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The Best Board Games For Two

Have you ever wondered “why is it called board games?”. Well, it simply means games played on a board which refers to a surface for playing (either a table, a chessboard, or anything). Many people presume board games always require groups of people to play like Monopoly. But that is not necessarily true. Since the purpose is to connect people together, no matter how many players, even just two, you can still enjoy the fun. All you need is just a board and a game!

Here are the best two-player board games that will appeal to everyone, even newbies looking for a lighthearted kick-off such as Five in a row, War with playing cards, or masters craving for intense matches like Backgammon, Chess, Xiangqi (Chinese Chess). To make it easier for you, we’ve orderly placed the games based on their level of difficulty - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. You will eventually pick out a suitable game for you and your partner.

Best Two-player Board Games For Beginners: 

Five in a Row

  • Level: Beginner
  • Playing time: around 10 minutes 
  • What you need
    • Five in a Row Set
    • Paper and a pen
    • Paper and stone

 


Five in a Row, also known as Gomoku, is worldwide played in several countries under different names (The Vietnamese are more familiar with the name Caro). 

The rule is tremendously simple and easy to understand. During the game, the two players take turns to place a piece on the board; the winner is the first one to form an unbroken chain of five pieces horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. It could be played anywhere at any time, even with just a pen and paper. 

Thanks to its like-a-piece-of-cake rule, Five in a Row is the 1st board game to come to mind when considering a fun teaser for a long night game.

War (Playing Cards)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Playing time: 10-40 minutes 
  • What you need: a standard playing card deck

 

War with playing cards is another recommendation for beginners to try out. 

With a straightforward rule of play, even a kid can get the gist of it and enjoy the fun right away. Basically, it is about battling with the value of the cards and the winner is the one to win all of the cards (to see how it is played - check this out!). 

For a beginner, this game of fortune definitely gets the adrenaline flowing and fulfills your fun fantasy.

Best Two-player Board Games For Intermediates:

Backgammon

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Playing time: 10-60 minutes 
  • What you need: a Backgammon set (a board, two sets of 15 checkers, two pairs of dice, a doubling cube, and dice cups)

For intermediate players, such an easy game can never satisfy their thirst for challenge. They need a much more demanding yet thrilling stimulus. In that case, Backgammon - one of the oldest known board games, would please them. 

Interestingly, its history can even be traced back to 5,000 years ago. Apart from War which is all about the play of fortune, Backgammon involves a combination of strategy and luck. While the dice may determine the outcome of a single game, the better player will accumulate the better record over a series of many games. This requires the players to stay focused during the play as minor negligence after a moment of being cocky can literally turn the table! 

Best Two-player Board Games For Advanced Players:

Chess

  • Level: Advanced
  • Playing time: 20-75 minutes 
  • What you need: a Chess set (a chessboard and 32 chess pieces in two colors)


Chess is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people all over the world. There is no doubt that chess is a must-play game for two.

Unfortunately, Chess is not child’s play. It is an abstract strategy game, requiring a great endeavor to fully pick up the rules. With sixteen pieces whose individual moves are totally distinctive on a 64-square playing board, chess can make up to billions of possible games, lasting for hours to hours. 

Unlike the games mentioned above, chess is purely a battle of strategy and minds; there’s literally no place for luck or any privilege during the game. That’s why it is among a few board games that are considered an organized sport with structured international and national leagues, tournaments, and congresses. 

However, it does not mean you have to be a genius to play chess. Chess is for everyone! Though it takes a lot of effort and time to learn the rules, it is also a journey to benefit your cognitive ability while enjoying the excitement of playing chess. 

Chinese Chess

  • Level: Advanced
  • Playing time: 20-75 minutes 
  • What you need: a Chinese Chess set (a Chinese chess board and 32 Chinese chess pieces in two colors)

Chinese Chess, also known as Xiangqi or Elephant chess, is an advanced board game just like chess. 

Amongst the most played board games in China, Chinese chess is a strategy board game, representing a battle between two armies, with the object of capturing the enemy's general (King). Like Western chess, Chinese chess also has the same number of pieces (16 pieces) which are engraved with a Chinese character identifying the piece type. The rules are quite differentiated from Chess. But in general, it still requires much effort from players to figure out.

Regardless of your personality or interests, we’re sure that you’ll find a two-player game that perfectly fits you and your partner. Just a little reminder that the main purpose of board games is to have fun and share the fun with others. Whether it is a group of people or just between you and your partner, the moment that you’re spending time together is the essence of playing board games.