Whether 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.

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life

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.

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 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 the 25 best board games for couples is broken into four categories:

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

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

Here’s the full list of 25 board games for couples that we’ve played and loved:

Relationship-Building or Romantic Games
1. Love Lingual
2. Talk, Flirt, Dare
3. Off Topic
4. The Ultimate Game for Couples
5. Wavelength

Cooperative Board Games
6. Codenames: Duet
7. Madame Medora’s House of Curiosities
8. Pandemic
9. Sentinels of the Multiverse

Competitive Board Games
10. Azul
11. Ticket to Ride
12. Carcassonne
13. Exploding Kittens
14. Blokus XL
15. 7 Wonders Duel
16. Dominion
17. Metro
18. Sequence
19. Trekking the National Parks

Social Board Games
20. Sushi Go!
21. Splendor
22. Qwirkle
23. Set
24. Kingdom Builder
25. Monikers

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

  1. Easiest, Level 1. A straightforward game to play and score.
  2. Moderate, Level 2. A game you can play immediately but might take a few times to understand all potential strategies.
  3. Hardest, Level 3. 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 for couples 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.

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Our Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

Based on our research and experience, these are our proven tools to optimize your relationship.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

Relationship-building or romantic games for two

Looking for games to strengthen and discuss your goals, wishes, and desires within your relationship? These married couple board games are a fun way to spice up your marriage (and sex life).

board games for couples - Love Lingual
The Love Lingual: Card Game Amazon reviews speak for themselves at 4.6 out of 5 stars by over 11,500 reviewers. While most couple’s games incorporate conversation starters and questions, these are the best of the best.

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

Just know, there are cards in here that talk about sex and intimacy (which is great!) But you might not want to play with other couples!

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

This is a fun game for couples 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.

3. Off Topic – A Game for Those Slightly Off

Difficulty Level: 1 of 3
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Players: 2-8

Board-Games-for-Couples-Ryan-and-Alex-Duo-Life-Off-Topic
While branded as an ‘adult party game,’ Off Topic is basically a funnier version of Scattergories and a great option for your date night game night for two.

Roll a 20-sided die to get a letter, like “B.” Then, answer hilarious but relationship-building questions such as “terrible baby names” or “bad ideas for a tattoo,” writing only answers that start with the letter “B.” When the time’s up, compare answers and award yourself points for unique answers.

This card game isn’t specifically a couple’s game with up to 8 players, making it a versatile part of your game cabinet. You get all the power of conversation-starting games without it being super intense or romantic. A great choice all around!

board games for couples - The Ultimate Game for Couples
The Ultimate Game for Couples is another game with conversation-starting ‘Guess’ cards like “If I could get rid of one of your belongings, what would it be?” Then, it ups the ante with ‘Challenge’ cards which request, for example, ” Serenade me with any song for 60 seconds.”

We recommend this game as a more PG version than the Love Lingual: Card Game recommended above.

Ryan and I have loved using conversation-starting cards for years. Their questions are thoughtful and the presentation is beautiful. This is one of the best couples games out there.

Additionally, it makes for a fun anniversary gift that you won’t be embarrassed to keep out on the coffee table.

5. Wavelength

Difficulty Level: 1 of 3
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-20

board games for couples - The Ultimate Game for Couples
Wavelength is one of the more unique board games we’ve ever played. We group it under romantic and relationship-building games for couples because you’re trying to guess what your partner is thinking.

For example, you draw a card, “Expensive or Cheap,” and think of a question, like, “How expensive do I think a Tiffany’s ring is?” You set the dial to the degree of how expensive a Tiffany’s ring is to you, and your partner needs to move the dial on the back in an effort to guess what your opinion is.

This, in a way, is like answering conversation cards but in pure game form — and without the pressure. You get to choose what topic you’re rating, giving a glimpse into your psyche and great opportunities to learn more about each other.

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!

6. 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.

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

The goal of Codenames: 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 straightforward and simple to play, but we gave it an intermediate difficulty rating because it takes some thought to give great clues!

7. Madame Medora’s House of Curiosities

Difficulty level: 3 out of 3
Playing time: 2 hours
Players: 2-4

board games for couples - Madame Medoras House of Curiosities
Madame Medora’s House of Curiosities isn’t the first escape room board game we’ve played, but it’s our favorite.

First off, it’s easy to play, but we rated it a 3 of 3 difficulty level because we had to look at a hint to solve one of the challenges!

