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20 Epic Two Player Board Games Couples Swear By for Date Night

Technology has literally infused its way into every crack and crevice of our society.  Nowadays, children utilize leisure time to play video games, to “like” and “tweet” on social media, and to watch strangers on You Tube.  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 at 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” in attempts 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 own movement.  As the hive is in constant flux, players must utilize strategy and swift thinking to surround their opponent’s queen bee, which is ultimately, what 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 total turns over 8 rounds and gain victory points for enclosing spaces with fences, for creating buildings, and from obtaining animals.

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


Istanbul is a strategic game where players have the opportunity to act as Turkish merchants at a grand bazaar.  The object of the game 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 1 merchant, 4 assistants, and a wheelbarrow capacity of two for each good.  Players have the opportunity to visit 16 different locations and a winner is declared when a player has 5 rubies in their wheelbarrow.


Qwirkle is a game comprised of 108 blocks of 6 different shapes and 6 different 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 6 shapes or colors, it is deemed a “Qwirkle” and an additional six points are scored.  The game concludes when all blocks are used and winner is determined by the highest score.


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 captured and changed when surrounded by two disks of your own color.

Play concludes when there are no more legal moves and the player with the most disks is deemed victorious.


Carcassonne is a board game where players work together to build a communal landscape and then compete with each other 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 on where to maintain primary focus, as they can either concentrate on their own city development, or they can focus on stealing points from their opponent’s cities.  When all tiles have been played, scores are tallied 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 10 mysteries in total and information for each mystery is found in a casebook.  Players utilize the casebook and travel along the game board to gather clues and to acquire evidence.

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


Mastermind is a thought provoking game of logic and reason where one player chooses and arranges 4 pegs in a certain order.

This player can choose pegs from 6 different color choices and can repeat the same color in the pattern if they so desire.  The opposing player then has 12 chances to guess both the exact order and color of the pattern.  After each chance, 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 right position and white pegs portray the right color in the wrong position.  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 successfully 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 successfully complete the mission.


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

Players must devise a way to connect tiles to several rows of fixed tiles to successfully create cohesive paths.  Players compete against each other to travel the paths and to 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 6 temples are discovered and points are calculated.  The player with the most points from Map cards, Goal cards, and money is affirmed the triumphant victor.

…And Then We Held Hands

“…and then we held hands” is a collaborative board game where players work together to achieve goals by utilizing nonverbal communication.  The objective of the game 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 positive and negative color spaces on the board.  Players need to utilize intuition and nonverbal communication to deduce their partner’s intentions, without using too many cards.

If a player accidentally traps their partner on the board so that they cannot move, players lose and the game immediately ends.

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 they can with the appropriate tiles.

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


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 object of the game is to be the first player to get all of your pieces off the board.

Once the dice is rolled, players have numerous options as to how they move their pieces.  Players must also consider and anticipate any potential counter moves 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 set and take turns placing stones on the points of a 19 x 19 grid, but cannot move a stone once placed.  Capture occurs when a stone or group of stones becomes surrounded by the stones of their opponent.

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 rings on the board and place a marker on the board every time that a ring is replaced.

Markers are white on one side and black on the other and must be flipped every time that it is jumped by a ring.  Thus, markers are continually changing.  If a player succeeds in forming a row of five markers in their own 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 rings 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 amount of seasons, with 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 4 workers, further increasing point values.

The winner of the game is the player that accumulates the most points at the conclusion of 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 earned for fulfilling Destination Tickets, or goal cards that challenge players to connect two specific cities 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.

Photo of author

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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