I have read comments elsewhere - BoardgameGeek? - from some people who like Goa best with two players.)

[Jim Bolland, '04]


Hare and Tortoise  Rio Grande Games  2000
Hase und Igel  Abacus Spiele  2000
Hase und Igel  Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg  1978
Hare and Tortoise  Instinct  1974
Hare and Tortoise  Intellect Games  1973
Hare and Tortoise  Gibsons Games 

My wife and I are avid gamers and we mostly play two player games (once you're past 30, it's tough finding friends that want to play games!). Hase und Igel (also released as Hare and Tortoise in the U.S. and U.K, but difficult to find). It's definitely worth tracking down. This is one of those rare games, like Settlers, that even non gamers fall in love with.

[Frank Wimmer, '97]

Hase & Igel (Hare & Tortoise) is pretty good for 2 players (use 2 pieces each).

[Chuck Messenger, '97]

Hase & Igel (Hare & Tortoise) doesn't really come alive until you play with 4, better still, with 5 or 6 players. Two players playing two colours each might be a possibility, but i.m.o. would be entirely too predictable, hence boring. The carrot-for-position feature of the game becomes way too exploitable, the spoiler moves of several competitors are what makes this game.

[Peter Huebner, '04]

When playing Hare & Tortoise with only two players, the additional two-player rules are essential. (Among other things, each player uses two tokens). Hare & Tortoise is best with at least five tokens in play, so a two-player game using four tokens is just OK. Hare & Tortoise is excellent with three players using two tokens each. (Simply apply the two-player rules to three players.) This leads me to believe that a game with two players using THREE tokens each might be very good indeed. (I haven't tried this, yet...)

[Jom Bolland, '04]


Java  Rio Grande Games  2000
Java  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  2000

I've played Java as 4 player game and a 2 player game. With 2 players, you lose some interaction on the board but you gain a faster moving game (and a bit less chaos on the board - it changes less and so you can do a bit more long-term planning). I enjoyed both, but will likely not play the game very often with 4 and will hopefully continue to enjoy it 2 player. I suspect 3 players might be a good compromise between interaction and play speed.

[Dave Bernazzani, '00]


Città,La  Rio Grande Games  2000
Città,La  Kosmos  2000

I can't believe no one has mentioned this one yet! This is an awesome two-player game. The board adapts well, as you play in a smaller area, so there's just as much competition for space (as there's considerably less of it). And the competition becomes somewhat ruthless; it's just you and your opponent. The only down-side is that the political cards don't cycle too fast. We play a variant where, every round after the first one of the first turn, when a player uses his/her personal action card, the last political card is discarded, the rest are moved down, and a new one is flipped. This helps rotate the more useless ones away quicker, and gives each player a new card at least a couple of times a turn.

[Joe Casadonte, '02]

We've played it 3-4 times with two players and once with three. Didn't feel different at all. The only interaction is between cities on the board, and since the board is bigger with more players, it felt about equally crowded with 2 as with 3 players. It is a rather cerebral game, with lots of thinking time, and I've read somewhere that each extra player adds an extra 30 minutes to the game length. This suggests that the 2-player game might even be a preferred way of playing this game.

[Henrik Berg, '04]


Lord of the Rings  Hasbro; Fantasy Flight Games  2000
Herr der Ringe,Der  Kosmos  2000

Lord of the Rings plays very well on two players. No down time since both players are involved in all plays, tricky decisions, nerve-wrecking moments, cooperation instead of mutual destruction, lots of dialog between players, fighting for the good side, adjustable difficulty, simple game mechanism (once you're over the first little hump), reasonable playing time (less than two hours, depending on how much you agonize over your decisions). More, I want to play more!

[Thor Engdahl, '00]

I've experienced it twice as a two-player game and I completely agree - a thoroughly enjoyable game.

[John Foley, '00]

I think I'd be bored with 2 players or solitaire as well. If you're going to play solitaire, I could think of a hundred computer games that would provide a richer experience. Nup, this game is designed for a heap of players (best with 5) where each hobbit has limited resources, it's difficult to call on Gandalf and where it's difficult for each player to get what's needed to avoid those 'each player must discard something' events or else. Not as thorny [with fewer players], but you do get more turns as compensation I guess.

[Pat Brennan, '00]


Löwenherz  Goldsieber  1997

I can recommend Löwenherz playing with two people. It's nearly as good as playing it with 3 or 4 players.

[Stephan Grashey, '98]

The publishers should be ashamed for suggesting this title for 2 players.

[David B Eggleston, '00]

I agree with other posts that Löwenherz is a good game, can be played by two, but is better with three or four.

[Bob Scherer-Hook, '98]

Whether or not you intend to play it with 2 people, Löwenherz is good game that I would recommend in any case. I don't think it is as good of game for 2 players. It works well for 3, excellent for 4. Less well for 2.

[Richard Irving, '98]

Some people like the 2 player version, but for me it falls flat. The bidding methods for actions leave a bit to be desired with only two playing. I much prefer 3 or 4 players.

[Larry Welborn, '99]

I can recommend Löwenherz specifically. It's high on strategy, although there are also luck elements. The box claims it's for 2-4 players, and the two player version seems to work well enough. The box also claims that it comes in around 90 minutes -- well, maybe it does with experienced players.

[Mary Susan, '98]


Mamma Mia!  Rio Grande Games  1999
Mamma Mia!  Abacus Spiele  1999

There's a lot less luck in the two-player version than with more. I think three is the right number for this game, but I've played many, many two player games of Mamma Mia with my son (his favorite game until we got T-Rex, but mom has to join us for that one).

[Bill Campbell, '00]

The way we play 2 player Mamma Mia is to give each player 2 sets of orders, shuffle them together and then play with a full deck (or remove 1 ingredient of each type like the four player game, if you prefer.) The problem with the standard two player variant is that there are only 8 cards of each ingredient making Monotonis (1 of your ingredient, 6 of another) very hard to get. The rest of the orders, however, are not that difficult, and so the two player game usually goes to the player who finishes his Monotoni. It is not possible for all the players to complete all of the pizzas in any of the other variants for more players. My variant above makes it more like the four player game.

[Richard Irving, '02]


Manitou  Goldsieber  1997

I have only played Manitou with 2 players, and enjoyed it. It seems like the end-game guessing of the opponents' plans wouldn't be any less intense if there's only one opponent. I did think the hide-thief card (which provides a -10 point penalty to whomever stocks their deck with more hunters) might be a little too harsh with just two players (where you'll get it half the time or so), but you could just make the penalty of the hide-thief less.

