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20 Epic Games for Couples

Technology has infused its way into every crack and crevice of our society. Nowadays, children use leisure time to play video games, “like” and “tweet” on social media, and watch strangers on YouTube. Similarly, adults read from their Kindles, download apps, and excitedly await their turn in Words with Friends.

This culture has also permeated relationships, as couples often sit side by side in silence while scrolling, texting, and tapping on their phones and tablets. As a whole, we have forgotten how to play.

Married couples would greatly benefit from re-learning play through simplistic fun that only a board game can provide.

Board games allow couples face-to-face interaction where they can have fun, establish a connection, and engage in flirtatious competition or collaborative teamwork. So, force yourself away from the bright light of your device, entice your spouse away from theirs, and check out the following compilation of the best two-player board games for couples.


Hive is a strategic, quick-moving, and competitive game, somewhat reminiscent of chess, with an insect theme. Players take turns growing the “hive” to capture their opponent’s queen bee while ensuring to protect their own.

Various insects, such as worker ants, beetles, and grasshoppers, are represented on hexagonal game pieces, each having its movement. As the hive is in constant flux, players must utilize strategy and quick thinking to surround their opponent’s queen bee, which ultimately concludes the game.


Patchwork is a fun, lighter game that will likely remind you of Tetris. Patchwork’s premise is to arrange various shaped quilting patches into a cohesive pattern while minimizing blank spaces on the game board.

Blank spaces result in point deductions and are more prevalent when oddly shaped pieces are acquired. However, oddly shaped pieces can be more lucrative, as they carry higher point totals.

Buttons are worth points, are utilized to purchase patches, and are collected throughout the game. The player with the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is a strategic board game with an agricultural premise.

Players seek to attain as many points as possible by building a farm and acquiring animals, including cattle, horses, pigs, and sheep. Players have 24 turns over eight rounds and gain victory points for enclosing spaces with fences, creating buildings, and obtaining animals.

Players must decide on the type and quantity of animals to purchase while creating good infrastructure. Each animal is worth a different point amount and is the most significant point generator in the game. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.


Istanbul is a strategic game where players can act as Turkish merchants at a grand bazaar. The game’s object is to earn rubies by transporting goods to various locations around the board.

Merchants utilize assistants to transport goods in a wheelbarrow and cannot complete an action without an available assistant. Thus, merchants are rendered useless if an assistant is otherwise occupied.

Players begin the game with one merchant, four assistants, and a wheelbarrow capacity of two for each good. Players can visit 16 locations, and a winner is declared when a player has five rubies in their wheelbarrow.


Qwirkle is a game of 108 blocks of 6 different shapes and colors. This game will likely remind you of patterns and point values inherent in Rummikub and Scrabble.

The object of this game is to collect points by matching blocks in patterns of color or shape, without repeats, in a given row. Each block is worth one point, and points are accumulated by creating lines, adding to existing lines, and gaining from adjacent lines in varying directions.

If a player completes a line with all six shapes or colors, it is deemed a “Qwirkle,” and an additional six points are scored. The game concludes when all blocks are used, and the highest score determines the winner.


Reversi is a strategic board game where players attempt to secure the majority of colored disks on an 8 x 8 game board. There are 64 total disks, colored black on one side and white on the other.

Each player is designated a color and starts the game with 32 disks. Players attempt to capture vertical, horizontal, and diagonal rows of their partner’s disks. Disks can only be charged and changed when surrounded by two disks of your color.

Play concludes when no more legal moves and the player with the most disks is deemed victorious. Excellent game for couples!


Carcassonne is a board game where players work together to build a communal landscape and compete to claim certain territories for victory points.

Players utilize tiles of cities, roads, fields, and monasteries to contribute to the communal landscape and have access to followers, who eventually become thieves, knights, monks, and farmers based on their board placement. These followers assist in developing the land and assist players in gaining points.

Players strategize where to maintain primary focus, as they can either concentrate on their city development or steal points from their opponent’s cities. Scores are tallied when all tiles have been played, and the player with the highest score wins.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a thematic game where players utilize clues, interview suspects, and gather facts to solve a mystery.

The game contains ten mysteries, and information for each puzzle is found in a casebook. Players utilize the casebook and travel along the game board to gather clues and acquire evidence.

The game’s object is to solve the mystery in fewer moves or more comprehensively than Sherlock Holmes. Players can either work collaboratively or compete against each other in this game.


Mastermind is a thought-provoking game of logic and reason where one player chooses and arranges four pegs in a particular order.

This player can choose pegs from 6 different color choices and repeat the same color in the pattern if desired. The opposing player has 12 chances to guess the exact order and color of the way. After each case, the player obtains feedback about their guess via black and white small pegs.

