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5 Date Night Board Games (To Play With Your Better Half)

Date Night board games can be difficult to find. There is a delicate balance that needs to be adhered to. They need to be competitive, but not table-flippingly so. They need to be engrossing, without being so engrossing you forget to eat. They need to be interesting, and engaging, and, most of all they need to work well with two players. Such is the quest for the Date Night board game, and why so many have fallen by the wayside.

Still, there are a few games perfect for playing with that special someone in your life. These games restore balance to the force. They are games that are just right, being the baby bear of board games, keeping all the forces of Date Night in perfect equilibrium.

Let’s take a look at five that we like to break out on occasion. I promise you that Chess, Scrabble, and Battleships will not make an appearance on this list.

Our selection of Date Night board games for this list.

Our selection of Date Night board games for this list.

5 Date Night Board Games Worth Playing

The games in this list are tried and tested games – games that have been broken out regularly – so, draw up a chair dear reader, and let’s talk about love…

Fog of Love…for that is the first game we’ll look at.

Fog of Love

 

This is kind of one of the most obvious Date Night board game to start off with. Fog of Love has become well known over the past few months because it seems to break the boundaries of how we look at games. It is a co-operative/semi-co-operative game that describes itself as a romantic comedy, but as a board game. It is original, to state the obvious, and requires role playing from both partners as you create characters and see where the relationship takes you.

All in all, Fog of Love is a really nicely put together game. It has one of my all time favourite mechanics in it, with the other person stating what they first noticed about you as a character. This helps define the game, your character stats, as well as make it fully immersive for both players.

It is a game about love, solidly and firmly focused in making things work between you. Of course, it does not always pan out that way. You can break up as you fail to navigate the rises and falls of a rocky relationship. Sometimes that actually becomes your objectives. All is fair in love and war, after all.

Fog of Love is open. It is exciting. It has a strong narrative, and the more you (as players) invest in that narrative, the more enjoyable you will find the game. We have had a lot of fun playing Fog of Love as we take on different characters, and as we become a different couple starting again.

One of the really nice aspects, especially for those who have been together for a while (six years for instance), is it can help you explore, through being other people, how you would react to different (fictitious) situations. It is, for want of a better term, kind of cool.

There has been a fair amount of criticism online about how Fog of Love plays for couples. It is all too easy, as a couple, to fall into your current relationship. As such, it is possible for characters to just reflect the relationship you have with one another. This means that, for longstanding couples, it is important to play the parts and really become someone else. Act how your character will act, and not necessarily how you will act, and you will have a good time.

Assuming you both play your parts, it is a highly enjoyable game. If only one of you does then that could definitely be a recipe for disaster.

Inbetween

 

 

If you are fans of Stranger Things then Inbetween is a fantastic Date Night board game. In Inbetween you play as opposing sides of the in-between, a realm that strays the line between reality and a kind of hellish nightmare. One player plays as the Darkness, and one plays as the Town. You are in a constant battle, trying to take control of the residents of the town, either helping them live as thriving members of the community, or drag them deeper to belong in the darkness forever.

Inbetween is a fantastically competitive game; however, it is competitive in all the best ways. Yes, it is deceptive. Yes, it requires constantly trying to tip the balance of power within the game; however, it is all those things in a good way. The game is fair, meaning it is hard for players to really be mean to one another. It is competitive without being in a ‘take-that’ style, meaning an air of civility can still be kept.

Inbetween is a tug-of-war rather than a battle against the players. It is more of a grapple than a punch. It is a hug, not a slap. Okay, that last metaphor didn’t really work, but you get the idea.

Ultimately, at its core, Inbetween is an atmospheric game where the players are caught in the in-between world. Play it with candles and a bottle of wine, with creepy music playing in the background (we literally play the Stranger Things soundtrack) and it can be a fantastic evening.

Inbetween is one of the most competitive games on this list. If you are like me (you lucky reader, you) you will need to watch how competitive you get. It is possible to get potentially cold when playing Inbetween so just keep an eye on that and you should have a great evening.

Unfair

 

 

Unfair is one of our all time favourite games to play as a couple. It is one of those games that is as competitive as you need it to be. Quite often, with games, they will be competitive or they will be co-operative. With Unfair, there is the option to make the game…well…unfair, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, it can be a lovely, nice evening making a theme park that has guests screaming for more.

What makes Unfair a really interest Date Night board game is because, in its own way, it is kind of creative. As players, you have the guidelines to make a fairly standard theme park; however, you also have the ability to craft it how you want to craft it within reason. Yes, there will always be objectives dictating how you create your park to some degree; however, it is up to you how closely you stick to those objectives, as well as how you fulfil them.

As mentioned before, Unfair can become a mean and take-that style game – however, the mean-ness is completely optional. It doesn’t have to be cruel or harsh. Instead, it can be a rewarding game where you benefit from the good and complement the other players rather than trying to screw them over.

What is really nice about Unfair is how that doesn’t have to be a conscious choice. The game comes with several ways to modify the game rules, and adapting the game for each time you play. Several of those options make it harder to be mean to one another and that makes them more than welcome editions to the game.

