Tabletop Games To Play With A Partner In Isolation

Published: Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 12:00 | By: Giaco Furino
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Last week, TechRaptor Tabletop Editor Adam and I ran down a list of our favorite games to play solo during isolation. This week, we're taking a look at some of our favorite games to play with a partner while in self-quarantine. Some of these are specifically games for 2-players only, while others simply play well (or best) with a sole opponent. Here are 6 of our favorites.

Arkham Horror Card Game

Arkham Horror The Card Game

 
 

In Arkham Horror the Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games, players pick an investigator, create their own decks, and play cooperatively in a narrative campaign against a card-driven AI. It's part of FFG's living card game brand, so all cards are fixed in the products and there is a huge amount of content available for it.

Why It's Great For Two Players

While there are plenty of Cthulhu games out there, Arkham Horror the Card Game is one that really captures the theme by the tentacle. The story develops and reacts to your characters and can feel like you're playing a roleplaying game, with the deck acting as the DM. While it can play with up to 4 players, it's best with 2 for communication and pace. Out of the Core Set, 2 players can create decks and expand from there. With 6 premium expansions available or annoucend, each having 6 expansions packs, along with several standalone expansions, and the new Investigator Decks coming, there is content to see you through months of play, enough for any apocalypse. — Adam

Jaipur

Jaipur

Jaipur, designed by Sébastien Pauchon in 2009 and currently distributed by Asmodee, is an easy, breezy, endlessly approachable card game for 2 players. Each player takes the role of a famous merchant in the city of Jaipur, vying for two "seals of excellence" to gain entry into the court of the Maharaja. In the game, players collect cards from a central "marketplace" and sell them in bunches for points. The more cards of the same good-type you sell, the more points you can collect. Jaipur is all about set collection, pushing your luck, and knowing when to cash out on your goods for points.

Why It's Great For Two Players

Jaipur makes my list not just because it's a great game designed for two players, but because it's also the perfect filler game for two. You and your partner can run through a game in about fifteen or twenty minutes (though just playing one game is rarely enough), and the competitive nature of the game keeps both players fully engaged at all times. I love the feeling of waiting anxiously for my turn, praying my opponent doesn't take the resources I need from the marketplace. If you're itching to play a game, but don't want any brain burn and very minimal set up and clean up, Jaipur's the perfect fit. — Giaco

Patchwork

Patchwork

Patchwork is a tile-placement game for two players created by Use Rosenberg for Mayfair Games. In it, players race to create the best quilt out of pieces of cloth. Each turn, you pay for a piece of cloth with buttons (the currency of the game) and fit them on your board. Like a game of competitive Tetris, the key to this game is fitting the best shapes you can together on the board. In the end, the players are scored via how many buttons they've collected and penalized for how many empty spaces they have on their board, and the player with the most points wins.

Why It's Great For Two Players

 

You may find it strange, but the fact that there's a game about quilting in the same list as Warhammer Underworlds is what I love about the hobby. This game deserves a spot on this list because it's one of those rare 2-player games where each player is just kind of doing their own thing. It's much less a "take that!" kind of game, and if you and your gaming partner love puzzles, take a chance on the affordable, easy to learn Patchwork.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a team chose your own adventure style game based around Sherlock Holmes. There are 3 standalone sets available with a 4th coming in June 2020. Each set has 10 investigations, which all start with an introduction. Players then have to follow clues, talk to witnesses and attempt to solve cases using only their wits, a map, a newspaper, and a little help from some professional informants. Space Cowboys have released the materials so that you can play it remotely, with one player reading from their copy of the game. There is also a free print and play quick investigation if you want to just try it out.

Why It's Great For Two Players

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective has an incredibly simple premise, with minimal set-up in terms of rules and components, so that even non-tabletop partners could be easily convicened to play. My favorite set so far is the Jack the Ripper and West End Adventures, with the linked Jack the Ripper campaign. Having lived in London and recently been on a Jack the Ripper tour, this Consulting Detective pack really caputres the theme. You can play with as many players as you like, with each player taking the turn of the lead investigator to choose the next lead. With 2 players, you can really get to work as a team and after a few investigations, easily slip into set roles of note taker, or directory and newspaper reader and bond as you go through the investigations. — Adam

Star Wars: Destiny

Star Wars Destiny

 

Star Wars: Destiny was a collectible card and dice game produced by Fantasy Flight. In it, players build their own decks comprised of either heroes or villains. And of those heroes and villains, there are three character-types: Force, Command, and Rogue. Players take turns playing cards, activating their dice (which are almost always tied to characters, ships, or weapons), and rolling those dice to generate resources, attack their enemies, and perform special abilities. The last player with heroes left standing wins.

Why It's Great For Two Players

You may notice in the above description that I noted this game "was" a collectible card and dice game from Fantasy Flight. And that's because, sadly, it's been discontinued by the company. But don't let that stop you from getting into the game. The secondary market for this game was never as expensive or robust as other collectible games, and now that it's discontinued prices are low on starter sets, etc. But that's not what makes this game great for 2 players, what makes it so great is its low barrier of entry. With just a quick teaching session, you'll be rolling dice and killing Yoda before you know it. And it's a fun game to take on the road with you (my wife and I brought a handful of dice and a stack of cards with us on our honeymoon in Jamaica, and I'll never forget the sound those chunky dice made as we rolled them watching the sunset over the ocean). — Giaco

Warhammer Underworlds

Warhammer Underworlds

Warhammer Underworlds from Games Workshop is a competitive skirmish wargame with deck-building elements. Players pick from one of the available warbands from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar setting and create 2 decks of Objective Cards and Power Cards to use throughout the game. Games are a fixed length, with limited actions each turn. Currently in its 3rd season, there is a huge choice of warbands to suit any play-style. Warhammer Underworlds plays out of the 2-player Beastgrave starter set, and extra warbands and cards come in expansion packs.

Why It's Great For Two Players

Warhammer Underworlds has been designed entirely as a 2-player game. It's purpose is to be a competitive miniatures game, so it only works with 2 players. The limited actions and set-sized game boards keep games fast paced and short, with easy set-up. The variety of warbands available, and varied deck construction also keeps games fresh and interesting. The mechanics and custom dice make the rules simple and the depth and complexity come from deck-design and strategy. — Adam

What are some of your favorite games to play with a partner? Have you tried any of the games we've listed above? Let us know in the comments below!


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Giaco Furino is a screenwriter, writer, and editor living and working in Brooklyn, NY.