The majority of my gaming at the moment is with my wife, so I'm always looking for great two player games. Three of my favorites are Dominion, Pandemic, and Can't Stop. The great thing about these games is that they are great with two, but can play up to four and in some cases more with expansions.
Many of you know that Dominion is my favorite game. I was so excited when I got my first shipment of games mainly because the new Dominion expansion was part of it. My wife and I have played over 50 games of Dominion and I'm still not sick of it. The majority of the games have been with just us two, but we have also played many times with friends and have had one or two 6 player games with the Intrigue expansion. So why is it such a good two player game? The game is all about building the best deck of cards. You start out with 10 cards in your deck and throughout the game you add to the deck by buying new cards. With two players there is very little down time between turns so the game goes very quick. Most games are over in around 20 minutes. Another reason it scales to two so well is that the strategy for two is the same as the strategy with more players. It all about building your deck, and of course keeping your eye on what everyone else is buying to. If you don't have Dominion, you should definitely get it.
Pandemic is one of those rare multi player games that I would actually prefer to play with two as opposed to the full compliment of players. My shipment on Monday also included the new expansion Pandemic: On the Brink and I'm looking forward to breaking that one out as well. Pandemic is a cooperative game where all the players are working to cure four diseases before they take over the world. It's a very timely theme considering the H1N1. :) So why is this one such a good two player game? This game is very difficult to win on the hardest difficulty level. My wife and I have 20+ games played and we've only won the hardest level a few times. It is a little easier with two players, so that's one of the reasons I like playing with two. What can I say, I like to win. The difficulty of the game is also what makes it great. A good cooperative game is hard to win, but not too hard to where you get discouraged. This game has the perfect balance. This is another game where you can't just play once. When the game kicks your butt, you have to play again to show the game who's boss. :)
Can't stop is a great filler. Filler games are those games you pull out when you want a quick light game before you wind up a game night, or if you're waiting for other players to come, or you want something quick to play between larger games. There's no setup to the game and it is very easy to explain. People who have never played can get a quick run down of the rules and be playing in minutes. This game really comes down to the luck of the dice, but there's some interesting strategy on when to stop rolling, and what numbers you should take. So why is this one a good two player game? For exactly the same reasons it's a good 3 or 4 player game. You really don't lose anything by playing with fewer players. It's quick, has some light strategy, and is a very lighthearted game where everyone always has a great time. Some of my best gaming moments have come with this game. My brother in law had an amazing string of luck and came from waaaaaaaay behind to win my wife and I. You're never completely out of this game and you never know whose going to win until the end.
So if you're looking for a great two player game, you can't go wrong with any of these. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!