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What’s dating without a little fun? Or lots of fun, if you’re so inclined. But instead of passively watching someone else have a good time on-screen (sorry, but Netflix and chill gets old after a while), try an experience that's a little more active for your next date. We're talking about two-person games you can play as a couple.
Because, look, as we navigate everyday life (hello, bills and busy days), playing games—be they board games, card games, or conversation-based games—can be a great way to stay connected, show off your skills, and bring a little levity to a date. Games also can be a good way to learn more about your partner—and not in a probing, science experiment kind of way. Playing around lets you see different sides of your date or partner, says Christan Marashio, a certified online dating coach based in New York. For instance, is your date supportive, competitive, or patient? Are they a sore loser, or do they just want to have a good time? You'll definitely find out when the two of you have to navigate a virtual escape room! “It shows you aspects of their personality that are really important for a healthy relationship,” she explains.
Whether you're dating around or in a long-term relationship, try one (or more!) of these couple's games the next time you're in charge of planning date night. Here’s to making magic from home...or close to it.
Name That Tune
Choose from the songs in your music library or favorite playlist and take turns playing 3- to 5-second snippets. (Make it harder by not playing the hooks!) Then let your partner guess the songs. Award one point each for the correct song title and artist. You’ll learn more about each other’s musical tastes and party just a little.
The Ultimate Game for Couples
Decide if this game lives up to its name as you start conversations and see just how well you know your partner. With 200 cards, also expect challenges like having to close your eyes and guess what your partner puts in your mouth (we’ll leave the details to you both), and guessing things like which dog breed best embodies your partner. (Maybe be careful with that one.)
Challenge your partner in this two-player poker game, where you take turns being the dealer. Then see if you can tell when your partner is bluffing and place your bets of choice.
Virtual Escape Room
A benefit to a virtual escape room is that you get to play as a team, and not against each other, says Marashio. It can be a great activity for a second or third date so you can get the scoop on your date’s temperament, she says, noting that she likes The Panic Room for online games.
You’ll see how you both handle conflict when you negotiate in this game. If you have a fair amount of time, settle in, roll the dice, and see how much property you can accumulate. To spice things up, try bargaining with favors along with monopoly money. Mmm.
In this game from Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki, you can learn the basics of investing together—or flex with the knowledge you have. Do your best to “get out of the rat race” as you navigate scenarios like buying property, paying for school loans, and more. Bonus: Get a sense of how your partner would handle finances—and see if your styles match up. Try the board game or play online.
Truth or Dare
How risqué do you wanna be? It’s up to you both in this classic game. Feel free to ask random questions. And when it comes to dares, be silly or sensual...just stay safe. (If you need some inspiration, here are 100 dirty truth or dare questions to ask!)
Mystery Taste Test
Choose your favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages—for alcohol, try buying a few mini samples—and have your partner taste and guess each one while being blindfolded. To avoid problems with mixing liquors, your partner can guess types of rum, for instance, or whisky (if you’ve got a big collection)—or see if they can tell the difference between juices.
Will you king your partner, or will you be kinged? The better you know your date, you may be able to predict their moves as you defend your territory and try to take theirs. Wanna make a statement? Consider buying a custom checker set, just for you two, from sites like Etsy.
Wooden Chess Set
Take your Queens Gambit obsession to the next level. If you need a refresher on the rules—or want to learn together—check out beginner lessons on chess.com.
This is a classic for a reason. Wear comfy clothes and dash on some cologne if you’re so inclined, because you’re about to get super close. Get a little steamy—or not—as you match maneuvers on the mat.
Taco vs. Burrito
If Taco Tuesday is your thing, you might like this strategic card game. The goal: “to build the weirdest, wildest meal” while being cautious of the Trash Panda and Tummy Aches. (Because who likes those?) If you try it, follow the game with a taco delivery for a real-life win.
