Best Board Games for 2 Players (Only) | ThinkerThemer Top 5 -

Best Board Games for 2 Players (Only) | ThinkerThemer Top 5

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There’s nothing quite like a head to head battle; a game perfectly designed for the 1 V 1. We couldn’t agree on a combined Top 10 (seems our tastes are diverging more and more…) so we hope you enjoy hearing each of us talk through some of our favourite 2 player only board games! A&M x

00:00 Introduction (a bit about our taste in games)
04:06 Combined #6 (honorable mention)
08:37 Maggie’s #5
12:01 Amy’s #5
15:20 Maggie’s #4
18:34 Amy’s #4
23:06 Maggie’s #3
26:12 Amy’s #3
31:12 Maggie’s #2
36:07 Amy’s #1
41:00 Maggie’s #1 …and.. Amy’s #2
47:26 Wrap up

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Thanks for stopping by! We’re Amy & Maggie aka ThinkerThemer. We’re an Australian couple with two very different perspectives of what makes a great board game – Amy (Thinker) is all about the mechanics and enjoys tight, competitive games, and Maggie (Themer) is all about the storytelling and the theme of the game, and the ‘world’ that the designer is trying to create. Subscribe to our channel to hear us talk about these two elements of a game, and how well integrated we feel these are in delivering a cohesive and wonderful game experience.
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  1. Of those I have played (and really enjoyed) both #4, Maggies #3 and the one crossover (best 2 player game imo). I think I should give some of the others a try. Radlands is getting lots of love at the moment.

  2. Good choices! Have you tried Targi or Akrotiri? These are just super satisfacting two player games!

  3. Watergate should come with a coupon for marriage counseling. There is always a good extra foot or two between my wife and I in bed that night.

  4. I remember the actual Watergate scandal– one of my earliest memories outside of my own family. As part of a PR campaign, Nixon actually ate at my family's restaurant to try to "humanize" him. It did not work. Somewhere in my parents' house, I believe they still have the memorabilia they were supposed to give their employees (they refused).

  5. I never really see Fairy Trails talked about. My wife found it randomly at the beginning of the pandemic and we've really enjoyed it!

  6. Love your lists and topics of the list is awesome 👏 thank you for that

  7. I think you both are a little more aggressive/interactive in your 2-player preferences– mine are
    5. Cartographers
    4. Ingenious (travel)
    3. Codenames: Duet
    2. Innovation
    1. Race for the Galaxy (esp. w Alien Artifacts)

    (But Targi was a Top 10 honourable mention for me)

  8. Ooh, a 2 player list! I’m tempted to get your #6 now. Star Realms is such a great game. I put off buying it for ages as I wasn’t drawn to the theme but I have to say that I think the artwork is fantastic. A lot of love went into that.

  9. Such a lovely list! Thanks for sharing it and there are a couple I do wanna try. Specifically Paris. If y'all want a Euro feeling two player game, Targi is a great one to check out. Such a straightforward worker placement, resource gathering game that is surprising how thinky it is with such few options.

    Thanks for another lovely video and have a good one!

  10. I'm hoping 7 Wonders Duel is under the Christmas Tree, as I think I finally convinced my wife to try it. Fingers crossed.

    Besides that we really like Fairy Trails, Odin's Ravens, and Spirits of the Wild, as two player only games.

  11. Thanks so much for this video! My husband and I play a lot of two-player games and are always looking for great recommendations like this. I have to take another look at Watergate and Radlands. The theme of Watergate always sounded a bit dry to me. However, I trust your recommendations! We enjoy playing the app version of Fox in the Forest (Cool special effects). Have you tried any of the 7 Wonders Duel expansions? We really enjoy Pantheon, but haven't tried Agora yet.

  12. Great video ladies!! I definitely need to try Kahuna and Radlands! My favorite 2 player games are Targi and Star Realms, but my favorite game at 2 players is Castles of Burgundy. Cheers!

  13. Fairy Trails does have a 1-player variant. Actually, there's an official solo variant for 7 Wonders Duel as well! 🙂 Great choices!

