Do you have two-player game ideas for pouty losers?

February 8 2013 | Guest post by Dootsie Bug
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I'm taking my dice and I'm going home! By: JD HancockCC BY 2.0
My husband and I like to play games but we can't seem to find much to play together. He's into Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; I'm more of a Trivial Pursuit kind of gal.

The real problem is, I'm a bit of a sore loser so we try to find two person, non-competitive games, such as Pandemic. And we don't have a video game system, but we would consider investing in one if it will give us a shared past-time.

Do any Offbeat Homies have ideas on games we can try out while I work on my sportsmanship? -Heather

While I've gotten better about it in recent years, I can be a pretty sore loser. When I was a kid, I would flip over a game board and yell "You cheated" if I even thought that losing the game was a remote possibility.

I'm not much of a video game player (at least not with other people) because I can't scale the learning curve of most video game controls. That usually puts me in the "going to lose my shit" mindset. I also find that the more adrenaline-pumping a game is, the more likely I am to want to throw my controller. That said, the Wii is my console. The controls are intuitive and I love the way some of the games utilize them. It's definitely not for everybody — the games require physical movement and many of the games are a bit childish.

Generally speaking, I'd say that co-op games (games where you play alongside your partner rather than against) are ideal. You're not competing — you're playing together. I also suggest games with an element of whimsy — somehow, it's harder to get mad if everything is cute. Whatever you choose, good luck! But here are my suggestions for Wii games for bad losers…

Imagine a game that's Angry Birds meets Jenga for the Wii — designed by Steven Spielberg. You smash blocks using a variety of techniques, like chucking balls or throwing bombs. You can play in tandem, chipping away at the level in turns. Need to break some stuff if you lose? Move on to the next level and go to town! It's a simple, silly game but it's surprisingly fun.

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
This game is co-op. It's a platform-style game featuring elements of Disney characters and design. You draw (and erase) elements in the world to move through. One of you plays as Mickey, one of you plays as Oswald, one of Walt Disney's early characters.

Mario Kart Wii
This is a racing game with a field of Mario characters. I've never had a problem with losing at racing games; part of me just accepts that I'm a terrible driver in real life, so being a bad driver in video game world is okay. Some sore losers will hate this game, and that's okay. My Mario Kart strategy is to hate one of the computer-controlled drivers — I usually pick Baby Peach, for no apparent reason — and gauge my success against her rather than the person I'm playing against. Just don't race on Rainbow Road. Ever.

Mario Party 8
This one is also hotly contested by some sore losers — I've never had a problem with it. Mario Party is a bunch of mini games in a board game setting. Playing through all the smaller games, you get to take turns winning and losing with your fellow players (the game is designed for four players, but you can have up to three of them computer-controlled.) The game also throws curveballs to even the playing field. Part of this game is knowing that the game itself is going to screw you over in the end–the game cheats, not your fellow players! (You can lessen the crappiness by adjusting some settings.) I suggest 8 for a reason — I'm told Mario Party 9 is way more frustrating.

Pretty much any of the Sports Games
If you want to work on your sportsmanship… duh, sports! Bowling, table tennis, golf, baseball, archery, basketball. Whatever your game is, play it. And no, you don't need the fancy racket Wiimote holders.

So, Homies, what kind of two-player games would YOU recommend for pouty losers?

  1. We play games with a friend on a near-weekly basis, and he's super competitive. The best games we play tend to either be cooperative, party games, or games of pure chance that don't have much of a strategy.

    We play a lot of Pandemic and Arkham Horror (and all the expansions for both), but Board Game Geek has a lot of great suggestions.

    Computers offer a lot of options for cooperative stuff. Things like Warcraft 3, Rise of Nations, Civilizations, Battle for Middle Earth, and Starcraft all have options to play on teams. And a couple of those are old enough that you don't need super-fancy graphics to run them.

    7 agree
    • Oh! And also check out some non-cooperative board games where you kind of hide how well you're doing, like Smallworld, Dominion, and Thunderstone. With those, you can't spend the entire game counting up the other player's points (unlike, say, Settlers), so while you might lose, it's sometimes easier to brush past it and move on instead of letting it annoy for a while.

      Whatever you do, don't play Settlers, Munchkin, or Monopoly. :p

      18 agree
      • I way agree on Monopoly… I'm not a sore loser, but it makes everyone I know turn into a jerk-bagel when they play it. It's so weird!

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        • My husband and I played monopoly one time and decided that our marriage wouldn't withstand another game.

          We've been playing a lot of Dominion–I like that it offers a lot of different options so it has more variety.

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          • It's so funny you mention Dominion. We aren't competitive, but there are two games on our "so one sided it's not fun to play" list, Election 1960 (I was on a 7 game losing streak, couldn't win as Kennedy OR Nixon) and Dominion (Ed has won exactly -once-).

            What about a card game like Fluxx? The rules change all the time so you can't really "game" it.

            13 agree
        • Fun fact, I once got very lucky in monopoly as a little kid and destroyed my mom with some choice rolls.

          I had been taking it kind of seriously, and of course I never wanted to hurt my mom… When I realized that I made her lose, I ran out of the room crying.

          I'm sure she still cracks up remembering that…

          1 agrees
      • I second Smallworld. I'm a bad loser, so it's nice to have no idea who has won until the game ends and you count up points. Last time I played I won and was completely shocked! And thrilled. πŸ™‚

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      • I agree and add Ascension to the list. It's a deck building game like Dominion, but it's really hard to tell who is winning, and often it doesn't really matter that much.

        1 agrees
      • I admit… I am also one of these "sore losers" I really do LOVE Smallworld, because there are so many different ways to choose how/what to play with endless combinations of races and special attributes. I admit I did get real pouty when playing Thunderstone even though I absolutely love it now. There's definitely a learning curve and my husband played a lot without me at first so he had a clear advantage while I was still figuring it out. He mopped the floor with me a couple times and I was over it! But now that I'm more familiar with it, even though I haven't actually WON once… I REALLY enjoy playing it. I recommend the advanced/expansion version. Also there's a great board game called Space Alert that's entirely cooperative that is WAY FUN! GOOD LUCK!

