I once read an article in a magazine that had advice from couples who were married and still together after so many years. One of the suggestions was something along the lines of find something you can do together at home (crossword puzzles) and something you can do together outside (gardening).
That piece of advice has stuck with me and once we started having kids, I was determined to find something we could do at home together instead of vegging out mindlessly on the computer or television. For a couple of years before having kids, we really got into playing The Settlers of Catan board game. It was introduced to us by my brother-in-law during a family vacation and as soon as Brian and I played it, we were hooked. Brian’s parents surprised us with a copy of the game and we had almost-weekly game nights with friends at our house. We were obsessed.
After kids, our weekly game nights ended, but I wanted to bring back the fun we had. For Christmas, I decided to try finding two-player games that we could play after we put our kids down for sleep. I’ve always said Brian’s my favorite competitor and we’ve had fun learning and playing new games together. I love that a game is less costly than going out to dinner and a movie, and there is replay value too.
This was how I stumbled into the magical world of designer board games. I bought a couple of games to start out with, and now, we have a full shelf of them!
Today I’m going to share three of my favorite two player games. These are lighter games, and so they’re not as challenging to learn, especially for someone who hasn’t really played board games beyond the usual (Clue, Monopoly, etc.)
Morels is about foraging in the woods for mushrooms and then cooking them up. Whoever gets the most points wins.
I love how fast this game goes and you kind of have to decide which mushrooms are worth collecting in a set as they slide down the table.
I love mushrooms, so the game’s theme makes it that much more appealing to me.
Battle Line is another two player game that plays really quickly. This is great when you have kids and want just enough of a challenge without taking all night to play.
You take turns putting down cards, in runs or sets (like rummy or poker). You’re trying to capture the red flag either 5 of them, or 3 in a row.
I pretty much almost always lose when I play Battle Line, but I keep coming back because one of these days I will get it!
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
You’re trying to win by completing the most train routes and maybe you’ll block your opponent along the way!
I love the beautiful art and colors of this version. We also have Ticket To Ride – Europe, but this is the one we go to when it’s just the two of us.
We just picked up Splendor Board Game last week, and Brian is hooked. I learned this game from our board game group and have been going on and on (and on) about how fun it is. It’s kind of like a solitaire gem mining game (there’s no real theme here), but we love it.
I’ve played this with 2, 3, and 4 players and I think I like it a little bit more when it’s 3 or 4. Brian’s only played it with 2 so far, but it’s still a fun game for us.
Extra Bonus: Card Shuffler
I kind of rolled my eyes when Brian ordered a Hand Cranked Card Shuffler (2-Deck). It seemed silly and a bit lazy, but we love it and use it for most of our card games! Go figure.
We go back and forth between playing really long brain-burner type of games to these fast and lighter ones. Sometimes we play a short game with our kids as “helpers” or they will play with the extra pieces beside us. (They were so excited when I took out Ticket to Ride to photograph in the above pic!)
Our longer game sessions happen when our kids are asleep and we can’t wait to introduce them to board games when they’re a little older. If you look closely at the photo above you can see some of the titles we’re saving that haven’t been opened yet. No Chutes & Ladders for our kids! 😉
Have you tried designer board games? We joined a board game meetup when we moved here and it’s been fun to meet new people and learn new games.