As my husband and I adjusted to sheltering in place last year, we quickly fell into a routine of working remotely, cooking three times a day, then unwinding with a TV show at night. Just as quickly though, we started craving more meaningful ways to bond with each other while reducing our screen time. Our backgammon board made for fun nights marked by healthy competition, but we also wanted something that would bring us closer.
A few months in, we stumbled upon the game that would add excitement to our weekends: We're Not Really Strangers ($25). I followed the Instagram account for weeks before the founders created the game, and I bet you've shared many of their mental health-focused posts on your stories. The content always strikes a chord with me, so I knew the game would be just as thoughtful. I didn't hesitate to grab it once it was released.
The content always strikes a chord with me, so I knew the game would be just as thoughtful.
Unlike most card games, this one isn't about winning. A note included in the box says it clearly, "There are two ways to play this game: play safe or play to grow. The second is how you win." The cards take you through a series of questions and icebreakers that will make your existing relationships stronger or create new ones, whether you play with your partner or a group of friends.
There are three intentionally designed levels. The first one (perception) will challenge assumptions you may have about whoever you play it with. Expect questions like, "What do you think I'm most likely to splurge on?" or "What does my phone wallpaper tell you about me?" The second level (connection) goes a little deeper with prompts like, "Is there a feeling you miss?" or "Draw a picture of your mood". The third level (reflection) will put everything in perspective and bring you closer in unexpected ways. Without spoiling it for you (because the best part is truly not knowing the questions or challenges), get ready to feel all the feels.
And since the answer to the questions will likely change over time, you'll never get bored of playing the game. Consider it a long-term investment into your social or love life.