Oh hey there! What’s that you say? You’ve got a date coming up? And you’re looking for something different from dinner and movie? Well don’t worry. My name is David, and I’m the Game Master here, so come visit The Castle and we’ll give you some suggestions for …
Great Date Night Games
Whether this is your first date with another person or it’s a scheduled date night with your significant other, these five games are a good start in picking out a game for two. For the most part, most of these games are meant to be light, easy to pick up and learn on the spot, and easy to talk over while playing. So with that in mind, let’s jump into a few suggestions!
Quarto is a classic game with simple mechanics that still manages to open itself up to deep strategy. The first player to to line up four pieces all sharing a similar attribute calls out “Quarto!” declaring their victory. The trick is that each piece has four different qualities to it ranging from color and shape to design and density. When a player starts their turn, the other player hands them the piece they must place during their turn. This continues back and forth until someone finds four matching shapes, declares “Quarto!” and wins the game.
Quarto is not just a great first date game because of its simplicity. The act of giving your date the next piece to play can also be a great way to spark light conversation or even be a little bit playful.
Mastermind is one of the great classic two player games, and if you’re a fan of abstract strategy and code breaking, give Mastermind a shot! The basic premise is that one player plays as the codemaker while the other plays as the codebreaker. The codemaker creates a sequence of four colored pegs behind the small shield on one end of the board. Each turn, the codebreaker tries to guess the code by placing four colored pegs in the next available row on their side of the board. Once the guess is made, the codemaker places smaller pegs next to the row just played in. The small pegs tell the codebreaker that they either have the appropriate color in the right position (small colored peg) or they have the right color but it’s in the wrong position (small white peg). Through this dialogue of color codes, the codebreaker builds upon their mistakes in an attempt to best the codemaker.
So why is this a good date game? Once again, the answer lies in its simplicity. The game is designed to be played by two people, and the straightforward instructions allow you to jump into the game without worrying too much about a lengthy rules explanation. There’s also a good amount of downtime while playing that can be used for general conversation.
Pentago is an abstract strategy game with simple rules that will allow you to jump right into the game without too much setup or rules explanation. The goal of the game is to get four of your marbles in a row before the other player can do so. The twist in this simple strategy game is that each of the four quadrants of the board can be slid out and rotated, so after you place a marble you need to rotate one of the quadrants ninety degrees. If you’re not careful, a quadrant can be spun into position to set up the other player for an easy four-in-a-row victory.
While Blink is simple in nature, as well, this fast paced card game isn’t played in turns like any of the previous games. Instead, each player receives half of a deck of cards that have a variety of shapes, colors, and quantities of shapes on them. Before the game begins, two cards from each player’s deck are placed face up in the middle of the table (These will be the two discard piles you’ll both be playing cards to throughout the game) and then each player draws a hand of three cards. Once the game begins, you can play cards to one of the two center stacks by matching up any one of the qualities (shape, color, or number) on your card. The first person to discard their entire deck first wins.
Like the other simple games presented so far, Blink can be picked up and played right away. However, the “date” side of your board game date will probably occur between hands. Take the time while separating the decks and dealing the cards to just talk, and starting a new hand can be a perfect transition from chatting to playing a game together.
Pagoda is a bit of a departure from the simple games we’ve talked about already, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable as a date night game. Once it’s understood, Pagoda is a blast to play, and has a strategic depth that is enjoyable to dive into. I won’t ramble my way through the rules here, but I think a general explanation is appropriate. In Pagoda, two players compete against each other in an attempt to gain the most points. Points are earned by building columns, floors, and roofs of pagodas. Each turn, a player has the option of playing a combination of cards from their closed hand (2 cards only they can see) and their open hand (5 cards the other player can see) to build these various structural pieces to advance the pagodas. At the end of their turn, they advance their player marker around the score track based on what they managed to build. As floors are completed, players are awarded special powers and the value of each column per floor increases. This is where the strategic side of Pagoda comes into play, and this is part of what makes it such a joy to play. Plus, at its most simplistic core, the wooden pieces and thick cardboard tiles are just fun to build with!
If you and your date are familiar with board games, and you’re looking for something with more complexity, Pagoda is a great game to pick up and try out.
With a great selection of board games and cafe style drinks and snacks, The Castle is a great date night destination if you’re looking for a unique experience on Boston’s north shore! So swing on by, check us out, and consider bringing your next date to the Castle. You’re bound to have a great time.
(Special thanks to Caleb Owen of O&M Films for taking the photos for Quarto and the cover.)