Good 2-player games can be hard to come by. Many of your favorite board games are meant for 4 or more people which is great for parties… Less so when you’re “board” (see what we did there?) at home with just you and your partner or roommate. Which is why we’ve come up with a list of the best 2 player cooperative board games!
They’re all the fun of a board game without the competitive edge that can potentially ruin your relationship. Playing with your friends rather than against them every once in a while can be a nice change after all.
Best 2 Player Cooperative Board Games, Ranked in No Particular Order
Quick note before we jump in: these games are all great for two players but many of them do allow for more or even less. We’re focusing on the quality of a game with 2-players, rather than focusing on the maximum limit of players.
Our list is also in no particular order so number 1 is not necessarily better than number 10.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get down to it!
1. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
Publisher: Z-Man Games | Duration: 40 Minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
The Pandemic games are all fantastic co-op board games but after living through a real pandemic, playing a game about fighting one just feels a little too real. Which is why we’re kicking off our list of the best 2 player cooperative board games with Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu!
In this co-op game, players will work together to prevent the Old Ones from awakening in our world. Should these ancient beings succeed in coming to power they will wreak untold horrors upon us and an age of madness will be unleashed. So pretty dire consequences.
Along with your friend, you’ll need to fight off cultists and some more minor creatures in order to keep the Old Ones sleeping. Each game features a random assortment of Lovecraftian monsters and key locations in the Cthulhu Mythos.
If ancient evils aren’t really your thing, you can also check out the mainline Pandemic games too.
Publisher: Ravensburger | Duration: 45-60 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Our next 2 player co-op board game can be as easy or difficult as you like it. In Horrified, players will again work together to fight off monsters. The nice thing about this game is that depending on how much time you have and how tough of a challenge you’d like to face, you can increase or decrease the number of monsters in the game.
The monsters in Horrified are probably more familiar than the creatures from our last co-op game which means it can appeal to a wider audience too. Rather than fighting off Eldritch Horrors with names the human tongue cannot physically pronounce, you’ll be facing down the likes of Dracula and The Wolf Man.
Players will be able to choose from a variety of well known monsters who each have a specific objective associated with their defeat. Some of these tasks are more complex than others which will also need to be taken into account when you begin the game.
Choose your Hero, pick your foes, and start the clock as you and your friend race to complete the Monsters’ objectives. If time runs out or the Terror Level maxes out, the Monsters will run amok and terrorize the peaceful village forevermore.
Publisher: Cephalofair Games | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
If you’ve read our other board game roundups, this particular game may look familiar! While Gloomhaven is yet another monster-fighting board game, the specific monsters you face are far less important than the adventure of the game itself.
Gloomhaven is a game with lasting consequences and is ideally played over many sessions. The results of one game will spill over into the next which means strategy is hugely important. This dash of resource and hand management really sets Gloomhaven apart from other monster fighting games in the best of ways. It’s kind of hard to fly by the seat of your pants here.
Along with your fellow player, you’ll get to explore dark dungeons and create a “Choose your Own Adventure”. As you face down monsters and mayhem you’ll need to choose your cards wisely lest you exhaust your hand before the battle is over.
While Gloomhaven is best played over multiple sessions, that doesn’t mean it remains the same game. As you play, characters will be retired and new ones unlocked. Each with special abilities and goals that will flavor the type of gameplay that you, as the player, experience.
4. Spirit Island
Publisher: Greater Than Games, LLC | Duration: 90-120 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Do you enjoy mysticism and fighting European colonizers? Then Spirit Island is definitely the game for you!
In this cooperative board game, players will choose nature spirits with unique elemental powers who are fighting to protect their island from foreign invaders. (That would be the European colonizers.)
Work together with your friend to protect your home and the native peoples who actually strive to live in harmony with nature. Based on the cards in your hand, the elemental powers of your spirit, and your very own strategy you’ll need to drive out the colonizers before they decimate your island.
While you’ll still be facing down enemies, Spirit Island makes you do so in a more roundabout way. See, the spirits you play don’t actually engage in direct combat. The most they can do to directly attack colonizers is help empower the native islanders.
The goal of the game is to destroy the colonizers’ settlements and spread fear of spirits across Europe. If you fail, they will spread a blight across your land and begin destroying your fellow spirits. Because at the end of the day, this game teaches you that mankind was the real monster all along.
5. Codenames Duet
Publisher: Czech Games Edition | Duration: 15 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Codenames is a popular word association party game you may be familiar with already. If you’re wanting to get rid of the competitive element and go for a cooperative game, the Duet edition is going to be right up your alley.
In this quick and easy game, you and your friend set up a 5×5 grid of word cards. One of you will still play the spymaster and give out single word clues to your partner. That partner will need to guess the specific words related to the clue on the grid that reveal allied “agents”. In Codenames Duet, there are nine agents that need to be revealed and three assassins.
