Top Board Games for Couples to Make Connecting Fun

board games for couples

Want to find good two player games that will help you connect in your marriage? Keep reading for our favorite picks!

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How Board Games Will Help You Connect

For us, playing board games brings us back to when we were kids. Both Josh and I had family game nights growing up and we love looking back on those memories. So can board games offer an opportunity for you and your spouse to have a deep emotional connection? Absolutely! Any chance you get to have fun with your spouse can bring you closer.

There are two types of board games: cooperative and competitive. Keep reading to learn about each and discover our favorite board games to play together!

Cooperative Games

Cooperative games require you to work together. Everyone either wins or loses together.

Are cooperative games too hard?

They can definitely be challenging. However, that makes it such a great resource to connect with your spouse! Feeling too tired from your long day of work and the kids? You can still play a tough cooperative game because you’ll work together! Josh and I have played some of the games below when we absolutely do not have the brain power to focus. It makes the game so much sweeter because we lean on each other for help.

Why cooperative games will help you connect with your spouse

You win or lose together – as a team. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed a crucial detail that Josh thankfully caught, saving us from making a huge mistake. Or maybe I’ll come up with a good plan of action, seeing a couple of moves ahead into the game. Either way, we use our strengths to boost each other up. We praise each other and notice when the other has come up with a good idea. It’s a great opportunity to compliment your spouse on something small.

The Best Cooperative Games


The thought of a game called Pandemic may sound a bit too morbid. But don’t let the name turn you off! It’s an incredible game of strategy and teamwork. Yes, a pandemic has broken out worldwide and your job is to find a cure for 4 diseases while outbreaks are spreading across the globe. However, the strategy and teamwork you need to win this game are so complex and very well thought out.

How this game will help you connect: You are assigned a role with special abilities. Use your role to work together with your spouse. This is a tough game and you won’t always win – but that just makes it even more fun. Every time we lose, Josh and I are already ready to play again, determined to beat it the next time.

A bit more about the roles: As mentioned, you take on a role with special abilities while you play. Assign roles at random to change your experience each time you play. When playing with just 2 people, our favorite role combination is the Scientist and the Medic because of their abilities to find cures with less cards and treat diseases with less moves, respectively. However, don’t let the other roles intimidate you! They may not be able to do as much as the Scientist and Medic, but they do force you to be more strategic and work and communicate together.

Note: Pandemic takes a while to set up. Be patient and use a conversation starter to connect even while you get ready!

Forbidden Island

In Forbidden Island, you need to collect all 4 treasures and fly off the island while it continuously floods around you. Tiles sink and make it a lot harder to get where you need to. Forbidden Island takes a lot less time to set up than Pandemic. But don’t let this fool you: it’s just as hard (if not harder!). Josh and I have lost several times. That just makes us want to try again! The strategy in Forbidden Island is similar to Pandemic so if you’ve played either, you’ll already have a head start on the other.

How this game will help you connect: Forbidden Island is a lot more simple than Pandemic but requires just as much strategy. The teamwork that is needed to win the game can really help you connect with your spouse. Just because it’s your spouse’s turn doesn’t mean you can’t help and talk through the strategy together.

A bit more about the roles: Like Pandemic, we have our favorite role combination for Forbidden Island. We like to be the Pilot and the Engineer because of their abilities to fly anywhere on the island and flip 2 flooded tiles in 1 action, respectively. It’s fun to be able to easily do some really important moves easily. However, just like in Pandemic, don’t be worried if you get other roles. Use it as an opportunity to challenge yourselves!

Competitive Games

Competitive games are just that: competitive! Your goal is to win and beat your opponent.

Why competitive games will help you connect with your spouse

If you’re very competitive, you may find it hard to believe that playing a game against your spouse will help bring you closer. A little healthy competition is not a bad thing! Remember to keep it fun and light-hearted. Mix things up to keep the mood bright. Have a glass of wine or eat dinner while you play. Play on the floor with pillows. Have some music playing in the background. There’s so much you can do to ease any tension that may arise.

The Best Competitive Games

Settlers of Catan

In this game, you earn points by building up your settlements. Collect resources such as wood, brick, and wheat to build roads, settlements, and cities. You gain these resources by strategically placing your settlements on a resource and waiting for that resource’s number to be rolled. Earn knights to chase away robbers that steal your resources. The first person to 10 points wins!

How this game will help you connect: This game is not intended for 2 players. Josh and I worked together to change a few rules (at the bottom of this article) to make it into a 2 player game. We had fun creating our own version of this game. Feel free to use our rules or challenge yourself to come up with a few of your own!

Settlers of Catan Expansion: Cities & Knights

The Catan games have a few different expansions (Seafarers, Explorers & Pirates, Traders & Barbarians, Treasures, Dragons, & Adventures). The Cities & Knights expansion is our favorite. It takes the original game and adds some extra elements that build off of the original game. There’s more to do and think through, but an increase in challenge makes it more fun!

How this game will help you connect: Something Josh and I have noticed is that we have different strengths when it comes to playing board games. He tends to win the original Settlers of Catan and I tend to win the Cities & Knights expansion. We’ve enjoyed analyzing our playing strategies and why one of us is better at one game versus the other. See if you and your spouse are the same!

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride has a large map of the United States, connected by railroad tracks. You draw route cards at the beginning of the game to determine what routes you will try and earn. For example, you may be tasked with having to connect New York to Seattle. If you successfully complete this route, you gain extra points at the end. This game is simple to learn and easy to play. It’s a great game to bring out when you are not up for a mind-bending strategy game.

How this game will help you connect: One of the things that makes this game fun is that the route cards are a secret. Your opponent doesn’t know what routes you are trying to get. It’s fun to guess what routes your spouse is trying to claim. See if you guessed right when the game is over!

How to Change Settlers of Catan for 2 Players

Note: You must already know how to play Settlers of Catan to understand the rules below.

  1. We play to at least 12 points: With 2 players, 10 points actually come up fairly quickly. That’s why we play to at least 12 points. You can also do 15 if you want more of a challenge.
  2. The robber has to take turns alternating: Traditionally, when a 7 is rolled, you move the robber onto an opponent’s hex. However, with only 2 players, this constantly leaves 1 person at a disadvantage and can make it very hard to catch up to the other person. That’s why we alternate the robber’s moves. When a 7 is rolled, the robber has to move to either a land hex or back to the desert, alternating each time the 7 is rolled. This minimizes the impact of the robber on your 2 player game.
  3. You can choose to move the robber strategically to get a resource from the bank: When it’s time to move the robber off of the desert hex and onto a resource hex, you can choose to either place it on your opponent’s hex or on an uninhabited hex. If you choose the latter, you may take that resource from the bank. This is a great move if you really need a particular resource and haven’t been able to get much of it.

What board games do you like to play with your spouse? Let us know in the comments below!

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