        1 agrees
      • In the same realm as this, I'd recommend Seven Wonders too. Seven Wonders makes it extremely hard to judge who's winning or losing until you get to counting, and it's hard to mess with the other player's points. I've never checked if it's two player or not though.
        Guillotine is more of a card game, but also hard to predict how well the other person is doing. This one may also not be two player.
        There's an Atlantis game as well that would go well, as it's nearly completely independent play. I've seen it with a couple titles, Wikipedia calls it both Survive! and Escape from Atlantis:

        4 agree
    • I'm also a bad loser striving to get better, and I totally agree about Arkham Horror. Cooperative, and with Cthulhu! What's not to like?

      1 agrees
  2. Maybe expand your definition of games? My boyfriend and I used to do improv and when we're in the mood for "play" we revisit some of the games and exercises we learned. There are definite rules or limitations to each game, but ultimately you learn that failure can still be fun. They're not board games and some can get really physical. It's something we both agree on despite our differences. Plus, you can play 'em with more people.

    Two favorites come to mind: "Yay, Boo" and "World without a Letter"

    Yay/Boo: one person says something positive, "Puppies are cute!" and the other person responds to the last thing said with something negative, "Not when they're dead!" Repeat until someone brain farts or you can't stop laughing.

    World without a Letter: Randomly pick a letter that neither of you can say. If you've got the means have a consonant pile and a vowel pile! (the boy and I roll a die yoinked from Apples to Apples). Try to have a conversation without using that letter! The extra challenge is you can't talk like a "caveman", get progressively faster as you play, and eventually you pick two letters.

    Improv Game Encyclopedia. Just as a starting point.

    5 agree
  3. If you both have decent computers, you could get Portal 2. I've never had more fun with my husband than playing that game with him. It's basically a 3d puzzle type game, but you have to work together. Honestly, if you go the PC gaming route… you have a lot of options. Dungeon Defenders is also a family favorite. And there's endless selections of Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. Then again, we're also gamers and they do have a bit of a learning curve.

    If you're at all musically inclined, rock band is a fun group game. I suppose it's an oldie at this point, but it gets a lot of play time in our home.

    We build a lot of literal puzzles together, too. That's always time consuming, and some people don't find it to be a game – but they're really rewarding. This and building the more difficult lego sets.

    Best of luck! My little brother is was a sore loser, so co-operative games were a huge staple in my life.

    13 agree
  4. If you're up for a bit more movement, my boyfriend and I sent ourselves on a scavenger hunt around our city one evening. We worked as a team and competed against a pre-determined time limit, so it still felt like a competition but without being actually competitive. We did choose to include challenges every hour on the hour for best two of three, and the loser buys the hot dogs. You don't have to include that part, but hey, HOT DOGS! I do, however, recommend a mandatory bar break every hour, though. Cheers!

    2 agree
  5. New Super Mario Brothers is the game that makes me want to buy a Wii, oh my god. You can play up to four players *at the same time*. Theoretically, you are working together. There does end up being a certain amount of picking each other up and throwing each other into pits because it's *hilarious*, but you're kind of shooting yourself in the own foot doing so, no one is winning or losing. Example:

    YMMV, but I've found that when I'm worn out with mean, nasty game moves and heavy strategy, this is the shit I want to turn to.

    4 agree
  6. Forbidden Island – Find the treasures through collaborative play and teamwork before the island sink below you.

    Tetris Link – if you like tetris on computer, app or console think that but where you take turns with another player.

    Sleeping Queens – actually designed for kids it is quite enjoyable for adults [almost everyone I've ever played it with]. Advantage is it isn't super long.

    4 agree
  7. A really great "board" game that is non-competitive (but you do need at least 4 people for it) is Cards Against Humanity. It's awesome, but requires a sense of humor. And alcohol helps too!
    While there are "points" per say, it's more about having fun and laughing then winning.

    19 agree
    • We LOVE cards against humanity!!!! but, most nights, it is just us at home so that one gets saved for game nights

      1 agrees
      • That's my favorite game. one night we played apples to apples after running out of answer cards in cards against humanity. It was, naturally, incredibly boring after such an in your face game, but we realized the green cards in apples to apples mash up beautifully to the answer cards.

        One thing that could be really fun for a couple in regards to cards is to make it a game to create new hilarious question and answer cards. Claire posted a Yay/Boo game a few posts above, which could work beautifully with this concept.

        1 agrees
  8. SO, the dude and I just discovered this game. It is called "Castle Panic" and you have to work TOGETHER to defeat the monsters and save the castle. Up to 6 people can play, but we have played it just the 2 of us with no problems. If you don't work together to win, you die; the end. There are orcs, goblins, giant boulders, plagues…makes for a good time.

    One "game" we play is "Who would win in a fight?" I made this game up, and the rules are simple. Pick any person, real, fictional, dead, alive, good, evil, WHATEVER and say "who would win? Gandalf or Dumbledore?" Then, discuss (or fight). Super fun! There is no score, so no one person wins or loses.

    We also play this game (found at a yard sale for $2) called "Racko"; fun, easy, fairly mindless. Bonus point if you find a game made in 1961 like ours.

    3 agree
    • Castle Panic is a great game, and very much in line with what would appeal to D&D fans. You play together and either defeat or fail to defeat the game as a team.

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    • Castle Panic would also be great once your child gets a little older–we've played with four- and five-year-olds pretty successfully.

  9. Shadows Over Camelot is super fun. Players are the knights of the round table, and you team up to beat quests. You either all win or all lose – though there's an option when you have enough players to include a secret traitor.

    The downside is it's not two-person; the minimum number of players is three.

    3 agree
    • Oh man, that game made me so upset. Shadows over Camelot, and similar games with secret traitors, like the Battlestar galactica game force a player to lie and betray. If you don't think it's fun to (even in jest) betray the trust of your loved ones or have them lead on and betray you, don't ever go here. I don't have any particular trust drama or issues, and I found the whole experience unpleasant. It's like the opposite of a trust walk.

      I'd recommend Flash Point: Fire Rescue. There is no secret evil character. You are all firefighters with unique sets of skills, and you save little people and tiny pets and fight fires in buildings. It's the best! For me the real test of a game is that I can lose and have a ball.