If the guesser correctly names all nine words associated with the agents, you both win. If they guess even one word associated with an assassin though it’s game over.
Key cards will signify which words agents and assassins and will only be viewable by the spymaster. Since key cards change each game and the deck of word cards will also be shuffled, each game will be new and unique no matter how many times you play.
6. Fog of Love
Publisher: Hush Hush Projects | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Unlike most of the games on our list, Fog of Love is a true 2-player game. It is not meant to be played with more than two people and was designed purely with two players in mind. It is also different in that there are no enemies to fight or villains to ward off. What it is, is a game for anyone who likes to roleplay to be able to delve into a hypothetical relationship.
This game is meant to allow players the chance to explore these relationships in a no-pressure environment. And maybe add a little drama that would be way too stressful to deal with in real life.
While you’re able to have a lot of creative control over the character you create, the game still has some mechanics to adhere to. Personality dimensions will track certain points that will push your character towards being more honest or selfish depending on the type of points you get.
Cards prompt different scenarios as well as dramatic events that you and your partner will play out. Points will result based on your characters’ choices and the cards will let you know how the events unfold as a result of your choices.
7. One Deck Dungeon
Publisher: Asmadi Games | Duration: 30-45 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Fans of dungeon crawling games are definitely going to enjoy the next title on our list of the best 2-player cooperative board games.
One Deck Dungeon creates quickrun dungeons that players can explore and use to level up their characters. By using dice to face challenging enemies, it’s also great for players who enjoy tabletop RPGs too. Special cards give the game a more authentic board game feel though so it won’t feel like just another Dungeons and Dragons session.
Make sure you use some strategy to increase character skills or dice rolls at the right time. Burn through your cards too quickly and you may run out at just the wrong moment. Don’t use them up enough though and you’re going to be extremely unprepared the longer you’re in the dungeon.
This is a roguelike game so the foes you face and items you encounter will be randomized every time, giving you and your fellow player a new experience each time.
Kick butt, take names, roll dice. That pretty much sums up the experience you’ll have with One Deck Dungeon!
8. Fallout: The Board Game
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games | Duration: 2-3 hours | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Fans of the video game series are sure to enjoy this cooperative board game. It can be played with anywhere from 1 to four players so it fits right at home on our list of 2-player games.
The Fallout board game takes place in the post-apocalyptic world of the Fallout video game series (no surprises there). Players will choose a scenario at the beginning of each game which are each tied to stories from the Bethesda franchise. You will also create your own unique characters for the adventure and divy up points to enhance various abilities.
Each scenario is accompanied by a main quest and two warring factions. As you make progress in accomplishing your quest, you’ll be faced with difficult decisions which affect later advancement.
As the game progresses, characters will level up and gain new skills and perks that will help them survive in their harsh reality.
While this game is on our list of “cooperative board games”, it is one of the few we’ve included that allow a single player to win on their own. Though working together is certainly going to make things easier, it also allows for players to do their own thing or even get competitive if they so choose.
9. Unlock! Escape Adventures
Publisher: Space Cowboys | Duration: 60 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
Looking for an escape room adventure without actually getting locked in a room? Then Unlock! Escape Adventures Is the board game for you!
This game comes with three different scenarios you and your fellow player can explore. With the help of a free app, players will receive clues and puzzle out mysterious mechanisms in order to solve their chosen scenario’s cleverly laid traps. The app also includes a timer to keep the pressure on just like a real escape room too.
While a board game can’t quite capture the same experience as a real life escape room, Unlock! Escape Adventures isn’t a bad substitute at all. (Especially if you’re tired of all the dungeon crawls).
You’ll need to rely on logic and your deductive reasoning skills to make it through each of the adventures before your time is up. As the time ticks down and your adrenaline starts pumping, make sure to keep your cool!
10. Aeon’s End
Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards | Duration: 60 minutes | Difficulty: ⚔️⚔️⚔️ | Where to buy: Amazon
The final entry in our list of the best 2-player cooperative board games is also one of the heaviest on strategy. Aeon’s End is a deckbuilding board game where you’ll need to carefully plan out each and every move to get the edge on The Nameless.
This dystopian game setting takes place in the underground city of Gravehold. The last survivors of a deadly invasion are struggling to keep going as seemingly endless enemies are a constant threat. Each game players will face down a new enemy which requires a new strategy to defeat.
Your cards will allow you to harness the very power which forced your society into such dire circumstances. With spells, unique abilities, and your wits at your disposal, you’ll be able to take a stand once and for all. If you can use them wisely, you just may be able to push back against the dark magic threatening you.
Work together with your friend to pull through, if you cannot defeat The Nameless then your city will fall.
Join the High Ground
There you have our list of the best 2-player cooperative board games! Let us know your favorites in the comments below! If you’re looking for games geared toward larger groups, you can also check out our list of the best 3-player and 5-player board games too! We have tons of lists, game recommendations and guides so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date on all the latest High Ground news.
Until next time, happy gaming!