  14. Watergate is so good! I'll have to try out Radlands and Kahuna.

  15. I've only played 7 wonders Duel with my wife on BGA, but we really enjoy it. We bought Paris earlier in the pandemic and enjoy it a lot. I want to try Lost Cities on BGA right now. I've been meaning to try that classic and didn't realize it was available there.

  16. Excited to see the topic of your latest video as most of my board game experiences are at the two-player level. Going away for the holidays with a dear friend and am bringing Radlands. I hope he'll be into playing it! You've also reminded me of Fairy Trails. Since we enjoy Uwe Rosenberg's Sagani, I'm thinking I'll like this one as well.

    Two-player only games that we enjoy: Hanamikoji, Fox in the Forest, Slip Strike, Nanga Prabat, Kohaku, and Kodama Duo. Have you played Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden or Canopy (just came out)? I'm hoping to get both of them to the table for the first time.

    Great topic…I really enjoyed this video!

  17. Oooh a list!

    For fans of Maggie’s #4 pick, I’d definitely recommend checking out Jekyll Vs. Hyde. Scratches a similar itch and has been such a blast to play, but different enough that both will live on in my collection. 😊

  18. Shocker: Amy loves stress. 🤣

    7 Wonders Duel much better than original imho.

    I’m surprised that Targi wasn’t on your list. Too mean?

  19. Fantastic list! Really enjoyed this one! Really love base Star Realms as well, this was actually our gateway game. Such addictive and quick gameplay! Have a great week over there 🙂

  20. Great list and love 7 Wonders Duel. Another great video from the two of you (thank you) and a great one to watch wrapping games gifts 🙂 . Love the artwork in Radlands but resisted the KickStarter because of the game play but am now tempted to push the button on one of the Dice Throne games, which then makes no sense. Have you played any of the Dice Throne games?

  21. Great picks… and specially Amy's top 5 are games I have high on my own list, so completely sympathize (apart from Dvonn, which I haven't played. 
    Actually I just came back from Paris, so feel like playing the game straight away. Radlands deluxe is such great production game as well. Such an eye-catcher.
    Kahuna I haven't touched in years, but it's a classic.So summarizing, Maggie's top 5 is just as great as well, I guess As I only didn't like Fox in the Forest that much. 
    7 Wonders Duel is just a gem. btw… the yellow shirt suits you just as well.

  22. My top 5:

    Battlelore 2nd ed.
    Chess … (of course)

    🏳️‍🌈 Love and respect from Germany 🏳️‍🌈 🍻🖖

  23. Another great episode, and this time not Monday (my Tuesday), 7 Wonders Duel, Star Realms (I love my big box) and Maggie there is solo play in there too, Watergate never played yet. How about Twilight Struggle? Never managed to get any of the Gipf games so far. As completionist they are too expensive altogether. Amy why Dvonn over Tzar? Radlands didn't play my copy yet. What about Santorini?
    But one game is missing. Xmas quiz: It is the eldest BOARD game in the world and my favorite one by many miles.. I know this puzzle is too hard. Hint no 2: the game with the simplest rules but so complex that humanity got only beaten by an AI 5 years ago.
    Love the show,

  24. I think I feel the same about Watergate as you used to. I feel like it probably plays really well because of all the great reviews, but the theme is still holding me back. Maybe one day I'll find someone who has a copy and get a chance to try it out.

    I love Lost Cities!! I think the best thing about it is that you have to play first before you can pick up a card, so you're stuck right at the beginning of your turn before you can get something better, so when your opponent discards a card you can use, you can't pick it up until AFTER you've played a card.

    So glad to see Paris: City of Lights on your list. I could play it endlessly. I think it's my number 1, my number 2 would probably be Raptor. Have you tried that one?

  25. Since we just started our list wasn't 2 player only it was more the games we enjoyed playing together the most this year. Have to take notes on your games and see if we can get them to the table and next year have a 2 player only game list.

  26. Cool list. I have none of them…

    Mostly I go with coop games with my partner, and a bigger number for the rest of the group (just something that takes 5 is a good sign). I occasionally grab 2p games that I love the look of (Dungeon Twister back in the day, or Unmatched), as hope springs eternal. Star Realms and Radlands are both tempting.

