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Daniel and I are always on the lookout for small 2 person 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 games to play with two people that won’t take up your entire bag, this list is for you!
I grew up playing a lot of Set so I destroy Daniel every time we play. It’s great.
The is one of the simplest games for 2 people because each round only lasts 10 to 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.
If you like Scrabble or Words With Friends you’ll definitely like Bananagrams. The point of this 2 person game is to race your partner to build a crossword puzzle and run out of your letters first.
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
Daniel and I received Hive Pocket for Christmas last year and it’s a great small 2 person game to travel with.
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
Sick of playing the same old card games for couples? Lost Cities will help you spice it up!
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 2 person 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.
5. Five Second Rule
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 games for 2 people that are a little more intense than those listed above, chess fits the bill.
This specific set is one of the best small board games for travel because the pieces are magnetic and 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.
7. Gin Rummy
I’ve played gin rummy more than every other game in my life combined. This was the only 2 person game Daniel and I knew for years and we played way, way, way too much.
It is really fun though, and one of my favorite card games for couples.
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 2 person card game 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.
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 2 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 2 Person Games on Your Next Trip!
Whether you’re into wordplay, strategy, or trivia, this list of small 2 person 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!
This article is part of the Timeless Travel Gifts series. Read the rest below:
Then, explore the complete Gifts and Gear series for more reviews and roundups of the travel products I can’t live without.
I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:
➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.
➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.
➤ Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field.
➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.