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1578 wives and girlfriends speak out...
Joe Grundy
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NSW
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We talk about it a fair bit. We posts lists and say "mine too, mine not!". But I sometimes wonder which games are really wife/girlfriend games.

So. Out of interest, using the tools I put together to do the 10 Words Review series, I tallied how often BGG ratings comments mention wives / girlfriends / spouses / fiancees. (Ok I realise spouses and fiances can be male, but for the most part in this context alas they are not.)

For this exercise, I compared every game in the top 700 (!) that can nominally be played two player. I also roped in a few highly rated games that just don't have the ratings quantity to get a good rank (due to that Bayesian thing). And heck with it I included my own whole collection. (I try to consider my wife when I'm buying.)

So that makes...
280 candidate games
10,000 BGG commenters (users) involved
115,000 ratings comments (!)
1,578 wives/girlfriends.

Here's the top 25 results, in order of what percentage of ratings comments mention the better half. Highest lover mentions first. Some random comments extracts are shown for each game. (I tossed in a random number generator and sorted on it to get random comments. Hey, I have a stats microbadge so sue me!) Unless otherwise noted, the comments quotes relate to partner's view.
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1. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:260]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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No surprise. I think we all knew this.
19% of 2013 ratings comments mention her.


"she'is rapidly becoming a shark at it."
"routinely beats me."
"Terrific game even though my wife always wins!"
"will play with no problem."
"her favorite "I have 15 minutes-let's play" game."
"hates games. But she loves this."
"loves this game, but I find it pretty repetitive and boring after a while."
"great at it, but it's not her favorite."
"unimpressed"
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2. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:655]
Joe Grundy
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17% of 738 comments

"loves it, and I'll play it if she won't play anything else"
"a fun little two player game."
"With original designer rules. With published rules, it's a 5."
"I usually get smashed."
"The successor to Lost Cities"
"Always play with my wife. But BEWARE: play the designer's rules, not the manufacturer's."
"One of my girlfriend's (and my) favorites. Slightly math-heavy, ..."
"quite likes this, so it does come out a fair bit."
"my 10-year old and wife love it."
"My wife and my daughter both like this one. It's a bit too light for my son though."
 
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3. Board Game: Flowerpower [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1679]
Joe Grundy
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15% of 141 comments
I'm guessing guys are trying the theme on the fem.


"loves to play. Great depth for 1 page of rules."
"loves it. More strategy than one might think at first glance."
"My girlfriend rate: 4.5 A bit too random"
"Fun game the wife loves, and it grew on me." (sic)
"places a weed in the way of getting that 10th flower, I get pretty steamed."
"likes tile-laying games."
"We like this - especially the non gaming wife. People have slagged it off because of lack of depth but you really have to think carefully about maximising future tile placements."
 
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4. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:325] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Joe Grundy
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12% of 594 comments
This was on my list, until...


"Very good selection of cards ... wife and I like it very much."
"on par with most of the other Kosmos/Rio Grande two-player games, but not as enjoyable as others my wife and I play."
"after one play, seems to be a hit"
"Maybe I was looking at it with a view for my girlfriend to play and there is no way she would play this."
"... she loves it too. Not very confrontational, but still has good player interaction."
"decent trading game that can be enjoyable but not something the wife is enjoying"
"One of the deeper two-player games that my wife also enjoys."
"I've played a few games with my wife and the game really plays well."
"loves this game."
"just not my group or my wife's cup of tea."
 
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5. Board Game: Catan Card Game [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:529]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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9% of 946 comments
We just play vanilla Settlers, but here's an option...


"favorite two player game."
"plays it with gusto."
"Settlers fix when you only have 2 people. A plus for me is that my wife really likes it."
"likes this game and she consistently beats me at it, but I find it a little too dry."
"I think you either really like this game or really hate it. My wife and I both like it."
"Favorite game for my wife and I to play."
"I like this game a lot. My wife does not. It sits on my shelf and laughs at me."
"Very fun two player game. My wife even likes this one."
"The game for two - along with the Lost Cities - that my wife and I have played most."
"Fun game that me and my wife play quite a bit. Has great flavor and for two people is way better than the board game."
 