[John Richards, '00]

I found that Manitou as a two player game is somehow boring. I only recommend it as a four player game.

[Claudia Schlee, '00]

Whereas I just played it yesterday as a two player game and again found it interesting and fun. It becomes much more of a bluff game as your strategy is based primarily around acquisition of the hide-thief card. Very enjoyable and fast.

[Graham Wills, '00]


Iron Dragon  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1996
North American Rails  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1994
Empire Builder  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1994
British Rails  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1994
Australian Rails  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1994
Nippon Rails  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1992
Eurorails  Mayfair Games, Inc.  1990

Probably the best for 2-player is Nippon Rails as the good routes are relatively narrow and the playing area fairly small. It is also the map which is least likely to be comfortable as all the place names use a syntax which can be confusing to people unfamiliar with Japanese. It does make a good Japan geography primer!

[Billiam Nitsche, '04]

The most congested [of the] rail games is Nippon rails, though British rails has been knocked for limited access to Scotland and might play well with two.

[Jeff Fisher, '00]

Mayfair rail games work pretty well for 2, if you use the "honeymoon variant". (The main change these rules make is that it lowers the maximum number of players who can build track to small city to one--so there is some more competition in building. There isn't a lot of interaction in any of these games, the fewer players means less downtime between turns. One hint is to pick a game with familiar geography: Empire Builder, British Rails and Eurorails are most familiar to most players. Nippon plays well for 2 or 3, but the unfamiliar place names can be a hindrance. I usually use variants to have 2 trains and 4 load cards which really speed up play.

[Richard Irving, '04]

Eurorails has a specific set of rules for two players. I have only played it twice, but the results were satifactory (and not just because I won). The crayon rail games only seem to take a long time, because they are typically played by three to five players. With only two it takes less than two hours. The other crayon rail games should also play well with the "honeymoon variant". Nippon Rails claims to be playable with two players, as is. It is probably correct, as there are seldom even two good routes between any two cities.

[Richard Bell, '04]

I don't think that they're mostly at their best with two people (although a lot of the "downtime" problem associated with the the series is lessened with only two people), but they're certainly playable and fun with two people. The time investment will vary, depending on the particular game (however, it will shorten over time, as you become more familiar with the map). Mayfair's "Silverton" (not a crayon game) is also good for two.

[Al Turniansky, '04]

I actually almost prefer the Mayfair rail building games (Empire Builder, Iron Dragon, Eurorails, etc.) with two players. When we play with a large group, it tends to get tedious, especially when you have some ... er ... ponderous people in your group (you know, the guy who counts out every possible route before drawing any track?). Of course you have to make some modifications, such as only one player can build to a small city, and taking out one of each commodity ... but it works well.

[Julie Prince, '95]


Merchant of Venus  Avalon Hill Game Company  1988

A space "railroad" where you explore the galaxy (which is randomly settled each game) to ship goods from one system to the others. The two player version emphasizes exploration and involves more exploring at the start than the multi player version, the multiplayer version emphasizes trading.

[Richard Irving, '97]

Merchant of Venus is OK -- similar in feel to the "real" multi-player game.

[Chuck Messenger, '97]


Metro  Uberplay Entertainment LLC  2004
Metro  Queen Games  2000

Metro is very good with any number of players (2-6). In many multi-player games, when there are only two players you lose the option to arrange a conflict between two other players in hopes you'll be left alone ("Let's you two fight while I go do something constructive.") This isn't as big an issue with Metro because players ability to do this is limited even when there are more players. Metro remains well-balanced with fewer players, even just two. While there are fewer other players to target, there are also fewer other players to target you. And fewer players means each player gets to place more tiles (which means each player has more options for long-term strategy).

[Jim Bolland, '04]

This is one big box game that plays great with 2 players, and plays fast. When both players are familiar with it, you can get a game done in less than 30 minutes. Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]

Metro works well as a two player game. However, the best way to play two player is for each player to use two colors; it improves the two player experience.

[Dave Shapiro, '04]

Metro doesn't really depend very much on the exact number of players, the only difference is that it's a bit more chaotic with more players. With only two players, the game allows for more tactics.

[Henrik Berg, '04]


Morisi  Cwali  2000

Our current favourite. We've played about 20-30 games so far (it's the only thing we are playing at the moment) and still feel we are only just beginning to understand some of the tactics. Plays very well with 2 players, although its slightly abstract puzzle nature may not appeal to everyone. Quick (about 20-30 mins), fascinating and different - cerebral but fun.

[Brian E Jones, '01]


Mystery Rummy: Case No. 3: Jekyll & Hyde  U.S. Games Systems  2001
Mystery Rummy: Case No. 2: Murders in the Rue Morgue  U.S. Games Systems  1999
Mystery Rummy: Case No. 1: Jack the Ripper  U.S. Games Systems  1998

In MR #3, you get to use potion cards and such to flip Jekyll into Hyde and vice versa. This has a bearing on each hand's score, because if you knock when the card shows Hyde, and your melds are mostly Jekyll....wah wah waaaaah. The opposite is also true. This is not the case in MR #1, where there are six suspect cards, and one person can conceivably control lots of them, thereby increasing the value of various melds of evidence involving each suspect. I prefer #1 to #3, possibly because the Jekyll/Hyde card mechanism in #3 never holds my interest, and #1 just has more going for it with the various suspects.

[Josh Adelson, '03]

My wife and I prefer #2: Murders in the Rue Morgue, although we haven't tried #3. The "feed the monkey" mechanic really clicks with us... there is a fair bit of extra strategy because of it and it makes "going out" that much more exciting. I'm a huge Poe fan, too.

[Justin Green, '03]

I think that #3 (Jekyll/Hyde) is much the weakest of the trilogy, with #1 (Jack the Ripper) being the strongest. Wyatt Earp, although not officially part of the series, is really quite similar and plays quite well with 2 or more. I think it is about as good as Jack the Ripper, and the two of them are the pick of the lot.

[Sterling Wight, '03]

I've only played MR 1 as a two-player game. Having played each in the series, though, I'd have to say #1 is the best one. The other ones seem more luck dependent, though I think they're all very fun games.