  27. If you like 7WD, you have to try it with the Pantheon expansion. Absolutely essential!

  28. Great video with some less common 2 player games it was really nice ! I was a bit worried at first that you had no crossover 😅 I guess you have to do some favors trading like we can play Fox in the forest but then we play Paris la cité de la lumière (nice pronunciation by the way !). It's what we used to do with my brother, he wanted to play chess I wanted to play a Harry Potter board game, we had to do some negotiations !

  29. Bit disappointed in the selection tbh. The games are a bit 'samey'. Where are games such as Twilight Struggle, Netrunner, any block wargame such as Hammer of the Scots, Polis, Hive, Raptor, Carcassonne The Castle, Klask, The Duke, Abalone, even Backgammon or Mancala

  30. Fields of Arle is my favorite 2p. Love your list but sad it wasn’t mentioned. Great work though as always!

  31. Great video! Nice haircut, Maggie and nice to see you wearing your rings again. 🙂 Hope you both have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's. Travel safely!

  32. really nice editing and as usual great content and discussion.

  33. I totally love Lost Cities. I’m not sure you got the scoring correct. You don’t get all your points negative if you don’t get to 20. You just have to subtract 20 from your score. Nice reviews.

  34. Such interesting choices! Space! I haven’t actually played any of these, will be adding some to my wish list.whoops edited as I have played Lost Cities once!

  35. Great choices. Our household are very much into 2 player games. I like the tug of war aspect of Royal Visit and my wife really loves Santorini. I regularly get smashed by my son at Dice Throne and utterly destroyed by him at Star Realms (he is still often at the start score of 50 when he has brought me and my forces down to zero). I usually get my revenge when we play Onitama though. Summoner Wars is supposed to be a good head to head ‘ chess like’ game but I’ve yet to play it. Have either of you tried it?

  36. Great lists…. I'm not a huge fan of Kahuna, probably because I'm so bad at it and always get destroyed. 7WD though is also one of my favourites. The only game I own which I've played through all the score sheets in the box!

  37. I love seeing peoples favourite games! Radlands has been getting quite a bit of love in our house recently, along with dice throne and summoner wars. 2P only games we circulate back to include 7WD, hive, star realms and santorini. There are sooooo many good ones!!! I love discovering them all! Most recent 2p only game I played was “school of sorcery” and enjoyed it a lot! Bidding on cards for powers and points with crystals from spells is pretty unique for 2p! I wish I owned rift force… that’s the 2p only top of the wish list for me!

  38. Innovation, Mandala, Hanamikoji, Tash Kalar, Fields of Arle.

  39. Love kahuna, I bought it when it came out and before I became a boardgamecollector. It is so timeless, the artwork still looks fresh. After kahuna I have bought a lot of island games: skye, blue lagoon, yamatai, survive escape from atlantis… I once have visited your island, hope to visit it again in my lifetime!

  40. Not “only two players”, but I would only play 2 players 😅. Tash Kalah is definitely one of my top 5 of all time, and my favorite 2 player experience. Steeped in think and theme. If you have never played it I cannot recommend it enough.

    My top 2 player only is much less interesting (and in no particular order), probably Onitama, Patchwork, 7 Wonders Duel, Twilight Struggle, and lastly Codenames Duet.

  41. Kahuna sounds really interesting, I love area control and the mechanisms supporting it sound really fresh and interesting. I'll have to try and find a copy!

  42. "Fairy Abstract" …. I laughed loud enough that I scared the cat off my lap 😀

  43. Maggie … Star Realms, you are a star!

  44. Amy … Paris La Citee de Lumiere is the absolute best polyomino game, great choice.

  45. And Maggie Paris l.c.d. L is thematic and the art is fab! Shame it’s too stressful for you.

  46. Ohh…. Wow! Radlands, incredible. Moths, water light… what a description!

  47. As you can tell I am posting as I am watching, sorry for hogging the posts!

  48. Great number 1 choice, and fab with the expansions too.

  49. Fugitive is fantastic 2 player puzzle, bluff, mind-bender, so well crafted thematically too.

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