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6. Board Game: 10 Days in Africa [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1190]
Joe Grundy
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9% of 213 comments

"trying variants to make it more challenging."
"really likes it so that is a big plus."
"I got this to play with my wife. It was a successful purchase!"
"Surprisingly, I really like it as well."
"we've enjoyed the game."
"Feels like Rack-o, my wife enjoys it, so I'll probably keep it around."
"I finally found a game my wife likes to play!"
"components are hit and miss ... But all in all, we have great fun with this game."
"Have now played this about a zillion times. Nice and quick and a game that my wife is willing to play."
"Has become a favorite in my family as my parents constantly team up as a player to play against my wife, my brother and I. They seem to enjoy this more than any other game I made them play"
 
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7. Board Game: Kupferkessel Co. [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:950]
Joe Grundy
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9% of 147 comments

"rate it higher because of the non-confrontational factor which my wife likes."
"Another one my wife enjoys as do I."
"even requests this one."
"wins every time ... I love the secret goals provided by the recipe cards"
"A real gem this game. Liked both by my children and wife. A good memory game with a little bit of tactics"
 
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8. Board Game: India Rails [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1563]
Joe Grundy
Australia
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9% of 57 comments
A surprise to me...


"pleasantly surprised at how much both my wife and I enjoyed this"
"Gah, Mayfair railroad games. Love 'em or hate 'em. I tolerate them, because for a long time they were the only thing my wife would play."
"Although it can be a bit long, sometimes me and my girlfriend even play two games on one evening."
"Extremely enjoyable, if dry, logistics game. The non-competitive elements make it a pleasure for my wife."
"My favorite crayon rails, even though my wife wins over 75% of the games!"
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9. Board Game: Starship Catan [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:575]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
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8% of 479 comments

"I find this rather boring, but my wife likes it quite a bit!"
"Not as good as the original Catan card game according to my wife, but I think it holds its own"
"The #1 game I have with girlfriend. A bit heavy on the bits (for her anyway), but overall very fun and enjoyable."
"I like to play this game with my wife. It is very non-confrontational, and gives you a fun adventure kind of feeling. We don't allow the Trade Module to do anything (Causes angst)"
"If only my wife like the space theme more, maybe I could play it more often."
"One of my wifes favourite 2 player games. I finds it drags a little, but perhaps this is because I never seem to win!"
"Enough luck for my wife. Enough planing and memorizing for me. Wife really didn't like it."
"hasn't taken to this one as she has the Catan Card Game."
"Had the wife and I hooked for a few months, until we got Lost Cities."
"several years of occasional plays. Unfortunatly, there is just not enough variation to hold up well to multiple plays."
 
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10. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:369]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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8% of 834 comments
My wife and I play a fair bit of Carc H&G (which missed out at #30) but Castle is the most maritally mentioned Carc...


"awesome 2 player version of Carcassonne, my wife and I play all the time. She is an ultra-lite gamer, and loves this one."
"showed it to the wife and we played it nearly every day for the next month. I love this one, even more than vanilla Carcassonne."
"more in depth game with more strategy involved and is more of a challenge."
"more enjoyable than the original. A tighter game, with more tension. Wife loves it too!"
"responsible for getting my wife into more serious games"
"third most played game in my collection. Reason: my wife likes it"
"If the girlfriend likes it you got no choice."
"This was a stepping stone game and an excellent one at that, but I have just moved on, and my wife has just stepped back."
"Pretty nasty, so my wife doesn't like to play it much."
"likes this game more than I do but I don't mind playing it."
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11. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1138]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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7% of 1183 comments
Not surprising to see this here. Also Backgammon missed the cut by one notch at #26.


"I can always get my girlfriend to play"
"Not my favorite game, but my wife loves it."
"A classic I've played with my girlfriend ever since we met."
"An enduring design, and one my wife enjoys. ... a great 2-player match of wits"
"My wife is LETHAL at Scrabble"
"Talk about analysis paralysis."
 
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12. Board Game: Ta Yü [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:819]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
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7% of 172 comments

"It is fun and my wife likes it."
"One I can play with my wife, and we can finish in half an hour (not counting setting up the piles of tiles!)"
"The first time my wife and I played was by candle light during a hurricane after the electricity had failed. It was very atmospheric and fun."
"insisted I add to my collection after she played"
" I like the 2 and 3 player versions, but not the 2-vs-2."
"One of the few games I can get my wife to play. ... Works great as a two player, but not so well as a three player."
"actually likes this one -- surprising to me since she hated Carcassonne the Castle."
"likes this game a bit less than I do"
"I would trade it away if my wife wasn't so attached to it"
"We've had nice pleasant games and some really cut throat games too. the pieces are very fun to klink together when bored."
 
