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Best Board Games For Valentines Day

board games for valentines day - patchwork valentine

Don't you just love love? It's Valentines Day and that calls for one thing. Board gaming. Even if your celebrating it as Galentines instead, these games will fit just your needs! So let's take a look at the best board games for valentines day.

Patchwork Valentine - Favouritefoe

Patchwork Valentine by Lookout Games may look sweet and lovey-dovey, but there’s an economic heart beating inside that box! In this beautiful edition of Patchwork, you’re piecing together a chocolate box of delights using tiles covered in truffles and bon bons. Just like Uwe Rosenberg’s original Patchwork, it’s a perfect information set up, so all the available pieces are laid on the table. To take one, you must be able to afford it, and the currency here is glorious golden nougat. But your selection isn’t a free choice. You only get to choose from the three tiles to the right of the cupid meeple nestled within the circle. Not only that, but patches cost precious time, and turn order varies depending on who is furthest behind on the patch track!

With negative points for every empty space left on your chocolate box board by end-game, it becomes a race to fill up on delicious treats. But with irregular tiles leaving oddly shaped spaces have you planned for perfect placement? Patchwork Valentine is a wonderfully re-wrapped edition of the OG, and one perfect to play with your lover on Valentine’s Day (or any other day!).

Codenames Duet - Hannah Blacknell

Some of the most fun games are party games. The ones where you descend into utter hysterics over how on earth someone can think a good clue for linking ‘Pope’ and ‘Fashion’ together is Jean. I mean I see the link, but quite honestly how was I going to get that one? Especially because I was very sure they had said John.

Thing is though, these games usually need a big group of 4+ which signs them out for the majority of Valentine’s Day celebrations. But there is one I can think of, and that is Codenames Duet. This is a two-player specific co-operative version of the popular party game Codenames. During this game you will be trying to help your fellow player guess your spy cards. Thematically speaking, this is something Mi5 like where you are trying to connect your undercover agents. They also need to avoid your assassination words. If you manage to complete this within 7 rounds of clues, then you claim the win.

To see how myself and my partner do on this game, please refer back to paragraph one. We have fun, but that guy’s brain is off the charts weird when it comes to clues. If you want to have a light and fun game that you can play with your love this Valentine’s Day then this one is a great pick. Even if it simply helps you understand that your brains are wired in a very different pattern indeed!

A Little Wordy - Camille Hindsgaul

For me, the ideal game for Valentine’s Day is easy to teach, short enough that it fits in with other activities while also being suited for multiple plays, and balanced in a way that doesn’t let one player run way ahead with a crushing victory. A Little Wordy ticks all of those boxes.

At the start of a game, you each get seven consonants and four vowels from which to craft a secret word. Once that’s done, you swap letters and take turns collecting clues about your opponent’s word - either by using the powers of the game’s clue cards (e.g. ask for the number of vowels, or for the word’s last letter), or by simply asking. Using the clue cards gives your opponent berries, as does making a wrong guess. To win, you have to both guess your opponent’s word and have the most berries. As with many word games, you will have the most fun with A Little Word if you enjoy spelling. I really like that you get to know which letters your opponent had for their word. It gives you a solid place to start. I enjoy moving them around, making theories, and deciding which clue card can best help me narrow down the list.

Whenever you gain information about your opponent’s word, they get berries, moving each of you closer to victory in different ways. It’s a constant consideration of whether you can afford to ask for a great clue that gives them a lot of berries, or whether you can get by with something cheaper. This helps keep the game balanced and fun for both players.

Finally, as an additional bonus, the cards are full of adorable art and amusing bird puns that are bound to set a fun tone for your Valentine’s Day.

Patchwork - Seb Hawden

What’s better to do on Valentine’s Day than sit around and share a head-to-head board game with your significant other? Keep it, clean people, this is a family blog! Original Patchwork is a small tile-laying game with a lovely theme and a very minimal ruleset. Don’t take this as the game having no bite though, it can, at times, be a little fighty.

Unlike the Valentine’s Day edition, you and your significant other have to make quilts, how quaint! Taking turns drafting tiles of varying sizes to fill your quilt, you pay any buttons and time to the bank depending on the tiles you pick. Buttons are a resource you acquire as you move around the board and time is what moves you around said board. You have a finite amount of time to build your quilt, so picking the right piece is vital. Some tiles have buttons on that you get back every time you cross an income spot on the board. It's basically economics with fluffy quilts.

You have to balance covering a lot of your board with getting tiles with buttons on to produce income in the future. It's quite a conundrum. You lose points at the end of the game for every uncovered space and your button income is vital to offset this. Scores are low and every decision is juicy, what's better to pay with your other half on valentine’s day?

Patchwork is easy to play but has a nice decision space and skill ceiling that makes it perfect for newcomers to the hobby and gaming enthusiasts. I can think of nothing better to do on valentine’s day than cracking a bottle of wine and fighting over a quilt. What more could you want on valentine’s day? Chocolate? Nah, board games are where it's at!

