Valentine’s Day In: Two-Player Board Games For All Skill Levels

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers and chocolate or ignore the holiday altogether, we’ve got you covered with some great two-player board game recommendations from Game to Grow staff! Truly engaging two-player board games can be hard to find, so we’ve collected our tried and true recommendations to keep you having fun this weekend, while staying safely home during the pandemic. We’ve included Amazon links for convenience, but it’s always a great time to support your local game store! 

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Beginner Friendly

These games are great for a low-energy night, or with a partner who is less interested in or familiar with board games. 

Azul. This game is fun, pretty, and easy to pick up. The gameplay itself does not require much talking, which allows game-adjacent conversation to flow during this game. There are several different game modes, which keeps it interesting even after you’ve mastered the basic version. 

Tak. This game feels like a faster and more engaging checkers, and it’s got a cool origin story! Tak was originally described in Patrick Rothfuss’ book The Wise Man’s Fear. He then worked with a game designer to bring life to the game. 

Gruff. Guff is a tactical combat card game featuring none other than a cadre of mutated goats. Need we say more? You and your team of hilarious mutant goats are out to defeat the opposing shepherd! It’s a fun play. 

Santorini: Our staff describe this game as one that takes “two minutes to learn and a long time to master.” This strategy game is sure to be a hit the whole family – there are options for 2-4 players, ages 8+. 

Swords and Strongholds. This is another game that’s great for adults and children (8+). It’s described as a “light” strategy game that’s easy to pick up, and features adorable mouse miniature game pieces. 

Illimat. Another game with an intriguing origin story, Illimat was inspired by a photo shoot the band The Decembrists had several years ago, and was brought to life by Keith Baker (same guy who created Gloom). The game is easy to learn, simple enough to keep the conversation going during play, and beautiful. 


Don’t let this category scare you away – you can still play all the games in this category even if you’ve never played a game before. These games just require a little more setup, time reading the rules, or practice to get into them. 

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. Hear me out on this one. The original version of Pandemic may be a little too on the nose during COVID-19, but this game has multiple versions! My personal favorite is the Reign of Cthulhu version. This game is co-op, which is can be especially helpful for new players. The game can feel overpowered with only two characters at first – adding a third character (with or without a third player) can reduce the difficulty a little. 

Sentinels of the Multiverse. This is another co-op game for 2-5 players that is a favorite of several Game to Grow staff (we’ve even been seen playing this game at a PAX or two). This game starts with multiple player characters and villains, and has lots of expansion options! The multitude of combinations keeps the game interesting play after play. 

The Duke. Are you looking for something that feels chess-y without being chess? This was one of my favorite finds of 2020, and Game to Grow staff can confirm it can be played successfully over video chat with an extra webcam set-up.

Magic the Gathering. Magic is a deck building game, but you don’t need to spend any time collecting to play with a partner. Pick up one of the pre-built duel decks – this gives you two evenly matched decks to start playing, and typically includes a quick start guide! 

We hope this list helps you uncover your next favorite game, or at least encourages you to dust off your board game shelf. Are there any awesome games we missed? Would you like to hear more of our favorites? Let us know! 


Want to learn more about Game to Grow’s work? Check out our therapeutic social skills groups that utilize Dungeons and Dragons and Minecraft, join our Discord, or sign up for a training

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*The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Game to Grow. Neither the authors nor Game to Grow received any compensation from the games mentioned nor for the included links. 

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