Games for Two

 Roses are red, violets are blue, how about some board games suitable for two? (I’m unjustifiably pleased with myself for that.)

 Love is in the air, inadequate chocolates are being marked up with reckless abandon and petrol station forecourts across the country are piling flowers high for those last minute buyers.

 But that’s not you, is it? You’re far more prepared than that. You put thought into the occasion and you want this to be a special night for your beloved. For you, nothing says “Perfect Date Night” more than a nice playlist, mood lighting, whichever bottle of wine looked like the best deal in the supermarket down the road, and a definitive winner and loser in direct competition…

 Even if you’re not romantically involved, and you just happen to find yourself going to the pub with one of your mates on V-Day – as I did a few years ago, and a very pleasant evening it was too, although I wouldn’t publicly say “preferable” in case my significant other reads this and I end up cast out – board games for two are a wonderful way to spend a few hours and brighten up an otherwise uneventful occasion.

Odin’s Ravens

Accusations of bias are, here, entirely correct, as this was the game I spent a delightful hour absolutely crushing my friend and esteemed colleague Sullivan Beau Brown at in the first round of last year’s Lord of the Board. (Suffice to say, ‘Watergate’ does not appear on this list.)

 The Norse mythology of Odin’s two ravens, sent each morning to fly around the world and bring information back to the All-father, is the inspiration for this fantastic little race game.

 With the course laid out in front of you, you play cards that allow you to traverse the varied terrains of Midgard, with the assistance of the mischievous Loki, who allows you to help yourself or hinder your opponent.

 The competitive edge here is relatively light, so it’s good for one of the earlier dates. You know, the ones where you’ve already made a decent impression, so you’re more comfortable with letting them see the real you.

 Disney Villainous

If the poisoned apple of your eye just so happens to be that fabled Disney Adult then this might be the perfect treat for them! (And as every proper Disney Adult will attest, the villains are the best bit.)

 Each player takes control of one of Disney’s most notorious badd’uns, and each villain has their own individual objective. Very simply, once the goal is met, that player wins!

 You’ll play through various actions designed to gather power, improve your standing and – crucially – stymie your opponents’ attempts to complete their own objective, in the ultimate quest to be the Biggest Baddie.

 The game plays anywhere from 2-6 players, so it’s perfect for double dates or other arrangements about which I will cast no judgements.

 It does require its fair share of table space, so perhaps not one to whip out over dinner at the restaurant. Unless you’re feeling particularly villainous in your own right, in which case crack right on!

 Fugitive

 

A simple game of cat and mouse – one of you is the fugitive trying to evade capture on their way out of town, while the other is an agent looking to catch them. It’s a game of bluffing and deduction, with some really delightful mid-century illustrations to go along with the theme.

 The fugitive is trying to reach Card 42 by sneaking from hideout to hideout. Their cards are played facedown, and they must play a card no higher in value than three above their previous hideout. The catch is that there’s a sprint mechanic, allowing the fugitive to get further away by placing cards with the correct number of footprints below.

 The Marshall tries to keep track of the fugitive’s movements on a delightfully twee little notepad. They make a guess as to the number of the hideout in play. If they’re correct, the fugitive must turn that hideout card over. They have a catch of their own – they can guess more than one hideout, but all of those guesses must be correct, otherwise the fugitive can continue undetected.

 It’s a low stakes bit of fun that’s perfect to grab and go. Also, if you wanted to, there’s an element of role-play. MOVING SWIFTLY ON…

Patchwork

 

Definitely one for the cosy night in category, in Patchwork, you’re competing to build the best quilt. It might sound a bit simple, but sometimes that’s the exact vibe you’re after, and you’d be surprised how brilliantly competitive it can get.

 You’re each trying to make the most aesthetically pleasing – and thus highest scoring – pattern you can, choosing from various tiles presented to you that you must purchase with buttons.

 You can also choose to pass on your turn in order to gain a time advantage on your opponent, as there’s a slight race-to-the-finish element to the game as well.

 It’s a brilliant entry-level game, as it takes barely any time to pick up (and that’s coming from someone with clinically diagnosed Rules Blindness), and the games themselves take between 15-20 minutes, so there’s very little pressure or expectation. Well, aside from that of the most beautiful quilt in all the land.

 Hanimakoji

Hanamikoji is not only a delightful game, but a fabulous drag name.

 Here, you’re competing to earn the favour of one of the geishas by collecting their favoured item. It’s almost a tug of war, as you use strategy and speculation to outsmart your opponent.

 Each player has four actions they can take per round, with a mix of bold card placement and an element of the poker face about it, you’re looking to find your way either to winning the favour of four geishas or eleven points. 

 The artwork in this game is absolutely beautiful, and as it’s so simple, each game shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes – just enough time to decide whether you want to order that second round of drinks or, if your potential partner has failed to win your favour, make a hasty excuse-and-exit.

 Sky Team

If team building is more your vibe on V-Day, Sky Team is a brilliant co-op game that sees you and your partner play as co-pilots working together to land planes.

 Behind the deck of airliners, you’re up against the clock as the altitude decreases every round. You’ll need to silently assign various dice to the correct spots in your cockpit to do everything from balancing the plane to deploying landing gear, and even taking a coffee break to improve concentration.

 But it turns out flying a plane is not all that straightforward – you need to make sure you don’t overshoot your destination airport, while also making sure to avoid other planes that are also in the air.

 Each round is relatively short – around 15 minutes each – but there are plenty of destinations available to you, so replayability is a big bonus with Sky Team. If you’re ready for a long term commitment, that is…

Santorini

 

If you like the idea of a sunny getaway to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, then this is the game for you!

 You’re competing against your opponent to build towers and climb those towers. It’s a very simple strategy game, with players moving their builder tokens around the board one square at a time, leaving tower blocks behind them. Towers can be built three stories high, and the builders are attempting to climb those blocks, with the ultimate goal to have your builder be the first to reach the third level of a tower.

 The trick is in the smart movement of your builder and what they leave behind, as not only can they only move one square at a time, they can also only climb one level at a time.

 For an extra bit of gameplay, you can bring the Gods into the equation. Each God card brings with it a special ability, such as switching spaces with your opponent or moving more spots.

 It’s another deceptively simple game that packs in a lot of fun for regular gamers and casuals alike.