[Mike Petty, '03]

My favourite of the Mystery Rummy games (of which Wyatt Earp share many things including one designer) is #3 Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde...and it is designed for 2 player.

[Paul Franzosa, '02]

We like Mystery Rummy #1: Jack the Ripper. Great quality and plays very well.

[Chuck Smith, '01]

My wife and I have found the Mystery Rummy games to be lots of fun. The third one (Jeckyl & Hyde) was made specifically for two people, but the first one (Jack the Ripper) also is good for two. We haven't tried the second one (Murders in the Rue Morgue) yet. I personally detest traditional card games (e.g., Bridge, Poker, etc.), but the Mystery Rummy games are great. We've even played a few hands in restaurants while waiting for our food.

[E.E. Kleist, '01]

Funny you should say that... my fiancee and I have made playing Mystery Rummy in restaurants a bit of a fad a la deux. We just played the Rue Morgue variation recently and it works very well as a two-player. Haven't played #3, but plan to this weekend. Seems like shutout rules might make that one a bit too all or nothing.

[Will T, '01]

Mystery Rummy #3: Jekyll and Hyde is *only* for two players. It works beautifully once you figure out how to best use the special cards.

[David Brain, '02]

MR #1: Jack the Ripper is a good game with difficult rules. OK, the rules aren't really difficult, they're just almost impossible to teach in one go, even to experienced gamers. There's just too many fiddly bits, like when you can play certain cards, what the symbols in *three* of the four corners of the cards mean, when you can call a vote, etc. But once you've played a couple of hands, everything makes perfect sense (can't play Evidence until there's a Victim, can't play Suspect until there's Evidence, and so on). Once the learning process is out of the way (roughly 2 hands of play), the game becomes very challenging. But I find I only really like it with 2 players, where it's very skill-oriented. With three or four the balance breaks down a bit; there's one particular card (Ripper Escapes) which dramatically alters the game. You can pretty well defend against it in the two player game, but with four it comes out way too often.

[Dennis Ugolini, '99]

I've only played Jack the Ripper two player, so with that in mind: MR #1 is fast, easy, but engrossing and surprisingly subtle game. It's a melding rummy game, like gin rummy, with additional unmeldable "gavel" cards that affect scoring in interesting ways, and an alternate path to victory (the Ripper Escapes card) that doesn't involve melding at all. The rules could be much better - their organization is quite confusing and makes the game harder to learn than it should be - but they're complete and unambiguous. My wife and I play this game a lot, often 4 or 5 games (not hands, games) at a sitting. I think it's excellent. I believe that with more than two players the Ripper Escapes card could be unbalanced: the more people playing, the more likely all five Victim cards will get drawn, and the more likely the player with Ripper Escapes will have a chance to play Commissioner Resigns, get all the Victims down, and win the hand.

[Bob Rossney, '99]


Namesake  For Jessica's Sake 

One that I haven't seen anyone mention yet is Namesake. It's a party-type game, takes about 20 minutes to half an hour to play, lots of fun, very appealing to non-"gamers" (such as my wife, who won't play anything with me anymore except Namesake, Hanafuda and You Don't Know Jack).

[Keith Ammann, '97]


Puerto Rico  Rio Grande Games  2002
Puerto Rico  Alea  2002

The official two player variant from Alea is excellent. You can find it at boardgamegeek.com. Puerto Rico is probably the best two player game I've played. I do typically use one small change from the official variant. Instead of using one of each of the violet buildings as the rules indicate, I mix up all twenty four of the violet buildings and choose twelve at random. This keeps the game different every time I play as there are often buildings missing, two of certain ones, and one of others. I'm anxious to get an official printing of the expanded buildings so I can include them in the mix.

[Brian (mcbragg66), '03]

Two-player Puerto Rico was my first experience with the game. I liked it a lot. Although, more players is always better in almost any game.

[Alex, '03]

My wife and I played the two player variant that was offered awhile back. We liked it and the couple of times we tried it, it was close down to the end. Selecting characters was more important than you would believe, even with only two players. There was a nice tension during the game and a lot of back and forth action, so I recommend giving it a try. It won't compare to a 4-5 player game, but it's a good way to learn tactics that can be used in the 4-5 player game:

[Chris M., '03]

Yes, but it depends on the variant you're using (there are several). The one I like best is the following - it's nearly as much fun as a 3 or 4p game, and certainly worth trying:

[Sven Baumer, '03]

[re: Sven's entry] This sounds like it would create much too much money in the game. The 3p-5p setup (as well as the official 2p rules) offer a number of coins equal to the number of players per turn (a coin on each of the 3 remaining roles in 3p with prospectors added for the fourth and fifth coin in 4p and 5p). So I would support playing with the official 2p set up of one prospector and turn sequences consisting of ABABAB followed by BABABA. One coin and one prospector for two players.

[Matthew, '03]

I've tried a bunch of variants for 2p PR, but the one I keep coming back to is this: Normal 4-player setup, but both players play two positions (Alternated, so one player is playing the N-S positions, the other is playing E-W). Your final score is the lower score of the two positions you played (So you must try to play both equally well). I have found this game to be incredibly challenging...you win by putting your opponent in a position where a beneficial move for one board hurts his other board while avoiding that dilemma yourself.

[Eric Nielsen, '03]

I have played with 2 and found the game fun and interesting. However, I prefer it with 4 players.

[Anna Krass, '03]


Ra  Rio Grande Games  1999
Ra  Alea  1999

I've played it several times, and it plays very well. It might be a good idea to rethink the scores for the Sun tiles (in the end scoring), and possibly the Pharaohs. Try using five points in both cases, with no penalty for being last. The rest is fine, and the game plays well even if you leave Pharaohs and Sun tiles alone too.

[Thorbjörn Engdahl, '01]

We play the game as-is, but starting with six suns a piece. We distribute the suns by combining two groups from the 4-player distribution: Player 1 gets Groups 1 and 4 (i.e., 13-10-9-6-5-2); Player 2 gets Groups 2 and 3 (i.e., 12-11-8-7-4-3). You'll be hard-pressed to find an auction game that works better with two players.

[Dave Eggleston, '01]

I agree that Ra makes a dynamite two player game! I am surprised a two-player variant wasn't listed in the original rules!

