Making Dates at Home with Board Games

Leah Outten  @thegracebond
August 29, 2016  | Last Updated: August 29, 2016


Let me paint the mental picture for you how different my husband and I are: I love to be still, doing quiet activities like reading or crafting, while my husband loves to be active outside. He loves watching any sport possible, while it puts me to sleep in boredom. We are quite opposite in many ways, so you can see how it took years of many trials and errors to find a common interest for us to do together as a couple that we both enjoyed. Add in the fact that we have four young children and we find ourselves at home once they are in bed saying, “Okay, what now?” Watching shows or movies are fine and dandy some nights, but it really does nothing for us to feel connected and get us talking. If we aren't feeling connected, then we tend to bicker more. Can you relate?


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Finally, a revolution came to our quality time together about two years ago. We were going on a solo trip to a wedding for nearly a week and knew we would be secluded in a cabin for most of that time with no internet or technology. Besides napping or exploring the outside, what could we do? Thankfully my husband found board games. Now, these aren't your typical mainstream board games like Monopoly and Risk. No, we dove head first into the other realm of board gaming world. After reading and watching lots of reviews, we settled on Pandemic to be the entertainment in our little cabin. We sat at the table kitchen table soaking in the sunshine through the window or playing by lantern glow for hours that week. We chose that game because it was a cooperative game, meaning we were a team and we both lost or won together. Taking the competition out of the game makes for a more fun bonding experience while you strategize together.

Now we have at least one night we set aside for us to have our indoor date at home with one game (or a few) from our ever-growing board game collection. We get the kids in bed before we start — or sometimes we are more alert on a Sunday afternoon so we put on a movie for them while the baby naps and tell them this is our time so we can have a strong marriage. Kids don't want their parents to get divorced, so they usually respect that logic! Over the past two years, we've played many together, but we've narrowed down this list to be our top favorites to play together. 


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This is a cooperative game in which you and your teammate travel across the world treating infections and finding resources for cures of diseases. We enjoy the challenge of beating the game together — or when it beat us.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Another cooperative game, this one is unlike any other game we've played. It is played in only 10 minutes — so it's great for a quickie when the kids are content even during the daytime. It is very intense and fast paced, but loads of fun because of it. You work together as a team to escape a cursed temple, using dice to match symbols within each room and helping each other as you make your way out.


This game is set in Morocco, and your goal is to trade valuable goods in exchange for victory points. The player with the most victory points wins. Who doesn't like dealing with gold, silver, and jewels? We love how quick this game is, and it is always a toss-up who will win the most rounds out of three.


Let it be known, I have yet to win a game of Patchwork. But I still love it for the relaxation of this game along with the challenge of trying to beat my husband. Simply put, this game is a mix of quilting and Tetris in which you gather various shapes of fabric and fit them onto your quilt board. We like the puzzle feel, it's also a short game, and it is another that doesn't take much brain power yet still is challenging to gain the most points to win based on placement.


This is a tile laying game in which you build roads, cities, and monasteries and strategically place your meeples to gain points. I love this game because it is simple to play when it's 9 p.m. and you are brain-dead from hanging out with four kids all day. Very easy and low key, yet fun to see who ends up with the most points.

Lost Cities

As explorers, two players travel to beautiful natural wonders of the world. As you play cards you further your exploration and gain points. This game takes about 30 minutes to play, and I like that the more you play the more strategies you gain to kick your partner's booty.

Some of these games are found in local stores like Target or board game specialty stores, but typically we find the best deals and selections on Amazon. We also play many of these with our older kids for family game night, which changes the dynamic of each game slightly. We find board games to be a great de-stresser for us at the end of the day and bonding experience — unless he beats me out of nowhere in the last minute of Instanbul and we don't talk for two days (just kidding, I got over it!).


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