You are probably stuck at home right now, and even if you are binging on all the shows you meant to watch over the past year, screens are going to start to feel exhausting pretty quickly. This is a great time to turn back to board games. If your memories of Monopoly and Clue don’t automatically have you running to the game table, don’t worry, games have changed a lot in the last couple of decades and their quality and entertainment levels are through the roof these days. Most of these games also can be played solo as well, so if you are really social-distancing, fear not, you can still have fun!
Fast Fun with Cards
Exploding Kittens – This is a fast pace card game with amusing cards that bring giggles from the littles and give you the opportunity to try to blow each other up in the most lighthearted manner. What more could you want if you are cooped up inside with too many people for too long? If you get the Imploding Kittens extension pack with it, you have the added bonus of someone having to wear the cone of shame.
Love Letter – is a great fast card game where you are trying to get a love letter into the hands of the princess. It’s an easy to learn, fun game where you are trying to knock out the other players. This one has pleased everyone in the family from age 9 – 50.
Sushi Go – In this card game you are trying to grab sushi from a restaurant where the food is whizzing past you. The object is to get the most sushi rolls or create a full set of sashimi. At its core, this is a strategic card passing game. You can make this a theme night, and pair it with your own homemade Japanese meal!
Pandemic – this is a cooperative game that’s been around for quite a while, but if you haven’t wrapped your head around it already, it will give you a sense of how hard it is to contain a global pandemic. The first time we played this game we won easily and wondered what all the fuss was about. When I posted online about it, every board game enthusiast thought I was nuts, it’s actually quite difficult to win. Sure enough, we’ve played it a dozen times since and only won one other time. For some people, working through the scenarios presented in this game might actually not be so dark as it gives a weird sense of empowerment. There is a solo version, so you don’t have to have a group.
Dead of Winter – In this game you are trying to survive a Zombie apocalypse, and you have both group goals where you need to work together as well as individual goals. You can play this solo, but with a group it is really fun because sometimes someone may be secretly working against you which adds a great layer of intrigue. The pieces and cards with this game are all really well done. If you dig the zombie genre, you will definitely enjoy playing this game.
Seeking the Beautiful
Azul – In this game you are collecting tiles which will eventually be scored for points. The parts are gorgeous and as you get into it, you realize it actually has layers of strategy that weren’t obvious at first. In a world gone crazy, this is a fun way to focus on some beautiful. There is a solo version of this game, but it aims at beating your own score, so I think it’s preferable to play with others.
Sagrada – In this game you are collecting dice in certain patterns to decorate a stain glass window. The dice themselves come in beautiful colors that let the light through, giving your game board the actual feeling of real stain glass as you build your window. This is a great game for adults, but it also will help children understand patterns and rules and how to follow them. This also has a solo version, which is pretty satisfying in that it is still a challenge to finish your window within the guidelines of cards that make it easy to difficult.
Ticket to Ride – In this game you are building train routes by collecting cards. There are several different geographic versions of this, so pick your favorite area of the globe, and go forth and connect some cities! This is a consistently popular game with all ages, and if you are just hearing about it now, chances are you know someone who is already playing it.
Splendor – In this game you use cards and chips to collect gems for points. The game is another beautiful set up and it’s a relatively easy games for newbies to the board game world.I have personally played each of these games hundreds of times with my family, and can attest that they have provided many hours of group and solo fun. However, if you want more information or want to do more research on games, I must give a shout out to the board game bible of websites, Boardgamegeek.com, which was responsible for first drawing my attention to many of these games.
Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.