[Michael Becker, '01]

We played it a couple of times 2-player and found we liked it the best when each of played two players - that is to say we played a four-player game with one of playing Player 1 and Player 3 and the other Players 2 and 4. This makes tying for most Pharaohs interesting because you now want that to happen for your TWO players. Plus you can sacrifice bid one of your players to set up the other one. We set the victory conditions to be highest total combined points of both your players... but also tried a few games in which to win you had to come in first with one player and then second or third with the other. If you came in first and fourth, you lost. This was to prevent too much sacrifice. Both of these worked fine.

[Dave Arnott, '01]


Ricochet Robot  Rio Grande Games  1999

I'm surprised that nobody has suggested Alex Randolph's Ricochet Robot. It's very easy to learn and is a great two player game. Actually it's great with just about any number of players. It divides opinions a lot, some people won't like it but at least I love it. It's very replayable, because of the variation in the board (it consists of four two-sided pieces that can be arranged in multiple ways) and the random placement of robots. Thus, puzzles are always unique. Two player game with equally skilled players is a very nice battle of wits.

[Mikko Saari, '00]

Ricochet Robot is an excellent two-player game. It's just as good with two as with any other number of players I've tried. (Although there is no maximum number of players for Ricochet Robot, I have my doubts about how good it would be with more players than there are tokens...)

[Jim Bolland, '04]

Hmm, this game doesn't really have player interaction, it's all about speed and thinking as quickly as possible. However, with more players, there's more competition, and also more fun. But it works just as well with just two.

[Henrik Berg, '04]

Ricochet Robot makes a fine two-player game. Which is to say that it suffers from the same problem that affects all two player games that have no basis in luck: if the players are significantly mismatched in skill, the weaker player has almost no chance of winning. However, with patience and practice, nearly anyone can develop the spatial visualization skills necessary to play reasonably well. That some people have a natural gift for this may leave others frustrated with the game, but if one can get past this and cast a more scientific eye upon the game, one will quickly start to see how it really works and get the hang of it. Between two fairly even players, Ricochet Robot can be a very tense and exciting game. You have no way of knowing how close your opponent is to finding the answer until they announce it. The "race" is entirely mental. And because there is no luck in the game, there's never any whining about not getting the right cards or die rolls.

[Phil Fleischmann, '04]


Robo Rally  Wizards of the Coast  1994

Robo Rally also works pretty well with two players, as long as you put all six goals on one board. Otherwise it's just too spread out, and nothing happens.

[Julie Prince, '95]


Rummikub  Intelli  1980

Rummikub is very good with two players, I have played it a lot with my mother who loves it. What's best, it can be played with just two decks of ordinary playing cards with two jokers.

[Mikko Saari, '00]


Saint Petersburg  Rio Grande Games  2004
Sankt Petersburg  Hans im Glück Verlag  2004

St. Petersburg is a fantastic game and my pick for SdJ even before the nominees were announced. I've played a 4-player game, two 3-player games, and something like five 2-player games and strongly feel that 2-player is the way to go. My gaming group feels the same way. The 4-player game just has way too much luck concerning the cards you get. Plus, its difficult to monitor the other three player's cards. With 2-player, you can very easily see your opponents cards on the table and you'll often pick a card from the board just to block them from having it. I think if you like the 4-player game, you'll most definitely love the 2 & 3 player game even more!! But I'm also one of those people who strongly believe Carcassonne is best with 2 or 3, while others think 4 or 5 player is the best.

[Phil Schwar, '04]

Saint Petersburg is my current gaming obsession. That puts it in a small group of games that includes Medici, Ra, Settlers of Catan, Tichu, and Tigris & Euphrates. Many have the opinion that Saint Petersburg is best with two players. I haven't decided yet if I agree with that. For now, I will say it is best with ANY number of players.

[Jim Bolland, '04]

This really works startlingly well as a two-player game. All the same decisions are there about getting an income established, pinching pennies, anticipating when you'll want cash in hand, making the number of blank spaces in the card display work for you, managing your hand with the limit of three cards, finding the moment in the game when you need victory points more than cash, not letting yourself get too far outnumbered in aristocrats, and so on. As in the three or four player game, you may have a runaway leader or you may have a finish that comes down to the last card.

[Stven Carlberg, '04]

Some of the best St. Petersburg games I have played were two player.

[Dave Shapiro, '04]

I believe this game is a "shooting star", much like Transamerica or other games that had huge bursts in popularity and have now reduced to merely a "good" game. That's not to detract too much from St. Petersburg; it's a fine game but not "great." And I would be a bigger detractor of the game, but after a two-player game, I saw more value in it. I am more prone to enjoying analytical games in a two-player setting; and as a math teacher, I enjoy the mental math one has the option of doing in the game. St. Petersburg is a fun, engaging game, especially as a two player game, as it scales remarkably well.

[Tom Vassel, '04]


Samarkand  Rio Grande Games  1998
Samarkand  Abacus Spiele  1998

My wife and I really enjoy Samarkand with only 2. She likes it especially because the "screw-your-opponent" factor is very low with this game; it's almost like trying to play your own personal game and just finish it before the other person...personally I like games with more interplayer conflict, but this one is actually surprisingly fun with just two.

[Caleb Diffell, '03]


Samurai  Rio Grande Games  2004
Samurai  Hans im Glück Verlag  1998

I recommend Samurai. Samurai has wife-friendly pieces and board, and it a good game as well.

[Mickel Knight, '01]

My daughter and I played this for the first time last week and found it works surprisingly well with 2 people.

[Brian E Jones, '99]

I've found that Knizia's Samurai works well, the only flaw being that you can easily keep track of your opponent's score. It has the neat feature of using a progressively smaller board with fewer than four players, so the on-board crowding and tension are about equal with two as with four. Personally, Samurai is my favorite of all the games I've learned about on this forum, and one of only a couple German games my wife enjoys. It has just enough spontaneity and luck (we draw our initial tiles randomly) to keep her in the game, but enough skill to keep me thinking.

[Dennis Ugolini, '99]

The lump in my throat isn't as noticeable when I'm playing with 2, but that's because with 3 or more, you wait in tension to see whose territory your opponents are going to take a liking to. Of course, if you're a common target, no amount of skill is going to bail you out. I think playing with two is the best way to gain experience, and that playing with three or four should wait until all participants have reached a sufficient level of skill. This includes (1) not setting up the person to your right, and (2) being able to keep track of others' scores so deciding who to attack is done intelligently. (Note: I prefer to play with open figures, which takes care of (2).) I rate the game a 9 with three or four, and a 7 or 8 with two.