      1 agrees
      • I find it so sad that you feel this way, since amongst my group of friends, anything with a secret traitor (or traitors) is high on our list of favourite games. While I was in University, any time there was more than 6 students in the lounge for the Computer Science club, a game of Mafia would break out. (For the curious, it's a game most people play in kindergarten, where 1-2 people are picked to be the mafia, and the rest are townfolk (We use a handful of cards). Someone runs the game by telling everyone to close their eyes during a night phase, then mafia raise their heads. The mafia silently pick someone to die, then everyone raises their head and throw around accusations about who's the mafia. When everyone reaches a decision, that person dies, then another night phase occurs. Rinse and repeat until one group is all dead.) The only reason my friends and I don't often play Battlestar Galactica is because we have more secret traitor games that are less complicated.

        Although I agree, secret traitor games aren't terribly good for pouty losers since they're really the opposite of cooperation. Also, almost all of them will need more than 2 players, otherwise there's no real unknown factor. But I just wanted to speak up for the secret traitor games, they tend to be really intense games since you're never quite sure if someone is with you or against you.

        1 agrees
        • Have you checked out the Resistance? You might enjoy that one, it involves figuring out who the spies are in your group. Once we realized the expansion pack was holding us back, we went to the base game, and ended up with people standing and yelling within five minutes. Became a standard intro game to our group with new people. "Hi, it's nice to meet you, you effing lying liar face."

          Being said, being a fan of Resistance, I totally understand Ana not enjoying them, they are really for the right mix of people who can cool off immediately and can keep a game layer up.

          1 agrees
          • I have actually! It plays a lot like Mafia with an actual board/set up. The hands down favourite for my group is Shadow Hunters though. You end up with a group of people, all with a hidden character. Some are Shadows (Werewolves, Vampires, etc), some are Hunters, and some people are Neutrals. Each character has a different health value, a different special power and a different win condition. But all Shadows win if all the Hunters or 3 Neutrals die, and all Hunters win if all the the Shadows die. You can only use your special power if you reveal who you are, and there's cards that can give you a hint as to who someone else is.

            Basically the game comes down to a lot of suspicions and a lot of indiscriminate killing. But the best part about it is that if your win condition is satisfied at the end of the game, well, you win! If your win condition is "Survive to the end of the game" and Shadow's are moping up everyone, you jump onto their bandwagon and help. We've had games where everyone except the hunters won and vice versa.

        • For those who like mafia: Did you ever play drug dealer? It's another big group game… the idea is you play it at a party or gathering while you're doing other things – talking, hanging out, watchig youtube videos, whatever.

          Each person gets a card. In the possible cards are an ace — the cop and a joker — the drug dealer. Everyone with a regular card is just a citizen.

          The drug dealer has to deal to the citizens by winking or sticking out their tongue at them discreetly, so the cop doesn't notice. When dealt drugs, the citizen must stick their card to their forehead face-out and say "A DEAL HAS BEEN MADE" (or something to that effect. I like "MY FINGERS. THEY'RE FINGING"… but anything dramatic and noticeable will do.)

          The game ends when either the cop catches the drug dealer (by flashing their "badge" card and accusing them) or the drug dealer gets everyone in the town high. (It can continue if the cop makes a false accusation, but then the dealer knows who the cop is, making life harder for the cop.)

          1 agrees
          • This game sounds completely amazing and I will do my best to make it appear at the next party. o.o

  10. There's so many good games that I had NO IDEA about. I just wanted to say that I adore this thread so far. Seriously, my husband and I are game and fun maniacs. My little icon picture is of us cracking up wiggling in a fun house mirror at our board game wedding. <3

    4 agree
  11. It may sound kind of dumb, but my husband & I enjoy playing classic kids board games together bec. there's no real challenge & it gets super silly so nobody gets upset if they lose (ob, even better w/a bottle of wine). The Game of Life is esp. ridiculous, also Candy Land.

    2 agree
    • I tried some of the "kid" games and the husband-person scoffed at them. Although, he may be more open to them now that he has seen me freak out over losing scrabble. Thanks for the tip : )

      1 agrees
      • The Game of Life is actually pretty fun now that they have all sorts of anniversary editions and random bonuses at the end. Blokus is fun, though not cooperative but it only takes 30 minutes -ish to play and it's a strategy game.

        1 agrees
      • Have you thought about playing games and not keeping score? Some games this obviously won't work (the person who loses all their pieces has lost. Duh). When we play Scrabble I just don't pay attention to the score, or we don't write down point values at all. It's still fun coming up with words (and calling shenanigans on words that are obviously NOT words).

        • Some kids I used to babysit for played Scrabble cooperatively by just adding up everyone's score in one long column. It was still exciting to get a high score together, but they didn't have to worry about winning or losing. I think this actually allows for more creative words than competitive Scrabble.

          3 agree
    • I will say that trying to play Jenga while inebriated adds quite the level of suspense to the game! Makes for hilarious memories, and who cares who won because…hey we're drinking!

      1 agrees
  12. Wow! Offbeat Homies are really coming through for me : )
    We did borrow a Wii and try lego star wars last night. It seemed fun and not anger-inducing. The only problem was I am often nursing our tiny dictator at night when we are trying to play so that game had to be put on hold.
    I am currently bookmarking all of these other suggestions for a future gaming shopping spree

    • The wii lego games are really fun. I really like the Harry Potter one, because, if you know the movies, you kind of know what you need to do next. Caveat – putting together the lego things in that one is HARD sometimes. Haven't played much of the Pirates of the Caribbean one, but that seems pretty intuitive as well.

      What about card games? Sometimes losing isn't so bad if you can just win the next hand? Gin or gin rumy or uno? Also you can kind of start/stop those while nursing.

    • This isn't exactly a board game, but I love taboo (though never play with the scoring rules – even in large groups!). It's easy enough to play with two people as long as you're ok with trusting the other person to try and follow the rules (not saying any portion of the main taboo word, or the additional taboo words).

      I also like yahtzee and clue (though Clue can become competitive in our apartment!)

  13. OMG I have tons of suggestions. My husband is very competitive and I can be a sore loser more often than not. I pout and start complaining ("THIS GAME SUUUUCKS!" Even though I enjoy playing). I highly recommend buying a Wii or maybe a Playstation 3 as there are many 2-player cooperative games.


