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I LOVE PLAYING GAMES!!! They are just my jam. I get so excited when we get together with friends or family who want to play games because we don’t get to play those 3+ player games at home! Over the past four years together, we have managed to find some two-player games to play at home, but we get bored of them real quick. Since every couple needs to have some games to turn to, especially in the winter time, I figured I would make one big list for us all!

The list I have compiled includes card games, board games, and even tablet/phone app games. I also have subcategories for you:  “Quick” means you can play it under 30 minutes. “Cooperative” means that you have to work together to win together. This is a great option if competition is a sensitive area in your marriage :) 

P.S. Several of the board games listed are also in the app store for you to play digitally.


Board games:

  • Scrabble
    • Classic word game!
  • Yahtzee
    • Classic dice game! You get points for the number combinations you roll.
  • Battleship (Quick)
  • Mancala (Quick)
    • This is a classic fave that I haven’t played in a long time. Object of the game is to collect more marble “stones” than your oponent. You do this by picking up the handful of stones sitting in pockets of a tray, and you drop one in each pocket like bread crumbs as you get to your personal tray. The game has been around since Ancient Egypt so it’s not too complicated, though I may have made it sounds complicated? :)
  • Monopoly
    • We always laugh at how much this game is milked because the same game can be spun in so many different pop culture themes! For example, we have a Star Wars monopoly, a Lord of the Rings monopoly, and the Back to the Future monopoly, haha. (If that doesn’t show how nerdy we are, I don’t know what does!) Having your version of monopoly in a theme you both get a kick out of makes it more fun.
  • Forbidden Island (Cooperative, Quick)
    • A card game with strategy and lots of different scenarios as you try to collect sacred treasures on the island. The longer it takes you to work together and find the treasures, the harder it gets to collect them because there are mystical obstacles that come up.
  • Forbidden Desert (Cooperative)
    • This is a step up from ^^ Forbidden Island, and might take a little longer to play. You have to work together to find resources that can keep you alive as you find your way out of the desert!
  • Chess, Checkers, Batgammon (Quick)
    • classic games, but it’s nice when you can get all three in one board set!
  • Hive
    • Quick to learn and play, but unique and fun! You lay tiles down next to each other in different ways, and that builds the “board” to this game
  • Cribbage
    • Never played this one before, but it sounds like you are trying to earn points at each peg by laying down card combinations from your hand of face cards.
  • Rummikub
    • You’re basically playing rummy but instead of a hand of cards you are playing with tiles.
  • Blokus (Quick)
    • there are tiles of different shapes and you have to lay them down one at a time in a certain way. You can block the other player’s potential moves, and the first one to get rid of all their tiles wins.
  • Pandemic (Cooperative)
    • We played the app version of this game last week and it’s pretty interesting if you’re like me and strategize about what to do in worst-case-scenarios! There are quite a few rules to remember in the beginning and you do have to strategize.
  • Ticket to Ride
    • You’re trying to create railroads from one destination to another. The length can be short or long, depends on the cards you are dealt! It takes a tiny bit of strategy but mostly super fun! It also comes in the Europe option, which could be a nice trip down memory lane if you just got back from a trip there :)

Boardless games:

  • Bananagrams (Quick)
    • Super similar to scrabble and words with friends but easier. Each player creates their own crossword puzzle spelling out words from letter tiles.
  • Jenga (Quick)
    • use the app version if you don’t want the loud sounds of blocks falling and waking up the kids!)
  • Boggle (Quick)
    • Word search game by shaking up a tray of letter dice. Word games are always my fav! There’s also options for larger trays so it opens up how many words you can find: Big Boggle, Super Big Boggle
  • Dominoes (Quick)
    • I love how there are a variety of games you can play with dominoes! If you don’t want to play an actual game, you could just set up a domino obstacle course thing to knock down, haha.
  • Mastermind (Quick)
    • Take turns setting and solving secret codes with colored pegs. We love this one but it does require your thinking cap on so if you’re brain is exhausted from the day, you may not enjoy it as much :)
  • Would You Rather? (Quick)
    • This one sounds so fun, especially for getting to know the random things about what your spouse’s decisions would be in crazy situations :) The nice thing is even though you play it as a board game, you could also just grab a few cards to ask each other back and forth for fun, which is a great entertainment for long road trips ;)

