5 Great 2-player Only Games To Play With Your Child

5 Great 2-player Only Games To Play With Your Child

March 11, 2020 0 By Ryan Sanders

Ryan looks at 5 great 2-player only games to play with your child.

Maybe you have only one child, or just want to spend one-on-one time with one of your children, by playing a game. We wanted to cover some great 2-player only games. These games aren’t for 2-4 players, but specifically designed with the 2-player experience in mind.

Foodfighters

  • Ages 8+  | 25 Minutes | Published by KTBG
  • Teaches Probability and Economics (in that players spend in-game currency)

In Foodfighters each player controls a team of foods trying to win a food fight against the other team. First player to knock out three matching foods from the other team wins! 

The game goes turn-for-turn until one player wins. On your turn in this order:

  • You may Swap (change your fighters to a different location), Attack (the other team), or Roll for Beans (currency in the game to buy powers to help your team).
  • You may spend your Beans on crackers, spoons, and powers.
  • Your opponent fills any gaps in their formation.

…then play passes to the other player. 

Foodfighters in play

The basic version of the game is meat vs veggies. However, they do offer expansions factions. They are 

  • The Sweet Faction (Ice Cream Sandwiches, Cupcake, and Donuts)
  • The PB&J Faction (Peanuts, Bread, and Strawberries)
  • The Grains Faction (Muffins, Croissants, Bagels)
  • The Salty Faction (Popcorn, Pretzels, and Potato Chips)
  • The S’mores Faction (Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Graham Crackers) and finally
  • The Problem Picnic Faction (Watermelon Slices, Sandwiches, and Chocolate Chip Cookies). 

S’More Faction

Each faction comes with static cling stickers so you can mix and match factions, as well as cards that are special abilities that are unique to that faction. 

It should be noted that while KTBG put an Ages 8+ rating on their box, the BoardGameGeek.com Community rates the Ages at 6+. 

Lost Cities 

  • 10+ | 30 Minutes | Published by Thames & Kosmos
  • Teaches math, risk management, patience 

Lost Cities by Reiner Knizia  is a modern classic in terms of the board game hobby. It has been in print since 1999, and was one of the games that actually got me into modern board games. 

Here is a quote on how its played from the BoardGameGeek.com description: 

The object of the game is to gain points by mounting profitable archaeological expeditions to the different sites represented by the colored suits of cards. On a player’s turn, they must first play one card, either to an expedition or by discarding it to the color-appropriate discard pile, then draw one card, either from the deck or from the top of a discard pile. Cards played to expeditions must be in ascending order, but they need not be consecutive. Handshakes are considered lower than a 2 and represent investments in an expedition. Thus, if you play a red 4, you may play any other red card higher than a 4 on a future turn but may no longer play a handshake, the 2, or the 3.

The game continues in this fashion with players alternating turns until the final card is taken from the deck. The rest of the cards in hand are then discarded and players score their expeditions. Each expedition that has at least one card played into it must be scored. Cards played into an expedition are worth their rank in points, and handshakes count as a multiplier against your final total; one handshake doubles an expedition’s value, while two handshakes triples that value and three handshakes quadruple it. Expeditions start at a value of -20, so you must play at least 20 points of cards into an expedition in order to make a profit. If you are left with a negative value and have a handshake, the multiplier still applies. A 20-point bonus is awarded to every expedition with at least eight cards played into it. A complete game of Lost Cities lasts three matches, with scores for each match being added together.

Lost Cities originally only had 5 expeditions, but the newest version comes with a 6th color and double sided board so you can play classic or with the 6th expedition. Lost Cities is sold at some Target stores (only one in this article that has that distinction). 

All Queens Chess

  • Ages 8+ | 10 Minutes| Published by ThinkFun
  • Teaches problem solving, planning ahead and pattern recognition. 

All Queens Chess doesn’t really have much in common with Chess, other than it’s a checkerboard and there are Queen pieces (that move like the Queen in Chess) set up on the board. The object of the game is to get four of your Queens in a row – there is no capturing, jumping or bumping – just move your piece and try to get 4-in-a-row of your color. The box says 8+, but in the past we have had zero issues introducing it to 7-year-olds, and it most likely works with 6+ as well.  All Queens Chess is a fast game and is an excellent way to introduce your kids to abstract games. That said, if you only play with adults – there are better abstract games out there for our age group. It should also be noted that ThinkFun doesn’t print this game anymore, but it is still readily available on Amazon.com for the time being. 

Alternatively, ThinkFun offers this game free to educators as a Print-and-Play called Ducks in a Row. The file can be found on this page at ThinkFun’s website.

Why I Otter

  • Ages 6+ | 10 minutes | Published by Button Shy 
  • Teaches planning ahead

Why I Otter is very easy to understand 18-card game that is perfect as a travel game (it is packaged in a small vinyl wallet that can fit in your pocket) to play with your children of all ages. It’s a simple trick-taking game that uses a rock-paper-scissors mechanic. At the end of the game, a river will be formed of some cards not used by players (the river is on the backside of all playing cards). This river has scoring conditions on it for the cards you collected by winning a hand, things like 1 point per pink otter or 2 points for the player with the most yellow otters, etc. While the game is officially rated for 6+, I have had success in playing this with our 5-year-old daughter. Why I Otter is purchasable through Button Shy Games here: https://buttonshygames.com/products/why-i-otter

Sometime back Ryan did an overview of Why I Otter on our Facebook page, here is the video:

Patchwork

  • Ages 8+ | 20 Mins | Published by Mayfair Games & Lookout Games
  • Teaches Spatial Reasoning 

In Patchwork, players are quilters trying to finish their quilts by the time they reach the end of the time track. To do this players are drafting polyomino pieces and adding them to their personal 9×9 quilt board, trying to fill up all the spaces. There is a twist in turn order however, it is whoever’s turn that is furthest back on the time track board, even if that means they get multiple turns before their opponent gets to play. There are two currencies in Patchwork,  time and buttons, and you want to make sure you do well with both, so that you can get the most quilt pieces to fill your board with. 

Lookout does make a easier to play version of Patchwork, with bigger, easier pieces to place, and smaller personal quilt board (7×7 instead of 9×9) Patchwork Express. This one is for ages 6+. 

If you enjoyed this article or played any of these games, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Ryan Sanders is the founder, owner, and editor-at-large of Adventures in Gameschooling. He’s also the guy behind its social media accounts. God has blessed Ryan and his wife Mary, with five children, which he homeschools. As a Christian, he believes that he should not only look out for your own interests but other peoples too (Philippians 2:4) and this is one of his guiding principles for Adventures in Gameschooling. Ryan’s expertise is informed by almost two decades of experience as a stay-at-home father and from the running The Inquisitive Meeple where he performed over 300 written and podcast interviews within the board game industry.