[David B Eggleston, '99]

Samurai plays very well for 2 players! I'd played it with 3 and 4 and found it enjoyable enough, but playing for 2 gets it down to the real nitty gritty! This game is growing on me, I must admit.

[Stven Carlberg, '99]

I agree. Samurai with two is a very good game! It's real down-and-dirty when there's only one opponent. The strategy of going for a majority in two categories seems to take on more power in two-person play. It seems you really have to pay more attention to which pieces the other guy is collecting.

[Jim Cobb, '99]

The game is excellent at two players. Scales down better than E&T or DdW, or most German games for that matter. Like most two player versions, the play is different since negative play just as good as positive.

[Allen Doum, '99]

Well, it's not awful. However, it more or less turns into a standard two-player abstract game, and suffers badly from the 'everything good for my opponent is bad for me' aspect of most abstracts. Personally, I very much like this game with three or four, and I'm rather unenthused with it at two. That additional player (or two) adds an entirely different element to the game. It transforms what is a dry, themeless abstract game at two into a pleasant gaming experience with stellar bits and an odd scoring mechanism.

[Derk Solko, '99]

I've played several two player games of Samurai with my 11 year old daughter. It works as a two-player because: 1) Both you and your opponent have the exact same tiles from which to draw, so there's instant familiarity and the comfort that neither one of the players has an inherent advantage. 2) The smaller gameboard prevents isolation and forces interaction between both players' tiles. 3) The game rule (regardless of the number of players) that allows you to play more than one tile in a turn, allowing you to really change the complexion of the game in a single turn. 4) It's an extremely intuitive game to play. Samurai is at or near the top of my all-time favorite board games. HIGHLY recommended.

[Nevin aka Wadcutter, '99]

I enjoy Samurai immensely with two. And I dislike most two-player abstracts. What's nice about the two-player version of this game is that it's still packed with all that wonderfully deep decision making, yet the game moves along much faster. 40-60 minutes worth of play crammed into around 20-30! Plus, even if you don't play with open holdings (which we do in the two-player game for ease), the memory element is pretty much nil: whatever pieces you don't have and aren't on the board are behind your opponent's screen - unless pieces have been removed due to ties. Also having to defend against (or capture) *two* majorities is another wonderful little wrinkle that you almost never need to think about when playing this multiplayer.

[Dave Arnott, '99]


San Juan  Alea  2004
San Juan  Rio Grande Games  2003

We played two player, and it worked fine. The governor chooses first, then the other player, then the governor. Hands are checked for card limit, the roles are returned, and the governor passes to the other player. The game has certain Puerto Rico like elements, and I found myself thinking things such as, I could choose craftsman, but then my opponent will call trader, and I need the extra sale bonus, so I will let him call craftsman, and I will take prospector instead.... It's fairly light and accessible, and might be a good way to get people interested in games like Puerto Rico. It won't ever take the place that the board game currently occupies in my game group, but it might be just the thing for a quick lunch game.

[Mark Montreuil, '04]

San Juan plays very well with two. Having the Governor pick twice a round is the rule that makes this work and I think it leads to some interesting decisions. I probably slightly prefer playing with three or four, as the dynamics are a little more interesting, but I don't hesitate to pull San Juan out when we want to play a solid, middleweight two-player.

[Larry Levy, '04]

I've been playing San Juan ("the Puerto Rico card game") a lot recently. It's only interesting with 3 or 4 players I think. Not bad with 2 players, but becomes just a game of 2 player solitaire because players pretty much get their pick of the occupations each turn.

[Joe Czapski, '04]

San Juan plays nicely with two players, if you use the special rules for two players. However, in our experience, the role choosing sometimes tends to become a little repetitive, esp. if each player follows a different strategy. But since the game offers such a big variety of options anyway, this slight repetitiveness is really not a big deal. Anyway the two-player game feels very much similar to a game with 3 or 4 players.

[Henrik Berg, '04]

San Juan is OK as a two-player game. It is better with three or four players. I do recommend playing with just two players to learn the game. However, with more experience, two-player games fall into very repetitive patterns. Still, when you really want to play Puerto Rico, but there are only two or three players, San Juan is an excellent substitute!

[Jim Bolland, '04]


Scotland Yard  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  2003
Scotland Yard  MB  1985
Scotland Yard  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  1983

I believe Scotland Yard only works well as a two-player game, despite the box saying it's for 3-6 players

[Bob Scherer-Hook, '98]

Another real good one is Scotland Yard -- I've heard it's similar to Fury of Dracula (actually, I think SY predates FoD).

[Chuck Messenger, '97]

I'd like to go on record as agreeing with Chuck about Scotland Yard. The 5 detectives must carefully coordinate their moves and work together in order to win. This is perfect for 1 player controlling 5 pieces. I also note that the 'End of Game' section on page 10 of the rules states that the detectives win or lose as a team - there is simply no provision for 1 detective winning solo.

[George Fagin, '97]

I played this with five players once and would never do it again. This is so clearly a two-player game masquerading as a multiplayer game. Though I guess it would work if one player played Mister X, one player was the "lead" detective, and the other detective players were just there to be social, occasionally having some input, but mostly being sheep.

[Dave Arnott, '99]


Serenissima  Eurogames / Descartes Deutschland  1996

Yes it is [good for two]. The rules specify which powers you can have to keep it balanced. Obviously the board fills up faster with more players, but the rules fix that by setting a longer game length the fewer players you have. I won't swear that it plays the same as with more players, but we're certainly looking forward to playing it some more!

[Mary Susan, '98]

Recommended. Although there is less competition for resources, there is still much strategy in dealing with the abundance. Personally, I think the game is a bit claustrophobic with 4.

[David B Eggleston, '99]

I recommend Serenissima. I just bought it last week and let me tell you it is a great game for 2, 3 or 4 players. This game has everything. Trust me you will love it

[Ron, '98]


Silverton  Two Wolf Games  1991

Best 2-player rail game that I've played is Silverton using the golden spike rules. Have only played golden spike with the old set but the new set shouldn't be too much different.

[Scotty D., '00]


Star Wars - Epic Duels  MB  2002

This works quite nicely as a two-player game (use the Master rules) but I still enjoy it more as a multi-player. As light as the game is, it does reward playing it over & over, as you learn the decks for each character and the card combinations to pull off some wild & woolly moves.

