In addition to COVID, love is once again in the air as we enter into February. Those not currently in partnerships are likely to go on a lot of first dates over the next month, and the board gamers among us may be getting excited at the prospect of not only meeting new people but new gamers, as well. Some dates may not be into board gaming right after you meet, but for those who do, heed our advice to ensure everyone has a great time:
Dress for the occasion
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is this more true than on a first date—particularly if you met online or through a friend. Dust off those dress clothes that have been hanging in your closet since the beginning of the pandemic and shine those shoes until they reflect to a dangerous level. But think practically as well as sartorially: As the game expert, it’s important to arrive with plenty of pockets to hold cards meant to be secret as well as a collection of pencils and scrap paper to keep score. Bar tables are small and, often, sticky, so a safe spot in your shorts is going to be much appreciated.
Don’t skip the pleasantries
Let’s face it: Some of us are hardcore and we date to game, or game to date, as the case may be. It’s tempting, then, to get right down to business once you meet your companion for the evening: Place a drink order with game instructions in one hand, cards being shuffled in the other. But exercise patience! While you may intimately know every curve and contour of a Catan board, you’ve just met this other person and, while they may like to game, they might also want to, ya know, meet someone who could potentially become a long-term partner. Ask them a few questions about themselves, make them feel comfortable, share your feelings and THEN kick the game off. This way, you’re guaranteed to make it all the way through a round before your date throws their drink in your face.
Open yourself up to taking multiple breaks
Under normal circumstances, the best times to step away from a board game occur during scoring breaks or after a predetermined slew of turns. That way, there’s no chance you’ll miss anyone’s turn—or, worse, forget what you were doing and make mistakes as a result. But dates are unpredictable. As you get to know your companion, it’s likely some comment will spark an entire memory or anecdote. Let this happen. It’s easier to get back into a derailed game than it is to mend a broken date or, say it with me now, a broken heart. If you’re concerned that you won’t remember what’s going on in the game, grab a bar napkin and take covert notes; you can pretend it’s an autograph you signed for being the Best Dater in the Bar!
End on a high note
If the date goes well, congrats, you can expect to meet up again and play more board games! Thank them for being a gracious opponent, pay for their drinks and go home to dream of your next rendezvous. Things may not end so happily, though, and in that case you might want to congratulate them nonetheless on being a worthy opponent. Say you enjoyed the time and, finally, slink out when they go to the bathroom. Better opponents and dates await, and no time like the present to find them.