5 Board Games for Couples
31 March 2010
Some time ago, Ashly and I were sitting around the apartment, trying to find something engaging to do that didn’t involve sitting in front of the TV. Having been an avid board game on an extended vacation from the hobby, I thought that perhaps grabbing a gateway board game or two could provide a good change of pace. Ten months later, we can safely say that we’ve played a considerable amount of games together, many of which were 2 player focused. Of the games that we’ve played, enjoyed, and continued to play together, the following games are our current favorites.
Given our short list (that includes games with varying mechanics), in our eyes, we’ve arranged the list from least to most complex / difficult to initially learn.
San Juan is a card game adaptation of the famed Puerto Rico, and plays particularly well with 2 players. Although San Juan does not incorporate all of the depth of Puerto Rico, many of the moving parts are in tact, while still providing a fun experience in a relatively short amount of time. If you or your significant other are interested in a highly accessible, filler gateway game that introduces the main concepts of Puerto Rico, San Juan may fit the bill.
Lord of the Rings: Confrontation:
As long as your significant other doesn’t have any adverse feelings toward high fantasy themed games, Lord of the Rings: Confrontation may be the perfect short duration, 2 player game that you’ve been looking for. Much like Stratego, Confrontation incorporates a hidden unit mechanic that keeps players guessing where an opponents strengths and weakness are located on the board. However, unlike Stratego, Confrontation incorporates a different assortment of unit abilities and game ending conditions, that drastically sets it apart from the classic.
When deciding to play a worker placement game that takes roughly an hour or less to play, and won’t cause mental exhaustion after a hard day at work, Stone Age is our game of choice. Between acquiring materials to build structures, producing tool upgrades for material collection bonuses, and keeping your tribe fed, Stone Age does a very good job of maintaining theme, while providing “gamey” player progression. Stone Age does incorporate a fare amount of luck, but in our mind, not enough to outweigh the strategic decisions made throughout the game.
If the luck factor of Stone Age turns you off, and you’re looking for a step up in complexity and duration, Caylus may be more your speed. Highly regarded as one of the gamers game, Caylus incorporates a fair amount of player interaction and strategic longevity. Unlike Stone Age, Caylus will require a much heavier time investment in order to grasp the game beyond the fundamentals, and should be considered a different beast. If you and your significant other can work through the complexity, and enjoy the worker placement mechanic, you won’t be disappointed.
Tigris and Euphrates:
I’m not going to sugar coat this one. Tigris, like Caylus, incorporates a fair amount of strategy that will not become apparent until you’ve played the game several times. That being said, if the two of you are up for the challenge, want to try something with a considerable amount of confrontation, and are interested in experiencing a set of cohesive game mechanics that work very well together, Tigris and Euphrates can’t miss. In all honestly, out of all of games that Ashly and I play these days, Tigris seems to be the one that hits the table time and time again.
If any of our recommendations have peaked your interest, we encourage you to do a bit of own your research. If your personal favorite 2 player games didn’t make our list, let us know about them! We’re interested in your recommendations.