Valentines shmalentines: Cheap two-player games for competitive couples!

ValentinesIt’s just two weeks away – but all right-minded folk know Valentine’s Day is a load of commercial toot.

If you’re putting in even half the effort you should be, you’ll be doing romantic things with your other half all year round – not just on a cold, miserable day in February when every restaurant in town has upped the prices for a terrible ‘romantic’ menu.

So instead of pandering to the gods of advertising, why not cosy up for the evening at home in the warn with a nice bottle of wine and a cut-throat, in-your-face, one-on-one card or board game instead! I know, right? It seems so obvious when you think about it.

So with that sorted out, here are a few top suggestions that won’t break the bank:

Patchwork (£16.49)

PatchworkIf your other half likes knitting (or one of those other hobbies like knitting – there seems to be hundreds…), you can’t go wrong with Patchwork. Each player is trying to make a quilt out of these whimsically drawn Tetris-style pieces, using little buttons as currency. Sounds cute eh? Well it’s not. It’s one of the most cut-throat two-player games I’ve played, when you’re considering how much you can screw your opponent on every move. Show no mercy, quilters!

Jaipur (£16.49)

jaipurLook at that jolly, beturbaned chap encouraging you to check out his fantastic wares – perhaps on a romantic holiday in exotic Rajasthan. But you see that chap in the background, with the camel? He’s about to pull the rug right out from under you with a massive jerk move in this two-player set collection card game. You’l be scrapping over every point to try and grab the royal seals – and only one of you can claim victory in this best-of-three bun fight. Review

Brave Rats (£7.49)

BraveRats boxThe cheapest and shortest game here, this super simple card game uses cute, comically drawn rats to try and hide its war-like intent. Each of you will take control of an identical pack of eight medieval Scottish highland rats in a fight to the death – I’d say you couldn’t make this stuff up, but someone obviously has. It can all be over in 10 minutes, as you simultaneously lay cards to see who wins each individual battle – and try and see which of your cards will work best against what your opponent has left. Review

Famiglia (£8.49)

FamigliaI don’t think I’ll get any arguments when I say there’s nothing more romantic than a good organised crime gang battle on the streets; up close, brutal and extremely personal. Play various gang members from a selection of clichéd mob families in this simple card game, trying to gain points by laying the most terrifying mobsters in front of you. It’s a fast and fun game which, oddly, has possibly the least interaction of all of those mentioned – but it’s the thought that counts eh?

Blokus To Go (£10.49)

Blokus To GoWith so many classic abstract games being two-player, it seemed rude not to include one here. Nothing says love like two pairs of eyes meeting across the table… whilst trying to work out each other’s next devious moves and stop it in its tracks. Blokus is another Tetris-pieces game, this time on a small shared board where you’re each trying to get as many pieces down before there’s no space left. It has simple rules, plays fast, but can really get the brain burning.

You’ll find all these on Amazon, but instead of them why not give your friendly local game store some love on Valentine’s Day? Or a top quality independent (and equally friendly) online retailer such as Board Game Guru or Game Quest?

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