When Your Gaming Styles Differ

My husband and I like board games. The problem is, we don’t always like the same board games. I like board games, but I am not a “gamer.” I like games that are fairly mainstream, easy to learn, and quick to play. Think Settlers of Catan and Code Names.

My husband is a gamer. To me, his criteria for a good board game are something like this:

  1. Does the box weigh at least 20lbs?
  2. Is the rule book the length of a short novel?
  3. Does it take at least 2 hours to play?

Games he’s always talking about recently are Mysthea and Gloomhaven, both of which could fit that criteria.

The other night, he brought out Terraforming Mars. It’s an economy management game where you’re working collaboratively with other players to achieve planet milestones, and competitively trying to earn the most points doing so. Not quite as heavy as his typical criteria, but still not my style. I think my exact words were, “Not tonight, honey. I have a headache.” 

I am grateful that Terraforming Mars has a solo-play option. I am also grateful that my husband has gamer friends he can play with. But it can be hard to find games that we both enjoy.  Anyhow, I thought I’d share some of the games that we’ve both liked in case there are other gamers and people who love them out there with the same dilemma:

Hero Realms

Hero Realms is a fantasy deck-building game where you use gold to buy cards that help you fight your opponent.  I honestly didn’t think I would like it — deck-builders have never been my thing. But I loved this one.  The rules are straightforward, and the game moves pretty quickly. But you still need to figure out your strategy to take down your opponent.  This game, and the expansion, got a big thumbs up from both of us.


Kingdomino also hits that balance of being fairly straightforward, but still requires some strategy.  Each round, you select tiles to build your kingdom. The tiles have different types of terrain on them.  As you connect tiles with matching terrain, you earn points, and if your tiles have crowns on them, your points multiply.  As an added twist, which tile each player chooses determines selection order in the next round. At the end of the game, each player should have a 5 x 5 tile kingdom to tally up their points on-  I say “should have” because if you don’t lay out your kingdom correctly, you won’t be able to get a 5 x 5 square and will have to sit out a round or two (don’t laugh- I did this a few times).

Love Letter

Love Letter is another game that’s simple on the surface, but requires some risk and detective work to win. The premise is that you and your opponents are rival suitors for a princess, and you are each trying to win favours from her. Each turn, you choose one of two cards to play. Some cards could knock out your opponent (or yourself). some cards protect you, and some give you information about what your opponent is holding. It seems simple, but it’s definitely a game where you play the player, not the cards.

There you have it, three good game options that won’t have your friends or significant other avoiding eye contact and trying to look busy when you bring them out.  Happy gaming!

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