Codenames Duet

 

 

When the board game world found out that Vladimír Chvátil was creating a two player version of his smash hit game, Codenames, it went a bit wild.

Codenames Duet is indeed just that. It is a two player version of Codenames that requires the players to work together to find the spy. The two players sit opposite each other on the table, looking at the same set of words. Each player then has their own set of words to try and get the other player to guess, representing the different spies out in the field. There are also civilians, which you don’t want, and assassins, which will end the game instantly should you choose them.

Together you need to find all the spies within a certain number of turns.

Codenames Duet is a fantastic edition to any collection of board gamers who already love Codenames as it actually brings a few more things to the table. Not only is it a co-op and two player game, but it also introduces a mission map, where each mission allows for different numbers of guesses or turns. It is a brilliant edition and addition, allowing for the game to feel fresh and new, whilst keeping the same feel as the other highly successful Codenames games.

So, what makes Codenames Duet such a good Date Night game?

I think what makes Codenames Duet such a good Date Night game comes down to how it requires you to really know each other to complete the game. Not only do you need to know your dictionary, but you also need to know how your partner thinks. In standard Codenames there are more people per team, and so there are more of you to guess and rationalise. In Codenames Duet there are usually only two of you, so really need to know each other. You really need to know how the other players will construe the clues you give, and that is a real art. Where in Fog of Love being so well connected to your partner can be detrimental to the game, in Codenames Duet the being connected really helps. They are the antithesis to each other.

Onitama

 

 

I don’t think a list talking about great two player board games, which is essentially what a Date Night list is, would be complete without discussing Onitama. It is such a great game that it has to be mentioned.

Onitama is a two player battle of the wits. So far, games on this list have been fun or creative or a little bit competitive. In Onitama, the players have to think genuinely strategically. They have to understand the moves they can make and understand what it is they need to do to take control of the board.

I can often be found writing about Onitama on this blog and one of the reasons for that is because myself and my girlfriend play it all the time. It is one of our favourite games to play on a game or date night and that is for a few reasons.

Firstly, it is a great warm up game. Once again, it has just the right level of competition so it isn’t blood curdlingly frustrating, but it does whet the appetite for larger games.

Secondly, if needs be, it is a good quick game that can be played over and over again, without getting old. We can easily spend an evening playing six games back to back. It is a fantastic game, and one that deserves all the recognition it can get.

Onitama is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best games we have in our collection, and due to the nature of the game it is the perfect date night game for couple who love quick and challenging strategy games.

Conclusion: Date Night Board Games

So, there we have it – five games, each very different to the rest, that make fantastic date night board games. Not every game is right for every couple, but there are enough there to research to see what would be a great game for you.

In the meantime – what are your favourite games to play with your other half? If you don’t have another half, then what are your favourite two player or solo games? Let me know in the comments below.

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26 Comments »

  1. My wife and I are currently enjoying Azul and Potion Explosion as two player games.

    One I’m going to try hopefully tonight is Pagoda. You’re drawing column cards to build up the columns and floors of pagodas. Each player has a hand of 7 cards. However, your opponent sees 5 of your cards. It’s got some wooden column pieces and some floor tiles. So it’s a card game/building game. I like the textual addition of game pieces like that. Looked pretty fun, and it was a cheap game I found used.

    Liked by 2 people

      • It’s my wife’s favorite game. I like it, but haven’t played Sagrada yet so I can’t compare the two. It’s a really easy game to play, so not too heavy. I’d say it’s a good family/gateway game. It has a nice pleasing look to it as well. So if you’re on a date with a non-gamer I can see this one being a nice one to bring out.

        You’re playing the same card over and over with the game, but due to the random tiles you can choose from it feels different each time.

        If you know anyone that has this game, I’d give it a try. If you’re into the light abstract games, this is a good one to try.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We do like light abstract games. We actually almost bought it at the UK Games Expo but decided not to at the last minute, going for other games instead. I wish we had now. It’s still on the list!

          Like

  2. Nice breakdown, Luke, thanks!
    We’ve always gone to the default of board games which can be played down at two plays rather than specifically two-player games. Code Names is a new one so the Duet sounds great! Fog Of Love is another I think we’ll look into.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The wife and I like a bit of Azul as two player. We also recently discovered Hanabi, and were quickly hooked! We spend more time talking about the probabilities, etc than actually playing, but that’s the fun part for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really nice! I haven’t played Codenames Duet yet, but I do end up playing two player games with the kids now and then, so this would be a great one for me to add.

    I’m really intrigued by Fog of Love. Would you say people could end up taking it too seriously? Like your couples break up in the game, and it leaves people in a bad frame of mind, or maybe reflecting on real life arguments? I now that simple competitive games sometimes cause rifts, a ‘roleplaying couples game’ though, could be much worse. I guess I’ll have to find out more about the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would certainly be unusual for people to break up due to falling out in Fog of Love. I suppose it could happen, but it’s not really a risk if you both go in with the right attitude 🤔 from my experience and reading, generally couples have responded well to the game (bar the criticism that they fall into just being themselves) – myself and my partner included.

      On Codenames Duet you can also play in teams 😊 it’s probably not as good for around 8 but it can certainly be played with 4.

      Liked by 1 person

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