    – Super Smash Brothers (You can play on a team if you don't want to play Vs. each other)
    – Mario Cart
    – Super Mario Brothers (Co-op mode)
    – Mario Party
    – Wii Sports
    – Donkey Kong (super hard but you can play co-op)
    – Kirby's Epic Yarn (super cute and co-op)
    – Guitar Hero
    – Zack and Wiki (It's a puzzle game with a pirate theme! Super fun)
    – Super Mario Galaxy
    – Super Mario Galaxy 2


    – Portal 2 (one of the best co-op games I've ever played)
    – Little Big Planet
    – Little Big Planet 2
    – Guitar Hero
    – Katamari Forever
    – Rayman Origins


    – Ticket To Ride (this is a fantastic game that involves a little strategery. The Europe board is the best one. It can get a little competitive and I tend to pout in the game…but it's so fantastic I don't even care)
    – Settlers of Catan (another great board game involving strategery. I'm not very good at it, and I always lose…but it's still fun and brings out my sportsmanship)
    – Things (great with larger groups of people. And hilarious! Just make sure you play with funny friends)

    5 agree
    • Those PS3 games are the ones I was going to recommend, and I feel like PS3 would be a better investment if you're going to buy your first console. The BluRay player is great and it has a browser, etc. Those games are all a little more "grown-up" (but still fun and cute) than Wii games, too. I would add:

      Portal 1 and 2
      Trine 1 and 2
      Sports games playing on the same team

      1 agrees
    • I was just going to suggest Rayman, though my friends and I play it on Xbox. Super fun! As long as one person is alive you can keep playing the level and you can bring each other back at any time so no one is left not playing. Also the world and music are very whimsical and fun. πŸ™‚

    • Definitely the Super Mario Galaxies! I play them with my husband and it's wonderful. I am bad at video games but the .5 character just floats around and grabs stuff and fights people, so I don't have to run or jump or have spatial skills.

    • More PS3 games: Pixeljunk makes a number of great co-op games: Eden, Monsters, Shooter are all favourites around here. Ragdoll Kung Fu is just silly fun. And Critter Crunch also works for co-op.

      If you have two iOS devices, we just played Spaceteam last night and it was intensely amusing.

  14. I'm a nerd and all my friends are nerds, so we play a lot of games. Arkham Horror is an all time favorite of mine, and Pandemic is catching up. Betrayal at the House on the Hill is amazing. There can be a little competitiveness, because someone usually turns against the party, but not always and there is usually a cool story to it. Also, Red November is a lot of fun. You play a crew of, I think, Gnomes on a submarine that is falling apart and you have to keep it together till the end of the game.

    I'd actually also suggest giving role playing a shot. I obviously don't know you or really anything about your situation, so if you really have something against RPGs, just ignore me. That said, as someone who met her husband at a LARP (yep, like I said, I'm a HUUUUUUGE nerd) and has been Role Playing with him and all her closest friends for about 10 years now, I can testify that it can be a lot of fun. There are a ton of worlds and game systems out there for pretty much anyone and if he's into D&D he probably knows a group of people you could play with. RPGs are great because if you get the right group of people with the right outlook together there are no winners or losers, there's just a great story. A friend once ran a D&D campaign where every session was a different musical. And usually face to face role players are nice people. Seriously. I had a friend that was afraid to do it because people on an online game had been mean to him. Most of the gamers I know are really nice to new people.

    Finally (I know, I never shut up) I recommend Minecraft, as I didn't see it on the thread yet (I may have missed it). It requires something to play it on, but it's awesome. I started playing this with my husband and some of our friends and I am hooked. It's a super simple concept with very easy controls and there are very minimal very easily avoided combat parts. But it is awesome to build something in the game with your friends and loved ones.

    4 agree
    • I have no problem with role playing. (I'm a ren faire nerd so it is only a hop, skip and huzzah away from LARPing) but our main issue is time. Mostly we play in the evenings, after work, and have offspring to work around. Although, once she is less like a noisy paperweight, I'm sure we can incorporate her in. Are role playing games mostly more time consuming? Or is that domething I imagined?

      1 agrees
      • I think it varies. My husband and I both run games and put a lot of time in, but we don't have children. There are people who play in the game games we run who literally just play that one game for a few hours one night a month. And I know a lot of our LARP friends have had kids recently (we're sort of at that age πŸ™‚ and still come to game on occasion, so it can be done. In this new game we're trying to join the kids are even a welcome part. One of the guys carved little wooden My Little Ponies for them. It was adorable.
        I think you ultimately just have to find a group that fits and understands your needs.
        Also, GO REN FAIRE NERDS!

        1 agrees
        • Perhaps a bit off-topic, but would you have any suggestions regarding how to get into role playing games? I played D&D casually in my teens but I haven't played in 10+ years. I have recently been thinking that it would be fun to get back into it but I am absolutely clueless as to where to begin.

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          • A lot of people diss it, but D&D 4.0 is great for people who want to be able to just pick it up and go and not have to read a bazillion books. Other than that, go to your local game store (if you have one) and ask if they know of any gaming groups (or if they host any). Ours runs some Munchkin and Warharmmar exposition games, and most of the employees can point you in the direction of D&D player, LARPers, etc.

            1 agrees
          • Small local conventions are a great way to see who is playing what in your area. Also, I second local game stores.

      • role playing games, live action role playing, and dungeons & dragons. Google is your friend! πŸ™‚

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    • If you like Monty Python – pick up the Monty Python edition. It involves talking in accents and coconut shell horses!

      5 agree
    • I agree FLUXX is great. Loads of elements affected by chance and it's not too long.
      We also play GLOOM where the aim of the game is to give your card "family" the most miserable life possible. The person with the most tragic family wins. You can sabotage other players by making nice things happen to their "family". Very therapeutic!!!

      1 agrees
  15. If you have a game store close by, you can ask the store owners for recommendations. They usually are spot on, even when they are games we would've overlooked. Recently recommended for games for two players (or more) are:

    The Elder Sign (Arkham Horror series) where you have to collect different signs with your team members to defeat a monster.