[Mark Jackson, '04]


Stephensons Rocket  Rio Grande Games  1999
Stephensons Rocket  Pegasus Spiele GmbH  1999

I am very critical of two-player games, and find that most games are weak for two players unless they were explicitly designed for exactly two players. I must say that, in my opinion, Stephenson's Rocket actually works pretty well for two. Admittedly, it feels kind of silly that there is a first and second place awarded when there are just two players, but still, the tough decisions and flavor of the game remain. I feared that the veto system would break down with just two players, but this turned out to not be a problem. One potential problem that did arise was that it was easier to tell who was winning with just two, taking away some of the suspense of the endgame.

[Mark Engelberg, '00]

We've also played Stephenson's Rocket a couple of times and this works reasonably, though I would say not quite as well for 2. It's more involved though and so this makes it work as there are so many things to consider, it is not a straightforward head-to-head.

[Eddy Richards, '00]

I've played several 2-player games of Stephenson's Rocket and I've enjoyed the games very much. Of course, I also enjoy Samurai with 2 players, so take this with a grain of salt.

[Larry Welborn, '01]


Ta Yü  Kosmos  1999

I never thought I'd like this one (looks too abstract for my tastes) but someone talked me into trying it and I was hooked. In my view, easily the best two-player game in the line. Players play tiles to channel canals from the center of the board out. Each player must connect two opposite sides of the board with as many canals as possible, as the final score is the product (not the sum) of your two sides. Plays well as a team game too.

[Bob Scherer-Hoock, '99]

Ta Yü can also be played as a partnership game with four. An there is a three-player variant in which the third player plays the "flood" and wins by preventing both of the other players from scoring. I played Ta Yü at Origins with Nick Sauer. We drew the tiles from the bag rather than from a stack, which I'm told removed some of the strategy from the game. I still found it enjoyable until the end, when each move becomes a five-minute struggle to determine if there's a legal placement, or if the game simply ends. I recommend finding some other end-game condition, either a goal score or a limit on the number of tiles to be played.

[Dennis Ugolini, '99]

We liked the 3-player-version with the "Flood" Player very much. The four-player version with teams is also good, but not as much fun as playing with 3 players. We did not like the 2-player-version that much.

[Claudia Schlee, '99]


Tabula Rasa  W&L  1999

The middle game of the "Lost Cities Trilogy." Instead of one place to play your cards you now have two choices...do I build sets of numbers or colors? And do I try for the bonus by building the low point sets? An added bonus is that it plays well with 3, and is an OK partnership game for 4. Rating: 7 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]


Take it Easy XXL  F.X. Schmid  1997
Take it Easy  F.X. Schmid  1994

Another game which works well with 2 players is Hextension
(Spears), recently released as Take It Easy by FX Schmid. Actually it works just the same with any number of people as it's essentially a multi-player solitaire game. But it's quick (10-15 mins), easy to understand and play, and fun. Basically each player lays hexagonal tiles onto a grid; each tile has three lines (different values/colours) crossing it and must try to make as many complete lines across the board as possible. Tiles are picked at random but all players get the same one. Given this it is amazing how different final patterns and scores can be!

[Eddy Richards, '98]

Multiplayer, 2 player or solitaire - this game works just fine.

[Greg Schloesser, '99]

This is one of those games that's hit or miss. Some are put off by the "math" of it, though I'm not sure why. But most, after playing a game, will utter that magic phrase, "Let's play it again." I've played this with 2, I played this with about 170 (!), and it's worked great in both cases.

[Dave Arnott, '99]


Tales of the Arabian Nights  West End Games  1985

Tales of the Arabian Nights by West End Games works better for 2 players than 3 or 4. It takes a couple hours and has been a staple of mine for 20 years. Semi-roleplaying game with a map that stretches from France and Africa to China and Indonesia with you as Aladdin and friends gaining victory points while exploring the countryside.

[Randy, '99]


Ticket to Ride  Days of Wonder  2004

If you want to try a rail game, I recommend Ticket To Ride. I have played a few successful 2-player games with it. There is little direct competition, just each player trying to maximize their own position, though there are chances for blocking your opponent. the game is definitely a beauty as well.

[James Quick, '04]

Ticket to Ride works very well with two. I rarely play with more online at the Days of Wonder site because the game plays fast, yet still has tension in terms of having routes stolen, drawing stinky tickets, getting (and not getting) the cards you need, and so forth. You can pay more attention to the colors your opponent picks up and try to block him or her. Good stuff!

[W. Eric Martin, '04]

I like Ticket 2 Ride best with 3 or 5 (if I want to get royally hosed over) or with 2 or 4 (if I want an easier game). Playing T2R with 2 players _really_ has a rummy feel to it, but I don't consider that a bad thing. It works fine, but doesn't tend to be as cutthroat. Which is good, when you're playing with the wife.

[Mark Jackson, '04]

TtR plays just as well with 2 as it does with 3, 4, or 5. Shutting down double tracks with 2 or 3 is a marvelous rule that lets the game work for all numbers.

[Larry Levy, '04]


Tikal  Rio Grande Games  1999
Tikal  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  1999

I think Tikal works VERY well with two players. The 3 and 4 player versions are slightly better IMO, but the game works great with two in either the Basic or Advanced version. As a bonus, if you're one of the people who have trouble playing this without excessive downtime, this problem is greatly minimized with two.

[Larry Levy, '02]

One problem I found with Tikal with two players was the luck in the distribution of the treasures didn't tend to even out as much as with a larger group of players. I've read some suggested scoring variants to offset this, but haven't tried them. After the first time we tried it 2 players my wife said she'd rather not ever play the game again (I won by 30+ points, all attributable to lucky draws of treasure tiles, nothing I did other than drawing the right stuff). Despite her reluctance to play it again, the Action Point mechanic felt better to me as a 2 player game, in large part because the downtime was shorter and MUCH less annoying. If I had an opponent, I think I'd play it once or twice a year as a 2 player game.

[David Vander Ark, '02]

We have played this game a dozen times and I think the game is much better with 2 players. Down time is minimized and the strategy is enhanced. I feel luck is removed from the game and you definitely control your own destiny with 2 players. Do you play defensively trying to limit your opponents success or do you go off on your own and build pyramids by yourself? It is a different game with 2 players but a much more enjoyable and strategic game with 2 players.

