5 Two Player Games for the Game-Loving Pair

Two people? No problem.

Mar 28, 2016
One of the best two player games is chess

Chess is one of the classic two player games (Air Images / Shutterstock.com)

Whether you’re looking to stay entertained on a roadtrip, spice up a date night, or simply have fun with a friend, two player games are a great way to pass the time. Perfect for a pair, these games require a mix of creativity, strategy, and some quick-thinking. So grab your partner, sister, brother, mother, father, or friend and get to gaming!

1.  GHOST

IN A NUTSHELL: Build a word with your partner by alternating letters.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: A dictionary to double check if a word is real or spelled correctly if necessary.
HOW TO PLAY: Two people alternate saying a letter, and together, they begin to spell a word. The key is to work towards a real word, but you can’t complete a word, or you lose. Two and three-letter words don’t count, so the first three moves are “safe” and only on the fourth move can someone lose by completing a word. When a player loses a round, they get a “G.” Then you play again (alternating which player says the first letter). When a player loses for the second time, they get an “H.” And so on. The first person to get a G-H-O-S-T loses the game.
WHO WINS: The player who doesn’t reach G-H-O-S-T first.

2.  MANCALA

IN A NUTSHELL: Players alternate moving and collecting stones around a board until one side of the board is clear.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: The mancala board game set. You can also make a makeshift set with an empty egg carton and pebbles, marbles, or other small, round objects.
HOW TO PLAY: Before the game begins, place the board horizontally between you and your opponent. You will see two rows of six holes, with a “store” on each end. Your side is the six holes closest to you, and your store is to your right. The same is true for your opponent. To set up, place four stones in each hole, excluding both stores. This should total 48 stones. During a turn, a player grabs all of the stones in a hole on their side and drops them, one by one, in succeeding holes in a counterclockwise direction. Players may place stones in their own store, but they must skip over their opponent's store. This continues until the player has no more stones in his hand. It is then their opponents turn. The game is over when one player has no more stones on his side. His opponent then takes all of the stones left on his side and places them in his store.
WHO WINS: The person with the most stones in his store after counting.

Mancala is one of many 5 games for two people

(silvalery / Shutterstock.com)

3. BANANAGRAMS

IN A NUTSHELL: Players create words with lettered tiles.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Bananagrams tiles and a smooth, hard surface.
HOW TO PLAY: Flip all of the bananagrams tiles so the letters are not visible. Each player draws 21 tiles. Once both players have counted out their tiles, say, "Split!" This is the signal to flip over the tiles. Arrange your tiles into an interlocking crossword. Tiles may connect vertically or horizontally, but not diagonally. The goal is to create complete words out of all your tiles. If you have a tile you do not wish to use, try "dumping." Place the single tile you are dumping back in the bunch, exclaim, "Dump!", and draw out three new tiles. Once you have finished making words with all of your tiles, yell "Peel!" Both players must draw one new tile from the bunch. Work in the new tiles. Tiles can be moved, rearranged, rotated, etc. Continue playing in this manner until all the tiles in the bunch have been used.
WHO WINS: The player with a finished crossword once all the tiles have been used, who proclaims "Bananas!"

4.  MUSICAL PICTIONARY

IN A NUTSHELL: A version of pictionary where players have to guess song titles.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Something to draw with and a drawing surface, like a whiteboard, chalkboard, or big pad of paper, and a timer.
HOW TO PLAY: Each player takes a turn silently drawing different things to represent a song title, while the other person tries to guess what the drawing is. For example, if you want to draw out “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King, you could draw a singing lion cub with a speech bubble and a king’s crown inside it. Each player has one minute to guess the song title.
WHO WINS: The player who has the most correctly guessed song titles.

musical pictionary is the perfect two player game

(Stuart Jenner / Shutterstock.com)

5. SAY THE SAME THING

IN A NUTSHELL: A cooperative talking game where players try to say the same word at the same time.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: You don’t need any materials for this game.
HOW TO PLAY: On the count of three, two players each say a word at the same time - any word. It will be a random pair, and that’s okay. After that first round, the players do this again, but this time they’re going to try to say the same word. They do this by trying to find a word that connects the first two words, or something they have in common. For example, if the two words are “see saw” and “trip” on the first round, on the second round, the two words might be “playground” (because this is where you’d trip over a see saw) and “fall” (because if you tripped over a see saw, you would fall). Everyone thinks a little bit differently, so it might take a while to finally say the right word.
WHO WINS: There’s no winner - this a cooperative, instead of competitive game.

Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.