Card Games:

  • Phase 10
    • There are ten phases to this card game that you have to complete in order to win.
  • Games that can be played with 1 or more decks of face cards:
  • Quiddler
    • Each card has a different letter on it and you have to keep drawing cards until you can arrange your hand of cards to spell a word. It sounds like go-fish but instead of trying to find four of a kind in your hand, you’re trying to find a word.
  • Dominion
    • this game was a tough one for me to grasp, but that’s probably because we first played it at a social gathering and I was trying to have conversations and get to know people instead of paying attention to the game, haha. This game changes each time you play, pretty much, which gives a lot of variety if you get sick of the same old thing.
  • Exploding Kittens
    • This is the one I have currently purchased for us and can’t wait to try! It has something to do with kittens, explosions, laser beams, and goats? haha and doesn’t include a lot of strategy, just fun and lighthearted.
  • Xactica 
    • Best explanation I can give having not played it before, is it is a strategy card game including some bidding on “tricks.” Comes from the same family as Five Crowns and Quiddler.
  • Five Crowns
    • There are five suits and colors instead of a typical deck of cards. It’s one of those games where you try and get four of a kind, or a run, etc. And it goes in phases like Phase 10.

App Games:

I’m a big fan of the app route when it comes to two-person games! The quick purchase is convenient when you don’t own the physical game, and having the game on your tablet or phone allows you to play it anywhere instead of confining yourself to a table :) I also love that apps allow you the option to play against each other on your phones even when you’re not in the same room, like Words with Friends! It’s a nice way of staying connected and having fun together throughout the busy day :)

P.S. I won’t put “quick” on these because you either play by levels and can pause or stop at any time.

  • Words with Friends, Yatzee with friends, Chess with friends,
  • OLO
    • It’s kind of like a mix between curling and soccer. Trevor found this game for us last year and we have loved it! The design and colors are aesthetically pleasing, too.
  • Osmos
    • It has a quiet ambiance as if you’re in space or something, haha. You’re this floating bubble and you’re trying to absorb other bubbles to grow bigger. You have to keep away from bubbles bigger than you or you’ll get absorbed and lose.
  • Super Stickman Golf
    • You’re a stick person playing golf on crazy levels. You can play against each other on separate phones but your phones have to be connected at the same time.
  • Crossy Road
    • We play this on our apple TV with the remote and find it to be a hoot! The sound effect when you (the chicken) are hit by a car is hilarious!
  • Heads up!
    • It’s like catchphrase on your forehead, haha. You hold up your phone to your forehead so you can’t see the word that appears on the phone screen. and the other person has to describe or act our the word for you to guess what it is. You pass it back and forth until the timer goes off.
  • Letterpress
    • It’s a different approach to word games, but this one is super popular!

 


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Four reasons why I love these activities in marriage:

  1. Playing games together is an opportunity to build your friendship and have fun! We all need that. Especially when it’s a chance to forget about the world for an hour.
  2. Games are a fun, free, and even flirty way to connect with each other. I say flirty because occasionally we like to play for massages or back scratches from each other :)
  3. Games can be a great alternative to watching TV together, and it’s something that you can do with a short amount of time, too. Netflix and Hulu cannot be the only activity you do every night/weekend together! If your tired from the day, play a game that doesn’t take much brain power :)
  4. Sometimes games are just games, but other times I think playing a certain game can give you perspective in your marriage. Like if you choose to play one of the more cooperative games where you have to work together, it’s the chance to practice at bettering your teamwork in marriage, except the practice is in a low-stakes game :)

If you haven’t played a game together in awhile, I encourage you to do so! As I mentioned above, my favorite way to make games more fun is to raise the stakes to winner gets a massage from the loser, or something like that, haha. That can be a great way segway into increasing your intimacy on the friendship emotional level, AND the physical level. 

Keepin' marriage fresh,
Amy

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