The links in this post are affiliate links. Disclaimer here: https://mymoderndeardiaryblog.com/about/disclaimer/
2 Players Only
Perfect date night choices, these games can literally only be played by two people at a time.
Patchwork is a strictly two player game that is only lightly competitive but extremely charming. Basically, you and your opponent are trying to sew the best quilt ever! Using buttons as currency, you buy patches to put on your quilt and each time you place a patch, time passes by. Try to fill the most of your board and end up with the most button when time runs out and you win! It’s a super quick game that is easy to pick up.
Tetris Duel is a fun way to play the absolute classic video game. Using a 3D board, you and your opponent sit on opposite sides and try to fill up the “screen” with your pieces. It’s almost like Connect 4, but with Tetris pieces and more complex rules. Each turn the game will tell you what type of piece you have to play and it’s up to you where to place it. You get a point when your piece is adjacent to another one of your pieces and you get extra points and turns for completing lines. Careful not to block off any spaces though, because then you’ll lose points!
These games tend to be very long and more focused on storytelling and the experience of playing than necessarily winning or losing, which is why playing them by yourself makes sense and is still enjoyable.
(2-3 hours, 1-4 players)
Based on the excellent video game franchise Fallout, this board game places you in the middle of a barren wasteland full of warring factions and deadly creatures. More open-ended then your average board game, you get to explore around the map, encounter enemies and quests, and level up your character. There are several main storyline scenarios you can choose to frame your adventure with so the game can be played over and over. The game is also barely competitive, with no direct confrontation between players, just a point system that happens in the background and decides the winner at the end.
(2-3 hours, 1-5 players)
Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will adore this adventure game. With a completely different story every time you play, this game creates in-depth experiences in which you are an investigator trying to get to the bottom of mysterious events that have no clear explanations (spoiler alert: it’s usually an elder god’s fault). Fight and search your way through a seaside town, cultist houses, and time travelling mansions by using the free app to help you along and create a spooky atmosphere. It can be very tricky but don’t worry, it’s completely cooperative, so you have your friends by your side! (Unless you try to take on the monsters alone…)
(2-4 hours, 1-8 players)
In case you want even more Lovecraftian madness in your life, Arkham Horror delivers on that. Another completely cooperative game, this time your goal is to rein in the sudden surge of creatures and monsters in Arkham by travelling through dimensions and closing their doors into our world. Meanwhile, a vicious and all-powerful elder god is stirring in its sleep, getting ready to wake up and lay waste to our world, so you better hurry up and close those portals! While extremely difficult to beat, playing Arkham Horror is all about strategy and working together to defeat the otherworldly evils.
These games are more competitive and less cooperative than the previous games. They do require at least two people instead of a story focused experience one can play alone.
(1 hour, 2-4 players)
In this morbid game, the point is to take control of the fates of a family of eccentric characters, make their lives as miserable as possible, and then give them an untimely end. I know but stay with me. This is a game all about storytelling. The cards that you play on your characters to ruin their lives are only short prompts (pierced by porcupines, cursed by the queen, shunned by society, etc.) and it’s up to you to fill in the blanks with a good story! The character with the highest score on their dead characters by the end is the winner (if you could really call that winning)!
(30 minutes, 2-5 players)
It’s the revolutionary card game where you win by getting ahead! This game is absolutely ridiculous. It’s based on the French revolution where you and your friends play as competing executioners, trying to bag the most royal heads to brag about in the executioner’s locker room afterward. There are noble cards, which have the face of some sort of execution victims on it, such as church figures, royals, and some innocents, which give you negative points. These are lined up at the guillotine and you each take turns taking the noble at the front of the line. However, you can use action cards to reshuffle the line to bag you more points!
(40 minutes, 2-7 players)
Mysterium is a game where you are playing as a group of psychics trying to communicate with a ghost concerning a murder committed in the house! One character plays as the ghost and can only communicate with the rest of the players via “visions,” AKA the abstract and artistic vision cards. The players must look at these cards and try to piece together the hints the ghost is trying to tell them in order to finger the right murderer, scene of the crime, and the murder weapon. This game gives a great twist on normal communication and it can be interesting to see how the message the ghost is trying to send can be mixed up by the investigators.
(30 minutes, 2-12 players)
Back to basics with this game, Sequence is just a slightly more complex connect 4. The board is covered with the image of each card from two decks, and the players have to place pieces down using the cards in their hands to dictate where the pieces will go. First person or team to make the required number of sequences of their colour in a row win! This is a great little game, perfect for people who aren’t used to playing four hours of board games but also want something a little more involved than Sorry! This is the game that Nick and I always play with our parents since it’s simple enough to play quickly.
These games are for when you have a bit more of a crowd.
(1 hour, 3-6 players)
A spooky mansion, a quirky group of friends, and dark and stormy night…the classics for an excellent story! This game is interesting because it starts out as a cooperative experience of travelling through an abandoned mansion that unfolds before you until suddenly, something goes wrong and a traitor is ousted! The best part about this game is that every time you play, it’s a completely different scenario playing out. Sometimes the traitor will the lead vampire with a hoard of bats attacking you and sometimes the traitor will be a mad scientist, trying to turn you all into zombies.
(20 minutes, 3-16 players)
The premise of this game is simple: it is “guess who,” but instead of using physical features, you use personality traits instead! Basically, one player is a witness who mysteriously only remembers the personality traits of the perpetrator, and the rest of the players are cops, trying to solve a crime. The suspect will be asked questions like: did the suspect do yoga? Do they go camping? Are they the type to talk during movies? The witness can only say yes or no, and it’s up to the cops to decide which of the potential perps look like they probably do yoga. It’s a hilarious game based on assumptions and stereotypes that leaves you arguing over which of these faces is the face of someone that gets road rage.