Megan here. On our first date, David asked me: “Do you like playing board games?” Visions of Life, Monopoly, Tripoli, Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Trivia danced in my head. “Of COURSE, I love board games!” He smiled.
Little did I know that HE, in fact, LOVES board games. I, in fact… dabbled in them. And not “cool” ones. 😂
David introduced me to a whole world of board game geekery and tons of delightful games to play together, and—since we’re all spending a lot more time inside (thanks, virus)—we thought we’d share our take on the best board games for couples*.
*We didn’t include Pandemic (because it’s #tooreal).
“Why board games? This is a coffee blog!”
We play board games a few times a week—usually in the morning over a cup of freshly brewed coffee. (This week, we’re drinking the Barista Reserve blend from one of our favorite Colorado roasters, Color. We’re excited about this coffee not only because its from legendary producer Walter Penna, but also because $10 of the purchase supports Color’s baristas ((they’re awesome)) and the bag features artwork from one of our favorite FoCo creatives, Rachael Stark).
» How to Brew Coffee-Shop-Level Coffee at Home During the Pandemic
Okay, enough about coffee (although, if you’re looking for a solo board game, David does like playing Coffee Roaster!).
Read on to find our favorite couple board games.
The best games to play on a date night—or when you’re stuck at home
We consider these to be very approachable board games for couples. They’re not too hard to pick up, but you’d be wise to spend some time reading the instructions or watching “How to play” videos on Youtube before sitting down to play together.
1. The Fox in the Forest
Of course we love the Fox game! This amazing trick-taking game is always quick and always fun. Players score points during a round by winning tricks containing specific cards and at the end of a round based on the number of total tricks they won. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
The art is whimsical and gorgeous, and I love how fast paced the game is. You might be thinking you’ve got it in the bag, but then oops, suddenly you’ve won too many tricks!
We recently purchased an alternative version of the game called The Fox in the Forest duet. This is a cooperative game (meaning you and your partner are trying to win together) and is played in silence. PERFECT for those mornings when your cup of coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet!
Both games are small and compact, making them great additions to your collection if you’re also looking for travel-friendly but good board games for couples.
We love Hive because its small-ish game pieces make it easy to play ANYWHERE with a hard surface. Hive is a strategic game that echoes chess, made up of a variety of pieces (each adorned with a bug!) that you have to place and move according to their unique powers. The object of the game is surround your opponent’s queen bee before they get yours. 🐝
You can even buy specialty expansion pieces—We got really excited when we added the new Pill Bug to our hive.
3. Codenames Duet
I’ve yet to cross paths with anyone who has played Codenames and hasn’t fallen in love with it. Codenames Duet takes the game we all love and makes it a fun challenge to overcome with your partner—Yes, it’s another one of our fave coop board games for 2.
Codenames Duet keeps the basic elements of Codenames—give one-word clues to help your partner pick out your agents among those on the table—but now, you’re working together as a team to find all of your agents without revealing an assassin, before time runs out!
We love the added challenge of the world travel tracker, too. We have yet to make it to Cairo!
Pro tip: We’ve been playing a ton of virtual “Kode Names” with our family and friends over Zoom while under lockdown.
One of our all-time favorite games to play on date night is Hardback, the older, cooler sister of the original Fowers Games’ Paperback (clarification: Paperback is still great and I love Paige Turner!). I personally enjoy playing deck building games AND word games, so the combo works really well for me in Hardback. 🤓
The game premise is that you’re a 19th century writer attempting to pen your next masterpiece. You must collect letters and specialize in genres (like Horror or Romance) to earn victory points more quickly. Thankfully, there is plenty of ink to turn some letters into wilds so you can win.
The game is a good balance of fun with words and strategy, as strategic players can maximize the benefit of their cards by carefully crafting the perfect deck.
4. Love Letter
We couldn’t write a list of awesome table games for couples without including Love Letter.
I’d never played a game like Love Letter before I met David, and I must say, after only a few rounds, I was hooked! It is a game of risk, deduction, and luck, and I secretly love that the guards are all women. 💪
The goal of the game is to woo the princess, but she’s unfortunately locked up by herself in her palace. You must rely on others to deliver your love notes to her before your opponent. The tension of holding powerful and/or weaker cards makes every turn a surprise.
Another perk: This is a pretty quick game, often taking 20 minutes or less once you get the hang of it. It’s an easy add-on when looking for more games to play on a date night.
5. Schotten Totten
David is going to be 0% surprised I included Schotten Totten on my list of the best board games for couples. I am currently obsessed with this game, and ask him to play it almost every time we sit down for coffee. He, on the other hand, isn’t AS thrilled about playing games too frequently… Alas, I say… Kill or be kilt!!
