You're bored. We're bored. So we've compiled a list of the best board games you can play with two people (or more, if you're lucky/unlucky enough to have been quarantined with multiples).
If you're on your own, the one-player list is here, unless you've already reached the point of isolation madness where you get an imaginary friend. Isn't that right, Mr. Flibble?
Anyway, to the games.
(Note: it's currently a massive ball ache to get hold of quite a lot of board game titles, we've linked you to a reputable place that recently had stock but they might have sold out by the time you click. Don't shout at us).
I mean, someone has clearly been playing this lately. Maybe if we all do, it'll put things back to normal?
You can play with anywhere from two to four players, moving your pawns around the enormous game board with the aid of two normal dice and four d8s. There's a rhino, there are Danger Cards, and there's an encouragingly-named Doomsday Grid filling up to dictate exactly when the jungle is going to come and end you. Somehow, this feels less movie-like than real life at the moment. [Buy it here]
This gorgeous tile-based game deserves to be a lot more famous than it is, although it's better-known among board game geeks.
The name is Portuguese (and Spanish) for "blue" and refers to azulejos, the blue-and-white ceramic tiles used in Moorish decor. In the game, you play an artist hired to decorate a palace with a more colourful version of these tiles. Your objective is to score as many points as possible by making patterns and sets, and beating your opponents' rubbish designs.
It's easy to pick up, addictive, and looks beautiful. For 2 to 4 players. [Get it here]
The London board game
You can't actually go outside and enjoy the capital right now, so play this to remember all the tourist traps you used to complain about. You only actually experience them underground via the tube map, which makes this game virtually indistinguishable from actually trying to navigate around London, including the fact that it'll cost you thirty quid.
Basically you have to get to your six randomly-chosen destinations and back again before the other 2-6 players. But there are HAZARDS! And STATION CLOSURES! No seriously this is exactly the same as the actual tube.
Is this technically a board game? No! Do we care? Also no!
Klask is kind of like the lovechild of table football and air hockey. It's a magnetic ball game where you control your little dude with a magnet from underneath, trying to get the ball into your opponent's goal without hitting any of the white bits in the middle. That's it really. It is FIERCELY addictive and possibly even more fun when tipsy. [Get it here]
This two-player card game has you playing prominent merchants in Jaipur, India. You and your opponent both want to be the main trader in the city, winning two of the three Seals of Excellence available and gracing the favour of the Maharaja.
It's a pacey, fun, super-competitive game where your only objective is to best the other person. Ideal for warring couples to take out their frustration while locked in the house.
Also, there are camels. Probably should have started with that. [Get it here]
While we're on the subject of squee-ful animals, Takenoko is all about a politically important panda. And if that's not the best premise for a game, we don't know what is.
2-5 players can enjoy this one, in which you're tasked with looking after the Emperor's bamboo garden to feed the panda. Game pieces include bamboo segments, colourful irrigation pipes and really pretty hexagonal garden plots. Oh, and a fat little panda. Better hope he stays that way. [Get it here]
It sounds like an OK Go tribute act, but it's actually a colourful tile-based game that handily comes with its own carrier and carabiner so you can take it with you – when we're allowed to go to places again. For now, you can clip it to your belt and walk to the living room, you big adventurer, you.
You can play with two, three or four players. Each of you gets a colour, and all you have to do is make a line of five tiles in a row – diagonally, horizontally or vertically. It's that simple: no absorbing lengthy rule books with this one. Even kids can pick it up quickly. But of course, that doesn't mean it's easy to win. [Get it here]
Guinness World Records Challenges
Forgive the terrible box art on this one, because it's actually really fun – especially during quarantine. 2-5 players go round the board completing challenges that rope in some random household items including paperclips and spoons.
The idea is to get three world records (not real ones, we might add – that would make it longer than Monopoly) by the time you cross the finish line. They're all daft challenges that you have to either do in thirty seconds, or get the best time on – stuff like putting socks on while standing on one leg (literally impossible, in our opinion). These are definitely funnier done with kids, or if adults-only, while tipsy.
There are also lots of questions about actual World Records, the surprising answers to some of which might give you some ideas for your next quarantine challenge. [Get it here]
The original Codenames game is already one of our favourites, as featured in our roundup of the best card games for adults. Duet is the same idea, but rejigged to make it more fun for two players (or up to four).
In short, you're trying to find out who all the secret agents are, but you're only allowed to give one-word clues. In the original game, you're working against each other, but in Duet you work together – just like the spies in The Americans. And also like The Americans, if you blow an assassin's cover, you dead. Both of you. Sorry. [Get it here]
Just the most wholesome game. Two players compete to make the most beautiful patchwork quilt, buying and placing patches with their coins and buttoning them together into a high-scoring, totally stunning, grandma-pleasing patchwork quilt of many colours and also dreams.
It's a relatively quick one to play: between 15 and 30 minutes on average. Could only be improved if you could actually snuggle under your blanket at the end. [Get it here]
Don't forget the classics. There are tonnes of excellent games you can play with two or more people, and just because some of them don't have a marketing budget because they've existed for aeons, doesn't mean they're not worth considering.
- Connect 4
- Trivial Pursuit
- Snakes and ladders
- Noughts and crosses (ideally with a cat)
- Monopoly (finally, you can play the hometown version you bought and never opened)
- The Game of Life
Honourable mentions go to Pandemic and Plague Inc, both a bit too close to our current reality for us to recommend unless you're the type of person who has to feel in control even when they're clearly not. In which case, more apocalyptic-themed media this way.
The main image is Takenoko, FYI.