Recommendations: Two-Player, GM-less/full RPGs ("Duets")


#1

The definitive list! (Definitely not the definitive list. Drop more of your favorite duets in replies.) Compiled mostly with @bccook and @transalaskan, with suggestions from a few others.

We’ve got three categories: Feels, Murder, and Other (which is currently, basically, Space).

Feels

  • 183 Days — Two psychics navigate their relationship
  • The Bite — You’re trapped in a room with your companion, who may or may not have been bitten by a zombie. What stories do you tell each other to delay a decision?
  • Breaking the Ice — A couple goes on their first three dates
  • By the General’s Hand — A letter-writing combat game in which the course of an ever-changing war plays out in the form of correspondence between two generals and their loved ones back home.
  • Dead Friend — One dead friend and one living struggle to reconnect and abjectly fail at letting go.
  • Message — Two chatbots have an hour-long talk using words harvested from your very own real-life emails.
  • Neighborly — The evolution–or devolution–of the relationship between two next-door neighbors.
  • One Missed Call — A long distance relationship either falls apart or comes together over a series of phone calls.
  • Our Mundane Supernatural Life — One Normal and one Supernatural live a day of their shared life together.
  • A Single Moment — The story of how two samurai have come to odds, and what bitter end awaits them.
  • Starcrossed — A game about really, really wanting to, when you really, really can’t.
  • Sympathy and Admiration — Figure out who your copilot really is on the inside while punching monsters
  • Tumbling — Laundromat meet cute. The slow evolution (or not) of the relationship between two strangers.

Murder

  • De Profundis — play out a Lovecraftian horror story via letter exchange. Meant to be played over a period of days/months.
  • The Hour Between Dog and Wolf — One of you plays a serial killer, the other the person hunting them.
  • The Knife — One of you is a future murder victim, the other the person who will kill them.
  • Murderous Ghosts — Pit your guts, wits, and luck against your opponent’s twisted, bloody imagination. Can you escape the murderous ghosts?

Other

  • Mars Colony — Political science fiction (in space!) about a cult of personality.
  • Mars Colony: 39 Dark — Political science fiction (still in space!) about a resistance leader and the forces working against them.

Dead Friend - a game of necromancy - play and discussion
#2

I assume this is for games whose intended player count is exactly two, not just games that can be played 2-player, correct?

There’s the You & I collection, which has a bunch of more feels-oriented games.

And in the spirit of self-promotion, I’ve written two (as yet unplaytested) 2-player games:
Wouldn’t You Rather Do That With Maaaaaaagic?, about a wizard and their familiar trying to accomplish household chores
War-To-Order, a game chronicling the great gas station convenience store war (a la Sheetz vs Wawa)


#4

Dear Elizabeth Write each other letters about your life as the heroines if a Victorian or Regency novel.

Our Radios are Dying A kinetic larp about lesbian aliens floating through space awaiting death.


#5

I made a little card-based two-player jaunt called Bertilak if you’re after something a bit medieval


#6

Doll

I do have plans to release my game from the You & I collection, Lizzy & Darcy, on its own in an expanded edition sometime in the future but that’s a little way off.


#7

Lizzie Stark and Bjarke Pedersen’s game To The Bitter End will debut at Fastaval and has already been played at the Future of Storytelling conference (I laid it out for them). In To The Bitter End you play a couple’s journey from initial attraction to the implosion of their relationship. It is sort of intense. Not sure when it will be available but probably by summer.


#8

There’s also A Scoundrel in the Deep, in which the two players pass lit matches back and forth.


#9

In Let Me Take a Selfie (briebeau.itch.io/let-me-take-a-selfie), there’s Don’t Look at Me, a phone/tablet mechanic role-playing game about a couple who are separated.


#10

I adore …And Then They Met by Dave Rothfeder. It’s a romance game about two people whose lives intersect in interesting ways, with each of them inadvertently leaving “impressions” of themselves for the other. As the game continues, they become more and more aware of each other, and the game ends as soon as they meet. You then talk about what kind of relationship you think they’ll have. It’s very sweet, very emotional. I love it.

Also: there’s a great chance most people here already own it, because it’s featured in Codex - Love 2:


#11

Cut to the Chase is my two player game of hunter and prey shenanigans. It is part of the You and I: Roleplaying games for Two anthology.


#12

I’m loving all the games here, so many new ones I haven’t heard about before.

But… I’d love to know if you played, them what that experience was like. What was the emotional core? What separates it from other stuff? What else is it like? If you liked X you’d like this. If you played them multiple times… how it changes with multiple plays.

I definitely don’t have enough time to play all of these… so for better or worse I’m trying to prioritize what would work best for me. So thank you all for all the work you’ve already done and will do for me. :grin:


Dead Friend - a game of necromancy - play and discussion
#13

I’ve played very few two-player RPGs. I have most of a session of Murderous Ghosts under my belt, along with the game, Trump/Putin by Josh Jordan, which I played for a review.
It was interesting and a little weird at first playing with only one other person. It’s kind of disarming and both games took a scene for us to get comfortable. I’ve no idea how Star-Crossed is going to go, but I’m interested to see what happens.


#14

Looked into this thread (I don’t know whether I should bring this here, or take to separate thread), as lately we play MH 1:1 with my GF - coMCing it. I wonder whether there are any games that support more long term play - multisession, with more complex social web etc.


#15

I’ve played Connection Lost from the You & I collection , about an astronaut going down with their damaged satellite and the other person this astronaut is talking to during the last hour before the satellite will be destroyed by entering the atmosphere.

That was a very intense game (I was the astronaut) about dying and facing the stark reality of death.


#16

Sweet Agatha, also noteworthy because you physically destroy the game as you play. Super interesting and cool.

I’ve played Dogs in the Vineyard one on one and it is pretty intense and fun.


#17

Dragon/Dragonslayer by Wendy Gorman.

This is a game for two. One of you is a Dragon, the other, a Dragonslayer.


#18

Would a game designed for one GM and a solo player/protagonist count as specifically intended for 2?

I think it would, in which case games like Scarlet Heroes would apply, right? I have not run this one, but whenever I look into duet games, I tend to be intrigued by the concept.

Since it’s classic sword and sorcery, I suppose it would fit under the Murder category.


#19

I just got the GO from my girlfriend to play Dragon/Dragonslayer with her. It’s going to be intense.


#20

My absolute favorite TTRPG currently is a two-player game called Random Access Histories. It would go in the “other” section, probably. It’s about a sentient mecha and their neural-linked pilot, and it’s very good. It’s also pretty easy to do in a play-by-post format, as I’ve done that several times.

Also, in the spirit of self-promotion, I wrote a 2-player game (though it has 3- and 4-player variants) about an eldritch god trying to tempt a human into summoning it. It’s called Things, Eldritch and Terrifying and it also would go in the “other” section.


#21

This looks pretty cool- the idea of a potentially malevolent entity persuading its way towards release reminds me very much of that AI box experiment thing. Was that an influence?

Also, I like the inversion variant you list at the back, with the human courting the terror. Pretty neat how that shifts the tone entirely with only the slightest mechanical change.