Hanamikoji - Thom Newton

If you like your two player games tactical and a bit cutthroat, Hanamikoji is worth a look for your Valentines’ game evening with your special other. Hanamikoji is a game all about influencing geishas. Now, that theme doesn’t scream ‘romantic evening for two’ but stick with me here. This game is one me and my better half have played several games one after the other on several occasions. The way it all works is that players are trying to give gifts to the various different geishas. But it’s not as simple as just playing cards or tokens. You have a hand of gift cards and a few different action tokens. You’ve got to play every action each round, but it’s when you play them that will make all the difference. Some actions will have you simply playing down a card. Others will have you revealing a selection of cards to your opponent with them getting to choose one and you getting what’s left.

It's all very simple but very tactical. You’re trying to figure out which geisha cards are important to your opponent and which ones are just a bluff. It’s one of those games that really benefits from familiarity with your opponent. It’s one thing to play tactically against a stranger, it’s another to make your opponent play against themselves. Playing that perfect action when your little bluff plays off perfectly meaning things tip in your favour is a great feeling. It is one of the reasons why me and the better half enjoy this game so much, it gives you a lot of opportunities to be smart, but it can also give your opponent plenty of opportunity to show how well they know you. And that is pretty special.

Bananagrams Duel - Rachael Duchovny

It can be difficult to find those perfect words to say to your loved one on Valentine’s Day.  I mean sure, Hallmark can help, but what type of card would you choose?  Why say it with roses when you can say it with bananas instead. Bananagrams that is! Bananagrams Duel is that perfect valentines challenge with your partner to discover who of you is the best wordsmith.

In this game you each get 12 6-sided letter cubes. You can turn the cube as much as you want to use any letter available so some careful cube manipulation may be required to get harder letters like the W.  Draw a banana card which provides you with a theme, for example Science Fiction or Foreign Language, then gameplay can start. The aim is to be the first person to have used all 12 of your cubes making words in a crossword type horizontal and/or diagonal connection. Just like the connections you’ll be making on this special day. Whoever finishes using their cubes first wins the round and keeps the theme card as a victory point. The next theme is then drawn and you repeat. Play continues until one player has won 10 cards. Bananagrams Duel is not only a great way to sharpen your vocabulary but a wonderful fast paced challenge you’ll love beating your partner at. I mean sharing in the experience of word making, obviously. With plenty of rule variations you can even make your own themes… so go on… make them love themed, it’s a special occasion after all.

Jaipur 2nd Edition - Lauren Skinner

Valentine’s Day. It’s the commercially sanctioned day of the year where you can come together with your significant other with a glass of wine, sit in front of the fire, snuggle up, and…beat them to the title of the Maharaja’s personal trader. Ah, so romantic.

Jaipur is a fast-paced, two player tactical game where you need to amass more riches than your opponent at the end of each round. To do this, you must collect and exchange goods at the market, and sell them for rupees. As any trader worth their salt knows, a larger sale equals a hefty bonus—at the Jaipur market, you’ll get a bonus token, which could add a significant number of rupees to your stash. Camels are strategic trading fodder, and you also get cash for having the most when you’re tallying up your rupees. At the end of each round, the richest trader receives a Seal of Excellence. Be awarded 2 to win the game.

This may not sound like the most romantic game for Valentine’s Day, but it’s a fantastic, competitive game for couples to crack out at the pub or on a rainy afternoon. The colourful tokens and cards, which represent goods, camels, bonuses, and Seals, are vibrant and easy to set up in a small space. Its three-round structure, simple rules, and swift 30 minute play time means that you’ll find yourself begging for “just one more game!” whether you’re winning or losing.

Essentially, if you’re looking for a fun, low-stakes game to beat your Valentine at, Jaipur takes the cake. But hopefully not the Seal of Excellence—that’s mine!

Rivals For Catan - Favouritefoe

Almost everyone in our hobby has heard of Catan. The granddaddy of euro-style gaming might not have hit your table yet, but you’ll know of someone (like me!) who once dropped the board and traded sheep for sheep! Well, Rivals for Catan does away with the board altogether and the need for at least 3 players. It’s essentially a reworking of the original Catan Card Game (which was itself a variant of the OG) and maxes out a deux. 2 Player Catan; perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Moving out of the Middle Ages (although nobody’s colonising Mars or anything….yet!, each player plays a prince trying to build the best province. Just like the OG, the game includes roads, terrain types, settlements, and the resources you need to construct your up-and-coming-area. There’s also a bunch of events that can and will take place. Each turn, you’ll have 3 cards in your hand, and when the 2 D6 are rolled, territories in your province matching the number die pay out. The event die causes different things to happen; trading with the bank (rather than with each other in this version), gaining resources, discarding cards, drawing event cards etc. Once the rolls have resolved, the active player lays a card and it’s the other player’s turn. The game ends when one player reaches 7 victory points.

With cards either helping you or meddling with them, this is a super strategic take on the OG. And with different ways to play Rivals (as well as expansion packs that add buildings and events that shake up the game play even more), you’ll have plenty of chances to build a better province than your beau this Valentine’s Day!