When I have an opportunity to run a game with two players — that is, a GM and two players — I almost always punt and suggest a board game.
I’ve been thinking about games explicitly designed for this configuration, and I can’t think of any. I can think of quite a few two-player games — Mars Colony, Murderous Ghosts, and so on — but not two and a facilitator.
I mean, on the one hand you can just run any old trad(ish) structured game with two players. But it’s sort of weird, or possibly ultraweird depending on the game you’re running. It’s not quite as weird as running a single character through a trad RPG, where both the GM and that single player have a lot of work on their plates.
Or possibly it’s weirder, come to think of it, and here’s why: Does the game make any assumptions about this pair of protagonists? Their relationship, their interactions, leadership dynamics, etc? Most mainstream RPGs don’t really talk about this at all, but I think the dynamics of two protagonists is fundamentally different and maybe less explored than leader-and-follower or “a party.”
So like…what could you do with a game designed for a facilitator and two players? Let’s assume up front that I’m most interested in an equitable division of whatever: screen time, authority, sympathy.
- Hero + Sidekick: assuming the game actually provides asymmetrical support for these roles, I think you could actually write something neat around this. This feels like the kind of thing that some small-press game has poked at at least once before.
- Best friends
- Enemies or rivals
- Spouses or other binary love-relationships
- Business partners
- Time travel; you both play the same character but from different points
- Evil parallel universe interloper, perhaps with a sinister goatee
I’m totally just spitballing here. Also still wonder about what titles might be out there that I know nothing about.