Classic Two Player Board Games

Here are ten classic board games that you will likely have already heard of, and may already own. 

It may be time to dig these out of the game cupboard and dust them off for a two player game.

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Two Player Board Games - Mr Cosmo the dog plays chess

1) Crokinole

Players: 2 or 4  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Crokinole is one of the lesser known games on this list, but is an oldie and certainly a goodie. Created in 1876, Crokinole consists of a round board with different scoring areas. Players take turns flicking disks on to the board to try and score the most points. You must hit one of your opponents disks first otherwise your disk is removed from the board.

Crokinole boards can be relatively expensive, but it is a beautiful and substantial sort of game, in the same vein as having a pool table in your home. An excellent dexterity skill game.

2)  Go

Players: 2  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 30-180 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Go has been in the media recently, because machines can now beat humans at this complex game which was once thought impossible. Go is at least 2000 years old and may be as much as 4000 years old. 

It is relatively simple to learn, but very complicated to master the strategy. Players move colored stones (black or white) on a 19 x 19 grid. Any of your opponent’s pieces that you manage to encircle are removed from the board. The game ends when both you and your opponent pass

3)  Chess

Players: 2  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 60 min  |  Learning Curve: Medium

Chess is a strategy game that requires no introduction. The current form of chess appeared around 1475 and is one of the most popular games in the world today. 

Chess is played on an 8 x 8 board, and each player tries to “checkmate” their opponent’s King. Each type of piece in chess moves in a different way. When a piece moves into the same square as your opponent’s piece, their piece is removed from the board. Chess is relatively easy to learn, but extremely complicated to master.

4)  Backgammon

Players: 2  |  Age: 8+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Backgammon is one of the oldest games on this list, as the first mention of Backgammon in written history dates back 5000 years. 

Backgammon is a dice game where you move your pieces around the board past your opponent’s pieces, and try to escape without being captured. Although dice are used to determine movement, the game involves a lot of strategy and risk assessment.

5)  Scrabble

Players: 2-4  |  Age: 10+  |  Game Length: 90 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Scrabble is another one that requires no introduction. This word game was created in 1948. 

Players draw seven letter tiles from the pile, and use these to create interconnecting words on the game board. Any rare letters used in your words give you a higher score, and certain spaces on the board give you bonus points. This makes it quite a tactical game as well as being good for your word play skills.

6)  Boggle

Players: 1-8 |  Age: 10+  |  Game Length: 10 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

Created in 1972, Boggle is another word-based game where players have 3 minutes to find as many words as they can in a 4 x 4 letter grid.

You receive points for every word that you have written down that your opponent does not have. The longer the word, the more points you receive. The letter grid is made with dice, so the letters are randomised before each round by shaking the dice into the spots in a plastic grid.

If you want to make longer words, check out Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle which use larger grids of letters!

7)  Jenga

Players: 1-8  |  Age: 5+  |  Game Length: 20 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

Jenga was created in 1983, and is a well known tower building game where players take turns removing one wooden block from a tower and placing it on top. As the game goes on the tower becomes taller and less stable. The loser is the person who causes the tower to fall over.

This can also be made into a great drinking game by writing instructions on the blocks – here is some inspiration

8)  Yahtzee

Players: 2-10  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Created in 1956, Yahtzee is the classic dice rolling game where players roll five dice up to three times in a turn, to create one of 13 possible combinations (Full House, Small Straight, Large Straight, etc). The game ends when all players have entered a score for each of the 13 combinations, at which time the points are added up to determine the winner. 

The simple game play makes this a great one for kids, to teach them about probability and risk.

9)  Battleships

Players: 2  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Battleships was created in 1931 as a pen and pencil game, but the game you are most likely familiar with was created in 1967. 

You place each of your ships on your grid, hidden from your opponent. Players then take turns calling out grid locations to try to locate the enemy ships and sink them. 

This is one that many of us will have grown up playing, as it is great for kids as well as adults.

10)  Checkers

Players: 2  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Checkers may be as old as 5000 years. It is played on a 8 x 8 grid with checker pieces placed on alternate tiles of the first three rows on each side of the board.

Players take turns moving their pieces forward diagonally to an adjacent square, or jumping forward diagonally over another piece. Your opponent’s pieces that are jumped are removed from the board. If it is possible to jump an opponent’s piece, you MUST jump it.

If one of your pieces makes it to the other side of the table it is made into a King by stacking a discarded checker piece on top of it. Kings are allowed to move backwards diagonally as well as forward.

If you remove all of your opponents pieces from the board you win.

Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below. Are there any other great classic two player games that you would add to this list? 

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Nathalia Ibarra
Nathalia Ibarra
2 months ago

This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am really happy to read everthing at one place

Izolacja akustyczna budynków
Izolacja akustyczna budynków
1 month ago

This is one of the most insightful articles I’ve come across in a while. Your expertise is evident.