Best gateway 2 player (mostly card) games

Battleline (with an excellent iOS app implementation)

This feels like a classic card game. It’s basically poker lite but with 2 armies facing off. Really fun with lots of strategy. Should go down in history along with backgammon, chess, etc as just one of the western standards.

Bottom of the Ninth (Also has a good iOS version)

This game is excellent for baseball fans and also has a great 1 player mode.

Button men (print and play game, was published along time ago but this is probably the easiest print & play game to assemble ever, you need a bunch of dice of different varieties and you just print out the rules and a sheet of character cards then cut out the character cards and that’s it or you can simply buy the cards for the cost, everything you need is on the included Link)

Dead Man’s Draw (also has an excellent iOS app)

Quirky pirate themed push your luck card game. It’s super fun with tons of “take that” and crazy luck.


Lite mafia theme but a very clever and unique little card game, also has a decent 1 player mode but you have to track down the rules for it.

Kahuna (also has an iOS app)

Perfect for fans of abstract games like Othello (Go) or Backgammon.

Lost Cities (also with an excellent iOS app)

A modern classic. There really isn’t anything else like this simple game.

Mr. Jack Pocket (also with an excellent iOS app)

This game might be between printings because it used to be a lot cheaper, for the Amazon price you might as well get the bigger box edition, but if you can get this for under $20 it’s a great game. In fact this might be my #1 favorite gateway 2 player game. Simple and fun deduction, comes in a super small box.

NHL Ice Breaker

It’s technically 1-4 players, and the 1 player is fun, so is the multi player but this really is a perfect 2 player card game, if you like the NHL or Poker or both this game is perfect for you, I can’t wait to see this game system brought to every sports genre, I don’t have a copy of the football game yet but apparently they’re working on more.

Star Realms (and quite possibly the greatest iOS Game app ever)

This might be the best deck builder of all time. It’s perfect and cheap, an instant modern classic. Also has solo options with expansions. It’s probably more of a next step game but if you’re interested at all don’t be scared this game is amazing.

Star Wars Risk Edition

I hate Risk. This game is nothing like Risk. This is an awesome 2 player recreation of the Battle of Endor. Essential for any Star Wars fan and anyone interested in board games.

Tides of Time

Sushi go would be on this list if Tides of Time didn’t exist. This might be the best 2 player card game ever made. The artwork is beautiful with simple, fast, and deep gameplay. Also if you don’t like the theme then checkout the rethemed version Tides of Madness

Valley of the Kings Afterlife

A very unique deck builder. All 3 versions are highly recommended but I put in afterlife because of its solo option. It plays well with increased numbers but it works very well with 2.


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