Board Games For Couples

When was the last time you played a board game with your partner? If you’re like us, it might be pretty often since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you’re playing to rekindle some fun childhood memories, trying something new for date night, or just plain combatting boredom, board games are a great choice for couples.

Here’s our list of fun, award-winning, and classic board games for couples.

the best board games for couples

Studies show that couples who play board games have an improved love life. A study out of Baylor University found that couples who played board games together released more oxytocin.

Referred to as the “love hormone,” elevated oxytocin increases trust and bonds between partners, while simultaneously releasing calming effects on stress and fear.

Additionally, in Eli Finkel’s book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage, he shares that couples become more attracted to each other when they go on dates together (woohoo!). What’s even better, his studies found that this attraction increases even more when you go on a date with another couple.

So, why not plan a double-date game night with another couple this weekend? The thing is, it can be hard to find the best two-player couple’s board games.

So, we asked our friend Karl — the most serious board gamer we know — and polled our Instagram and newsletter communities to crowdsource the thing we’ve all been needing: a list of the best board games for couples game night.

From there, we went down a rabbit hole and learned more about board games than we ever thought possible. Did you know, in 1978, the annual Spiel Game Fair began, awarding — out of hundreds of games from 50+ countries — the yearly Game of the Year (aka the Spiel des Jahres)?

The panel considers things like design and game concept. We include 5 of these award winners and nominees in our list of classic board games for couples.

In addition to having the straight-up best, two-person board games for couples, we include several relationship-building board games as well to spice up your date nights.

Feel free to combine one of these fun couple’s board games with one of the best movies for married couples. In the below article, one study shows that a select list of relationship-centric movies can cut your chances of divorce in half.

The List Of Board Games For Couples

Our list of board games for couples are broken into four categories:

  1. Competitive
  2. Social
  3. Cooperative
  4. Relationship-Building or Romantic

That way, depending on what you’re in the mood for — socializing or some good ole’ competition — you can take your pick!

Additionally, our list of fun couple’s board games spans the difficulty range, from:

  1. Easiest level. A straightforward game to play and score.
  2. Moderate level. A game you can play immediately but might take a few times to understand all potential strategies.
  3. Hardest level. A more complex game that you’ll need to reference the instructions throughout the first few plays, but it is worth the wait!

Several of these games can accommodate more than two players, making them perfect board games for couple’s game night. We’ll note when they do, but they’re just as fun with you and your plus one on date night. 

Competitive Board Games For Two

Competitive and interactive board games have a lot of — you guessed it — interaction between players. And that’s precisely what you want on date night!

There is both an offensive (scoring points) and defensive (keeping your opponent from scoring points) mechanic. Why not rile some old fashioned competition between you and your loved one?

These are the best board games for a competitive couple.

1. Dominion

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Dominion

Dominion is an all-time favorite. This card game was released in 2008 and began immediately racking up the awards, including “the best game at the fair” out of over 1,000 competitors at the Spiel Game Fair.

Due to its popularity and 2.5 million games sold, Dominion has issued numerous expansions to keep you entertained for years to come.

The goal is to build the most valuable deck of cards you can, out of Action, Treasure, Victory, and Attack cards. Everyone’s deck is identical to start, but with the game incorporating many different Action cards, each game is unique unto itself.

This game gets top marks from all couples we have spoken to and its accolades speak for itself! Also, if you’re on a budget, consider this one first.

2. Exploding Kittens

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Players: 2-5

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Exploding Kittens

Okay, Exploding Kittens is actually a card game, not a board game. But it’s hilarious and not entirely politically correct (aka, don’t invite your boss on a double date)!

Each player draws a card and if it’s a kitten… you lose the game! Avoid drawing a kitten by using cards to peek at the deck before drawing or forcing other people to draw or shuffle the deck.

The cartoon cats are crazy, and it’s a fun way to gauge your partner’s sense of humor, particularly on the first date!

3. Metro

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-6

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Metro

What couple doesn’t want to take a romantic trip to Paris?

Metro is a tile-laying game, and it’s about as simple as they come. The board has Paris Metro stations listed around the outside and in the center, and the goal of the game is to lay tracks to connect as many stations as you can.

The more stations, tracks, and completions you make, the more points you get. The game ends when all tiles are laid.

What could be a better metaphor for your relationship… and a better opportunity to ask your partner to take you to Paris?

4. Carcassonne

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 30-40 minutes
Players: 2-5

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Carcassonne

While we’ve exited the Paris Metro, it’s time to take a trip to Carcassonne in the south of France (yes, it’s a real place!) Plus, this game captured the Game of the Year award (Spiel des Jahres) in 2001.