    Carcassone: you build a landscape with tiles, and get points for different locales where you place figures. It is not meant to be collaborative, but when you collaborate with team-mates, it becomes extra fun.

    Seconding Portal2. I don't like video games much, since I also have a slow learning curve. My husband loves video games. So this one was the perfect combination: we worked together, and he guided me through the levels and it was fun!

    I'm also perfectly happy being "player 2" on other games, like mario galaxy, etc, happy to just wave my control and pick up stars and coins XD

    5 agree
    • Actually, there's a version of Carcassonne for two players that is really well designed. Ask your local game store people about it!

  16. The only game I can think of that hasn't already been mentioned is the delightfully nerdy Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magical Carrot. It comes down to chance in the end so no one can get too upset and it's a great game for groups too.

    5 agree
  17. Bananagrams is a great option, because even though you are technically competing against the other people, it feels like you're just competing against yourself. I also like that there are multiple ways to play the game, so there's always a sense of variety and challenge, and you can also play solo. Plus, it comes in a cute banana bag, and is great for travel.

    4 agree
    • We play Bananagrams somewhat cooperatively. Basically, everybody tries to be the first to finish, but then you go and help the other people finish–the idea is to come up with good, funny words and admire everybody's work.

      2 agree
  18. Ah Board games, something i can be of some help with…. My fiance is a board game geek, we have over 100 board games… problem is that im not such a big fan (and am also a massive sore looser, we both are)…. but games i can recomend for 2 players..

    Carcasonne (my all time fave i think, i generally love tile and dice games)

    Zombie Dice… its dice so its pure luck really, but basically your a zombie trying to eat as many brains as you can (you need 13 to win)

    Okko… ok so i havent played this yet, we jsut got it but it looks super awesome, its a 2 player miniatures game about samurais and ninjas… it looks really cool

    Takenoko – is a super cute game that is pretty good with 2 players…. its got a panda in it, you HAVE to check it out i love it.

    Tsuro, another of my fave games, your a dragon flying around and you place tiles and move according to the line on the tile and you can crash or fall of the board, basically you have to try and last the longest.

    Guillotine, a card game which comes witha cardboard guillotine, you have to try and collect as many high ranking french nobles as you can this one we sometimes take to the pub and play there.

    Fluxx… again super awesome, theres so many themed versions as well which is really cool. its a card game but the rules are constantly changing and is really good for 2 players, its great because it can all change so quickly, the other person might be about to win then you play a card an suddenly your on top, its just generally awesome.

    ummm theres probably tonnes mroe i could suggest but those are definitly some of my fave… i would head over to boardgamegeek and check it out there im sure theres loads more awesome games you guys would love.

    in terms of video games Wii games are probably best for 2 player light hearted fun games but thanks to kinect the xbox is starting to bring out some more easy going games…. or alternativly go retro and get a sega megadrive… the games are super cheap, we got a console and 10 games for Β£20 and theres some really great 2 player games on there.

    2 agree
    • Tsuro! I forgot about that one, it's great. Though if you cram too many people on the board, you can definitely pull some mean tricks.

      I recommended Guillotine too, before I got further down the page. XD

      • yeah i got over excited when i saw the post and didnt take the time to read the comments and just started listing stuff, then read through the comments and realised most of them had already been recomended.

        its something me and the other half talk about a lot because he loves board games (and goes to a club twice a week) but when he wants to play at home im never really interested so he has to try and find games that i will like so he can play at home.

        1 agrees
        • My friend does a board game night, every first saturday of the month, for anyone who wants to come. We've been doing them for over a year now, and it's always amazing fun. Collectively, we own an awful lot of board games now and it's always a fun night.

    • Tsuro is my favorite! The board I have explains it differently though – Mine says that you attempt to achieve the path to enlightenment, so as long as you continue your path you are successful. As with achieving enlightenment there are many strategies – you can play aggressively or not, you can play complicated or not, and you respond to others with the same goal. I LOVE this as a mostly non-competitive game and was checking to see if anyone else said it!

      1 agrees
  19. I *love* Pandemic! The guy who designed it, Matt Leacock, also has another cooperative game, The Forbidden Island. We got it for Christmas but have not played it yet, but a coworker told me it was fun (although maybe a little simpler than Pandemic is). There's also an expansion for Pandemic, if you haven't tried that, it gives the game a little more variety.

    1 agrees
    • Forbidden Island is definitely much easier to learn than pandemic, especially if you are already familiar with how Pandemic works.

  20. i don't have any specific games to recommend, but i have a few general ideas.

    me and a friend in college used to play super nintendo marathons all the time – the strategy we used to keep sore-loserness at bay was to rotate games: one game that we were equally good at so it was really competitive (dr. mario), followed by one game he *always* won (mario kart), followed by one game i *always* won (tetris). it's hard to be too sore of a loser if you get to almost immediately squash the other person at the next game. this tactic requires short games, though (no one wants to wait two hours for vindication).

    another thing me an my wife sometimes do is play games without points. obviously this totally doesn't work with some games, but some games (like scrabble) can be totally fun and semi-cooperative if you don't keep score.

    the other thing that helps me is to recognize what makes me a sore loser – that is, i am not *always* upset when i lose, so it's helpful to know (and avoid) some of the things that really piss me off. for me the big one is games of chance – i don't so much mind being beaten; i *hate* losing for "no reason". i also hate losing because *i fucked up* – this is why 2-player wii mario still makes me a sore loser – supposedly we both "win" but it leaves me feeling like i suck at it (cause i do).

    1 agrees
  21. I can be a sore loser on occasion too, and here are my recs.

    For board games, I've found that rail-building games often capture my interest — generally people have less of chance to screw you over and everyone just kind of focuses on building their best road. I like Thurn & Taxis in that category.

    If you'd like to try Settlers of Catan, but find that you rage out every time you get stuck not being able to play a move for six turns, try the variant Settlers: Trails to Rails. Similar action but in a rail-building style. The best part is that they've modified the weak spots of Catan and with this version you can generally make a move EACH turn no matter what, so you don't have to get pissed about people hoarding resources or getting blocked by bad luck.

