Here is a growing list of games to play on a date:
- Boggle – More Information
The game begins by shaking a covered tray of 16 cubic dice, each with a different letter printed on each of its sides. The dice settle into a 4×4 tray so that only the top letter of each cube is visible. After they have settled into the grid, a three-minute sand timer is started and all players simultaneously begin the main phase of play. Each player searches for words that can be constructed from the letters of sequentially adjacent cubes, where “adjacent” cubes are those horizontally, vertically, and diagonally neighboring. Words must be at least three letters long, may include singular and plural (or other derived forms) separately, but may not use the same letter cube more than once per word. Each player records all the words they find by writing on a private sheet of paper. After three minutes have elapsed, all players must immediately stop writing and the game enters the scoring phase.
- Scrabble – More Information
is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, each bearing a single letter, onto a game board divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words that, in crossword fashion, read left to right in rows or downward in columns, and be included in a standard dictionary or lexicon.
- Bananagrams – More Information
Game play involves arranging one’s tiles into a grid of connected words faster than one’s opponents. The object of the game is to be the first to complete a word grid after the pool of tiles has been exhausted. The tiles come in a fabric banana-shaped package.
- Apples to Apples – More Information
The object of the game is to win the most rounds by playing a “red apple” card (which generally features a noun) from one’s hand to best “match” that round’s communal “green Peat” card (which contains an adjective) as chosen by that round’s judging player. The game is designed for four to ten players and played for 30–75 minutes.
- Perfect Matches – More Information
- Jenga (Tumbling Tower) – More Information
- Pictionary – More Information
Each team moves a piece on a game board formed by a sequence of squares. Each square has a letter or shape identifying the type of picture to be drawn on it. The objective is to be the first team to reach the last space on the board. To achieve this a player must guess the word or phrase being drawn by their partner, or if the player lands on an “all play” square, one player from each team attempts to illustrate the same concept simultaneously, with the two teams racing to guess first. The first player to land and guess correctly at the finish wins.
- Codenames – More Information
is a card game where two teams compete by each having a “spymaster” give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. The other players on the team attempt to guess their team’s words while avoiding the words of the other team. In a variant with 2–3 players, one spymaster gives clues to the other player or players.
- Taboo – More Information
An even number of players from four to ten sit alternating around in a circle. Players take turns as the “giver,” who attempts to prompt his or her teammates to guess as many keywords as possible in the allotted time. However, each card also has “taboo” (forbidden) words listed which may not be spoken. Should the giver say one, a “censor” on the opposing team hits the buzzer and the giver must move on to the next word. For example, the giver might have to get his or her team to deduce the word “baseball” without offering the words “sport,” “game,” “pastime,” “hitter,” “pitcher,” or “baseball” itself as clues. The giver may not say a part of a “taboo” word; for example, using “base” in “baseball” is taboo. The giver may only use speech to prompt his or her teammates; gestures, sounds (e.g. barking), or drawings are not allowed. Singing is permitted, provided the singer is singing words rather than humming or whistling a tune. The giver’s hints may rhyme with a taboo word, or be an abbreviation of a taboo word. While the giver is prompting the teammates they may make as many guesses as they want with no penalties for wrong guesses. Once the team correctly guesses the word exactly as written on the card, the giver moves on to the next word, trying to get as many words as possible in the allotted time. When time runs out, play passes to the next adjacent player of the other team. The playing team receives one point for correct guesses and one penalty point if “taboo” words are spoke
- Scattergories – More Information
The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit.
