4 Board Games To Play With Your Partner If You Both Are Ultra Competitive

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If you love someone, compete with them. Competition is healthy, exciting, and oh yeah, winning is extremely satisfying. My all-time best early in the game dates have all involved activities. Specifically, they have involved competitive activities like bowling or Jenga. Competing with a partner is fun, as long as no one is a sore loser. (Not sure if you're dating one? How did they react to that playoff game their team lost?) There's no need to wait until you are upstate at a ski cabin, because the best games to play with two people are always a good idea.

There's something about putting your energy towards solving a puzzle or strategizing towards an end goal when there are no actual real life, work, or romantic stakes to concern yourself with. If the blocks crash onto the table and all over the floor, that's enjoyable and nobody lost a limb. If the Instagram-jealousy rabbit hole you fell down crashes your relationship, that's unenjoyable and somebody might actually lose a limb.

If you're rolling your eyes and thinking about how nerdy board games are and how much you'd rather just go to a bar with your partner, I'm assuming you're either very newly dating, or you're dating the world's most interesting human. For most of us, drinking beers and talking about our days gets a bit boring after a few months. I have you covered with these four very fun board games to play with your partner, nerdiness be damned. Here they are.

1. Pandemic

Pandemic is a hit board game that is "cooperative," meaning that you work with the other players to save the world from pandemic outbreaks and epidemics. Yes, that's right — you are all on the same team. You can play this game with two players, and you'll both be competing against the "pandemics" to find a cure. I've played this game, and it is hard.

What I enjoy about Pandemic is that there is a lot of strategy involved, and that working through difficulties with your teammate lets you see how they think under dire circumstances. (Even though the pandemic is fake, the stakes feel high.) Plus, with so much terrible juju out there in 2018, it's nice to work together towards something good for humanity. Highly recommend.

2. Hive

Hive is another board game with a scary title and a cult following. Technically, the game is not an actual board game, as there is no board involved. Your add the hexagonal game pieces to the create "board" as the game is played. The goal of the game is to capture the opposing player's Queen Bee by adding their different pieces strategically. Often compared to chess, but without a board, this is another engaging game in which you get to show off your strategic thinking skills in front of your partner.

3. Istanbul

The capital of Turkey is also a beloved board game that comes highly recommended for two-player gaming situations. Basically, Istanbul is a game in which you organize a merchant and assistants through a bazaar in the most efficient way possible. The board itself is configurable, and there are lots of extra pieces that go along with the game as well. Rave reviews all over the internet mean that I'm going to try this game ASAP, too.

4. Backgammon

Never underestimate the power of a classic game like backgammon. While you don't have to buy a set as fancy as the MoMA store backgammon set pictured above, most sets double as excellent additions to your living room decor. Pour some scotch, sit by a fire with your partner, and stroke your chin thoughtfully to complete the experience. This is a fun game to play with a partner because let's be real, do you even remember how to play? You can remind each other of the rules of backgammon together.

There you have it: four things to do this Friday that are infinitely more stimulating than sitting at dinner across your partner yet again. As someone who is newer to board games, I promise they're more interesting than you're imagining they are from your childhood. Plus, they're kind of old school, and it's really refreshing not to look at a screen all night. Enjoy!

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