One of the most important lessons we've learnt since opening has been how important it is to have a great selection of games for two plyaers.
We get all sorts of tables for two; new couples on a date, friends waiting for others to arrive, long standing couples on date night or friends trying out the latest games, each pair are looking for something different and we try to makes sure we have a game for them all. We've added games every month since opening and part of our focus has been making sure we deepened the choice of games suitable for two players.
With Valentine's day approaching and tables on sale for our event, here are some of our favourite two player games...
Collect your students and take to the field to prove your dojo's martial skills are superior. Close enough to chess that everyone is familiar with the concept, the wonderful components make it a lovely game to play. The game can be taught in under a minute - I managed to teach it in just 55 seconds with a member of the team, but rest assured I take longer with guests!
To win you're trying to capture the opponent's master, or move yours to the entrance of their dojo. To accomplish this you have a series of 'move' cards that determine how you can move your pieces. With just two moves available you'd think the turns would be simple, but the move you use is passed to your opponent and so you have to consider the options you're giving them as well as where it will put your pieces.
Taking about twenty minutes and with only five of the sixteen move cards used in any game, you have plenty of reasons to have another game.
Using the legend of Odin's ravens as its theme this small game still only just fits on one of our tables! With the gorgeous terrain cards laid out in a row 16 long representing the whole world, you take on the role of one of Odin's ravens, instructed to travel the world and bring back news. There is of course another raven doing the journey in the opposite direction, but I'm sure you'll make it back quicker.
The travel cards from your hand that match the terrain types on the table are used to move round the world and if that was it this would be a fairly dull game. Step in Lokki, making things interesting as always! Lokki cards let you adjust the path, making it shorter for you, but act too soon and your opponent will get the benefit as well. You could always make their path longer but do that too soon and your path will be longer too!
Really simple and quick to play, but with enough strategy and forward planning required to keep it interesting.
In the hustle and bustle of the market you're looking to shine and attract the attention of the Maharaja, earning yourself a position as his personal trader. Jaipur is an amazingly simple yet devilishly strategic game.
On your turn you have two choices, sell cards or take cards. Selling is easy; just hand in as many cards as you like for the reward, but wait, should you hold to sell a higher number of cards thus attracting the extra rewards for an amazing deal, or pick up the higher early rewards for smaller deals before your opponent does?
When you take cards you're presented with three choices; take all of one good in the market, trade between your hand, herd of camels and the goods in the market, or take all the camels. Each choice can have a dramatic impact on how the game progresses and each will be the perfect choice in some circumstances but not others.
For a simple game Jaipur presents you with intriguing choices at every turn, you never know what deal will come up.
Following up from the original and its spin offs, Duet is the version of this phenomenal game that gets you down to two players (we ignore the terrible two player variant they put in the first one). The set up for this elegant word game is wonderfully simple, a 4 x 5 grid of random words, a set of tiles and a double sided map that you can only see one side of.
Taking it in turns each of you gives a single word clue and a number indicating the number of words on the grid that the clue relates to. Your partner then tries to guess the words related to your clue. If they get it right - excellent you're on the way to victory, but watch out as if you're giving clues with low numbers you'll run out of turns. If they get it wrong it can go badly or spectacularly wrong. Pick the wrong word in a grey space and you lose some time, pick a wrong word in the black spaces and you lose the game!
If you like the sound of that you can play Codenames, Codenames Pictures and Codenames Disney using the duet maps or if there are more of you play them with more players.
7 Wonders Duel
Another game that has its roots in a game for a higher player count 7 Wonders Duel does an amazing job of breaking down its classic predecessor and keeping all the great parts in a game for just two players.
7 Wonders Duel is a game about becoming the most successful, most accomplished or mightiest nation. There are three ways to win this game; either through becoming the strongest militarily, reaching scientific superiority or being the most generally successful nation. The central board is dominated by the military track, drive the war marker all the way to an opponent's side and you will win the game immediately. If you are able to accumulate six of the sciences over the course of the game you'll also win immediately. If you do neither of these you'll have to bite your nails as the points are totted up at the end of the third age.
Played over three ages each turn will see you remove a card from the display; either building it, using it to signify you have completed one of your wonders or exchanging it for coins. The choices you make here will help you forge a path to victory, but also impact what your opponent will be able to do, not just because you've taken a card but also because of what taking that card makes available.
Wonderful in depth, varied in choices, strategic and always different 7 Wonders Duel is a wonderful two player game for those wanting to play something that feels epic even when there are just two of you.
These are all great games, but if you're booking one of our Valentine's tables and are fiercely competitive like me, maybe you should grab a game where you work together from our Co-Op section instead?