    For video games my favorites for lower stress co-operative gaming are action RPG's. Things like Baldurs Gate (the 3-4 variants of that, like Champions of Norath, etc) or Dungeon Siege III would appeal to your guy's love of D&D. If he's played them before, it's great because he can act as 'tour guide' while you're playing it for the first time. I like that more advanced players can choose tricker characters like mages or elves and for newbies you can pick the 'warrior' archetype whose controls are pretty basic. Plus, a good hack and slash is generally great for blowing off steam! You get a little more leeway with button mashing too, depending on the game.

    If you have XBox, their Arcade DLC "Dungeon Defenders" is a super cute 2-D-ish type Mario Bros style game that's a very basic RPG. *Very* easy controls and pretty cheap for a DLC.

    For me, the only part of some of the of the older RPG games (like for PS2) that is frustrating is that when you grab gold from chests, you're the only one who gets it so if your partner keeps reaching all the treasure spots first, you're left with nothing to buy upgraded armor or health potions with. Solvable, of course, if they buy them for you and then drop them.

    2 agree
    • Dungeon Defenders is online as well, and has eons of more features because of limitations for game size in xbox live. Just for the record!

    • Oh my god. I freaking hate getting sidelined by Catan! It is one of my favorite games but I get stuck not making ANY moves for a whole game pretty regularly. It makes me crazy! I will have to try this one!

      • We play Settlers with what we call the penny rule. Any time the dice are rolled and you don't get a resource that turn, and it isn't due to the robber, you get a penny. Pennies can be traded in for resources at a rate of one penny for each victory point you have showing, or to other players along with resources. So everyone starts out paying two pennies for a resource, but if you go on a building spree and suddenly have four settlements, you're paying four. It evens things up considerably so the current leader is less likely to secure a runaway victory, and it means you do get to do something on everyone's turn, even if it's "collect a penny".

        2 agree
  22. I'm not particularly much for video games either but some I really enjoy are the LEGO ones. LEGO Star Wars particularly. I think they have Indiana Jones and some other options but it's low-key, entertaining, and not competitive, more collaborative I guess. I have it on the Gamecube which I feel like would be a fairly cheap investment and there are actually a lot of interesting games for it.

    1 agrees
  23. My dude and I don't really do board games (I play with other friends and start with the assumption that I will lose), but we do play video games together. We always go for co-op games because he would win all the games otherwise. (We tried a strategy game on our iPhones and he let me win a couple times and then proceeded to win ALL THE GAMES.)

    We love Borderlands for some adrenaline and Skylanders for chilling out and being silly (that's right, this game rocks AND you get to collect figures). Torchlight is on PCs through Steam and although we haven't had much time to play it co-op, it's a really good game and you're working together.

    I am not a good video gamer but luckily my dude is patient when I get us both killed repeated. If you're into Zombies, Resident Evil 5 is good too. Again, you work together.

    Fable is another option although I was not impressed. I'm a good enough gamer that I want to feel like I'm participating and that one honestly made me feel like the equivalent of a pet. I couldn't make any decisions, couldn't accept or turn in quests, and couldn't go anywhere outside of where the main player character was.

    1 agrees
  24. I was JUST looking this up the other week, so I have a ton of non-competitive 2-person games on our wishlist:

    I knew we needed more games since we've banned Monopoly Deal (where stealing people's property is a part of the game) unless we're playing with other people (It's a great game though!)

    If you were to get any console I would recommend Xbox with Kinect. Not just for games, but it's a great way to get each other to exercise and the voice control is great for when you want to go to the kitchen and pause a TV show without picking up the remote. Games-wise on Xbox we've played Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Dance Central 2 and Just Dance 3, Kung Fu High Impact (Not co-op but each level is so tiring it's good to take turns), Gunstringer (the 2nd player can drink a beer with their other hand while playing!), all the Rock Bands, and Kinect Party (silly fun), Portal 2, Halo 4 (not that great).

  25. I agree with everyone saying Forbidden Island and Fluxx. We have Star Fluxx which is fun and anyone can be the winner. A good iphone/ipad cooperative game is Space Team. It's free!

    2 agree
  26. Another vote here for Super Mario Galaxy (1, but especially 2), Wii Super Mario Bros and Epic Mickey! I've never been a gamer (wasn't allowed to have video games as a kid) so I'm horrible at games and it makes me sad πŸ™ But in Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii, there's what I call "girlfriend mode" that consists entirely of picking up sparkly star bits and shooting bad guys without being a player per se. It's great if you have a gamer friend and you suck but you want to "help".

    Super Mario Bros for the Wii is also pretty good, although if you're like me, you die within the first half of every level, so you're not very useful.

    Epic Mickey is fun even though I don't like being Oswald (I want to be someone cool like Goofy).

    OH! We love the newest Ratchet and Clank for ps3… the 4 player one. I'm always Ratchet and my husband is usually Dr. Nefarious. We turn it into a drinking game, whoever dies has to take a drink (because in 4-player mode, unless you all die at once, you don't game over). Sometimes we play it as a strip drinking game too. Highly recommended!

    2 agree
  27. I'm also a bit of a sore loser…

    One cooperative game that I like a lot that hasn't been listed yet is called Yggdrasil.It's against the board, just like in Pandemic or Forbidden Island, but in this everybody is a different Norse god and you're trying to hold back Loki and other evil guys. The downside to the game (at least for me) is that there's only one Norse goddess.

    One other two-player game that my husband and I like to play is called Mr. Jack. One of you plays Jack the Ripper and the other is an inspector trying to find him. We've found that it's more difficult to beat the game as Jack so we switch roles frequently which keeps us both pretty happy.

    1 agrees
  28. I am exactly the same!!! Husband is well aware that I like to play nice. PLAY NICE DAMNIT!!!

    We bought and learnt Agricola together. It's heavy on the strategy, kinda like a step up from Settlers of Catan. You each play a person with a spouse, you build your house and farm, get children and at the end, add up all your points to determine the winner. It doesn't really rely on chance, unlike Catan or the evil Monopoly. There are too many variables to keep track of your score until the end. You get a different deck of cards each game to keep it interesting. I really like it! It's our go to board game for 2 players.

    1 agrees
  29. Has anyone mentionned 'Hanabi' yet? It's a PvE (player versus environment) deduction-based card game! So you actually team up with your partner (up to 4, I think?) to 'outwit' the game, eliminating the feeling of competition. It's a lot of fun!