- Settlers of Catan – More Information
The players in the game represent settlers establishing colonies on the island of Catan. Players build settlements, cities, and roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board, which represents the island, is composed of hexagonal tiles (hexes) of different land types, which are laid out randomly at the beginning of each game. Newer editions of the game began to depict a fixed layout in their manual, which has been proven by computer simulations to be fairly even-handed, and recommend this to be used by beginners. (See Editor’s note below). In 2016, editions of the game were released with a conventional fixed layout board in this configuration, the hexes of which cannot be rearranged. Players build by spending resources (sheep, wheat, wood, brick and ore) that are depicted by these resource cards; each land type, with the exception of the unproductive desert, produces a specific resource- hills produce brick, forests produce wood, mountains produce ore, fields produce wheat, and pastures produce sheep. On each player’s turn, two six-sided dice are rolled to determine which hexes produce resources. Players with a settlement adjacent to a hex containing the number just rolled receive one card of the corresponding resource; cities produce two cards of the corresponding resource. For example, if a player has one city and two settlements adjacent to a grain hex, that player would take four grain resource cards if the corresponding number was rolled. There is also a robber token, initially placed on the desert; if a player rolls 7, the robber must be moved to another hex, which will no longer produce resources until the robber is moved again. That player may also steal a resource card from another player with a settlement or city adjacent to the robber’s new placement. In addition, when a 7 is rolled, all players with 8 or more resource cards must discard their choice of half of their cards, rounded down. For example, If a player has 9 resource cards, and a 7 is rolled, the player must get rid of 4 cards. On the player’s turn, the player may spend resource cards to build roads, settlements, cities (which replace existing settlements), or development cards. Players can trade resource cards between each other; players may also trade off-island (in effect, with the non-player bank) at a ratio of four of one resource for one of any other. By building settlements adjacent to ports, players may trade with the bank at three-to-one (three of any single resource type) or two-to-one (two of a specific resource) ratios, depending on the port’s location. The goal of the game is to reach ten victory points. Players score one point for each settlement they own and two for each city. Various other achievements, such as establishing the longest road and the largest army (by playing the most knight cards), grant a player additional victory points
Editor’s Note: I’m guessing you got lost halfway through the directions. Settlers is a great game to play on a date – if both of you already know how to play. If not, it’s definitely not simple to learn, or teach, how to play Settlers on a date.
- Loaded Questions – More Information
Players try to be the first person to move from the “START” square to the “WIN!” square. Players traverse the board with dice rolls, and each turn, they have the opportunity to win bonus moves.Once a player has moved the number of spaces indicated by the dice roll, the player draws a card and asks the question corresponding to the color that the player landed on. The board is made up of spaces of four colors: orange, purple, blue, and yellow, which correspond to questions of the categories “Hypotheticals,” “Anything Goes,” “No-Brainers,” and “Personals,” respectively. Players win the game only after having landed on the “WIN!” space and playing one round where the roller correctly assigns each answer to the appropriate non-roller.
- The Ungame – More Information
The board is laid out as an endless loop of spaces. To begin the game, the deck of question cards is shuffled and placed face-down on the board. Each player in turn rolls a die, moves his/her marker along the path according to the number rolled, and follows the instructions on the destination space. Different types of instructions include:
- Drawing the top card from the deck and answering the question on it.
- Asking a question to another player or commenting on something he/she said earlier.
- Obeying movement directions if they apply to the player.
Players are asked to remain silent except when taking their turn or answering a question put to them. The game ends at the players’ discretion, typically once an agreed-upon time limit has been reached, and has no winner or loser.
- The 5-Second Rule – More Information
A great game for a second or third (or even later ) date, this game challenges you to quickly come up with three examples to fit a random topic.
Basic gameplay: Pick a card, read the topic out loud, and the other player has five seconds (on the included funny-timer-stick) to provide the first three examples of that topic that fly into his/her mind.
- Rummikub – More Information
is a tile-based game for 2 to 4 players, combining elements of the card game rummy and mahjong. There are 106 tiles in the game, including 104 numbered tiles (valued 1 to 13 in four different colors, two copies of each) and two jokers. Players have 14 or 16 tiles initially and take turns putting down tiles from their racks into sets (groups or runs) of at least three, drawing a tile if they cannot play. In the Sabra version (the most common and popular), the first player to use all their tiles scores a positive score based on the total of the other players’ hands, while the losers get negative scores. An important feature of the game is that players can work with the tiles that have already been played.