Mario Party 2 brings back the original six, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Wario, and Donkey Kong. The only difference is that now, depending on the board they're in, each character wears a different costume.
Battle mini-games appear for the first time in Mario Party 2. These games are like the 4-player games, but generally (with many exceptions) a little more elaborate. Battle games are usually tense because every player has to put a certain number of coins (10–50) into a pot. Sometimes these games are pure luck. First place gets 70% of the pot, second place gets 30%, and a random player gets any coins lost in rounding (if two tie for first place, they each get half of the pot). Duel games also make their first appearance in Mario Party 2. Duel games pit two players against each other. In Party Mode, one player initiates the duel, and bet coins against another player. The winner of the duel wins all of the coins in the bet.
Every Mario Party contains 50 to 80 mini-games of a few different types. Four-player games are a free-for-all in which all players competed against each other. 2-on-2 and 1-on-3 mini-games put players in groups, so they have to cooperate in the mini-game to win, even though they are against each other in the main game. In most situations, winners of these games make ten coins each. Unlike the original Mario Party, a player doesn't lose coins if they lose in a mini-game (battle and duel mini-games aside), which Mario Party often did with few exceptions (most of them for the mini-games where characters weren't placed on teams). The 1-player mini-games from Mario Party are also gone.
Mario Party 2 also features several new spaces, with the Mini Game Space and Mushroom Space absent: the Battle Space, the Item Space, and the Bank Space. The Item Space activates mini-games specific to the board that allow one to collect an item, which is now used to further players' board strategy (as opposed to items being used to toggle universal settings in Mario Party). The Battle Space triggered the newly introduced Battle mini-game, which pits players against each other for a giant pot of coins. The Bank Space gives players who land on it all deposits made in the Koopa Bank by others, who must deposit five coins if they pass the space. On Bowser's board, this reversed: players passing the bank get 5 coins, and the player landing on the bank must pay back the interest.
The game also features seven brand new boards (including Mini- Game Coaster) with the return of Mini-Game Stadium. 43 new mini-games were introduced in Mario Party 2, while old Mario Party mini-games were updated and some were retitled. Three new types of mini-game were also introduced: the Battle mini-game, the Item mini-game, and the Duel mini-game.