Carcassonne is another tile-laying board game that’s great for couples. Each tile shows grasslands, cities, cloisters, and roads, which you lay across the board — always connecting grassland to grassland, and so forth.

When a tile is laid, a player decides how they want to develop the land and thus gives you opportunities for you and your partner to create your strategies. The game ends when your tiles (aka meeples) run out.

When playing this game, why not crack open some French wine, buy some French cheese, and make a themed date night around it? Merci beaucoup, for two!

5. Ticket to Ride

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes
Players: 2-5

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Ticket to Ride

For a newbie partner, this is the quintessential “gateway game” to play. Not sure how your partner will respond to a couple’s board game? This is the one to play.

Also, add this one to the impressive list of Game of the Year awardees (Spiel des Jahres, 2004).

The board is a map of the US and cities are connected by colored routes with a certain number of segments. Players have some “ticket” cards at the beginning of the game that gives them bonus goals to achieve (cities to connect).

On their turn, players can either draw colored train cards, claim a route by discarding a set of colored cards and placing their train pieces on the route, or drawing additional ticket cards for potential bonus points.

Ticket to Ride is a great board game for couples to pass a night. Plus, we’re huge fans of games with maps, because it gives lots of ideas for future vacations and trips to take together.

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Chess

As classic as it gets and lifelong game to build your skills, chess is a meaningful hobby for couples.

I have fond memories of playing chess with my dad growing up, and we’ve heard from Duo Lifers who used to play with their parents and partners alike as well. Additionally, chess offers a lifetime of luxury gift opportunities!

Ready to really show your mettle? MasterClass has a class where legendary world champion Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess. We love MasterClass (not a board game but a great thing for couples to do together!) and rank our favorite 18+ MasterClasses in our article, ‘Is MasterClass Worth It?

7. Azul

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 40 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Azul

Azul, another Game of the Year winner (Spiel des Jahres, 2018). We recently played Azul together after friends brought it over and instantly loved it. This is a great game for couples as it requires a new dynamic with just two people, with a bit of strategy and anticipation.

First off, Azul is a beautiful game, using colored tiles inspired by Portuguese Moorish art. Players attempt to score the highest points while arranging various tiles on the board. The trick is trying to help yourself without inadvertently helping out your partner too much!

These fun tiles will undoubtedly spark conversations on a kitchen or bathroom remodel…

8. Blokus

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Blokus

Blokus is a board game version of competitive Tetris, sort of.

You and your partner each get a set of pieces made up of small uniform shapes. Turns are taken as you each place your pieces around the board, trying to connect your pieces at the corners.

Continue playing your pieces trying to squeeze them into tight spots. The game ends when no one can play any more pieces. Whoever has the most pieces on the game board wins!

A very visual, fun board game where you deliberately block your partner. Let the games begin. No one said romance had to be nice.

Social Board Games For Couples

Competitive + solitaire games are great choices for a more relaxing couple’s board game night. While these fun games still have aspects of competition and strategy, they’re less intense and aggressive.

9. Splendor

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Splendor

Splendor is an all-time favorite and nominee for Game of the Year award (Spiel des Jahres, 2014). Yet again, another card-based game slips into the list. We won’t tell if you don’t!

You and your partner collect gems or spend gems to buy a card. Like in life, some are more expensive and valuable as you save up for them (sounds like a good segway to discuss your couple’s finance!) The rules are simple, and the game ends when one person scores fifteen prestige points.

If you’re on a budget, consider this one first.

10. Sushi Go!

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Players: 2-5

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Sushi Go

Sushi Go! is another card game that we let slip into our list of board games for couples… because it’s just so good! Perfectly primed for couples, the goal is to collect certain combinations of sushi to score points.

Players play a card and pass their hand to their partner. Once again, you look at your hand, pick a card to play, and repeat. The cards are just too fun.

Fun, easy, fast. Clearly, you’ll want takeout sushi for this one! Or even better, bring this game to the restaurant with you. At just 15 minutes a play, you can fill the time while waiting for your food!

11. Qwirkle

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Qwirkle

A 2011 game of the year award winner (Spiel des Jahre), this couple’s board game is like an updated Scrabble, but with shapes and colors instead of dictionaries and words. No more arguing whether or not ka, za, or na count as words…!

The goal of Qwirkle is to reach the highest score and build off of the shapes on the board. Plus, bonus points are up for grabs with you create a Quirkle (six shapes or six colors in a line).

12. Kingdom Builder

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Kingdom Builder

Another couple’s board game to add to the list: Kingdom Builder. Also, another Game of the Year Winner (Spiel de Jahres, 2012). Kingdom Builder looks complicated — lots of pieces — but it’s not at all and the rules are simple. In fact, if you play this out in public, everyone will get very jealous of your awesome date.

