One of the most rewarding parts of the board gaming hobby is getting to share it with the people around you. Whether it is friends you’re showing Pandemic for the first time, family members gathering to play The Resistance, or a close group of gaming friends coming together for their twentieth game of Agricola, gaming is one of my favorite ways to spend time with the people around me.
Since meeting my significant other Emily, she has developed an affinity for gaming, and we have grown as a couple by playing games together. Here are the top 6 reasons enjoy gaming together.
Gaming gets you away from the TV
Getting home from work, it is easy to turn on Netflix or a video game, get sucked in to that, and practically forget your significant other is in the room with you. Playing games is the perfect excuse to put down the controller and talk to the person across the table from you.
We recommend Welcome To as the perfect game to get you away from the TV. Instead of watching a 25 minute episode of How I Met Your Mother, take on the task of building the perfect development. The gameplay is quick enough that you don’t need to dedicate an entire evening to playing the game and you can still watch an episode of a TV show afterwards to wind down if need be.
Gaming Builds Memories
Part of growing as a couple is building and developing memories together, and board games are a great way to do that. Whether it was the time I explained the rules to Wingspan incorrectly and Emily developed an unstoppable engine, or working together to fight off an onslaught of enemies in Gloomhaven, or cornering the market in Food Chain Magnate we still reminisce about so many memories from games we’ve enjoyed together.
Without a doubt, the game Emily and I share the most memories about is Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. The legacy mechanisms created memorable moment after memorable moment where we would work together to tackle the problems the game faced. As the game changed based on our actions, we grew as a couple enjoying those experiences together.
Gaming Opens up New Avenues of Communication
As we’ve grown and changed as a couple, learning to communicate well is one of the most important steps Emily and I have taken. Playing games together has given us a space to learn to communicate in new ways. Games put us in a competitive environment where tensions can run high and it forces us to remember that the person across the table is not an opponent, but instead someone we truly care about.
The Mind is the perfect game to focus on communicating with your significant other. Since you can’t talk, you’re forced to learn about each other’s non-verbal communications. Staring your partner in the eyes and trying to read their mind is one of the most intimidating tasks you can face, and The Mind provides you with that challenge in spades.
Gaming Teaches you About the Other person
I’m of the impression that there is always more you can learn about your significant other. For instance, I recently learned Emily fundamentally opposes dog-earing books. Board games can teach you about your partner’s priorities. Things like the amount of randomness in the game, the importance of theme, and what types of interaction they like are applicable to other aspects of your relationship.
One of my biggest surprises in gaming with Emily is how much she enjoys Vinhos. Vital Lacerda games are known for their complexity but thematic integration. After seeing the bottle of wine on the front, Emily wanted to give it a try. At the end of the play, Emily told me to leave it on the table because we were playing it again the next day. Emily enjoyed both the theme of the game and her ability to plan far in advance, allowing her to beat me handily. Vinhos won’t be the game for everyone, but games with exciting and unique themes are a great way to get your partner interested in games outside of what they might be used to.
Gaming with Couples is a Great Group Activity
Gaming with other couples is a natural way to bond and make friends. Whether they’re already gamers, or new to the hobby there is a game you and your significant other can share with couple friends. Team games such as Codenames or coops like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle are gentle, but fun introductions to the hobby. Party games such as One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Just One make for good ice breakers for larger groups.
Our favorite game to share with couples is Meeple Circus. There is no game that brings more laughter to the table than it’s stacking antics. The sound track and rushed gameplay keeps players on their own play areas while the music is playing, but once it stops everyone gets a chance to comment and laugh as they see what was built around the table.
Gaming Creates Cheap Date Nights
Related to getting away from the TV, gaming can be taken on the road! With gaming cafes popping up around the world, bars and restaurants where you can bring games, or even on vacations, gaming is one of the most portable hobbies imaginable. All you have to do is take a game or two in a bag and your night at the bar with a few drinks turns into a game night on the road!
One of our favorite portable games is the clever two player trick-taking game – Fox in the Forest. Card games are the perfect games for a night out because they’re portable and can be played on a variety of surfaces. Fox in the Forest especially has a small profile and is quick to play. I also recommend picking up a Quiver card game carrier. Mine contains Fox in the Forest, Race for the Galaxy, Arboretum, That’s so Clever (also known as Ganz Schon Clever), and a number of other games that we like to take on the road. The Quiver is a great carrying case, allowing you to safely bring smaller games with you anywhere you can imagine.
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Gaming has been an incredibly valuable part of my relationship. It has helped us grow and laugh together, while creating intensely memorable moments. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. But also, if you are a couple that games together, don’t forget to put down the games and enjoy your significant other’s company. Happy Valentine’s Day from my family to you.