sdirrane

Getting Your Spouse into Gaming

Hi all,

I mentioned something about this in a previous post and it was suggested I write a post to seek your advice.  I'd love to get my wife into gaming with me but I can't seem to find a way to get her into gaming.  I've tried a bit through playing games with my oldest and having her join us.  She played once game with me back in the day.  Has anyone had a significant other or spouse who wouldn't game with them but was able to find a way to get them into gaming?  How did you do it?

I wish more people saw the value in gaming.  Over our Thanksgiving Break we had little to nothing to do because of bad weather.  It would have been a great opportunity to game but no one else in the house would have been interested.  Thankfully I have a good gaming group but sometimes it bums me out.

4 points by sdirrane - updated 3 days ago | 22 comments | report | subscribe

BenjaminK 9 days ago | 3 points[-]

I'll agree with the aforementioned posts discussing theme and length.

My wife likes games, but it can be difficult to get her to play with me even half as often as I would like. That said, some of her favorites are Terraforming Mars and Twice as Clever. These are games she feels works her brain while she plays. Learning can be a struggle (mostly just focusing haha) but once she gets them she likes them. With this in mind, I'd recommend finding some benefit your wife can appreciate, whether it's learning, exercising the brain, exploring a theme she's into, or something along those lines.

Start small and simple. Short and easy-to-learn games can provide a taste of the "larger" world and still be accessible. Milk before meat. 

Does she like Monopoly? If so, play Monopoly. My wife LOVES Payday (I have no idea as to why haha) but I'll bring it out for her on occasion, despite my desire to play something with even a little more depth. She enjoys it, and I still have fun with her. And, she's more likely to say "yes" to one of my game choices later on :) 

Theme can be huge, but it can also be tough to narrow down. I love Star Wars, so I'm always game to play something Star Wars themed. It's a bit more difficult to find a solid theme my wife likes. Patchwork is fun for her, but that's because it's a good game, not necessarily due to the theme. Likewise, she enjoys Tasty Humans, which also involves polyomino shapes. Hmm...perhaps that's what she's into? I gotta try Brikks with her as a test...

Anyway, my wife isn't scared of long games (she does love Terraforming Mars, after all), but time can still be an issue. Shorter games (i..e under an hour) are more apt to be played than games an hour or longer. There's also the tired factor (end of a busy day is a nope for games). Gotta keep her mental health in mind. For me, games help with my mental state, but because all people work differently, that's not going to be the same for everyone--including my wife.

If I knew your wife better I could possibly suggest a few games she might be interested in. For now, here are some too think about from various categories:


Art/Aesthetics:

Sunset Over Water: Very beautiful game with solid mechanics. It's the art that took me into it in the first place, but the gameplay kept me there.

Takenoko: Simple game mechanics with an eye-catching board. It looks great, and the bamboo towers look fantastic and really add to the aesthetics.


Easy/Simple:

Tokaido: A very chill game with a focus on having the most fulfilling/enriching journey. Can be competitive in nature, but I love this one as something to relax to. 

Carcassonne: Easy to learn. You can even do without the Farmers if that's too much. 

King of Tokyo: Another easy one to learn, but with the competitive elements, it can be great. It's better with 3+ players, but still workable with two.


Holiday Themes:

ROLL for your Life, Candyman!: This one is fast and super easy to learn. It's a luck-based dice chucker, but with the Christmas-y theme, it can be easier to bust out during this time of the year.

Latice: Latice has a Christmas-themed board, which plays exactly the same as the others. It's an abstract game, but is still good for slowly reeling her in.


Abstract: 

Santorini: Fantastic 2-player game with lots to think about. Using the God Power cards is optional, so if those make it too much, then just leave them out and it's still a great game.

Element: A great game with 2 players, but also plays well with more. Not too thematic and definitely an abstract, Element gives you chess-like decisions with a much more accessible game.


Cooperative:

Castle Panic: Castle Panic is fun and easy to learn, and while the team of players must work together, there is still a "single winner" at the end.

Forbidden Island: A true cooperative game in which players must work together. As with all co-ops, be sure to let the other players take their turns without you or anyone else dictating what they should do. That's just not fun. Plus, with Forbidden Island, you can make the board into whatever you want. My wife and I had countless hours making some super tough and interesting layouts for our games.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game: Great for Marvel fan, whether in comics or movies--or both. Like Castle Panic, there is one ultimate winner, but players must still work together. Also a great solo variant :) 


Competitive:

Survive! Escape from Atlantis: If your wife is a competitive player, play this. It's cutthroat and chaotic (in a good way) and so much fun. If she's not...this probably isn't too great. But we love it :)


Roll and Write:

Twice as Clever/That's Pretty Clever: These two games are the "classics" of the new roll-and-write boom in the genre. Mathy, but still accessible.

Cartographers: A solid flip-and-write game in which players draw maps according to a common card drawn at the start of each round. It brings out the creative side, and also makes you think things through a bit. Very good game.

Brikks: If she likes Tetris, this is the game for her.


Other:

Cosmic Factory: A real-time game in which players draft tiles and then create a galaxy. Fast, fun, and simple enough to learn.