[Rodney Varner, '01]

This makes for a great 2-player game. I can honestly say it's almost as much fun with 2 as it is with 4 (the only two numbers I've ever played with). With 2 players, there is less down-time between turns and it seems a bit more strategic as you play-counterplay the entire game.

[Dave Bernazzani, '99]

Works best with 3 or 4 players. I tried playing a 2 player game once and can't imagine ever doing so again.

[Joe Lee, '02]

I've played Tikal with 2-4 players, and it works well regardless of the number of people at the board. The fact that the number of turns you receive increases as the number of players shrinks opens up more and more possibilities for expansion and scoring, and limit the amount of "damage" that my opponent can do to me. It's also the only time I've ever seen all of the explorers on the map. About the only "luck" factor I can see coming in to play here is with the appearance of treasure hexes, and that's not too hard to overcome by positioning some explorers strategically. The scoring rounds become somewhat *less* lucky, since it is much easier to react to your opponent's move and find points at temples that he/she has left with few explorers, can't reach, or won't invest in reaching for the gain it represents.

[Ken Agress, '00]

We play Tikal with 2 players frequently (the "no auction" version) and don't find luck to dominate the game at all. Resource management is very important with 2 players as frequently each player will explore different sections of the board. The decision then becomes, work on your own area or expend resources plundering the other players little area.

[Paul@SFG, '00]

Great game, though I found that more than in the 3 or 4 payer game, treasures play a critical part. Getting them ASAP becomes a priority. Like most games, being 2 player changes it, but I felt like it just made it different, and no less enjoyable.

[Will Beckley, '99]

Tikal works really well with two players... however I think at some stage you may want to introduce a variant which will cause more interaction between the players as it is easy to play and develop your strategies without confronting your opponent. Someone suggested reducing the hexagons...

[Natasha Fowkes, '99]


Titan  Avalon Hill Game Company  1982

Fantasy wargame where the pieces move in stacks which are flipped over when they move on the Masterboard. When a battle happens, the pieces involved are places to a smaller board. One advantage, there's no way you have to wait hours after being knocked out for the game to end in the 2 player version. It mainly works because the Masterboard die driven movement system prevents teaming up in the multiplayer version.

[Richard Irving, '97]

David DesJardins believes that Titan is superb as both a two player and multi-player game. (I've never tried it two-player.) What makes Titan work well as a multiplayer game is the way the board places constraints on the actions of the players, minimizing the "dogpile on the leader" syndrome (a major danger in any multi player game). In a two-player game, you're making the same core decision you make in a multi-player game: can my stack A benefit the most from attacking stack B or from recruiting?

[Kevin J. Maroney, '98]

I've only played Titan two-player. It seems to me, from the multi- player games of it I've seen, that there's an awful lot of downtime for the uninvolved parties every time two players enter a battle.

[Bob Rossney, '97]

I'd actually say that Titan is a good two-player game and a great multi-player game. As a two-player game, it has a couple of flaws. One player can be way ahead, and yet the game can take quite a long time to finish. And the outcome is determined by luck to a larger extent than I prefer. (This can be compensated to some extent by playing more games, but it's still not a short game.) For the two-player game, I'd like to limit tower teleportation a bit, because I think it increases the luck factor too much - but most players seem to prefer leaving the rules as they are.

[David DesJardins, '98]


Titan: The Arena  Avalon Hill Game Company  1997

This is a non-collectible card game that has very simple rules and plays equally well, in my opinion, with two or more players. Multi player games require different strategies, but two player games are fun. Short and easy.

[Kevin Gonzalez, '97]


Torres  FX  1999

We play with all cards in hand and the master cards. Every game turns out to be a real nail biter, but it's important that both players go aggressively after each other. I've also played with three and quite enjoyed it too.

[Stan Hilinski, '02]

Generally speaking, when I see that a game supports two to four players, I prefer to play it only with three or four; playing with two feels "incomplete." The one noteworthy exception I've found is Torres. Maybe it's because the game is more abstract, but I enjoy this game with two every bit as much as I do with three or four.

[Keith Ammann, '00]

Works best with 3 or 4 players. It is still very playable with 2. Play with each player holding their own set of 10 action cards.

[Joe Lee, '02]

> Torres works well with 2 players, but I don't have a baseline
> to go from since I've only played it as a 2-player game.
It also works with more - like Tigris and Euphrates it becomes a different game with 2 as opposed to more. It's pretty abstract and if that doesn't suit the players then that's the issue more than the differences between 2, 3 or 4 player play (IMO)

[Tim Fitzmaurice, '03]

I think it's an excellent two-player game. Two-player games have a different character from three and four player games: the board is not as crowded, and some of the action cards (like the "jump a knight" card) are ineffective on uncrowded boards. I have noticed with repeated play that the two-player game turns into one in which you try to deduce your opponent's action card hand from his play, and then factor those deductions into your own. Maybe it's possible to do that in a game with more players, but I don't think so.

[Bob Rossney, '99]

I'll second that. As a matter of fact, we prefer 2 player Torres to Caesar & Cleopatra.

[Hasan (alamut@my-deja.com), '99]

Torres works pretty well as a 2 player game. The player interaction seems higher than Tikal to me, and though no "conflict" occurs, it's a lot of fun, a clever game, it can be played *several* different ways, and the 3D aspect makes it different from most games. It's my favorite game (not of all time, just for the time being).

[Will Beckley, '99]


Tutanchamun  AMIGO Spiel + Freizeit GmbH  1993

A fantastic game, irrespective of how many players, 2-6. The strategy changes depending on numbers, but there is no increase in the chaos factor with more people, nor decrease in interest with 2. Tiles are laid randomly in a line. You move in one direction along the line, taking tiles. When the last tile of a set is collected or passed, it is scored. Majority & second place holder score the set size & 1/2 respectively. It's the first to score a certain number of points (variable based on number of players) so it's a case of reaching that score first, not getting the most. Excellent, with lots of interesting choices.

[Julian Clarke, '04]


Union Pacific  Rio Grande Games  1999
Union Pacific  AMIGO Spiel + Freizeit GmbH  1999

Over two years later, and this one is still going strong for Winton and I (though the URL for our variant has since changed.) Here's what I originally said:
After 40+ plays, my friend Winton and I have finally locked down our UP for Two variant rules. They can be found here (you'll need to scroll down to the bottom):


Needless to say I think our rules work wonderfully. In fact, Winton now prefers the two-player game over the multiplayer one!