Play a card and place houses from your stockpile, following a few simple building rules. That’s pretty much it! The goal is to have the highest score based on the cards you draw at the beginning — so no two games are the same!

We foresee lots of great conversations about the home you want to build together…!

13. Shut The Box

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 5 minutes
Players: 1-20

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Shut The Box

Shut The Box is a fun and simple game where you basically play against yourself, but keep score to make it competitive with your partner.

A typical English pub game that may have originated as early as the 12th century, Normandy. It’s a classy-looking game that you can keep out on the coffee table instead of in the game closet, making it accessible and social.

14. Set

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 1-20

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Set

Want to discover the more artsy side of your partner? This one might actually drive you bonkers, but it’s fun to problem-solve together while trying a less traditional board game.

Set is is an abstract matching (or not matching) game. Nine cards are laid out in front of you with a certain number of shapes and types of fill. The goal is to find a set of three cards.

Once you find a set, you yell, “Set!” and touch the cards. Three new cards are placed and it’s your partner’s turn to do the same. It’s a fun and simple game to play and pass between you two.

Do you know what else is bonkers? This game can be played with 1-20 players!

Cooperative Board Games For Couples

Cooperative games are board games where the opponent is the game itself. That means players work together and try to come out victorious as a team.

These are the best cooperative board games for your next date night!

15. Pandemic

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Players: 2-4

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Pandemic

How could we not start off with Pandemic while we’re, you know, in the middle of a pandemic?

In Pandemic (another Spiel des Jahres winner), the players work together to treat, cure, and eradicate diseases around the world. There is only one way for the players to win but multiple ways for the players to lose!

You and your partner have four actions on their turn where they can move their pawn to different cities to build research stations, give or take information (cards) to other players, treat the disease (remove disease cubes from the board), and cure the disease (five cards of the same color at a research station).

After the four actions, players have to see what new cities are infected and see if those infections cause outbreaks.

What’s great about this game is that you’re working together and learn a lot about your partner’s thoughts and responses. Plus, you’re bonding over saving mankind!

16. Sentinels of the Multiverse

Difficulty level: 3 out of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-5

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Sentinels of the Multiverse

Sentinels of the Multiverse is set in a fictional comic book universe, you and your partner play superheroes to defeat the villain. What’s more romantic than that for date night?!

This is a card game with the superheroes taking turns to attack the villain. Next, the “environment” has a turn (which can be both a blessing or… usually… a curse) followed by a turn for the villain.

Even if a player dies (womp, womp) there are still some actions that the former superhero can do. Reminiscent of Ghost, anyone?

The great thing is that this game offers lots of expansions to add new heroes, villains, and environments to keep the spark going. This game is straightforward to play but rated a 3/3 for difficulty because of how different the characters are.

We like this game for couples because of its role-playing elements and the fact that you can throw these cards in your weekend bag during your next vacation!

17. Codenames: Duet

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Players: 2-8

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Codenames Duet

Codenames: Duet is your two-person version of the Spiel des Jahres winning board game Codenames, but allows for more players as well.

Code Names: Duet is a cooperative game, so you and your partner get to work together. There are even campaign maps to incorporate this as a longterm, multi-day game together.

The goal of Code Names: Duet is to discover the secret names of undercover agents without unearthing an assassin. One player gives clues while the other guesses which names are being referred to.

This word game is straight-forward and simple to play, but we gave it an intermediate difficulty rating because it takes some thought to give great clues!

Relationship-Building Games For Two

Looking for games to strengthen and discuss your goals, wishes, and desires within your relationship? These are great married couple board games. 

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Our Moments Couples

The Our Moments Couples Amazon reviews speak for themselves at 4.5 out of 5 stars by over 3,000 reviewers. While most couple’s games incorporate conversation starters and questions, these are the best of the best.

They’re not corny and covers a wide range of topics for you and your partner to better know each other even after years and years of marriage.

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Talk Flirt Date

This is a great couple’s card game that also asks personal questions with card prompts.

Talk Flirt Dare is an excellent card game to get as you can raise the ante as your own relationship progresses, from getting to know each other to straight-up dares. Get as dirty or intimate with this one as you desire.

Enjoy Game Night Together! 

Board games for couples can increase love, intimacy, and introduce new hobbies into a relationship. It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time together, without distraction, and add to the playfulness of any date night.

Research supports this, and adding a couple’s board game can be a fun way to spruce up your date nights while unleashing some friendly competition.

Did your favorite board games for two make the list? Comment below and we’ll keep on crowd-sourcing the best games for you and your loved one. 

Special thanks to Karl, Radmila, Randy, Ellie, and Jason for the thorough game research and recommendations!

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The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world, originally as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.

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