180 – Date Night Games – The Family Gamers Podcast
It’s the week of Valentine’s Day, and it got us thinking about games that work well for date night.
What makes a good game for date night? What are a few of our favorites?
Thanks to listener Kyle Nelson for asking a question that inspired this topic.
What We’ve Been Playing
We’re finally catching up from Andrew being sick, so not a lot of time for games.
Bon Appetit! (see below)
Kintsugi – one of Anitra’s favorites to carry around
Filler – one of Claire & Anitra’s favorites to play together (our review).
Pocket Ops – a tic-tac-toe game where you predict where the other player will go.
Tussie Mussie – coincidentally, a great date game!
Dungeon Academy – fast-paced roll and write game from the OP (our review).
Andrew also taught Sagrada, Drop It, Quacks of Quedlinburg, and Spaceteam at our hosted game night.
We tried Mountain Dew Maui Burst (it’s pineapple flavored). If you enjoy Mountain Dew, you’d probably like it – we certainly enjoyed it but wouldn’t seek it out again.
“That weird yellow flavor that Mountain Dew has… It tastes like yellow 5!”Anitra
(Correction: we called it Maui Blast, but it’s actually Maui Burst.)
SNAP Review – Bon Appetit!
We review this short but fancy bidding game from Strawberry Studio. Can you accumulate the most exquisite meal by bidding at the right time with your hand of gems?
See our SNAP review for a summary and more pictures.
What makes a good date night game?
Generally we’re thinking about games that are fairly portable and play very well at two players. But there’s more to date night than just portability and player count.
A good game for date night:
You have to be able to talk to each other while you’re playing. The whole point of a date is to interact with each other!
Perfect information games (nothing hidden) can be really good for this. If you get caught up in conversation and later return to the game, it’s less of a struggle to remember your strategy and what information you knew before.
Isn’t (too) combative
On date night, we stay away from themes that are heavy or combative. Growing the best trees or feeding your “flock” has a different feel than a fighting game where you beat down your opponent. Especially stay away from games where you “bleed” your opponent slowly.
For example: Onitama is a two-player game where you will take your opponent’s pieces, but that’s not the main goal.
Doesn’t dominate the table
We circle back to portability. “The box could be big, but the table presence can’t be.” Date night games are not just about the game, so you don’t want it to take over the table.
As we talked about in episode 154, we want a date night game to encourage players to interact. We’re looking for a social experience, played together. “Together separately” is a critical part of a healthy relationship, but is not what we’re looking for on date night!
Our top games for date night
Onitama – as we already mentioned above. Two players only, perfect information game. Your goal is to capture the “king”, but it doesn’t usually bleed your opponent dry. (our review)
Tussie Mussie – all about sharing! And it’s about expressing love through the secret language of flowers.
Shobu – bends our “overly combative” rule, but doesn’t break it. It looks pretty and abstract, and it’s a perfect information game. A little bit big to carry, but not too big on the table. (our review)
Triplock – bends the “hidden information/communication” rule. It’s all about hidden information and has a lot of interaction with the other player. You need to be laser-focused on this game to play well.
Seikatsu – a game of nearly-perfect information, all about making groups of birds and lines of flowers. (our review)
Senshi – a very compact set-collection/set-creation game. Hold pieces in the palm of your hand.
Cartographers – compact, a bit more complex than some of our other choices. The same information is available to all players, and player interaction happens when you mark “goblins” on another player’s map.
Jaipur – one of Andrew’s favorite two-player games. It strikes a very good balance between player interaction (common cards in the middle) and personal focus (your own tableau).
Knot Dice – incredibly compact (18 dice!) and very pretty. Several options of play, from very puzzley games with little interaction, to cooperative games, and even story-telling. (our review)
The Grizzled – this breaks our rule for theme. “It’s World War I, and we’re all going to die!” However, it’s a cooperative game that fosters a really wholesome feel of brotherhood. We always finish the game feeling really good.
Brave Rats – a sort of combination of Love Letter and War. Each player has a clan of rats where the prince is trying to win the heart of the opposing princess. A very simple trick-taking game that’s all about love winning in the end. Not a game you can put down and pick up again, but it plays so quickly (about 5 minutes) that it doesn’t really matter.
Valentine’s Suggestions from our Listeners
Walking in Burano – looks really beautiful
Love Letter – not necessarily a good game for two players, but great for your family.
Tussie Mussie – perfect for the occasion, and works for up to four players.
Chocolate Factory and The Chocolatiers – Who doesn’t love chocolate for Valentine’s Day?
Parfum and Cacao – we know nothing about these, but they sound appropriate for the day.
Our family decides Filler, Rocky Road a la Mode, or Dinosaur Tea Party would be our favorites for this day.
What will your family play on Valentine’s Day? Tell us.
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