Date Night Board Games / by Brohgan Dieker


Two player board games are a perfect Christmas present for parents of young kids. This list of board game suggestions are affordable, fun, and worth replaying again and again. Being a parent means that one thing is certainly true: you spend the majority of your evenings at home with children asleep.

While every couple should continue to go out on regular dates through any life stage, it isn't always realistic to get a sitter, especially in the winter. Inclement weather and cold/flu season can undo the best date night plans with little warning.

On a cozy night in, my husband and I pull out the two player board games! It's the perfect date night substitution!

Our collection of two player board games has slowly grown over the years.  We have now been married for eight and a half years, and almost every Christmas, birthday and anniversary has included a two player board game as a gift.

We love these games! We like games that include strategy, but not so much that we can't wrap our minds around the game's concept at the end of a long day. While we are competing against each-other, we aren't always in direct competition, which keeps the mood fun and laid back. Most of them take less than an hour to play.

Almost all of these games can accommodate more than two players! When our kids are old enough, they can join in the fun. When we have guests over, we often open the cabinet and pull out a game.


This game is our favorite! One tile at a time, taking turns, you build an entire map! You lay down cities, roads, monasteries, and fields with a strategy to score as many points as possible. You don't know your score until the very end, so the competition is there, but it's still casual. Adam and I are competitive people who both enjoy winning, but this game keeps the competition casual and fun.

Expansion packs have been a fun anniversary gift to give to each other over the years, and in addition to the original set, we also use the Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders expansion sets, The River (which is included in newer editions of the original game but wasn't at the time when we purchased ours), and some of our favorite tiles come from the mini expansion sets. Over the years, with our specific expansions added, our Carcassonne game has become something that is very unique and specialized to our family.

You can also buy the entire Carcassone game with all the expansions at the same time for a fair price.

Banana Grams

I'm guessing that this is a game that you have probably heard of before, and might even own. Even with just the two of us, it's always fun to pull out Banana Grams. Many a Friday evenings in college were spent playing this game in various coffee shops. Even now, we still like to pull it out, partially for the nostalgia. (Also, our dog ate our banana bag probably five years ago, and we have never forgiven her!)

Code Names

You really can't argue against almost two thousand five star reviews on Amazon. In Codenames, you give one word clues to identify hidden "agents" in the cards on the table. This game is absolutely great with two people and with a bigger group, which is awesome! While it's not necessary to have a separate edition to play with two players, Codenames: Duets has been released recently, and it offers a new cooperative gameplay option for two players (and also still works for a party).


"You are a monarch, like your parents before you. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams. You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion.

In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodum. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner. But wait. It must be something in the air, several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way."

We love this game! We were actually pretty obsessed with it for a while when we first were gifted it.  I actually own the first edition of Dominion, but the second edition has streamlined rules, and that seems like a big improvement.

Dominion has plenty of expansions, and you can customize it to your taste! We haven't explored this yet, but we've come close to buying expansions many times. Highly recommend!

Forbidden Island

Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. If you are looking for bang for your buck, this is it! This game is very easy on your Christmas budget, but we have always enjoyed playing it. Forbidden Dessert is very similar. Both have received terrific reviews on Amazon. My only complaint is that the replay value isn't great; it gets a little repetitive, and we will put it away for a few months or a year before we play it again. For the money, though, you really can't go wrong.

Love Letter

I'll play this with anyone who is willing, but my husband refuses to play anymore. (I always win.) This game was nice because it's very compact. I could carry it in my wallet. And, if I remember correctly, it was fairly easy to learn. The rules read like a fairytale storybook: the Princess has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on messengers to give her love letters.

Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck, for 2–4 players. Get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while keeping other players’ letters away.

The Batman edition of this game looks really fun too!


I have to admit, I don't actually own this game, and I have never played it with my husband. But, this was the first two player board game I ever played. My brother and I were completely obsessed with it for a summer. I'm going to have to comb my parent's game closet during Christmas, because I would love to play it again this month!

Ticket To Ride

I have to admit, I saw this game on shelves at Target for a long time before I owned it, and I expected it to be a little over-hyped. I was wrong. This is really fun with a big group, but we also really enjoy it at home with two players! Each time we play it, it's a little bit different.


I'm saving the absolute best for last on this list, but it's also by far the most expensive. They have improved the manufacturing process, and it has come down in price over the years, but it is still one of the most expensive games on this list. And, in our opinion, it was worth it!

Each time we play this game, it's very different. The strategy changes from game to game. It takes time to figure out how to play, and it takes at least an hour to get through, but we have always ended feeling very satisfied. A game for 1-4 players ages 12 and up; play time is 30 minutes per player. Amazing replay value!

My Wish List

I have an ongoing list of 2 player games that I have never played. If anyone would like to get me these for Christmas, I would not be upset!

The Flops

We're really not too picky, but there are just a couple of games that we probably won't reach for in the game cabinet unless someone else is asking to play it.

  • Pandemic -- our biggest beef with this game is that we have NEVER won! Because of that, we always end feeling a little the world is about the end and it's our faults.
  • Rivals for Catan -- we borrowed this from a friend and brought this on vacation once, but it just really made us miss our games at home. If I'm in a mood for Catan (which requires at least 3 players) and I don't 'have a big enough crowd, there's an ipad app that I enjoy more than this game.


This post contains affiliate links but only for things I have used and love. This means that at no added cost to you, I get a small percentage of every sale. I do not endorse anything that I myself would not use. You can view my full disclosure policy here. Thank you.

Two player board games are a perfect Christmas present for parents of young kids. This list of board game suggestions are affordable, fun, and worth replaying again and again.