Crokinole: Expensive, but so good. The classic dexterity game of tabletop curling (more or less). Fantastic game. Also, created in Canada, so there's some fun trivia for you!

Doodle Quest: Looks like a kids game (and it is), but is still great for adults. Use your memory to complete quests using dry erase markers on an overlay. You'll have to look it up for more details, but it's a good, simple game that anyone can play.

philryuh Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

After trying out Quacks my wife expressed she likes games with more interaction. Your comment was a good reminder for me to try out Forbidden Island with her.

Skurvy5 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

This is an exhaustive post! Great work as usual sir.  

BenjaminK 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I can't not write short haha It's a problem.

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I don’t think it’s a problem at all. To me more information is always useful. 

menthabrw 10 days ago | 2 points[-]

My wife is not that big fan of games, but I can convince her sometime to play a game instead of watching a movie.

I agree that the most important is to find the THEME she likes. There are so many board game themes. For exmaple if she likes to travel she might like Ticket to Ride, if she likes crime novels she might like some of the great detective games, if she likes history shemight like history themed games ( not heavy wargames though, but who knows :D ). Or if she likes a culture get a cultural themed game (for example she likes Japanese culture try Tokaido). Or if she likes animals try animal themed games.

Also there are people who like COMPETING and there are ones who don t like to compete/lose. So make sure to try a COOP game, but try to make her do her own decision not to direct her too much. My wife liked coop games, even though she likes to compete :)

You can also try games with very beautiful ART and but more simple gamplay maybe that can grab her.

Also the LENGTH is a very important factor. My wife likes quicker games, thats whs sometimes even she was asking me to play Monopoly Deal for example, because it is quick and fun.

I m still hoping that one day she might want to play some more complicated stuff with me :D

philryuh Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

What would be your "wish game" that you'd like to try out with your wife in the future?

sdirrane Supporter8 days ago | 2 points[-]

My wish game would be Viticulture.  My wife loves wine.  But I also do know she likes high competitiveness.

menthabrw 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I bought Parks and I think she will like the theme and be ready to play.
I wish she would play Scythe or Archipelago with me though :D

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Parks is one that I think my wife would like but she doesn’t like worker placement that much the one time I introduced her to that mechanism 

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 1 point[-]

I just keep trying. I find situations where playing a game could be fun for her. Snowed in days or pick a game to play with friends. I find that my wife likes the social aspect of gaming quite a bit and those are the times that she's more likely to play a game. 

Garindan 7 days ago | 1 point[-]

Anyone not interested in games isn't going to care about mechanics, so theme tends to be a good way to get someone interested.  My Wife was never interested in games, and thought they were all too complicated, but the game that won her over was Agricola (due to her interest in the theme).  Over the years I've noticed the types of games she tends to enjoy and have cultivated a list of go-to games for her.  My biggest issue is that she doesn't like learning new games, and I'm always looking to introduce her to another game that I think she'll love!!

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 2 points[-]

This is so funny and highlights what is so hard about this question. Argicola was one of the first games my wife was introduced to (by my brother in law, not me) and she hated that game. It took a good while for her to try "one of those games" again because of it. Everyone is different and needs a different reason to get started. 

Skurvy5 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m curious about this also. My wife most often just refuses to play a game with me. Even if I suggest one that she likes!

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Maybe its the setting? Does she play for being social and might like a couple more players? 

Skurvy5 Supporter3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Nope. Mostly right now she won’t play due to exhaustion. 

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Sorry. That’s tough for both of you.

Skurvy5 Supporter3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Someday our children will be older and everything will be good. But today is not that day. 

JamesReid860 3 days ago | 1 point[-]

Having your kids is no joke. I have 2 myself 

sdirrane Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

Thanks for all the comments so far.  I'm going to consider all of them.  I definitely do not think she'd enjoy coop.  I'm hoping to hit her up with some theme.  Maybe having some wine and playing Viticulture.  

Skurvy5 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good luck!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter10 days ago | 1 point[-]

My wife didn't like gaming, at least not hobby games. 

I tried a number of times to get her to play with me. But, she remained fairly uninterested. However, she did buy me Dominion one year for my birthday. She knew it was a game I wanted, but she didn't really plan to play with me, but she did buy it for me. 

I did persuade her to play it with me one time, and that one game changed her. She still prefers mostly lighter games, and she prefers what she knows rather than learning new stuff. But, she does enjoy playing games with me. Does she enjoy everything I like? If close not! Do I like everything she does? If course not! But we do have a number of games we both enjoy. 

So, all I can say is be sensitive. See if you can find a theme or mechanism and might enjoy, and see of you can persuade her to play it with you. BUT don't force her whatever you do. From my experience, forcing anybody to play something is a good way to turn them off. Also, realize that there is no sure answer. I don't know your wife and you do. And lastly, realize that some people will never be gamers. That is OK. If that is the case, maybe you can find a gaming adjacent hobby to engage in together. 

So, to sum up.... 

1: don't force anything 

2: try to find something she likes, theme or.... 

3: try to find something you can do together. Is she crafty? Maybe you can get her involved with painting cute characters from my little scythe. Etc....