    1 agrees
  30. If you have a WiiU, Nintendoland is AMAZINGLY fun! I was expecting it to be okay, but it turned out to be great!

    1 agrees
  31. Do NOT play Ticket to Ride. My ex got so butthurt (I am allowed to use that here, right >.> <.<) when we played because I would remember the extra-long train rule and usually win and that would lead to "WITHOUT THAT STUPID RULE I WOULD HAVE WON" etc etc.
    Someone else suggested Forbidden Island, I second that. It's teamwork. Also "Hanabi", a simple-to-learn cardgame that is all about teamwork and you all either win or lose.

    Someone recommended Guillotine, which is a very fun game and is 90% luck so while you can get mad about some things it's really what cards you get. There are some player-attacking action cards. Don't use those on your SO. (*cough*experiencewiththat*cough)

    2 agree
    • aw man we LOVE ticket to ride…. but yeah its probably not great for sore loosers… but we have it on steam and on the i[ad so generally play solo against a computer instead, plus its much easier to play on a computer than on the board (dont get me wrong i lvoe the board versions too and i think we have most of the expansion maps) but i definitly prefer playing it online.

      1 agrees
  32. The Lord of the Rings board game is great for those who don't want to compete against each other, but man, you can be pissed off at the board!

  33. I definitely recommend Ticket to Ride; after being an avid watcher of Tabletop on youtube I finally convinced the "video games are better" husband to agree to a game of Ticket to Ride; we've already since bought one of the expansions and are eyeing another. We have a rule of not tallying how many games each of us has won/lost – his parents have an elaborate and controversy-starting decade long scoresheet for scrabble and just yeahhhh no thanks.
    If you're interested in some of the games mentioned here but want to see what they're like, I DEFINITELY recommend Tabletop; it's a youtube series by Wil Wheaton, hosted by Geek & Sundry. Each episode is a different game or set of shorter games, and is a great way to see how some games work in an actual setting, without trying to find local groups that will let you watch or buying it only to find you can't deal with all the rules/pieces/effort. I'm always dubious of my own ability to pick up rules for things, so being able to see a game played through makes me feel a bit more confident!

    4 agree
  34. A lot of good suggestions so far. The one(s) that came to mind for me when I read the post are the Dungeon & Dragons board games. They are cooperative and since your husband likes D & D, he can help with some of the rules. There are 3ish themes available and each comes with a couple of 2-player scenarios and there are hundreds of scenarios you can get online. The game also scales well for more players so I have found it to be a good investment (we have 2 themes).

    2 agree
  35. I will second borderlands, but for the Wii, for a video game that is trivia-based and also kind of snarky, I swear by You Don't Know Jack. LOVE that game so much, and up to 4 players can play. It's a remake of a really old computer game and we have it for the Wii, and we LOVE it when people come over. It's a great party game πŸ™‚

  36. I don't know if anyone said this yet (didn't have time to read all those gazillion comments that I will be revisiting later on) BUT, the game Hoopla by the people who make Cranium is AWESOME! You can play it with 2 or 50 people and it's designed for everyone playing to work as a team to win…so it's either everyone wins or no one wins…. so much fun. Kind of like Cranium but you can play with just 2 people and there's no board. Takes 15 mins too. πŸ™‚

    1 agrees
  37. The only time my husband and I play games is when we are flying. We take out the iPad and play scrabble which takes up most the flight. I usually call my husband an ass if he wins and people on the plane look at us funny πŸ™‚

  38. We play Karaoke Revolution on PS2 & PS3, but we play without switching the character and mostly to keep getting platinums so we can unlock more stuff. Great for parties too.

  39. I would agree with the comments about LEGO video games, I found them particularly fun to play on co-op because there often things that two players must work together to accomplish. I've only played 2, LEGO Batman 2 on the Wii and LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 on the PS3 and we enjoyed both of them. HP was quite noticeably easier but I didn't mind because it satisfied my geekiness completely. We've also enjoyed Little Big Planet (but not connected to the network because other players can be poop-head mean). I find racing games can get particularly competitive so I steer clear.

  40. INVEST IN ZOMBICIDE! It is amazing, you won't regret it and it's a co-operative game. Super Dungeon Explore is good, too.

  41. I've completely skipped over the pages and pages of comments so far but I'd recommend for pouty losers games that you get points for winning and have running totals. So if you lose one game, that doesn't mean you lose the whole set – you still have a chance to "win". So games like the old "Rack-O", Nertz (, or Yahtzee.

  42. My husband and I are in a similar position- I like games that are co-operative when we're playing together as a) I hate losing and b) I hate my husband losing. One of our new favourites is Escape: The Curse of the Temple, this one requires a computer or CD player and a table to play on (table is important). We also like Forbidden Island, which is very similar to Pandemic and has a sequel coming out this year called Forbidden Desert which promises to vary more from the Pandemic blueprint. A new one we haven't tried yet is called Robinson Crusoe, but also looks good.

    The other category of games that seems successful with us are non-confrontational games but where you're both partaking in the same game- sort of like multi-player solitaire. In this category we've tried Trajan (my new favourite), Agricola (best at >2 really unless you agree not to screw each other over deliberately), The Village, Race for the Galaxy (enough card variety to satisfy a CCG player but not a high conflict game).

    We go to for info and recommendations. My husband recommends this list for games that are good at 2 players- might be worth checking out!

    1 agrees
  43. Never play Risk together. Last time we played (and it didn't help there was copious amounts of whiskey involved), I literally thought my boyfriend and I would break up over it. We got BRUTAL.

    And as for games that we play together, we've got Xbox 360, and I'm loving Call of Duty 3 zombies mode. We play the split screen co-op and sometimes my boyfriend's friends show up too, and we have soooo much fun! It's also less scary when I'm playing with him…

  44. How about some good old fashion Jenga? Even when you lose, you get to knock over a tower of blocks and that's really fun!

    Or Jishaku? When you lose, you get a lot of magnets to play with!

    Seriously, I love Settlers and Ticket to Ride and Pandemic and my husband and I play all of these together. But we are both occasionally sore losers and it often helps to take a break and play something less stressful.

