**The StandardAmericanDad.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.**
A solid Board Game Collection can provide excellent variety for quality time with your significant other during Date Nights In. There are many games that can be played with just 2 players. Also, if you have a small group of socially isolated friends a game night is an excellent option.
Rediscovering Our Love for Games
In the recent months we’ve spent a lot more time at home than usual. We spent a lot of time on Netflix at first. More recently we find ourselves getting some separation on opposite ends of the house doing or own thing. While space is healthy to an extent we also need some good quality time together. Date nights with little ones in the middle of a pandemic are non existent so we started creating our own date nights in on Friday and Saturday nights. For us this looks like PJs, popcorn, a drink, music, and a board game.
We also took several games with us on our kid free mountain vacation in a tiny house! It made a great way to unwind after a long day of hiking while avoiding crowds of people at bars and restaurants. Outdoors and Board Games… I was in heaven!
Our Board Game Collection has grown exponentially in the last year. I highly recommend giving some of the games below a try you won’t be disappointed!
Start a Board Game Collection
First you have to decide what type of personalities you are working with. You should know by now whether you can handle an in depth strategy game, if you need something simple and relaxing, or if you are like us and fall somewhere in between. For this reason we have a variety of go to games depending on our energy levels and available time. I’ve broken them into a few categories below with a board game review, description, and rating.
Quick Game / Easy Play:
Rummikub (4 / 5) with 4 players (2.5 / 5) with 2 players
A rummy family game with tiles. Create runs of the same color or groups of the same number with different colors. Manipulate existing runs and groups using your own tiles to be the first to go out. This game gives your brain a good workout while you try to get creative envisioning the best way to use your tiles. A 2 min timer per turn keeps the game moving at a nice pace. Generally can be learned in 5-10 min. With ~1 hr play.
Strategy Games for Average Board Gamers:
Pandemic (4.5 / 5)
A Coop Game of players vs the board. Its a new style of game for me but I really like it. While it is fun with 2 players I think it could be great with more! It’s nearly impossible to win on difficult setting with 2 players unless you have the right Specialist cards! Work together to find cures and prevent outbreaks throughout the globe. The difficulty increases with each epidemic that occurs. If only the Covid-19 Pandemic could be eradicated with a couple of well planned moves! Easy to moderate learning curve. This game can vary in length, short if you are really bad or longer for a more proper game! I would guess around 30-45 min play on average.
***Make sure you don’t lose the tiny cubes!
7 Wonders (Duel) (4.8 / 5)
Great 2 player game with massive replay ability. This is a resource based strategy game with multiple paths to victory. Manage your finances and resources carefully. There is a somewhat painful learning curve just due to all of the moving parts. You will continue to learn new details as you reference the rule book for the first several games. I would estimate 30 min play time after the first game.
The original 7 Wonders is actually a multiplayer game but we opted for the 2 player version as we often don’t have other people to play with.
Ticket To Ride (4 / 5)
Its a fun game with 2 people, but would be way more challenging and fun with additional players. Reach victory by completing routes between cities and accumulating the most points for railroad construction. Plan ahead and attempt to create links between your cities for an end game points boost. Or make life difficult for your opponents by blocking their path. There is a Very Easy Learning curve. 45 min play time on average.
Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Cooperative Board Game | Ages 8+ | 2 to 4 players | Average Playtime 45 minutes | Made by Z-Man Games (Board Game)
Strategy Games for Deep Thinkers:
Scythe (4.5 / 5)
This game is an anomaly. A single player can play the board in a version called Automa. Otherwise you can play with up to 5 players in an in depth resource based strategy game where you need to plan out your path to victory. There is massive replay ability as each faction has different abilities and no two games will be alike. I will admin the learning curve was painful. Luckily there are excellent YouTube videos to help out! Our first set up and play though with 2 players and a YouTube set up video was pushing 4 hours. I expect future games to be around the 2 hour mark as suggested on the box.
Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Game – An Engine-Building, Area Control for 1-5 Players, Ages 14+, Gray (Toy)Features:
- It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory”, which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries
- Lead your faction to victory, building mechs, working the land, and exploring the mysterious factory, all while protecting your territory from the mechs of other encroaching factions
- Explore the alternate-history of 1920 plus Europe through Jakub Różalski’s stunning artwork
- For 1-5 players
- Plays in 90-120 minutes
A Deck of playing cards can add immense variety to your Board Game Collection. Sometimes board games require too much set up or you might not have space to bring them with you on a trip. Cards make an excellent low volume option.
