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Daniel and I are always on the lookout for small two player games we can travel with. It was much harder than I anticipated to build up a solid collection, but we’re slowly getting there.
If you’re traveling and want something to play that won’t take up your entire bag, this list is for you.
Small Two Player Games You Can Travel With
First up on the list are these six unique games. Most of them are card based or just a small bag with pieces, so they’re all super compact and easy to tuck in your luggage when you hit the road.
I grew up playing a lot of Set so I destroy Daniel every time we play. It’s great.
The game is really simple to play and each round lasts around 15 minutes. To start you lay out 12 cards and must combine them into sets of three based on their colors, shapes, shading, and number. You continuously replenish the 12 cards on the table and race to get more sets than your partner. Set comes in a box but you can pull out and pack the cards alone.
Bananagrams is pretty flexible and the tiles lend themselves well to single player games too – if you’re bored you can challenge yourself to build your own crossword puzzle or just make up new games with the letters.
3. Hive Pocket
The basic premise of the game is to surround your partner’s bee piece while also blocking them from surrounding your own. Rounds are usually pretty quick and it’s a fun way to pass the time.
Just make sure you buy Hive Pocket – the smaller travel set – and not the original version.
4. Lost Cities – The Card Game
Dan and I played the Lost Cities game online but you can also buy the physical version. The box is kinda big but you can leave the board at home and play without it. With only a set of cards required, this two player game is easy to travel with.
The point of Lost City is to pick up and discard the cards in your hand to strategically build up “expeditions” aka numbered stacks of cards. It’s a quick play just like the others and I like it because it requires a bit of strategy – building out your own expeditions while also keeping an eye on your partner’s attempts.
Just be aware that there is also Lost Cities: The Board Game which much bigger (and completely different) so make sure you’re buying the card game version.
This is billed as a three player game but it can be played by two with minor adaptations so I’m adding it to the list.
Five Second Rule has two parts – the cards and the timer – but we leave the timer behind and just use our phones. To play, read the category to your partner and they must name three things in it before five seconds are up. If they fail, you get a chance, but you can’t rename anything that’s already been listed.
The Five Second Rule is light, fun, and makes for a great drinking game. I guarantee it’ll be much harder than you think to answer the questions under pressure.
6. Travel Chess Set
If you’re looking for something a little more intense than these small travel games, chess fits the bill. This travel set is interesting because the pieces are magnetic and the board is soft, so it folds to the size of a checkbook. Personally, I will never let Daniel see this because he’ll buy it and make me play with him, but I still thought the rest of you might like to know.
Two Player Card Games
These are both solid two person card games that Daniel and I play together from time to time. Knowing these will definitely come in handy when you travel because you can find a deck of cards pretty much anywhere in the world.
7. Gin Rummy
I’ve played gin rummy more than every other game in my life combined. This was the only two person game Daniel and I knew for years and we played way, way, way too much.
It is really fun though. The main difference between playing as a group and playing as a couple is that you start with 12 cards each instead of seven. Hands take a little longer as well, but otherwise it pretty much goes down exactly the same way.
I’ve never heard of this card game before until Daniel and I stumbled onto a tutorial in the deep reaches of YouTube.
It’s part memory game, part luck, and very different from every other card game I’ve played. Here’s a link to the rules because there’s no way I can adequately explain it all here.
Two Player Games You Can Play Online
If you haven’t bought any games and you don’t have a deck of cards, you can still play this final two player game online.
9. Jackbox Party Packs
Jackbox party packs are the best. They’re online games that you can buy in a million different ways, but I recommend the Steam option. Through Steam you can download it to your laptop and play through there even if you don’t have an Xbox or Playstation or even a TV. All you need is a smartphone to connect.
There are five party packs out now but my personal favorite is the Jackbox Party Pack 3. It comes with five games and two of them only require two players (one can even be played solo).
In “Guesspionage” one person answers a question with a percentage and the other has to guess if it’s higher or lower. Then, points are given based on how close both answers are. Trivia Murder Party is a trivia game with a little luck and extra twists involved as well.
We almost always end up breaking out the Jackbox games to play with my family when we’re home for the holidays and I really recommend them.
Take These Small Two Player Games on Your Next Trip
Whether you’re into wordplay, strategy, or trivia, this list of small two player games has something for everyone. Even better, they’re all super compact and easy to travel with.
If you have any suggestions for two player games that I missed, please leave them in the comments below because Daniel and I are always on the lookout for more!