Best 2-player board games for couples to play in an hour or less

We play a lot of board games in our house. It’s our Friday wind-down activity that is phone-free, quality couple time. When Olivia was born though, we found this time constantly interrupted and we’ve opted to play games that can play in one hour or less. The list below are games that we love playing, can play in one hour or less, and are different enough that you won’t have a problem having them all in your collection.

These games are great for Valentine’s day, a date night or even to play at lunch time with a friend.

Think something is missing? Let us know in the comments!

Note the following:

Number of players: The number of players the game can play to. However we suggest playing with two (as this is a two-player board game list).

Play time: We’ve selected games that play in an hour or less. As two relatively new parents, as much as we wish we could continue our Gloomhaven campaign (this is a 1000+ hour board game), we just don’t have the time these days.

Travel-friendly: You could technically travel with any board game. We’ve defined travel-friendly as something you can throw in your luggage or carry-on without you having to leave your underwear at home to make space.

Game Weight: This isn’t how much the game physically weighs. This is in reference to how complex a board game is. As BGG defines it: “Community rating for how difficult a game is to understand. Lower rating (lighter weight) means easier.” All games selected below are light-medium weight as most two-player board games that play in an hour or less wouldn’t be able to play out if they were heavy complexity.

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7 Wonders Duel

Number of players: 2 players
Playtime: 30+ mins
Competitive or Cooperative: Competitive
Travel-friendly: No
You’ll like this if you like: 7 Wonders

I’m a huge fan of 7 Wonders but it doesn’t play well as a two-player game. There is a two-player variant in 7 Wonders but it feels lackluster compared to playing with more players, so I was really excited when 7 Wonders Duel was released since it’s designed as a two-player game.

This game can be a little cutthroat though so if you’re looking for a co-operative two-player game, this might not be the one for you. If you’ve played 7 Wonders before, I’ve summarized how to play 7 Wonders duel to make the learning curve quicker.

Hive: A Game Crawling with Possibilities

Number of players: 2 players
Playtime: 20+ mins
Competitive or Cooperative: Competitive
Travel-friendly: Yes
You’ll like this if you like: Chess

The great thing about Hive is that it’s extremely portable and many people would say that it’s the best board game to take while travelling. The game pieces feel wonderful in your hands, similar to classic mah jong pieces. Though it has a bug theme (insects creep me out), it’s a great two-player game that feels like a modern version of chess.

The goal of the game is to surround your opponents queen and there are many different insects that allow you to do different moves to accomplish this. It doesn’t have an actual board but instead the players are creating the playing board as they play. (Think chess meets dominos).

We’ve played it’s portable version everywhere – on the sand, at restaurants, etc.

Exit the game: The Pharoah’s Tomb

Number of players: 1-6 players, best at 2-players
Playtime: Varies depending on how quick you solve the puzzles, avg 1 hour
Competitive or Cooperative: Cooperative
Travel-friendly: Yes
You’ll like this if you like: Escape Rooms

If you’re looking for a cooperative two-player game instead of the many competitive ones out there, an escape room in a box might be perfect for a couples game night.

We’re huge fans of escape rooms – so much so that we’ve picked up many different escape room board games to play at home. Playing escape games at home is perfect for two-player game nights. These games satisfy the escape room craving until you can get out and do a live one. Out of all of the different series that we’ve played so far, the Exit series is our current favourite.

We’ve done about five different games from the Exit series and both agree that the Pharoah’s tomb is our favourite. The puzzles in this game are difficult but rewarding and we didn’t even care what our score/time was, we just had a lot of fun figuring this one out. Note that the Exit series does encourage you to take apart and cut/tear/manipulate things in the box so you won’t be able to package this one up for replay/resale. Some of the games from the Exit series can be completed without destroying any pieces (e.g. Exit: The Abandoned Cabin) but the Pharaoh’s Tomb will be difficult to do so.

Fox in the Forest

Number of players: 2 players
Playtime: 30 mins
Competitive or Cooperative: Competitive
Travel-friendly: Yes
You’ll like this if you like: Euchre

Euchre was a classic game that I played in high school and university. Take a classic trick taking game and add beautiful fox themed artwork, and you get the wonderful game called Fox in the Forest. It’s a great little two-player game and is compact enough that would fit in a Christmas stocking or could be taken for trips. A co-operative version called The Fox in the Forest Duet was also recently released in 2020.

Sagrada

Number of players: 2-4 players
Playtime: 30 mins
You’ll like this if you like: Solitaire, dice, colourful games
Competitive or Cooperative: Competitive
Travel-friendly: No

We find Sagrada such a relaxing game and like it best as two-players. You basically roll a bunch of dice, select one that best suits your strategy and place it on a colourful stained-glass board based on the rules listed in the rule book. It’s a quick game to teach and learn and the set-up is very quick. We love games pretty games with nice tactile pieces. This game will make you feel you like you’re getting your money’s worth.

Fog of Love

Number of players: 2
Playtime: 60-120mins (Can be under in hour for experienced players/quick decision makers)
You’ll like this if you like: Roleplaying
Competitive or Cooperative: Cooperative
Travel-friendly: No

If you’ve ever wondered what other relationships you could have or what other relationships might look like, or want a fun, revealing (or potentially dangerous) game to play with your significant other, Fog of Love is the game for you. In Fog of Love, you are trying to make a relationship work. Full of awkward moments, laughs, and compromise through social deduction. Fog of Love would be the perfect board game to play on Valentines day. Just don’t blame us if your date (in game our out) doesn’t work out!

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