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Couple of Couples - Top 10 - Number One

Jason Moslander
United States
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Originally Posted at

We have reached the end of another Top 10. I hope you have enjoyed the journey. If you haven't checked out the other games on the list, you can see the list below. As with number two, the last game on our list is two games. I really believe that both of these games are so close in their styles and game play that they didn't warrant two spots on the list. There is also a matter of personal preference. I enjoy one of these two games far more than the other, but they are both great games, and I just couldn't include one without the other. And with that, let's look at the last nine games, and then onto number one.

Honorable Mentions
Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Carcassonne
10. Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan
9. Small World
8. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
7. Can't Stop
6. King of Tokyo
5. Qwirkle
4. Letters from Whitechapel
3. Crokinole/Sorry! Sliders
2. Pandemic/Forbidden Island

Number One - Spades/Hearts
If there is a game that is more geared toward playing with couples, I would love for you to tell me. Spades is the quintessential, four-player game. It's designed for couples, in that you have two teams of two playing against each other. For those unfamiliar with spades, it is a trick-taking game. Each play is given 13 cards. You then bid on how many tricks you think you can take, based on the cards in your hand. On your turn the lead player will play a card. You must follow suit if you can, if not you can a card from any other suit. The player who played the highest card from the lead suit wins the trick. However, if you play a spade, it trumps any other card that is played, except for a higher spade. You continue in this fashion until all the tricks have been taken. If you and your partner's tricks equal your bid, you score that many points times 10. For example, if you bid 5 and you won 5 you would score 50 points. Any additional tricks that you get are called bags and give you one point each. If you fail to make your goal you lose that many points times 10. After scoring you move onto the next round until someone scores 500. Now there are lots of different variants to this game, and I think we have tried them all, and I believe that the basic game is the best. Some of the wackier versions tend to be more luck driven. They can be fun, but they also can get tiring.

Hearts is not much different than spades. The main differences being that you don't want to take tricks, you don't bid, you don't have a teammate, and there are no trump cards. The goal is to have the lowest score when someone else scores 100 points. You get points by taking tricks with hearts or the queen of spades (who scores you 13 points). If, however, you are able to take all the hearts and the queen of spades, you "shoot the moon" and everyone else scores 26 points.

We have really been fond of both of these card games. They are a great starting point for game nights with other couples. They are both easy to teach and learn, and most people have encountered one or the other at some point. This is especially true since most computers came a version of hearts on them for a long time. I know that this is how I was first introduced to the game. The other great thing about Spades and Hearts is that they can be a launching point into designer games. There are quite a few trick-taking games that have a Spades and Hearts feel to them. And you start to introduce these other games to your friends, and then start breaking out some board games, and then they are hooked. Finally, these games are public domain. All you need is a deck of cards and you are set to go. That is why I believe that the deck of playing cards is the best game product any gamer can have. There are so many games that can be played with just a deck of standard poker cards, and I believe that Spades and Hearts are my favorites.

As we end this Top 10, what are some of your favorite games to play with another couple?

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