The Best 2 Player Board Games for Couples

You’re sitting at home with your significant other, bored, wondering what to do. Instead of going for the remote and turning on Netflix as usual, try pulling out a board game! They’re a lot more interactive and can provide you with hours of entertainment and replay value.

Whether you’re new to board games or an experienced gamer, there are tons of games out there made just for two players. We’ve compiled a list of these board games for couples below.

1.Hive – A Game Crawling with Possibilities

This bug-themed board game is kind of like chess…just with creepy crawlies. There are 22 pieces – 11 white, 11 black – representing different insects, and each insect has unique rules about how it can move around the board. The goal is to maneuver your pieces such that you surround the opponent’s Queen Bee on all six sides first, while defending your own Queen Bee from the same fate.

Given the strategical nature of the game, it’s a great choice for couples who want to compete against each other, whether it be for bragging rights or some other designated reward. Hive can also be a great gateway game to introduce your partner to heavier board games down the road.

Pros

  • Easy to learn and play – there’s basically no setup time
  • Games last 15-20 minutes, perfect for a quick pick-me-up game
  • Convenient to pack with you on travels, as everything fits inside a small pouch
  • Excellent piece quality, should last a lifetime
  • Engaging and challenging to play – “modern chess”

Cons

  • If you play a lot, the base game strategy may become stale eventually. You can solve this by adding the expansion pieces, adding years to the game’s lifecycle.
  • The starting player may have a slight advantage if the other player is unaware of optimal strategies.

2. Carcassonne

Carcassonne can play up to 5 players, and still makes for a wonderful 2 player game. The game is fairly simple: you and a partner take turns laying and drawing tiles on the board area until you complete the entire board. For each feature, road, and city that you complete or claim, you’ll earn a designated amount of points, and whoever ends with the most points wins.

A typical game lasts 20-40 minutes, but with the expansions can last anywhere from 1-2 hours. Carcassonne is unique in that there’s a ton of strategy involved and can be a complex game with heavy strategy, but can also be simple if you choose to make it so. If you want a more strategic game, try focusing your play around predicting where your opponents will build their cities and blocking them with your own placements and cards. For a more relaxed game, stick to focusing on building your own cities and roads.

Another rule you can implement if you want more depth to the game is to have everyone keep 3 tiles in their hand (that only they can see). When it’s your turn, you play one and draw one. Implementing this rule reduces the presence of luck in the game and adds even more strategy.

Pros

  • Varied gameplay. Can be both simple and complex, depending on who you play with and how you want to play
  • Family friendly due to simple rules and playstyle, so children can play too
  • Expansions add a ton of replayability and new strategies

Cons

  • Can be wildly addicting 🙂
  • Tiles can be easily lost, so make sure you store them well

3. Pandemic Legacy Blue Board Game

While most 2 player board games are competitive in nature, Pandemic is a campaign-driven cooperative game. The Legacy expansion adds a super fun twist to the classic Pandemic game, making you participate in a 12-month campaign with a comprehensive story arc. Each month, new challenges, rules, and objectives are triggered all while the clock ticks. The game itself actually transforms based on your decisions, and there’ll be varied paths to take to win

Be warned, though, that beating the game is no easy task. But that’s part of where the fun comes in. You’ll likely be obsessed with playing through the campaign and beating the game. Every game feels high tension as you struggle to figure out how to maneuver the newest outbreaks. If you want to engage in a TV-show esque board game all while coordinating with your significant other, Pandemic: Legacy is a great way to do so in an engaging way and is sure to keep you occupied for a while.

Pros

  • Very unique concept – forces you to actually alter the game itself (including tearing cards!)
  • The cooperative nature of the game will encourage teamwork and a sense of bonding between you and your partner

Cons

  • There’s a ton of replayability until you’ve you’ve beaten the campaign, at which point you’ve basically “beaten” the game. However, the campaign is long and you’ll likely need a lot of tries to actually beat the game

4. Days of Wonder: Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a classic, fun board game wherein each player takes turns placing routes on the board. The goal is to connect to cities found on the board with your pieces and gaining points for doing so. There’s also a card collection aspect to the game, as you want to draw matching colors in order to build your trains.

The challenging aspect is figuring out which route your opponent is trying to take and making sure you block them and don’t get blocked yourself. Games usually last 40-80 minutes and there is pretty much endless replay value.

Pros

  • Light strategy, doesn’t require extensive thinking
  • Fast paced with two players

Cons

  • Sometimes the boards that come with the game aren’t 100% flat. This is a manufacturing quality issue, though, and not a critique of the game itself.

5. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

If both of you are fans of Sherlock Holmes and the mystery genre, you’ll love this board game. You’ll work together with your partner to solve 10 crimes, each of which requires 2 or more hours to complete.

Unlike other games, this isn’t a luck or strategy type of game. Instead, you need to use deductive reasoning and logic as you find clues to make decisions. If you’re a fan of escape rooms, you’ll probably love this type of game.