Sushi Go! - The Pick and Pass Card Game
In this fun (and highly adorable) card game, players compete to collect sushi, sashimi, and other foods worth varying amounts of points. ("Do not underestimate playing the wasabi card," says Men's Health Food & Nutrition Editor Paul Kita.) With over 7,200 reviews and an average rating of 4.8/5, it's basically a guaranteed winner. Especially if you order in Japanese food to munch while you play.
Azul Board Game
If you and your partner have an eye for design, you'll probably enjoy this popular board game that involves building mosaics out of colorful tiles.
If you played this one as a kid, you might be surprised to find it still holds up! Players compete to get rid of all their cards by matching them to the color or number of the card in the center. No match? You'll have to draw from the pile and add to your hand. Try not to laugh hysterically when you or your partner is forced to pick up one card after the other.
Rainbow of Feelings
Try this to blend candy and conversation. First, buy mini packages of your favorite colored sweets, like Skittles or M&M’s. Then assign a topic area to each color. So, if you’re playing with classic Skittles, yellow can be for things that make you happy, purple is for things that make you sad, green is for things that get you excited, and more. Then, pour out your bag and get to talking (according to color). You’ll learn more about each other and get sweet treats.
The Gottman Institute Quiz
How well do you know your partner? No really? Take the quiz from this institute to learn about things like your partner’s philosophy on life and which relatives they like the least. (Both topics can be super helpful as you plan future events: “No, Cousin Karen, you’re not invited.”)
Get in a pitch black room, or blind your partner, and have them guess objects using only their sense of touch, the Dating Divas suggest. (The idea is inspired by the game show Total Blackout!) Try using textured items like pickles and frozen french fries, smooth items like bar soap, and more.
Nothing wrong with friendly competition. The core goal of this card game, aka 500 Rummy or 500, is to lay down matched sets of cards so you can get to 500 points first. Just know there can be various versions of scoring; check out one set of rules from Bicycle Cards. And feel free to sip a rum drink in tribute as you play.
Never Have I Ever
If you’re open about your pasts, try this simple game. Using one set of rules, both players can raise their hands. Then each person takes turns saying things they’ve never done. Like, “never have I ever shoplifted” or “never have I ever gone through a partner’s phone.” If you’ve done the thing mentioned, put one finger down. The person who still has a finger (or fingers up) at the end of each round wins. Get started with this fun list of questions.
It’s the perfect game for word lovers. If you’re the type to write poetry or read together, break out this classic board game to see who can score the most points. Make things interesting with a steamy version, or show off your vocabulary using the standard rules.
Play this bar-favorite at home when you pull up karaoke tracks from your favorite music service and sing along. Then cue the laughs when you try hitting the hard notes—or impress each other with your skills (if you have them).
The kitchen is the place to be for this game. You and your partner can agree to bake cookies or make something else simple that you love. Go to your respective corners, work your magic with your chosen ingredients, and when all is done, see whose version wins.
Would You Rather?
You can ask a ton of hypothetical questions during this classic game, which works best when you and your partner have to choose between two difficult scenarios. For instance, you can ask: “Would you rather give up all drinks except water or give up all cooked foods?” Or “would you rather move to a new city every week or live forever in your current town?” Feel free to query across subject areas; see a list of possibilities at ConversationStarters.com.
Do you know lots about science, sports, or pop culture? If you’re a trivia fan—or your partner is—test your knowledge with classic Trivial Pursuit, or a themed version (search options on sites like Amazon). Or play games from your preferred app store; you can try an O.G. offering like Jeopardy, or newer options like QuizUp or Trivia Crack 2 (yes, that’s really the name).
Just Don't Dance
If you like to move to the music, try this TikTok challenge. Recording is optional. To start, each of you will set up a playlist with danceable songs. Try five songs each. Then turn up your speakers and commit to not moving to the beat as the tunes play. If either of you start to move—even swaying your shoulders or tapping your foot—the other person gets a point. Know your partner’s favorite music? Increase the difficulty and play those songs. Even if you technically lose, listening to these tunes can be fun.
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