Not every date night for couples needs to involve dinner and a movie. Sometimes a quiet evening at home is exactly what is needed and a great board game is perfect for that. But what are the best board games for couples?
Board Games for Couples
1 Agricola All Creatures Big and Small
My wife and I already have two little 9 and 7-year old mouths to feed, so we don’t enjoy the aspects of food micro-management in the big box version of Agricola, although that is certainly a game worthy of overall recommendation.
Instead of the big box game flooding us with memories of always having to get our kids chicken nuggets, we prefer the simpler Agricola All Creatures Big and Small, the stripped down 2-player variety of Agricola.
All Creatures is a FANTASTIC game, as each player gets the satisfaction of building their own little farm that is populated with little farm animals. In typing that sentence, I realize how boring that sounds, but it is nothing but. All Creatures truly is a great little board game and works great for couples.
Sadly, it’s out of print but the scuttlebutt is saying that an updated version is on the way.
2 TIME Stories
This is a board game that is wholly unlike any other board game you are likely to play. Time Stories mixes True Detective with Groundhog Day, as it asks players to solve a mystery through repeated runs at the solution.
You gain more understanding as you play through and the board game is actually designed to save that progress. The next time you pick it up, you run through that again, albeit with more efficiency and the ability to take a different tack or fork toward a different hypothesis.
In the end, it’s extremely satisfying to solve the mystery, as the entire game has a wonderful story-driven approach. The core game packs in several stories and expansions add more. (One thing to note: Time Stories isn’t technically a two player game, but it works great with each player playing two characters each.)
This is a game that is reaching mainstream adoption, so it’s an excellent choice for couples newer to gaming, being that it is sometimes easier to get adoption from a new players if the game is available in Target and not just from a FLGS.
You play as Renaissance merchants trying to buy gem mines and shops. And if you get wealthy enough, nobility might come knocking.
On your turn you might collect gems or purchase a card. You can also “reserve” a card, which is a nice way of saying you block the other player from getting it first. Be careful with your marriage, folks.
That’s overplaying it: Splendor is mildly competitive at best. In fact, the game is a joy and works excellently for couples play.
This is a game about wine, so it goes down smooth for couples. I’ve written a full review of Viticulture here, so I’ll simply link to that and use this space to talk about board game theming.
My wife doesn’t like zombies, horror, or many of the other genre trappings us nerds love. So you’ll notice that all 7 of the board games on this list have a theme that–while some might call vanilla–is one which works for pretty much anyone, regardless of personal tastes.
The point of board gaming among couples is to find something that can be enjoyed equally among partners.
This is the game my wife and I play most often. You know that feeling when something goes your way and you feel really smart about it? Even if you had absolutely nothing to do with it? That’s how we feel about Dominion.
Dominion can sometimes be described as “shared solitaire” as player interaction is pretty low. As the granddaddy of all deck builder games, Dominion players slowly build up decks of cards turn after turn in order to hopefully earn the most victory points.
But the game is so darned smooth and enjoyable that we always feel really smart after playing it and highly recommend it, because sometimes the steady option is the best option. (That’s not couples advice by the way; still talking about Dominion here, not your life choices.)
6 Pandemic Legacy
This board game is rated as the #1 board game of all time at boardgamegeek.com and with good reason.
Pandemic Legacy took the insanely popular Pandemic game and gave it a sense of story and permanence. The game changes with every play and if you win or lose affects your next play. Secret components in the game might be triggered and new rules added.
It’s wonderful and provides a story-driven experience that couples can keep coming back to. My wife and I played through the entire story campaign of twelve missions and I’m happy to report that we successfully thwarted the worldwide pandemic form occurring. You’re welcome, nerds.
7 7 Wonders Duel
I really enjoy the set-up of this game. 7 Wonders Duel is the offspring of its parent game–7 Wonders–and has the same basic structure of play. Players acquire cards over three ages, and these cards advance their military or scientific development in order to develop a civilization.
What’s different about 7 Wonders Duel is that the game was rebalanced solely for two players. Both players draft cards from a display arranged at the start of a round. Each player starts with four wonder cards, and the construction of a wonder provides its owner with a special ability. Whether you try to dominate militarily or scientifically, the game is smooth and enjoyable to play.
While any of the 7 games above are great board games for couples, 7 Wonders represents a great starting game for couples. It has a low price point, is easy to learn, and is truly a fantastically designed 2 player game with a theme that works for everyone.