    And to whoever suggested Racko: great suggestion! I love that game!

    1 agrees
  45. There is a great program online on youtube called "Tabletop" it's hosted by Wil Wheaton and he plays a huge variety of tabletop games (wits and wagers to zombie dice to ticket to ride). They even had a PANDEMIC episode. He plays with celebrity friends (that change every episode) and for me it was a great way to be exposed to a world of new games.

    I recommend checking out a few episodes which feature game play closer to what your hubby enjoys, and find games that sound interesting to you. Plus the show is so fun to watch, and they have a deal with Target that sells all the games (in case you don't have a local game shop around you).

    I'm not afflilated with this show, btw, just a big fan.

    2 agree
  46. If you have enough people to make teams, you can play Cranium and have you and your partner be a team. The different categories make it fun as most people are great at one but suck at the other 3.

    Forbidden Island is a great co-op game, the whole point is for everyone to get pieces and leave the island before it floods, so if someone is left behind or you don't get all the treasure, you all lose.

    Cards against Humanity (or Apples to Apples if kids are involved) are great for groups as well, and they're so much fun you don't feel aggressively competitive while playing.

    I also recommend watching Tabletop ( for some ideas. They play the games, so you know if it's something you'd like to play before you buy it.

  47. OMG. Is Heather me!? I feel this way all the time! I hate loosing I get entirely too invested in the long game instead of the short. Then I throw a tantrum or pout and the whole evening is ruined! I know it makes my partner super frustrated because he wants to share games with me. I just don't have the patience or desire to spend 3 hours learning rules. I totally agree with the whimsey angle. The more stuff there is for me to pay attention to that is NOT the game, the more I like it. Games that require quick turns are important too. The longer you dwell on your choices (or in my case lack of them) the less frustrated you'll be.

    I am a total fan of the game Wasabi (, because it is about delicious food and cute sushi. Its like if sushi and scrabble had a baby! It works really well as a two player game and I am too distracted by the weird food words to really get too invested in winning or losing.

    I also like the entire line of Sandstorm games, ESPECIALLY Kittens in a Blender. It requires a bit of modification for a two player game, but I am so distracted by oohing and awing over the kitties, that I am way less worried about losing. (Nutz and Poo are also fun!)

    Zombie dice is also fun, just because it is short, and relies on very little strategy. Having a game involve more random aspects, like dice, makes things way less stressful as a whole.

    As for video games, my partner and I will pair up for some old school katamari, and take turns, which is low stress and Xbox has a two player cooperative plants versus zombies which is totally fun too!

    Now wish me luck while I learn Carcossone as well as Guillotine for valentines day. Lets hope I don't have a melt down.

    1 agrees
    • Have fun! Carcossone is largely about the long game, but turns are pretty quick since they're all about "place this tile". Guillotine is quick and easy to pick up though, and rather silly fun too.

      1 agrees
      • thanks for the pep talk! I made him promise if I was learning TWO new games as his valentines day present, that I had to have an Adventure Time marathon before bed too.

  48. I know this thread is now ranging on the old side, but no one has mentioned the ones I immediately thought of- so I wanted to.

    One of my absolute favorite 2 player games is Ubongo the Duel. It's a spatial puzzling game where you are competing against yourself essentially, though there is a winner. There are other Ubongo games that are great too, and scale to 4 players. The scoring is a bit more random on those, but perhaps that would work to your advantage.

    The other one that I thought of of was FITS. It's sort of like competitive solitaire tetris the board game. There is a winner, but like the Ubongos players don't affect opponents chances of winning. We gave that one as a wedding present and they said it was one of their favorite gifts and they played it ALL the time. (these were not people I would call gamers either)

    Bonus game- a little harder to track down because it's an import, but Finito! is great. It's sort of like rack-o (I think- never actually played) and bingo. It's so light and fluffy, but you always want more. We call it the potato chip game- because you can't play just once. It's good with two, scales to four, and if you get 2 sets- scales to 8! The first time I ever saw it played was at a party I threw in my apt. I walk back to my bedroom and see 8 people crammed in there all playing this game. It was awesome. πŸ™‚

    Good luck to you!

  49. OMG I could go on forever with this. Games with me and him? A MULTITUDE of wii games (perfect for everyone…I mean anything from chance games, trivias, or skills) I kick his ASS at archery on a wii group game.

    As far as board/card games would be from the basic poker and go fish to Table Topics, UNO, Smartass (travel edition!), Taboo, Apples to apples (GREAT for groups especially when drunk!), Imaginiff is fun in a group setting too if you ever plan to go that route. Farkle is fun (think of yahtzee, but easier). Dirty Minds, for the obvious reasons. Fluxx, Ungame (couples edition),Game of Thrones should have one out, and also check out here:

    They updated for 2012 (there are a lot of new things coming out this year, too) Theres a list to navigate through and see if you like something, and be sure to check out the reviews to see how easy and enjoyable or difficult and complicated it may be. Happy searching!!

  50. I play boardgames with my much more experienced gamer husband and my biggest defense against being bratty when he inevitably wins is to have new games constantly coming in. If your entertainment budget doesn't really allow for that, I'd recommend some good co-op games (Pandemic, Eldritch Horror, Forbidden Island and Desert, Legends of Andor, Marvel's Legendary and the amazingly ridiculous Escape: The Curse of the Temple) or some games with great mechanics/storyline that make losing tolerable (Tzolk'in, Tokaido, Jaipur, Nuts or Poo, Cards Against Humanity). We try to make sure that our friends don't duplicate our games so that group get togethers have variety and we focus on good two player games. Boardgamegeek (the website and the app) is an excellent resource, as is talking to any of the fine folks at your local game store. They can help figure out what you really enjoy and what you hate and recommend around that.

  51. This is my husband and I! He is painfully good at video games and I'm a casual player. If we play versus, he has to have a severe handicap or it's just no fun. The game we've been obsessed with lately is Battle Block Theater. It's a platform/puzzle game with really funny/silly/quirky animation. I said the other day that this game makes me feel like Super Mario Bros made me feel as a kid.

  52. What we do in my family is play single-player, story-based games collaboratively on the living room projector. One person "pilots" and the other people call out ideas. It works well for point-and-click mysteries and survival horror games.

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