February is here, and with it comes three straight days of relationship-related holidays: Galentine’s Day on February 13, Valentine’s Day on February 14, and Singles Awareness Day on February 15. We here at Rollacrit can’t think of a better way to spend every single one of these days than playing games with your favorite people, including yourself! Here are some suggestions for the best games for each day, no matter how you celebrate the loveliest time of the year.
Galentine’s Day, February 13 - Games for a group
Put your word association skills to the test in Codenames, for 4-8 players. Players are divided into two teams and try to guess their team's words with a one-word clue provided by the spymaster. But watch out! There's an assassin hidden somewhere on the board, and if you reveal them, your team automatically loses. You can pick from the OG version, or one of the many variants they've released. There’s also an online version of the game if you're planning a virtual get-together.
Fans of Rummikub will fall right into Qwirkle. Designed for 2-4 players, each player draws six tiles from a bag and takes turns playing their tiles in rows based on color or shape. You score points for how many combinations you make with your tile. After your play, you draw a new tile to keep six in your hand. The game ends when there are no more tiles to draw, and the player with the highest score wins. Or, you can adopt my "no strategy" strategy by blocking other players' chances.
Use teamwork to create beautiful panoramic scenes in this new card game from Sparkworks. Take a card from your hand and add it to a panorama before passing your entire hand to your neighbor. Cards score points based on their relationship to other cards, and you can also score points by winning awards. The player with the highest score wins. Panorama can be played with 1-6 players and features beautiful artwork of dawn and dusk outdoor scenes.
If you took Jenga, swapped out the wooden blocks for fuzzy pom-poms, and used tweezers instead of your hands, you'd end up with The Fuzzies. "That sounds simple enough," you think to yourself, but not so fast! Knock loose a fuzzy or two that you weren't aiming for, and you have to draw challenge cards that will increase the difficulty of your next turn. Your once orderly tower will start to look like an abstract sculpture, and that's fine, as long as the whole thing doesn't come tumbling down during your turn. Knock the tower over, and you lose!
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
We're all armchair detectives, thanks to the sheer number of true crime content out there, so why not put all those amateur skills to the test and solve a MURDER MYSTERY. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a quick play (20 minutes) for 4-12 players. Each player is randomly assigned a forensic scientist, investigator, or MURDERER role. The forensic scientist holds the clues from the scene, and the investigators will use their wits and hunches to solve the crime — all the while, the murderer will do their best to throw the investigator off their trail. Solve the crime and then do a podcast about it!
Table Topics/Who in the Room?/The Hygge Game
Okay, these aren't TECHNICALLY games, but they're just as entertaining. Yes, you can learn a lot about a person by how they play a game, but you can also learn about them through stimulating conversation! Table Topics is the classic conversation starter and comes in dozens of varieties to keep things interesting. The Hygge Game takes the same approach with more than 300 questions to get your group talking. Hygge is a Danish word for enjoying the good things in life. Who in the Room takes the conversation starter and throws in a gaming element. Each card has a personal-ish question that is read aloud, and then everyone points at the person in the group they most think fits the description. "Who in the room has the dirtiest mouth?" "Who in the room would survive the least amount of time on a desert island?" "Who in the room pees in the shower?" Have some laughs, learn what your friends think of you, and hopefully stay friends!
Valentine’s Day, February 14 - Games for couples
Parks is for all you outdoorsy couples. Made in collaboration with the Fifty Nine Parks projects, players take on the role of hikers as they make their way along trails during the four seasons. Collect memories during your hikes for a chance to trade them in to visit a National Park at the end of your hike. Let the incredible art inspire you to get out there and visit some of these amazing natural wonders!
Blokus is basically real-life Tetris. Face off against your significant other, taking turns placing tiles, but they have to touch each other at the corners. The game ends when no more tiles can be placed, and the player with the lowest number of tiles left is the winner! You can opt for the black and white Duo version or go colorful with the original game.
It's Codenames but designed for two people. In Codenames: Duet, you and your partner will play together to try and find all of your agents without revealing the assassin before time runs out.
Hive takes a chess-like approach with this two-player tile-based game. Twenty-two tiles, 11 black, and 11 white, and all you have to do is surround your opponent's queen. But you also need to keep them from surrounding your queen. Be the first to surround the other queen, and you're the winner.
Santorini is a simple game to learn that is easy to get addicted to. Think of it like 3D tic tac toe: move your builder and build your building up. The first player to get their builder to the third level wins. Throw in some player powers, and you got a game going! A game that could also inspire your next romantic getaway…
In Pente, players place glass stones on the intersections of a 19x19 grid. The first player to get five of their stones in a row or capture five sets of their opponent's stones wins. Players capture stones by flanking two of their opponent's stones with their own. I'm a bit partial to this since it was created in the same town I went to college.
Go old school
Nothing wrong with busting out some good old-fashioned chess or checkers.
Single Awareness Day, February 15 - Games for one player
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
What’s better for a night alone than a Lovecraftian horror mystery card game? In Arkham Horror: The Card Game, you play as an investigator on a campaign to solve mysteries surrounding Arkham, Massachusetts, and trying to prevent the Ancient Ones from entering your world. During the campaign, all of your actions will affect you as the game continues, giving you a bit of role play with your card game.
Woodland creatures. I don’t think I need to say anything more. Okay, I will. In Everdell, you play the leader of a band of critters as they attempt to settle new territories by gathering resources. As you progress through the seasons, you’ll build buildings, meet new characters, and host an event or two. When you’re playing Everdell solo, you’ll be battling against a cranky old rodent named Rugwort. The solo mode has three difficulty levels that you can play individually or back to back for a greater challenge. The art for this game is stunning, like something from a storybook. We wouldn’t fault you if you got caught up admiring it instead of playing the game!
What’s better for a night alone than surviving a psycho killer’s murderous rampage? Final Girl lets you play out your Laurie Strode or Sidney Prescott fantasies as you try to stop a blood-thirsty killer and survive the night. In Final Girl, you have your core box but select from various “films” that will provide the actual setting and killer for your game. The films have a scenario that will seem familiar enough to horror buffs and offers two different “final girls” to play as. There are innocent victims for you to save along the way, bonus items that give you advantages, and terrifying scenarios to survive through.
Sure, you could watch an HGTV marathon and fantasize about your dream home, or you could play Welcome To and build out your dream NEIGHBORHOOD. In Welcome To, you’re an architect tasked with building housing estates in 1950s America. You’ll build houses, which will become housing estates, you’ll add parks and pools to increase their value, all while trying to finish quickly and to plan. Yes, this game has a solo mode, but it can also be played online with up to ONE HUNDRED PLAYERS if you feel like hosting a singles mixer.
Thousand Year Old Vampire
Thousand Year Old Vampire is a solo roleplaying game where you follow a vampire through their long existence, from when they were turned to their eventual expiration. You’ll make choices and answer prompts throughout the game, making difficult decisions along the way and losing your grasp on your former humanity. Sounds perfect for a quiet night in, full of reflections on what life is and how we’ll end up alone when it’s all said and done, right? You know, typical light-hearted fare!
I don’t care. I love playing solitaire.
What are you playing next week? With whom are you playing? Have you got any recommendations for solo, couple, or group games? Tell us in the comments or on social!