My partner and I have a game we play in the bedroom – Hanabi.
For those not familiar with boardgames, Hanabi is a co-operative card game of logic and deduction with a twist – you can’t see your own hand.
My partner, Sam, and I often play boardgames together but I realised that the two-player ones I most enjoy playing with him are co-operative games, where we working towards a shared goal.
Though I do love a good victory, it always feels slightly tainted when I’m only playing against Sam, because it means he’s lost.
But with a co-op game, we win and lose together. We are a team in the game, as we are in life.
We look at the situation together, listen to each other’s thoughts on what to do, decide on the best course of action and make compromises when we don’t agree, working as one towards the end goal – all good skills for a relationship.
Oddly, it is the losses not the wins that are the best for our continued domestic bliss. When we lose, it would be easy to fall prey to bitterness for some ‘stupid’ move our counterpart made.
But we’ve learned not to. And being able to rise over such petty resentments has helped us long after the game has gone back in the box.
But probably the best games are the ones where we aren’t allowed to communicate freely. Games like Hanabi, which we often play, as my misleading opening line would have you believe, in bed.
In Hanabi, you have to play cards in a certain order, but you can’t see your own hand and are limited in what you can tell your fellow players.
We’ve played the game together for years. We’ve grown to understand how the other thinks.
Now when Sam gives me a clue I can see the message beyond what he said. Unspoken communication – yet another great relationship skill.
And then when he fails to notice that I’m about to throw away a vital card which will screw us monumentally? Well, I usually blame that on him being tired rather than an idiot. Usually.
We recently purchased Codenames: Duet, another game of limited communication, this time about word association. We’ve played a few games, and I’ve already learned a lot more about the way his brain works (as well as the disparities in our vocabulary…).
What will I learn about his mind with more games? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to finding out.