It’s no surprise that couples with common interests have stronger relationships. Studies have shown this to be true. The Berkeley Science Review says “Engaging in these activities with your partner involves cooperation and provides a shared experience that can bring you closer together.”
One of the best ways to do something fun together is to play games – specifically Tabletop Games. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite games for two players.
Hive (BoardgameGeek rating 7.3)
With it’s eye-catching design and simple, elegant rules, Hive is a battle of the Queens similar to Chess. Unlike Chess, there is no board, so Hive can be played anywhere. Each insect piece has specific movement rules which means strategy is everything. Surround your opponent’s Queen Bee and you’re the winner. With it’s portability and quick play time (20 minutes), this game can go with you anywhere.
Ticket to Ride (BoardgameGeek rating 7.5)
Ticket to Ride has been around since 2004 when it won Germany’s Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) and it hasn’t dropped in popularity since. This best-selling train game is easy to learn (15 minutes) and fun to play over and over. While it plays up to five, it is perfect for two. Collect train cars in different colors to claim routes between cities and ultimately complete tickets to far-off destinations.
Lost Cities (BoardgameGeek rating 7.1)
This fantastic 2-player game was designed by Reiner Knizia and true to form, it is simple in its rules and complex in it’s strategy. Build expeditions to far away lands with cards in ascending order to score points at the end. This one can be addictive!
Patchwork (BoardgameGeek rating 7.9)
Yep, you’re making a quilt and buttons are both your currency and your victory points. In Patchwork two players compete to build the most aesthetic (and high-scoring) patchwork quilt on a personal 9×9 game board. On your turn, you can choose to buy and place a quilt piece by choosing one of the three available pieces, paying the price in time and/or buttons and placing it on your board. Fill in your board with the highest scoring pieces before time runs out. This game is easy to learn and really fun to play.
Fuse (BoardgameGeek rating 7.2)
Fuse is a real-time, cooperative game for 1-5 players in which players are working together to defuse the bombs before time runs out. With only 10 minutes to complete your cards, players have to work together closely sometimes taking one for the team. The time limit makes this game super fun and slightly stressful! Each bomb is represented by a card which needs a certain combination of dice in order to defuse it. A player will draw a number of dice equal to the number of players out of a bag and roll them. Players must then decide who will get which dice, but each player must take one and only one. No pressure!
Carcassonne (BoardgameGeek rating 7.4)
Carcassonne is a pastoral tile-laying game that plays up to five, but is really great with 2 players. Players take turns laying tiles featuring roads, grasslands, cities, or cloisters and choose whether to claim one of these with a Meeple (yes, Meeple was coined in this game, which makes it one of our favorites!) in their color. When the area is complete, the player removes their Meeple and scores points. This game is easy, fun and can be very strategic. Can I get in on that giant city my opponent is working on by placing this tile here now and that tile there when I get it? Should I take the easy points on this road or continue to work on my cloister? There are many variations of Carcassonne and each is great fun.
Jaipur (BoardgameGeek rating 7.55)
Jaipur, a game about trading goods in India, comes up in every list of great 2-player games. In fact, it’s perhaps the perfect realization of the form. It’s a snap to teach, it plays in about 30 minutes, and it’s interactive in the best of ways. On your turn, you’re presented with a deceptively simple choice: get new goods or sell the goods you already have. Seems simple, but those choices can be very strategic and you have a new one to make each turn. The tug-of-war provides a surprising amount of tense decisions within a small decision space.
Agricola (BoardgameGeek rating 8.6!!)
Agricola is Uwe Rosenburg’s seminal worker placement game. While it plays up to five, it’s just great with two players. It’s a classic worker placement game where the goal is to build the most efficient, well-balanced farm. Players spend each turn deciding what chores they’re going to complete in order to build up the stockpiles they need to feed their families and build their farm. Only one person can do a chore at a time, which means that you need to plan carefully and adapt if you find yourself blocked by another player. While each player is playing their own game on their own game board, there are ample opportunities to block other players creating a good amount of player interaction.
Dominion (BoardgameGeek rating 7.7)
Dominion is the Granddaddy of all deckbuilding games and won 2009’s Speil des Jahres award. While many other deckbuilders are out there, you can’t go wrong with Dominion. In this game, players start with a deck of 10 cards that they use to buy other new cards
Magic: the Gathering (BoardgameGeek rating 7.44)
I know you’re thinking Magic?? But, Magic is one of the best 2-player games ever invented. Couples can not only participate in playing Magic, but also deckbuilding which is an activity all by itself. Since 1993 players have been battling it out with decks of every ilk with this Mensa select game. From the Wizards of the Coast website: In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.