Pros

  • The instructions are straight to the point.
  • A compelling story that will keep you immersed as you play the role of a detective.
  • Great cooperative game with lots of communication involved.

Cons

  • It can only be played once. Like the Pandemic Legacy game, once you beat it you beat it. That said, the value to cost ratio is still worth it.

6. Dominion

Dominion is one of the best deck building games out there and works great as a two player game. Players are given a starting deck of 10 cards and every turn must spend gold to buy more cards for their deck. The cards have different effects so you’ll want to make sure you load your deck up with the right balance of treasures, victory cards, and avoid curses.

Dominion comes with dozens of various action cards so no game is exactly alike. If you want to go on the offense, stack up on Witches and Militia. If you want a longer game with fatter decks, play with Gardens. And if you get tired of just the base set, there are endless expansions to add on with.

Pros

  • Easy to learn – new players can start playing in under 5 minutes.
  • Tons of strategy variations and gameplay possibilities with expansions.
  • Fun deck building mechanism.

Cons

  • Setup can take a while at first and can be daunting for newer players.

7. Jaipur

If you’re a fan of vivid illustrations and vibrant colors from your board games, Jaipur has you covered. The game also happens to be perfect for couples, and is easily accessible to gamers of all levels. If you’re trying to introduce your partner to board games, Jaipur is a great way to do so.

The game essentially revolves around collecting cards representing market items, so you can later trade them for tokens. Market items at the beginning are worth more tokens so collecting and selling early is ideal. At the end of a round, the person with the higher token score wins. The game ends in three rounds and usually takes 20-30 min total.

Gameplay is fast placed and scores are often tight, so every decision you make feels important. One of the allures of Jaipur is that even when you’re losing, you still have moves to make and turn the game around.

Pros

  • Simple to play, with no complicated rules.
  • Easy to setup, easy to store, compact for travel.
  • Beautiful illustrations, and the cards and tokens feel nice.

Cons

  • A little luck heavy and may be too simple for gamers looking for more advanced strategies.

8. Guillotine

Guillotine is a fast-paced hilarious card game that works great as a two player game. Players are rival guillotine operators competing against each other for heads of nobles. Twelve nobles are lined up for the guillotine every round, each with points dictated by their notoriety. Along the way, you have to deal with obstacles and use your action cards to your advantage.

Guillotine is easy to learn and games last under 30 minutes. There’s a fair amount of strategy and luck involved, and games usually devolve into lots of laughter given the absurdity of the situations that arise.

Pros

  • It’s easy to learn and play. A great filler game to pull out at any time.
  • Portable, since the game is just a couple deck of cards.

Cons

  • The illustrations may be confusing to tell apart, especially when you first start playing.

9. The Castles of Burgundy

Castles of Burgundy is one of those board games that should belong in anyone’s collection and makes a fantastic two person game. Each player has their own place mat and every turn places estate tiles from the board onto their mat. There are different colored tiles that all have different effects. As you place tiles onto your mat, you score points at the beginning or end of the five rounds of gameplay – whoever has the highest score wins.

What’s great about Castles of Burgundy is how many strategies there are to win. Each tile color has its own benefits and none of them are overpowering. And while there is some luck involved, as dice are involved, you never feel like a game is out of your reach. Unlike Catan, for example, where if you roll a 1 or 12 you’re unlikely to receive any resources, in Castles you always have a move on your turn.

Pros

  • There are numerous strategies and ways to win.
  • Fairly balanced. You never know who’s going to win until the end when all the points are added up.
  • You never feel beholden to unlucky rolls.

Cons

  • The color palette of the game is a little “old” and don’t pop vibrantly like other modern board games. This has no effect on the gameplay, though, but some people do care about these types of aesthetics.
  • Setup can take a while.

10. Santorini

The last game in our list is Santorini, which is an abstract 3D strategy game. While it can play up to 4 players, it’s best suited as a 2 player game.

Players start with two workers and every turn must move a worker to an open adjacent tile. You also build blocks to help you traverse the map and block your opponent from moving. The goal is to move one of your workers to a level three block or close off your opponent from moving.

An additional aspect to the game are the god powers, where players randomly choose a god and receive unique abilities (movement bonus, building abilities, victory conditions). These powers add even more depth to the game.

Each round plays very fast and games usually end in 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re looking for a pure strategy game with little luck involved, Santorini is for you. There’s a lot of strategy involved and can lead to a lot of fun moments with your partner, win or lose.

Pros

  • Strategy heavy, little luck involved
  • Lots of replayability, especially with the god powers.
  • Visually unique and 3D aspect

Cons

  • Some gods may be overtuned compared to others
  • Not great for casual gameplay

Conclusion

There you have it – our favorite board games for couples. Whether you like games that are competitive or cooperative, strategy or luck based, or involves cards or miniature pieces, there is a game out there for you. Try it out for yourself and pick up a board game for your next date night!

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