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13. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:108] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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7% of 3091 comments
Beaten by Castle, but original Carc was always going to turn up here somewhere. (We still prefer H&G ahem ahem.)


"My wife and I love to play this. Great couples game."
"fast, fun game that I can play with my wife and has served as a springboard to get her to try other games on occaision."
"My wife and boys (7 and 8) 'get it' and really enjoy it."
"wife and childen enjoy and we can all play as a family."
"me, my wife and my sons ALL like"
"favorite and the most-often-played for two years running."
"loves it and the rules are a snap to teach anybody (with a little extra time explaining farmer scoring)."
"loves it, but it takes a little convincing to get me to play regularly."
 
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14. Board Game: Fjords [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:831]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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7% of 300 comments

"play this as a short filler, so we usually do only the first of the three rounds."
"My wife said, "That's it?" but I liked it a lot."
"A little Carcassonne like game that my wife and 8 year old daughter will both play."
"I like it, but wife isn't convinced"
"Remains a small and somewhat fun little filler. Nevertheless, I and my girlfriend discovered better fillers over the course of time. The game was let go from our collection."
"hasn't beat me at it yet, but seems to like it just a bit less than Carcassonne."
"always up for another game. **UPDATE** Ok, my wife is no longer "always up for a game". I think she's tired of losing."
 
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15. Board Game: Quiddler [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:2372]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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6% of 143 comments
Hey one of these comments is my own!


"With the right group (my wife, other non-gamers) I'd play this any time."
"Good word game that is easy to play. Wife likes it too so that is a plus. I don't particularly like it with just two"
"sometimes play Quiddler with my wife, for whom English is definitely a second language, and she can still beat me"
"My wife likes big, complicated words, and so dislikes Quiddler for its push for speed over quality."
"Nice cross between Scrabble and Rummy as well as my wife's favorite game."
 
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16. Board Game: Kahuna [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:734]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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6% of 473 comments
We like this one.


"When you're behind, it is almost impossible to come back in the game. That is why my wife doesn't want to play this game anymore"
"I enjoyed this more than my wife and she beat me"
"hated it and found it way too confrontational."
"my wife and I got a lot of use out of this one"
"Lots of decisions in a small wife friendly package"
"My wife hates this game which is the only reason I like to play it once in a while."
"Now that we have many other (more interesting) games we tend not to play this that much because she wants to play other games."
"First game, I thought I had it figured out...then the next game, my wife slaughters me."
"have been playing by the regular rules, and find a lot of satisfaction in the interaction."
"One of the few 2-player games that I can talk my non-gamer wife into playing."
"Another one which my girl friend wont play anymore."
 
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17. Board Game: Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1291]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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6% of 177 comments

"More of a beer drinking card game, very girlfriend-friendly though."
"A delight to play with my wife time and again."
"For my wife this is a solid 8, possibly a 9. We both enjoy the daynamic of the Jekyl/Hyde card."
"On par with the series. My wife will play. Bonus!"
"Helped cement my relationship with my girlfriend."
"prefers Lost Cities and Balloon Cup."
"didn't really catch on with my wife and I"
"wife and kid both say 'I'd rather play regular rummy'"
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18. Board Game: Blue Moon [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:610]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 672 comments
Now this is the first game my wife ever asked to play unprompted.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/18841
(Which doesn't necessarily make it a gateway game.)


"BONUS - My wife will play it with me - even requests it!"
"Being punished by my wife at this game is endlessly entertaining."
"Enjoyed the first play somewhat, though my girlfriend didn't, ..."
"One of the better two player games my fiance and I have been able to find out there."
"Really good, light-but-complex game that my wife and I enjoy playing together."
"Showing promise and I have only played a few times so far. I find the theme a bit nerdy and a bit of a turn off, as does my wife."
"love it at the first instant."
"Magic-light, as they say. It`s fun, it`s fast and my wife love playing this game."
"One of a very select group of games that my wife will play (although she does hate the geekish artwork)."
 
