My Dream 2 Player Game Night

Post by: Grant Rodiek

Writer for the nefarious I Slay the Dragon review/news/preview site Andrew Brooks asked me about my two player game list. You see, I noted that Innovation, while excellent, wouldn’t fit in my two player list. Therefore, he wanted to know what was on my list.


I could take the Top 10 Two Player Games for Two approach, but I’m not sure that’s quite the right approach. You see, with 3-5 player games, I think we’ll often have games that exist on both of our lists. But, two player games are so personal and intimate. They really show a player’s tastes and I want to present my list a little differently.

Therefore, I present an Intimate Evening with Grant. Games for Two. That’s me, and you. Some notes about our evening together. The games listed will be games made explicitly for two. They will be games intended for folks who play games, not necessarily introductory games.

Oh hey! Thanks for coming over. Oh, nice, you brought beer. How kind of you. Shall we order some pizza? Thai food? Sounds good. Want to play something simple while we’re waiting for food and catch up on stuff?

Typically when a friend first arrives I like to play something light and stupid. Often, we both have stuff to talk about and it’s fun to just play something stupid. Plus, food will arrive soonish and it’s not fun to insert a large break into an important game.

At the very start of a two-player game night, I’d bring out a game like Revolver or Cube Quest. Revolver is simple, incredibly quick, and packs just enough decisions to stay interesting. It’s highly thematic and asymmetric, which is always a bonus.

Cube Quest is hilariously quick and destructive. You’re flicking cubes at each other’s castles, which you assemble in secret behind the cover of the game’s cover. I recommend you play with all the cubes and ignore their silly limit rules, by the way.

You can easily get in 2 games of Revolver before Thai arrives, or 5 games of Cube Quest depending on how incompetent you are. Me? I lose fast.

Ding dong! Oh, it’s the delivery guy. Do you have some cash for the tip? Thanks. Come on Peaches.

After we gather the food, bust out the plates, and sit down, it’s time for something a bit heftier. Like a good mixed tape, you want to lead your two player game night in slowly but definitively. It’s at this point I’d bring out Summoner Wars, X-Wing Miniatures Game, or Netrunner. Now, the ultimate choice depends on your date, err, friend.

Whether Netrunner is chosen or not depends entirely on whether your friend plays and has a deck (or decks) ready to go. It’s really that simple. If the answer is yes, I do have a deck, then Netrunner is an easy and brilliant choice. Like any good CCG, the game beautifully reflects the personality of your friend and lends itself to brilliant table talk.

The choice is similar for X-Wing Miniatures. I have some deceptive, untrustworthy friends that are ideal for Netrunner. I have others who love chucking dice and building squadrons. If your friend had time to tweak their latest squadron and their box packed with miniatures is in the trunk? Well, it’s time to dogfight.

But, if your friends aren’t deeply invested in the above financial drains, or simply didn’t prepare, then Summoner Wars is such an amazing choice. The game provides the fun of a CCG without the C (the first one). If you have all of the content, or even just the Master Set, you have a huge variety of decks to try out.

I love all three, but I often love playing a rematch. X-Wing often goes a bit longer, especially in a close game. Netrunner and Summoner Wars, however, are perfect for a rematch. Swap out your decks and have another go.

Belch. Ah, more wine? /pats full stomach I think it’s time to get down to business. No more of this childish garbage. Let’s play a real game. A big game. Something that we’ll talk about on Monday when we pass each other in the halls at work and glare, remembering the one key play that brought one of our plans to naught.

Every two player game night needs a main course and for me, right now, that means Combat Commander: Europe or Twilight Struggle. These are 2-3 hour games, not for the feint of heart, and, hoo, I need a heart burn pill.

Twilight Struggle is the big daddy and the current number 1 title on the BGG game list. It’s a brilliant tug of war between the Soviets and Americans over the world. Every single card player matters, which makes it so delicious. It’s aggressive and interactive, but not mean-spirited or painful. It makes me smile just dipping into its machine.

Combat Commander is a personal favorite that just delights with every play. The game is a sandbox for stories and cool moments. Fires will rage where none previously burned. Smoke grenades will protect perilous charges across open fields, only for the soldiers to encounter mines or a hidden machine gun. It’s a masterpiece of clever card and scenario design. Best of all, I love that it reminds us that war and games aren’t fair. But, the best players come out on top regardless.

Well, look at the time. Shhh. My girlfriend came home. We need to whisper. Do you have time for one more? It’s quick, I promise.

I have a difficult time ending game night without a little dessert. A tiny treat that leaves everyone with a positive memory in mind as they trudge home overly full of delivered food and victory or defeat. For me, that game is Dragonheart.

Dragonheart is the most played game in my collection, aside from my personal prototypes, but also the one from which I’ve taken the most value. I bought the game for $5 from Fantasy Flight’s Christmas sale and at 50 plays, I think that’s a great buy.

In Dragonheart, you must play at least one card to one of the, oh, let’s say 8 spaces on the board. You can play as many cards from your hand as you want to that one space, but you must play at least one. When the requirements are met, you take cards to your score pile. The player with the most points at the end wins. The game is simple, highly luck driven, and very swingy. I love it. Once you know how to play, you can finish the game in 10 minutes. The result is that you find yourself playing your 8th game of Dragonheart at 2:30 am on a weeknight.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So long, friend! When are you coming back for more games? Yes, I’m tired too. Well, we should think about what we’re going to play next time, yes? See you later. Be careful and drive safe.

Let’s go to the bathroom, Peaches. Then, bed.

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged 2 player games, awkward, bromance, fighting, game night, war by Grant Rodiek. Bookmark the permalink.

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