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With three kids and what feels like a busy life (turns out busy is a very relative term!!), one thing that Maria and I have struggled with is how to stay mentally/psychologically close to one another.  We toyed around with “Date Nights”, but we found it difficult to routinely find babysitters that could manage three kids while we went out for a few hours, got a little tired of the routine dinner and a movie, and felt a little guilty spending the money…all to the point where it got stressful (at least for me).  For a long time, we ended up spending our time together just watching TV because it was easy and “mindless”, but ultimately decided that our time could be better spent doing other things.  I can’t remember who had the idea originally, but we decided that as a compromise to “Date Night”, on any Saturday night that we didn’t already have plans, we would do a “Game Night” where we could sit down, chill out, drink some beer/cider/wine/whiskey, play some board games, and talk about whatever felt important at the time.

What started as just a friendly game of chess or backgammon has become a healthy rivalry and a cherished tradition for us.  We have set time that we both reserve to relax with one another, uninterrupted by kids, the phone, the computer, or email.  Under the mild tension of marital competition, we share our thoughts on how we are feeling about our life, what we are excited or nervous about, what things we want to do and what plans we want to put in place.  We have also gotten to learn some really fun games, including some traditions from previous generations.  We have started to let the kids in on it on some Saturdays, and have even invited some neighbors over once in a while to join in with us.  I have even found that it has made me a more graceful loser (on most nights anyway)!!

We have had some of our best discussions over our game table (aka – our dining room table), including the ones that eventually led to Life from Scratch.  It might not be for everyone, but if you are into board games, are looking for a way to get closer as a couple, and can handle a little competition, maybe Game Night is for you!  If you are looking for ideas on how to get started, here are some of our favorite games.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Matt and I love playing cribbage! I’m glad it made the list 🙂 We’ll have to try a few others you have on your list!

    1. That is cool that you guys play cribbage too! We learned to play one afternoon a few months ago with Maria’s parents, and it has become one of our favorite games to play together. We had always associated it with being an “old person’s” game, and discounted it assuming that it must have been boring or hard to learn. It is actually really easy to learn, fun to play, and doesn’t take real long to play. Let us know if you try any of the other ones on the list, or if there are any other games that you like to play that aren’t on here!

  2. I didn’t see Canasta on that list (or Pinochle, a favorite Ganssle card game). Dave and I often play Canasta and have recently bought a Cribbage board.

    1. Ooooh, good point! We had originally started the game list with the ones that we could mostly play on our own, but Pinochle is one of our favorites as well…very popular on both sides of our families. Each side of the family plays a different version (single hand on one side, double hand on the other), so it makes it hard to remember scoring/melding/bidding strategies, and because it requires 4 people, we only play it 1-2 times a year, so it makes it hard to get very good at either version. Regardless, a worthy addition to the list!

      We have never played Canasta, but from looking at Wikipedia, it seems like a lot of fun, and as a variant of Rummy (which both of us also grew up with), shouldn’t be too hard to learn. We’ll have to give a shot one of these weekends, and will let you know how it goes!

    1. Great idea on extending the “blackout” nights to your computers/phones. Between laptops, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, it seems like there is always the opportunity for distraction from the loved ones around us.

  3. Thanks for the list of games! We are big game lovers and are always on the lookout for new games to try. One game Jack has really gotten into is Uno. And Ed and I will often play Farkle (a dice game) together or when we’re with our families.

    1. Nice! We have UNO but haven’t tried that much with the kids yet. They also recently got a game called Blink that is similar, but is more of a speed game, matching shapes, colors, and numbers. I have also heard of Farkle, and believe it is similar to the Bones game that we play. Very fun in small or large groups!

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