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The 10 best board games for couples to play, according to enthusiasts

Unplug and reconnect with these two-player games.

Fog of Love, Lacuna board games for couples.
Put your love to the test with these board games for couples. (Amazon)

Sometimes you need to spice things up in your relationship, but a romantic vacation or a swanky date night isn't always in the budget. How about a game you can play in the comfort of your own home? These board games for couples are an easy, inexpensive way to break out of your routine.

First things first: Decide whether you want to collaborate with or compete against each other. Some friendly competition is healthy, but if you and your partner tend to take things a tad too far, strategy games that require you to work together may be best. Either way, "fun games can increase each partner's desire for 'play' and bring more resilience, freshness and joy into the relationship," said Domenique Harrison, a race and relationships therapist and creator of the Conversations Deck.

Two-player board games are your best bet, but you'll notice that several picks on this list aren't strictly for pairs. "A hack I like to use to decide quickly if [a game] might have good two-player potential is if it has a solo mode," game enthusiast Brandi Martin said. "If the designer has considered play for one player and made modifications for that, they likely have done the same for two players."

While I appreciate a game night as much as anyone, I'm not an expert. That's why I've turned to actual gamers — one of whom refers to himself as a "board game sommelier" — to round up the best board games for couples. Add any standouts to your collection for future date nights, or give a few as gifts to the couples in your life.

Play out your relationship — or a romanticized version of it — in this two-player board game. Each player makes choices about their relationship in secret, then reveals them to their partner. If your answers are aligned, you're rewarded with heart points. If you disagree, you'll see just how mismatched you are — without having the option to call it quits. "It's like therapy, but with game pieces," said Jennifer Allen, board game enthusiast and founder of Dallas-based Just Elope.

$49 at Amazon
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$59 at Newegg

Board game enthusiast and reviewer Derek Pederson is a fan of roll-and-write games for date nights because they require "minimal setup time" and "are very easy to learn." In this game, players roll the dice to determine a railroad route and map out as many exits as possible. The more exits you connect, the more points you score at the end of the game. A bonus: It doesn't require a flat surface or tons of space to play, making it a great option for travel. "My husband and I played this while traveling in Europe, on the flight and on a ferry," one five-star reviewer wrote. 

$20 at Walmart
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$20 at Amazon$23 at Newegg

Grant Lyon of Grant's Game Recs said this game begs a very important question: "Do you have a cuddly relationship or a competitive one?" One person plays as land and the other plays as sea, but both players are challenged to make a map together with double-sided tiles. Both players have a not-so-hidden agenda: to complete their respective areas. "You can either be friendly with your tile placement and help the other player close something, or you can be mean and cut off your opponent and make it impossible to close an area," Lyon said.

$30 at Amazon
Amazon

Your hometown is overrun with monsters — seven of them, to be exact. Team up with your partner (and up to three other people) to take them down and protect your community. Since it's a cooperative game, "conversation is a big part of gameplay," Martin said.

$28 at Amazon
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$49 at Newegg
Amazon

"Lacuna is a perfect choice for date night because you can set it up in less than a minute, learn the rules in less than five and still have a surprisingly strategic experience ahead of you," said Alex Hart, board game sommelier from Might I Suggest a Game? Start by scattering the flower pieces on the mat. Then, one at a time, strategically place metallic markers between the flowers. Whoever is closest to the flower collects it, and whoever gets four or more flowers in the most colors wins. "Don't worry if you're bad at estimation, there's a ruler included," Hart said.

$30 at Amazon

Pick a patch, any patch, and place it on your personal board. Each patch costs time and buttons — the player who best uses their time and has the most buttons in the end wins. While it's competitive, "it never feels mean" since the whole game revolves around stitching a quilt, which is pretty low-stakes, Lyon said.

$30 at Amazon
Amazon

They're your co-pilot in life, but this game takes things to a literal level. Roll the dice to move around the board, activating your landing gear, engaging the engines and more as you play. The trick: You can only talk to your partner in between rolls. "That means in between rounds, you'll need to have lots of communication to make a solid plan of action, and during the rounds, you'll need to trust your partner to execute said plan," Hart said. As a result, "each player really has agency over their own actions, which makes the moment when you do land the plane successfully that much sweeter."

$30 at Amazon

Therapists and game designers came together to make a conversation deck that, in Lyon's opinion, is "actually fun to play." Each card unveils a specific scenario — like showing up at dinner and learning your partner invited another couple to join. The two of you reveal how you'd react, and how you think your partner would react. "I love this game because once you reveal your reactions, it always leads to both laughter and discussion," Lyon added.

$25 at Amazon
Amazon

Pederson added this two-player board game to his collection early on in his relationship — and for that reason, he recommends it to couples everywhere. Get into character as Jaipur's most powerful traders, then buy and sell your way through the game. The trader who amasses the most riches becomes the maharaja's personal trader and winner of the game. 

$25 at Amazon

"My wife and I have amazing memories of playing Carcassonne on the beach on our honeymoon in Fiji," said Neil Chase, board game enthusiast and founder of Neil Chase Film. Tile by tile, you'll build the medieval French landscape with roads, grasslands, cloisters and cities. Everything must be connected — roads to roads, cloisters to cloisters and so on. After placing a tile, decide whether you want to place a knight, farmer, monk or robber on the respective area. The more points you earn, the greater your chances of winning become, but it all comes down to the luck of the draw.

$15 at Walmart
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$23 at Amazon$42 at Macy's

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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