In this game, you travel to gorgeous Scotland and fight a battle line to collect stones from your nosy neighbor. You use poker-like combinations of cards to “win” individual stones (like a straight flush, three of a kind, crap. You want to avoid a plain flush if possible). Tactics cards give you optional challenges to add to the mix.
I think the art is funny and I like to attempt a Scottish accent when we play. It’s adorable and not annoying, I promise.
C’mon… how CUTE are those little tree spirits?
Survive spring, summer, and fall and pursue secret missions to build a healthy and lush tree home for your Kodamas to be as happy as can be. Cultivate your trees with the right mixture of flowers, insects, and branch arrangements for your Kodamas to play in.
Be careful to leave room for future growth! 🌸
Are you a quilting genius and just don’t know it yet? Find out when you play Patchwork—use odd-shaped pieces to fill in your quilt board more quickly (and with fewer holes) than your opponent.
Tip: This is one of the better games to play on a date night at home, as the game requires quite a bit of table space which can be hard to find at a brewery, coffee shop, etc.
8. That’s Pretty Clever
I really like dice games (even Yahtzee, call me old school), but I find That’s Pretty Clever to be a more fun version of other games like it because every turn, each player can take an action—regardless if you’re the one rolling the die or not.
Similar to Quixx in its ability to engage players every turn, the dice you don’t use during your turn in this game can be used by the other players. Select dice and place them on your game board to enact chains of actions and earn points. And, as if this wasn’t already one of the best date night board games, you can be strategic and earn Foxes as bonuses. 🦊😁
When I think “great board games for couples,” I have to think of Jaipur—the first two-player board game David and I ever played together. (Note: This is when I first realized that he REALLY loves board games and I had no idea what I was getting into). This game means a lot to us; we even used it as a prop when we took engagement photos at Harbinger Coffee in Fort Collins.
In this game, you and your opponent are two of the two most powerful traders in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan, but you want special access to Maharaja’s high court.
To earn the “seals of excellence” and access these privileges, you must buy, exchange, and sell goods at better prices, all while keeping a close eye on the size of your camel herd.
Keep your eyes peeled for the stuffed panda from the Silk Road, he is always one of my favorite cameos when playing this awesome 2 player board game.
Maybe it will be the start of your future love story, too. 💘
Other awesome board games for couples
We might eventually write more in-depth about them all, but if you want to keep doing research on your own, here are some other rad couple board games. Some of these are more “advanced”—for aspiring board game nerds.
- Cat Lady (For anyone who needs practice for their future self like me)
- Castles of Burgundy (David’s favorite. Great game, art is meh except for piggies)
- Biblios (Dice & cards meet in this subtle game of auctions & hand management)
- Dominion (Deck building classic that has been around for decades)
- 7 Wonders Duel (One of my all-time fave “complicated” couple board games)
- Santorini (Like chess, but with a Grecian twist)
- Carcassonne (Lay tiles to make a better city than your opponent!)
- Targi (Trade dates and salt to enlarge your tribe in this game with a feminist twist)
- Kanagawa (Learn to paint from the Japanese master)
- Tides of Madness (Don’t go crazy before making the most prosperous kingdom!)
- San Juan (Trade goods to make a perfect port town)
- Fry Thief (Made by our friend Patrick!)
- Sushi Roll (V. cute art in this two-player dice version of this popular party game)
- Sagrada (Build your own stained glass art with die)
- Onitama (Like chess, but with a Japanese twist)
What good board games for couples did we miss?
We’re always on the hunt for new table games for couples. Drop us a comment with your ideas!
4 Replies to “9 Best Board Games for Couples”
This is a great list! We love Jaipur and Targi. And any games played are Harbinger are just the best 🙂
Lost Cities is such a classic 2-player that we both really love.
Kamisado and The Duke are great chess-like 2-player games.
I also really enjoy Arboretum with 2-players. And my husband just reminded me how much he loves 2-player Tiny Epic Galaxies 🙂
Thanks for the great suggestions and ideas, Ann! We also like Lost Cities and Arboretum. 🙂 I haven’t tried the Duke, Kamisodo, or Tiny Epic Galaxies—we must investigate! I knew Harbinger was a keeper when I saw Duel and Lotus on their rack… 😉
Your list inspired me to pick up Fox in the Forest Duet + Love Letter for my husband’s birthday this week. I love the art on Fox in the Forest and those paw prints are just the cutest. We played for the first time this morning (over coffee). Thank you for sharing your list!!
Enjoy!! We love both versions of Fox and the Forest 🙂