The best board games for two people to play

Our 9 Favorite Board Games to Play Head-to-Head

Head-to-head, energetic (and a maybe just a little over-competitive) two player matches are when board games really come alive. There are fewer people to organize and get clued up on the rules and the games start to take on a life of their own when you play the same person regularly. You start to understand the way they think and recognize their moves – but the tricky thing is they start to recognize the same things about you too!

If you spend a lot of time with a roommate, friend or partner then it’s worth finding a great game for two people to play. Whether you’re both off traveling the world and need to pass some time or are getting a little tired of cold winter days sat in front of the TV, a two-payer game is the perfect way to have some fun together.

Fast-paced games


If you’re fans of word-games, nothing beats a game of Bananagrams. It’s a race to build connecting words out of letter tiles, and the tough part is that every time someone finishes you need to draw another letter and fit that in (until they all run out). It’s not just about having a good vocabulary, it’s about speed, strategy and a little bit of luck! Games usually last 10-20 minutes and it comes in a fun travel-size banana pouch.

From $11.99 on Amazon.

Monopoly Deal

Imagine Monopoly without the board. Now imagine it actually works for two players and doesn’t go on forever. OK, now mix in a little bit of Uno. That’s Monopoly Deal – all the competitiveness and fun of Monopoly but played with cards instead. Games usually last around 10-20 minutes and end with one player absolutely annihilating the other one. Travel-sized and comes in a small hard case.

From $7.99 on Amazon.


If you’re itching to play a two-player strategy game, Hive might be the fun insect game that won’t get moth-balled. It works a bit like Go, where you place down connecting tiles while trying to completely surround your opponent’s queen. It can be played fast or slow, with games lasting from 10 minutes to an hour depending on your set up. The package isn’t travel-sized, but the tiles within are.

From $25 on Amazon.

Cobra Paw

Who else loves those nice, tactile tiles that come with well-made board games? Cobra Paw has some of those and is about matching symbols on them before your opponents. The catch is you have to dive in and grab them before your opponent too – so you need ninja-like reflexes to win. Games last 5-10 minutes and the tiles are travel-size.

From $15 on Amazon.


Dobble sounds like it should be lame. You have to spot matching symbols (a tree, fish, snowflake etc) on pieces of card before everyone else and shout it out. But there’s something strange about it that makes it really fun. It tricks your brain by making the symbols different sizes, and if you’re anything like it makes you feel like you’re missing a few brain cells. If you’re looking for a low-effort game this is it. Games last as long as you want them to and its travel-size.

From $16 on Amazon.

Slow, strategic time burners


For a slow-paced, calmer word game look no further than Word-a-Melon. It works by rolling a die, flipping over letter chips and trying to build the longest word possible. If you’re planning on playing someone with a ridiculously good vocabulary, the memory part of this game might help you stay competitive. Unless you have a bad memory too, in which case you should forget I mentioned this game. Games take 10-20 minutes and it’s travel-size.

From $18 on Amazon.


Go is at least 2,000 years old and because people still play it that means it must be alright. Wikipedia calls it a ‘mind sport’ which basically means it will melt your brain if you try to be good at it. It’s actually very simple to learn and play and involves placing pebbles on a grid while trying to surround your opponent’s pebbles. Casual games last 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Although the pebbles are portable it requires a board to play.

From $19.99 on Amazon.

Fog of love

Don’t be put off by the name, Fog of Love is a fun game aside from its romantic connotations. You create two characters with life goals, personalities and backgrounds and then fall in love while trying to make your relationship work (or not!). It’s a really unique game, and one that is worth checking out. Games last 1-2 hours and it’s not travel-size.

From $50 on Amazon.

Rivals for Catan

If you’ve played Catan before, this is a reworked two player card game version of the classic game. If you haven’t played Catan before, it’s a cult game about collecting resources and expanding your province while outpacing your competition. It’s a fantastic game for burning some time and on long journeys. Games usually last 1-2 hours and it’s a card game, so it’s completely portable.

From $25 on Amazon.

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- Ellen Degeneres

"BANANAGRAMS® is so portable. I stash it in my car."

- Kristen Bell, Actress, PEOPLE

"BANANAGRAMS® go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!"

- Cool Mom Picks

"Can you spell P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N?"

- Boston Globe

"Who’s up for a round of BANANAGRAMS®, anybody?"

- Jimmy Kimmel

"Good luck prying this anagram game [BANANAGRAMS®] away from students."

- Scholastic

"Gotta love the BANANAGRAMS®"

- Kathie Lee Gifford

"I hope you, too, enjoy discovering the sheer delight of BANANAGRAMS®"

- Dame Judi Dench

"We play BANANAGRAMS®, which is fun but it also keeps your brain working."

- British Actress Haley Atwell

"Playing BANANAGRAMS®, with friends! I love this game! I was just named BANANAGRAMS® ninja! Be afraid, I’m amazing!"

- Kelly Clarkson

"Give it up for BANANAGRAMS®!"

- Ed Helms

"Today I want to talk to you about BANANAGRAMS®. It’s a really fun game between you and your friends …."

- Justin Bieber