Posts tagged ‘family’

Fun Family Activities – Playing Games with your Spouse/Partner

Author: Seth Brown –

Why Game with your Partner?

A friend of mine once told me, “Board gaming is like sex:  It’s a lot more fun with someone you really like.”

Presumably, if you have a spouse or partner, you really like that person. And you probably like board games too, whether for the brain health benefits, strategic challenge, or pure fun. It stands to reason, then, that combining those two things you like would be a great idea. Board gaming with a loved one is not only a cost-effective way to get an evening’s entertainment, but is also much more interactive than sitting in front of a movie. By playing a game with your partner, you’re really spending an evening *with* her, not just next to her.

Make the Suggestion

Casually bring up the idea to your partner. Tell him, “Hey, instead of a movie tomorrow night, would you be up for trying a game?” If your partner doesn’t seem receptive at first, be willing to postpone gaming with him for another night, after you’ve brought it up again. You don’t want to push really hard and demand gaming when your partner isn’t in the mood for it, or he’ll be pre-disposed not to enjoy it.

Bring it up again later and be willing to compromise. If your partner will agree to game with you instead of watching another TV show one night, then you may have to agree to try one of his hobbies. But don’t worry; in many cases, once your partner gets a taste for playing good games with someone he loves, he’ll be hooked.

Choose Your Games Carefully

This is probably the most important thing you can do when planning a game night with your partner. If you’re looking to get her to play games with you, then you’ve got to pick the games that she is most likely to enjoy. First of all, consider how much gaming your partner has done in the past. If she’s never played a board game before, then it doesn’t matter how great your favorite complex strategy game is, because it’s probably going to be too complicated for to enjoy it as her first modern board game. You’ll want something with rules that can be learned in five minutes.

Think about what your partner likes, and pick games with themes or mechanics that might appeal to her. If she likes Indiana Jones movies, consider a game with an archaeology theme like Lost Cities. If she likes playing Tetris, consider Blokus.

Make sure the game you have chosen plays well with two players. Some games like Lost Cities are made specifically for two players. And some games like Dominion can handle up to four players, but play wonderfully with two. However, certain multi-player games (especially auction-based games) become less fun with fewer than three players, so if you’re not sure, try it out with another friend first, so your partner doesn’t suffer.

Start Slow

Don’t overwhelm your partner by demanding a 4-hour gaming session on your first night.

Your ideal game for a first night out should have simple rules and a playtime of under a half-hour, so you can play a few games of it without taking the whole evening. Lost Cities and Dominion are both highly recommended.

Treat the first game as a learning experience. Play with your hands open, allow your partner to take back moves, and so forth. The only people playing are you and your partner, so you don’t need to worry about slowing things down for anyone else.

Finally, avoid being hyper-competitive, unless you know that your partner enjoys it. Forcing your partner into a new hobby so you can trounce him and gloat about it is not going to make him want to play games again.

The More The Merrier

If your partner starts enjoying gaming as much as you do, make it a regular occurrence. Set aside one night a week as “game night”, and you’ll know that you can both look forward to quality time with the one you love – whether that one happens to be Lost Cities or Dominion.


December 21, 2008 at 9:35 am 1 comment

Apples To Apples – A Party Card Game About Comparisons

Author: Seth Brown –

  • 4-10 players
  • 30-45 minutes
  • 12 years and up

Apples to Apples is a party game, so there isn’t really any underlying theme. You’re playing the game to try and guess how other players think of various random things. What does Bob think is more Friendly: The 1960s, The Green Bay Packers, Pancakes, or the Ocean?

What’s In the Box?

Lots and lots of cards with a few words on them.

Most of these cards are red-backed and list things, ranging from various celebrities and historical figures to everyday objects to places to weird personal references like “My first kiss”. These generally have a quote on them.

A smaller number of cards are green-backed and have descriptions and adjectives, which range from “Sexy” to “Peaceful”, and have a few synonyms on the card.

There is also a tray to hold the cards.

How Do You Play?

Deal everyone a hand of red cards with things on them. The current judge picks up a green card and reads the adjective. All non-judge players must choose the card from their hand to which they feel that adjective best applies, and play it face-down.

Once cards are down, the judge reveals all cards, and decides which one is best described by his adjective. (The judge’s decisions are always final, which is why he’s called the judge.)

The player whose card was chosen wins the green card as a point. Then the next player draws a new green card to read, and she becomes the judge. Repeat ad infinitem.

What’s Cool?

Apples to Apples is a very fun and silly game with the right group. The best games often feature judges who explains their decisions as they go along, saying things like, “Well, I’m pretty sure Breakfast Cereal isn’t very Scary. Einstein’s hair might be Scary, but he isn’t. Which leaves Vampires and Telemarketers… I know which one I’m more afraid of. Telemarketers it is!”

As a party game, Apples to Apples is incredibly accessible. You can take a room full of people who have never played a game in their lives, explain the game in three minutes, and all will be enjoying it three minutes after that. It’s great with a large group, and watching the variety of judge personalities is always entertaining.

Naturally, playing to the judge is a huge part of the game. If Susan thinks football is stupid, and she’s judging for the card that says “Stupid”, then you should play your Football card – even if you think it’s the greatest game ever invented. This results in a better game among closer friends.

What’s Not To Like?

Since so much depends on knowing the judge, Apples to Apples can be frustrating for a player who does not really know the other judges. This can result in a game going sour for a close group with a single newcomer, because the newcomer simply doesn’t know enough about the people judging in comparison to everyone else.

Also, some serious gamers may complain that the game is too arbitrary because other players can simply choose who wins. But it is a mistake to think of Apples to Apples as a competitive game. It is a party activity, and while technically there is a score kept and a final winner, it’s largely irrelevant to the enjoyment of the game.

Overall Thoughts

Apples to Apples is a great little party game sure to spark some interesting arguments about why certain inanimate objects are more generous than others, as players lobby for their own selection. It plays very well with families, making it the perfect game for parents with children who can’t really hold their own in strategic games.

Buy Your Own Copy of Apples to Apples Here

December 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm 2 comments

Thurn And Taxis Strategy Board Game Video Posted

If you like the board game Ticket To Ride, you will probably want to take a look at Thurn & Taxis, a strategy board game published by Rio Grande Games. This game won the German Spiel Des Jahres award several years back, so that alone is a stamp of quality.

The theme of this game is the postal service in Italy. This was the first real postal service and it was run by the Taxis family. This postal service is still in operation today and it is the basis of the US Postal Service. So, alone, this game has a historical setting and some good background information is provided with the instructions.

The point of Thurn and Taxis is to strategically connect cities to create postal routes. Like Ticket To Ride, you draw hands of cards and then use the cards available to build these routes. From there, it becomes Ticket to Ride on steroids. There are bonuses for putting routes in different provinces, you can lose the routes you are building because of a bad card draw, you need to strategically upgrade your postal cart with longer routes, and you gain or lose points based on your wooden houses and how you use them or don’t use them. Many of the point tokens are hidden, so you really don’t know the final score until the end. There is a beginning game, middle game, and end game.

This video is not designed to teach you everything you need to know to play, nor is it a review video. The goal is for you to be familair with the basic mechanics of the game and to assist you in determining if this is a game you want in your game library. It should have enough information in it for you to start enjoying your first game, while referencing the rules.

Buy your copy of Thurn & Taxis here.

November 12, 2008 at 10:54 pm 1 comment


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