We were recently invited to the flagship TableTop Day event thrown in Los Angeles by Geek & Sundry—the company that produces TableTop, a YouTube program whose success has fed into TableTop Day. While there, TableTop host Wil Wheaton announced a crowdfunding effort to support the show’s third season, and a host of celebrities gathered to play games with us common folk. So we corralled a few of them to answer a question that comes up a lot for tabletop game enthusiasts: What’s the best game to play when you have just two people handy? We’re sharing their answers here, but why not give us your suggestions—and fill us in on your weekend gaming plans—down in the comments?
Wil Wheaton: I’ve been playing a game called Hive that scratches the chess itch but is much easier to learn and plays in about 15 minutes. It’s super portable, too, so it lives in my backpack. Other fantastic two-player games are Travel Blokus, All Creatures Big And Small, Memoir ’44, and for the old-school wargamers, OGRE.
Colin Ferguson, Eureka: With two people, it’s tough. That’s probably the biggest problem because there’s so many more options once you get three or four, and I think, unfortunately, I find myself more often than not with one other person looking for a game. A lot of games that say “Good For Two Players” aren’t good for two players. It’s possible with two players, which is very different from being good with two players. I go with—there’s that electronic thing, Catch Phrase, where you pass it back and forth. I play a simplified version of that that I really like. Zombie Dice, I think that’s really good. Strangely, my girlfriend likes that game, so that’s generally what we go to. But that seems to be it. And Bananagrams. Those are probably the three that I go to. And we play a different version—as most of us do, we recalibrate the rules for what we find more fun, and so we play a different version of Bananagrams that’s just sort of more free-flowing.
Felicia Day, Geek And Sundry founder: For two people, I love Magic: The Gathering. You can get a starter pack. I’m not competitive. I’m not obsessive about collecting cards. I love when I get a great card, but that’s kind of a byproduct of it. If you just get two packs and learn how to do that, I think that’s a great entry point. I’m trying to think of other two player games that I play. Ticket To Ride is fantastic, but it’s better with three or four people. The challenging thing for TableTop—Wil has a whole list of two-player games that he’d love to do, and we were thinking about doing a special episode just to feature two-player games, so hopefully, if we make our Indiegogo, we’ll be doing that.
Brandon Routh, Superman Returns: Dominion. I like it. I never get to play it very often. And it’s easy enough to explain that you can do it quickly. It’s a fairly quick game, especially between two people. There are so many different ways to win. You can use a lot of different strategies. You can change the decks up so easily, depending on what versions of the game that you have. And I like card games. It’s a short version of Magic. You can’t teach somebody Magic in a day. [Laughs.]
Neil Grayston, Eureka: Munchkin. Which is what they’re playing right here, right now.
The A.V. Club: How do you do that one with two players?
NG: We just sort of have our own little thing. I made up a sheet so that we can keep track of our levels and our power and everything like that. We just play the game as it does, and whoever gets to level 10 first is the one who wins. It seems to be an easy one. It’s almost like playing War or Magic but simpler. It’s a really easy one to move into just playing with two people. I’ve noticed—I just did the live stream, we just did Rampage, and I think that could be a good two-person game as well because it’s not really based on having another person there so much as it is, you know, breaking stuff.
Kelly Hu, Arrow: Ohhh, if it’s just one other person? Not strip anything because that would really suck. [Laughs.] Maybe—oh, that is hard, isn’t it? I guess you could play Qwirkle. That’s a good two-person game.
AVC: What’s fun about that game?
KH: About Qwirkle? It’s easy to learn. There’s not a whole hell of a lot of strategy to think of ahead of time. And it’s one of those that you can really be a sore winner at.
AVC: Which is the best!
KH: The best! You have to be a sore winner. Otherwise it’s no fun to play games. Or play for money.