Black pegs represent that the player has the right color in the correct position, and white pegs portray the right color in the wrong place. Guesses and feedback alternate until the player guesses correctly or when 12 incorrect guesses are rendered.

T.I.M.E Stories

T.I.M.E Stories is a science-fiction, thematic board game about time travel.

Players become temporal agents and utilize a specified number of Time Units to visit varying locations on the map. Players receive a mission briefing at the start of the game, and the object is to complete the mission in as few attempts as possible.

At each map location, players encounter a physical challenge, a riddle, or a secret door and must work cooperatively to complete the mission successfully.


Labyrinth is a puzzle game where tiles are utilized to create paths, thus allowing players to collect treasures.

Players must devise a way to connect tiles to several rows of fixed tiles to create cohesive paths. Players compete against each other to travel the trails and collect treasures as quickly as possible.

The player who collects all of the treasures first while returning to their home base is declared the winner of the game.


Akrotiri is a simple, light, and mildly competitive game. Players in this game become sea captains, exploring classical Greece for temples. Players match the board with Map cards, which portray the location of the lost temples.

The game concludes when six temples are discovered and points are calculated. The triumphant victor is the player with the most points from Map cards, Goal cards, and money.

…And Then We Held Hands

“…and then we held hands” is a collaborative board game where players work together to achieve goals through nonverbal communication. The game’s objective is for players to reach the center of the board within one turn of each other.

Players work towards emotional balance by discarding emotion cards as they travel through the board’s positive and negative color spaces. They must utilize intuition and nonverbal communication to deduce their partner’s intentions without using too many cards.

Participant loses if a player accidentally traps their partner on the board so they cannot move, and the game ends immediately.

Ubongo Duel

Ubongo Duel is a competitive brainteaser game where opponents race to solve the same puzzle using the same tiles.

Players receive puzzle sheets and 21 puzzle tiles, and a 20-sided die dictates which tiles are used in particular rounds. Players attempt to solve every puzzle sheet as fast as possible with suitable tiles.

The first player to complete their puzzle yells “Ubongo” and moves their pawn on the scoring track. The first player to win five Ubongo duels wins the game.


Fjords is a competitive strategy game played in two phases, exploration, and expansion.

In the exploration phase, players jointly build a map of fjords using matching hexagonal tiles while placing their villages on calculated areas on the map. In the expansion phase, players attempt to secure and claim their territory by placing colored tokens on the tiles. Additionally, players simultaneously seek to block their opponent’s territorial acquisitions.

The game’s victor is the player who acquires the most territory via token placement.


Backgammon is a classic board game that involves some degree of strategy and luck.

Players utilize dice to dictate how they move fifteen pieces amongst 24 pointed triangles. The game’s object is to be the first player to get your details off the board.

Once the dice are rolled, players have numerous options for moving their pieces. Players must also consider and anticipate any potential countermoves by their opponent.


Go is a paradoxically complex, strategic game with simple rules.

Game pieces are called stones and come in black-and-white sets. Players are assigned a group and take turns placing stones on the points of a 19 x 19 grid but cannot move a stone once placed. Capture occurs when their opponent’s stones surround a stone or group of stones.

The game concludes when the territory and captured stones are tallied to determine a point value. The person with the most points at the end of the game is proclaimed the winner.


Yinsh is an abstract strategy game comprised of rings and markers. Opponents each start with five rounds on the board and place a feature on the board every time that a call is replaced.

Markers are white on one side and black on the other and must be flipped every time a ring jumps. Thus, titles are continually changing. If a player successfully forms a row of five titles in their color, one of their rings can be removed.

Strategically, players must navigate that increasing rows brings a player closer to victory but leaves fewer rings to play with. The first player to remove three of their calls wins the game.

Fields of Arle

Fields of Arle is a strategic board game with an agricultural theme. The game is played for a fixed number of seasons, each season either allowing or preventing players from taking specific action.

Players utilize trades or manufacturing processes to create goods to develop farms, thus earning points. Players can also assign tasks, such as dehydrating moot, plowing farmland, and breeding animals, to their four workers, further increasing point values.

The winner of the game is the player that accumulates the most points after the final season.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is an easy-to-learn game with a railroading and adventure theme.

Players use tactical approaches to gather different types of train cars and claim railway routes, thus forming connections between North American cities. Longer routes earn more points, and bonus points can be made for fulfilling Destination Tickets or goal cards that challenge players to connect two specific towns on the map.

The game concludes when a player runs out of train pieces, and points are calculated for successful Destination tickets and subtracted for any incomplete tickets. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

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Tracy Smith, LPC, NCC, ACS

Tracy Smith, LPC, NCC, ACS is a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey, a Nationally Certified Counselor, an Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a mental health freelance writer. Tracy has fourteen years of clinical and supervisory experience in a variety of mental health settings and levels of care.

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