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19. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:1683]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 381 comments

"I love the tile placement and greek myth theme.. my girlfriend even likes it!"
"Wish my wife liked it."
"Why does always my wife win?"
"doesn't care much for this game."
"doesn't like conflict games but she liked this."
"Played once. I won by a lot. I liked it. My wife didn't."
"I like this game, my girlfriend hates it. She calls it Risk Lite."
"Surprisingly favorable response from my non-gamer girlfriend"
"does not like it that much, too much battle I guess."
 
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20. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:309]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 1380 comments
Even my in-laws will play!


"Love it! Any game that my wife is willing to play again and again is great."
"my wife and I love to play."
"We both enjoy this."
"family champ at this. She's great!"
"No direct player interaction, medium luck factor. My wife likes it because of this."
"wife and I really enjoy this as a 2 or 3 player game. She ALWAYS gets the longest wall! I love her for it."
"I'm pretty ambivalent towards this, but my wife likes it."
"I really like this game. My wife really hates this game."
"one of favorites to play, this one is an interesting combination..."
"especially taken with this one, and told me to buy it immediately."
 
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21. Board Game: Babel [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:778]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 367 comments

"Not a game to play with your new girlfriend!"
"getting the hang of it, and kinda enjoys it."
"enjoys playing with me"
"lots of opportunities for screwage. Not to be played with the wife."
"I like it very much. Unfortunatly my wife doesn't."
"Has a lot of screw your opponent. The way my wife and I like it."
"I wish my wife liked it more, it has a 'gotcha' element that she usually enjoys."
"better than i expected. my wife seemed to like it too"
"My wife hates the game. I like it. Lots of annoying actions to take."
"I'm growing frustrated at my inability to beat my girlfriend at it."
 
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22. Board Game: BuyWord [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2087]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 175 comments

"pleasant two-player game with my wife"
"I prefer this game to Scrabble. My wife still wins though."
"My wife and I love this game. We play with the "drafting" variant"
"My wife loves this game. I am a scrabble junkie, so this appeals to me."
"Nice word building game for the Scrabble boffins (i.e. my wife), with some nice money management decisions included."
"really likes this game."
"*really* good at this."
 
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23. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:160]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 1580 comments

"wife and I really enjoyed this game as it is not hard to learn, relatively quick, extremely portable (we played an interrupted game at the park, library, and home with no difficulty) and very fun. There is virtually no direct conflict which my wife likes."
"After the 1st game, my wife immediately started discussing strategy and things she would do differently the next game. This is a good thing."
"We both enjoy this game"
"one of my favorites to play with my wife, next to Jambo"
"dead even at 20 games a piece"
"fine 2-player game that I enjoy with my wife -- some lucky draws can make or break you, but skill is more than 1/2 the game"
"I like this game but my wife doesn't want to spend 45 minutes a pop playing it"
"she likes it...*grumble grumble* Update: This game has grown on me more, but it still feels like there's a lack in variety of strategies"
"likes this one, always a plus. Get's more play than Puerto rico, it's faster to setup and put away."
"Played with my wife, and we had a good time."
"We played this the other night and we both really liked it."
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24. Board Game: Cathedral [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1087]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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5% of 330 comments

"I usually beat my wife at it. It would be nice if it could be handicapped a little."
"A great favourite as it got the wife addicted to gaming!"
"Another of my wife's favorites"
"will actually play it with me sometimes, and it looks good on the coffee table."
"wife doesn't want it cluttering up our coffee table any more."
"played by me, wife, 9yr old and 7 yr old. We all love it"
"really enjoys it so I'm able to pacify her Tetris needs in a few moments"
"Not usually one I'd pick to play, but once in a while it's fun. My wife doesn't like it so much."
"Great game for couples! My wife loves this."
 
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25. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:84]
Joe Grundy
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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4% of 2303 comments

"A great game for non-gamers."
"The only game I have that my girlfriend loves as much as I do!"
"I keep losing to my wife, but what a fun ny game this is!"
"Favorite game."
"the one that got my wife interested in gaming. Lots of different strategies, and I still haven't figured out the best one."
"high 'wife appeal' factor."
"Another the wife likes! Good lite fun."
"only play it if i have to, that is if my wife wants to."
"huge amount of tactical strategizing you can do. My wife and I often play this together."
"Love this game because I can play it with my wife."
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