[Dave Arnott, '02 & '04]

This works just fine for 2 players. A bit better for 2 players than Elfenland, but still not as good as with 3-5 players (I've never played UP with 6). We don't bother to use the official variant rules for 2-players, we just play the standard game and tally the money to see who has won.

[Dave Bernazzani, '99]

I recently played Union Pacific 2 player a couple of times. It works very well - there are some extra rules for 2 players, basically a third dummy player pops up at the end of the game and competes with the two humans (and so far has beaten both players in the final scoring round, though not, fortunately for our self-esteem, in the game as a whole!). This alters the dynamics quite a bit as you are no longer solely competing against the other player in an arena where most information is known.

[Eddy Richards, '00]

UP works fine for two; there's a rule for it so that an imaginary third player gets all the stock left in the bank when the game ends. This can actually make that third player fairly rich, and adds a bit of suspense at the end.

[Jim Cobb, '99]


Warangel  Angelo Porazzi Games  2000

It's good also for 3 or 4 player but I found it ultimately great for 2 player. Here in Italy is quite well known and it's nice for gaming groups 'cause it offers 70 races to choose. You can set huge tornaments and you always have new battles. Warangel website: http://space.tin.it/giochi/aporaz

[Angelo Porazzi, 00]


Warhammer Quest  Games Workshop  1995

This is a very nice fantasy dungeon adventure game in which the players cooperate against the evil of the dungeon. If your wife is tired of always being competitive and would like to try a little teamwork, it is a great game.

[Kevin Gonzalez, '97]


Expedition  Queen Games  1996
Wildlife Adventure  Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH  1986
Expedition  Kirk Game Co 

My sister and I received this game as a gift when we were mere kids. It is the only Ravensburger game I have and I have played it more than any other game. We play using a variation of the rules that developed part by accident, part by design, and part by evolution. First of all, we always play a two player game because the luck factor is much less and the game is more exciting. Second, each player receives 24 cards. This makes for a very dense, intense game. We do not use the obstacles (and have removed these cards from the power deck) and, due to an original misreading of the rules which became traditional, only receive three travel vouchers at the beginning of the game. This makes for a more conservative power supply initially, but there are plenty of red dots, particularly in the "power alley" of the Indian Ocean.

[Matt Macander, '96]

Wildlife Adventure, et al (Expedition, Abenteuer Tierwelt, Terra-X) definitely works very well with two players.

[Bob Scherer-Hook, '98]

Wildlife Adventure -- far and away our favorite -- most excellent with 2 (and also excellent with more than 2)

[Chuck Messenger, '97]

A wonderful multiplayer game that with two becomes a lot more tactical. In fact, I think I'd rather play this with fewer players than with more (though, like Euphrat & Tigris, it's terrific with any number). Expedition, the Wildlife Adventure sequel/redo/upgrade, is the better version of this game, in my opinion (though Wildlife's graphics are nicer and less confusing). If you only have Wildlife, I recommend playing it with Expedition's rules (which can be found at the Game Cabinet website under Expedition's earlier, short-lived title, Terra-X!)

[Dave Arnott, '99]


Wyatt Earp  Rio Grande Games  2001
Wyatt Earp  Alea  2001

I bought Wyatt Earp thinking the two-player game would be marginal at best. Not at all. My wife and I LOVE this game. I was really surprised that it played so well for two players. I love the bits, the theme, and the potential to make problems for your opponent. Superb game!

[Chuck Smith, '01]

Excellent rummy variant that works great with two players. Random gunshots to make things work only adds to the theme. I like this one a lot, and have played it extensively as a two-player game with my son. My one grip is why they made the cards so small, and not Amigo quality? Rating: 8 out of 10.

[Dave Vander Ark, '03]

Wyatt Earp is great with 2, 3, or 4. When my wife and I play (2 player) we find the variant with the "photo" cards keeps the game closer and more interesting.

[Jeff Binning, '02]

My fiancee and I play this one regularly by ourselves - you don't need to vary any rules, it's fun 2-player just as is.

[Roger Leroux, '01]

I second this.

[Dave Eggleston, '01]

I just got Wyatt Earp and my wife LOVES it. She will even ask me to play. I've played it with 2, 3, and 4 players and it works great with all.

[Greg Zamira(?), '03]

It works with two players, but it's much better with three or four. If I have one other person and I'm feeling like playing Wyatt Earp, I'll play Mystery Rummy #1 instead, a game with a lot of similar mechanics that also works extremely well with two players.

[Bob Rossney, '01]

My fiancee and I both enjoy Wyatt Earp. With the need to get eight capture points total for a given outlaw for anyone to score, it becomes tough to sweep the points without a successful hideout, and since you both know the hideout is so dangerous, you keep a sheriff in hand; then, them there stage coach robberies get mighty attractive . . . and so on.

[Will T, 01]

Wyatt Earp is a wonderful, fun 2 player game. My wife loves it. And if you pull out the 3 Hideout cards from the deck, then it's completely friendly I would say. We leave them in, though, because we like a bit of nastiness in our relationship.

[Joe Czapski, '04]

I've played some 2-player Wyatt Earp, and it works, but it feels less balanced. With 3-4 players there's a tendency for people to cut into the leader's profits if they have a choice (e.g., where to play a Hideout, or which of two outlaws to add a Bank Robbery or Most Wanted on, etc.). With 2 players, if one player gets noticeably better cards, it can be a runaway. We had one hand where one of us scored 23 on a single hand! Some rules to restore a bit of balance might help, but I haven't thought of any yet that feel right to me.

[Don Woods, '01]

I played two-player W. Earp last night for the first time, and this was certainly our experience: I won the game 33 to 9. In the first round I went out after only a few turns, leaving my opponent holding almost all of her cards (she scored $1 to my $16). I did the same thing in the third round, thereby winning the game in a rout. I suspect that this is unusual even for a two-player game of Earp, but I'll probably think twice before proposing Earp over, say, Lost Cities or Hera and Zeus the next time it's just two of us.

[Matthew Baldwin, '01]

Wyatt Earp works for 2, but if you want a two-player game in this style that is excellent, play Mystery Rummy #1: Jack the Ripper.

[Ben Baldanza, '01]

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Last modified: 16 Jan 2005