The premise here is simple: complete a set of riddles, going through each of Madame Medora’s eccentric collections. You can’t move on to the next riddle until you’ve solved the first, and if you don’t… your soul could be trapped in her collections forever.

What we loved about Madame Medora’s House of Curiosities is that it played to both of our strengths, from creative thinking to code-breaking, so sometimes Ryan took the lead, and other times I did. Also, the challenges, puzzles, and riddles were all creative, different, and genuinely hard.

We loved it and it made for a spooky but engaging date night at home!

8. Pandemic

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

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life 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!

9. 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!

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.

10. 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 fun 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…

11. 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.

12. 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!

13. 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 the most fun game for couples. At least in our opinion.

It’s 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!

14. Blokus XL

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

Board Games for Couples Ryan and Alex Duo Life Blokus
Blokus XL 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.

15. 7 Wonders Duel

Difficulty level: 3 out of 3
Playing time: 40 minutes
Players: 2

board games for couples - 7 Wonders Duel
If you know and love the original smash hit, 7 Wonders, then you’ll love this version created specifically for two people: 7 Wonders Duel.

This head-to-head battle really ups the ante and requires new strategy when played with your partner. Essentially, you duke it out as you lead a civilization through three ages by building wonders, earning scientific achievements, and sometimes, by invading the other empire with your military.

While this game generally takes 30 minutes to play, the first few rounds will require checking the instructions which is why we’ve ranked it at Level 3 difficulty.

Have fun playing this game over and over. The luck and strategy involved levels the playing field, meaning that you and your partner can get many uses and many date nights of fun in with this one.

16. 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 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.

17. 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?

18. Sequence

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing time: 20 minutes
Players: 1-12

board games for couples - Sequence
A favorite, rainy-day-at-the-cabin standby: Sequence.

Sequence mixes in the perfect amount of luck, strategy, and good old-fashioned competition.

This classic game for couples is the perfect opportunity to have a long-term battle going night after night. And can we all admit that there are very few things in life that bring as much joy as getting 5-in-a-row and shouting, “Sequence!”

19. Trekking the National Parks

Difficulty level: 2 out of 3
Playing time: 45 minutes
Players: 2-5

board games for couples - Trekking the National Parks

We love Trekking the National Parks for multiple reasons — and not just because we love national parks, but the appeal is undeniable.

Playing this game gets us talking about the vacations we want to take in the future and reminds us of the epic national parks in the US (to us, the best thing America has to offer). 

The idea is in the same vein as Ticket To Ride, but involves adapting your strategy throughout and a good bit of luck. You play with trek cards, move around the national parks, and try to occupy them while collecting color stones. The person with the most victory points at the end wins.

Trekking the National Parks is top notch. It’s high quality and we love the story behind it: a couple fulfills their dream to visit all of the national parks and their son makes a game of it!

Win-win for all… even if you’re the loser!

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.

20. 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!

21. 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.

22. 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).

23. 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 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!

24. 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…!

25. Monikers

Difficulty level: 1 out of 3
Playing time: 30 minutes
Players: 2-16

board games for couples - Monikers
Monikers goes by many… monikers. We first learned it as “salad bowl.”

While this one is an excellent party game with tons of people, we find it endearing and laugh-out-loud funny when just the two of us. While we’re “competing” it’s less about keeping score with two people than simply having a great, great time.

With this game, there are three stages. First, like in “taboo” you have the other person guess what word you’re describing on the card without saying the word itself. Second, you act out the word, charades style. Finally in the third stage, you say one word to describe the word on your card.

The same cards are filtered through each round, so you’re familiar with them as you progress. For two players, we recommend allowing skips as needed and perhaps a glass of wine!

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Our Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

Based on our research and experience, these are our proven tools to optimize your relationship.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

Closing Thoughts on Couples Board Games

These 25 best couples games 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 couples 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!

We’ve also put together a list of the best two-player card games for couples. Many of these games only require your partner a standard deck of cards!

We also researched and tested the best apps out there for married couples to improve our relationship. We tell you which apps for married couples are worth it, and which ones you should skip.

For more resources for couples, such as our movie night at home ideas or the most exciting couples challenges, head over to our Healthy Couples page.

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

A decade of experience, hundreds of hours of research and testing, and over 50,000 words of wisdom condensed into one PDF.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, questions, and games for healthy couples.

As Seen In Feature Bar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Hey we're Ryan and Alex

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 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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