Marriage changes a man. For instance, it gives him a dedicated gaming partner who is, more often than not, willing to play a game or two during those quiet weekend afternoons when the two of you have just woken up from a nap. What helps is that we now have a board game table to get us into the mood to sling cards, dice, and a few wails of frustration here and there. At least, that’s my observation 5 months into my married life.
5 months doesn’t give me a whole lot of wisdom to impart, but all the games we’ve played in those 5 months makes me capable enough to provide a list of games that work well for gamer couples. Busy gamer couples, to be exact. Without further ado, here’s the list of games that have managed to hit our table early and often and why they entertain us so:
Maybe it’s the fact that my wife is a beetles fan. Not because of fabulous fours singing of yesterday, but because it’s a versatile trooper that is offensive in its annoyance, what with being able to climb on top of the other insects to trap them or act as a conduit to deploy more insects. Playing around with insects has its charms; games consist of pronouncements that the grasshopper will hop all over youuuu or feelings of antsiness next to the queen bee. The myriad troops at your disposal presents possibilities in deployment and positioning giving you a lot to think about strategically. I never seem to have issues getting my wife to play this one until I start winning too much.
Now Patchwork is a game that fits remarkably well with couples. It’s you and your gaming partner, putting together a quilt in a way that feels personal, even intimate, resulting in much emotional attachment. Each turn, you choose from 3 pieces of cloth from which to add to your quilt. In the course of making a decision, you need to expend time and precious, precious buttons to make it all stick together. Some pieces will give you more buttons to work with down the line, but time is finite! Use up too much of it and you may find your Patchwork quilt to be wholly holey. Play wisely, however, and a wonderful tapestry is all yours to show off.
Schotten Totten (Battleline)
Despite me muttering under my breath about how much I hate Schotten Totten, I secretly find it to be a delight. This game pits two conflicting Scottish clans (a redundancy if there ever was one) in pitched battle. As Clan Leader, your role is to deploy your clansmen in as judicious a manner as possible so that your troops synergize well and bring victory to your people. The poker-like card set ranking system makes it easy to teach and the level of decision-making makes it a game that my wife and I come back to over and over. For the record, as terrible as I am at Schotten Totten, my enjoyment when I lose comes from seeing my wife’s satisfied grin at the end of each game.
7 Wonders Duel
7 Wonders Duel takes 7 Wonder’s card drafting gameplay and presents it in a way that adds satisfying tit for tat gaming. The whole concept of resource accumulation in the first two rounds so you can build mega-buildings and guilds in the third round remains. So does the concept of hate-drafting to prevent your opponent from getting the card they need. The twist they add are more paths to winning: you can skate by on not getting enough points if you can use military actions to force your opponent to the brink or accumulating all the science cards you can. Add in some glittering prizes in the form of Progress Tokens to bless your civilization with special powers and the game succeeds in standing apart from its predecessor.
The game takes the concept of set collecting to new lands through its cadre of camel caravans. In it, your goal is to take stuff that’s sitting in the marketplace, adding it to your stash of filthy lucre, and, in a grand, sweeping motion, turn it into a bucketload of points. And did I mention the camels? You can get a whole squad of those magnificent beasts, keeping them around like a car dealer showing off his collection of Maybachs or telling them to sod off into the god-forsaken desert to bring you all these shinies, and then wonder why they don’t bother to come back home to you. But it’s a lot of fun as both players jockey for the goods where the goodest goods fencer comes home the goodest.
Obviously we’re not the types to play Chess or Go, and Twilight Struggle is reserved for only the most hardcore of couples, but we are curious what games are your go-tos for a couples game night. Let us know in the comments!