Golf (4 / 5)
A simple easy to learn card game that uses 1-2 decks of playing cards depending on the number of players. The goal is to have the lowest score just like normal golf after 9 rounds. Players are dealt 6 cards lying face down in 2 rows on the table, they choose 1 column to flip over. Then they must trade cards with the draw or discard pile attempting to get the lowest total points possible. If they choose a face down card then the new card that replaces it goes face up. The round is over when 1 player turns their last card over. Then everyone gets one more turn using the Draw pile only. Stay tuned for a detailed How to Play Golf Card Game Post.
Canasta (Family favorite as a teenager) (4.5 / 5)
I’ve never met anyone that knows how to play this outside of my family. Even most of my family has forgotten. I fear its a lost game, now that I think about it I must revive it!
It is a 4 player game utilizing 2 decks of playing cards where you work with a partner opposite the table from you. (Great for Couples) The goal is to lay down a meld (set of like value cards) and eventually make a Canasta (set of 7 can include wild cards) before emptying your hand. A Canasta makes all your points positive being caught without a Canasta makes them all negative. First to 5,000 pts wins. Stay Tuned for a How to Play Canasta Post!
Skip Bo (3.5 / 5)
A 2-6 player sequence based card game where the goal is to use your entire stockpile of 30 cards by playing and planning your discard piles properly for sequencing sets 1-2. The box says ~20 minutes but I recall more like 45 min long games.
Uno (3 / 5)
I know, I know, everyone loves a game of Uno. It’s fun, but not in comparison to some of the really great games around these days in my opinion. That being said I think it will be a popular one for our family as our littles love teaming up on Dad and I expect making him ‘Draw 4’ every game will be a hit!
Party Games (not my favorite genre but fun for a crowd):
Cards Against Humanity (2.5 / 5)
The grandfather of the recent generation of party games. Absurd, raunchy, foul but funny. There is no skill involved, choose a card you feel the judge would find amusing. If the judge picks yours you win that round. Not for kids or sensitive adults, or parents. Fun the first time or two, but this genre is worn out and lost on me. It is a good one to experience at some point, but I gave mine to the brother in law.
SuperFight (4.3 / 5)
Begin with 3 black and 3 white cards. Choose one of each to create a character and a skill. Reveal your Character and skill combow at the same time as your opponent and arguement how yours would defeat theirs in battle. The winner is selected by your peers, and is immediately put into battle with the next challenger. Hilarious with the right crowd. Downright dumb with the unimaginative. Pick your fighters and friends carefully. Play it as long as you want and add up the winning characters when you are done.
Traditional Games From My Childhood:
Monopoly (4 / 5)
If you ever feel the need to see the true colors of a family member or friend Monopoly is the best way to do it! I believe Monopoly is the game most likely to be banned at family gatherings for overly competitive reasons. The pain of the wealth divide in Monopoly too often causes distrust in the bank and frustrations that result in an incomplete game. With that being said I’ve never seen a game of Monopoly go to completion.
Chess (4 / 5)
A game brought back into popularity by Netflix’s ‘The Queens Gambit’. An excellent watch by the way! It’s traditional, everyone knows the goal. Fun for a casual game or you can dive down that rabbit hole known as Chess Study! Best played with opponents of similar skill level. ~20 – 60 min on average playtime.
Checkers (3.5 / 5)
One of the oldest games in history at around 5,000 years. Though I have always thought of checkers as the little sibling to Chess. It is played on the same board with simpler pieces and moves. More of a casual play. 2 player with 20-30 min playtime
Sorry! (3.5 / 5)
I always loved a ruthless game of Sorry! as a kid, but we all know we really weren’t sorry! Honestly haven’t gotten it out since then. It might be a little bit of a long play for my 2 and 5 year old so it may stay in the closet for a bit longer. But you can bet it will make an appearance soon! They make some fun looking variations to the board these days. ~30 min play
Clue (3.5 / 5)
The classic Murder Mystery game. Gather information to determine who the killer is. I remembered it being way more fun as a kid, but the wife still enjoys it so its in our collection! <1 hr Playtime
Next to Learn/ Board Game Collection Wish List:
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
We received it as a gift for Christmas and haven’t had company over that wanted to play yet (it requires 3-6 players) . The box says it offers 50+ scenarios for re-playability. I look forward to giving it a go soon!
Silver & Gold
A dry erase card game that says its a quick learn and even quicker play. We will be giving it a try in the near future. 2-4 player.
Settlers of Catan
We haven’t bought it yet but want it. The fact that it requires 4 players is what is keeping us from pulling the trigger. Group game nights are hard to come by lately.
If you have any suggestions of games that should be in our board game collection please leave a comment and we will try to check it out!