We're cooped up, stir-crazy, and need a bit of a distraction from the outside world for a bit. And since you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you like games...
- Matthew Kearns
Note: This article is meant as fun and funny yet informative, a means for us to poke fun at our current situation while providing ideas of games for your consideration. No offense or insensitivity is meant or intended.
Ok, we’ve all heard too much about viruses, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer — heck even Amazon is reducing our ability to get our precious cardboard babies to us in a timely manner. I know I certainly could do without the constant barrage from the news and work worries for a moment.
So let’s get down to brass tacks… We’re cooped up, stir-crazy, and need a bit of a distraction from the outside world for a bit. And since you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you like games — all kinds of games: big games, little games, board games, and card games. Well what you doing reading this instead of playing? Hmm, maybe you need some ideas of games to play? Then you came to the right place ‘cuz this is the list for you, whatever you may be into. By all means this isn’t exhaustive or complete, but we can virtually arm wrestle over your favorite game(s) aren’t listed.
Let’s start off being a bit on the nose. It sounds bad out there but its worse on the table. Games like the Pandemic series pulls out the stops bringing a group of government workers from all over working together to investigate, identify, and eradicate diseases around the world. Virulence dives into the tiny world of viruses and cells. Hurry up and sit down — the world and those cells need protecting!
For those who have non-gaming partners or by themselves, you have a bit more time from staying in and this leads one to finding one needs a game or many games. Going beyond the many versions of Solitaire, Crossword puzzles, and Sudoku, games today don’t just cater to game groups but they have variants and modes for the soloist but there are also single player. The hot multiplayer games out there like Root, Mage Knight, and Scythe in the solo mode can fulfill a single player’s craving for kicking butt (sorry, no names to take this time unless it is AI). But for straight up solo action, check out Onirim, escape the labyrinth of nightmares and unlock the dream doors lest you are trapped forever (kinda metaphorical, huh?), and Crystallo, trap a dragon in its lair by exploring and gathering crystals. Also, there is Hostage Negotiator where it is you versus the game as you, the police hostage negotiator, try to save hostages and take down their abductor.
Now that you, maybe your partner, and the houseful of kids are homebound, what are you going to do? Besides the laundry. Bake cookies? Go for a walk? Clean house? Well when all that’s done at 9am, now what? Games, duh! There’s always be a lot of family fare out there to choose from. The many varieties of Monopoly, Uno, Sorry, and Boggle are easy to throw at them, but there are plenty of interesting alternatives. Games ranging from Fluxx to Bullfrogs, Apples to Apples to Dragon Market, all provide interaction, competition, and creative thinking. Good luck and remember: they will eventually go to bed 🙂
Ya, you over there. I see you struggling to work from home and/or manage those rambunctious kids who are treating this like an extended weekend. “Mom, mom, mom…. Mom!” Well, have no fear, for there there are games that can grant you a temporary reprieve from those whiny brats … No, no, they’re not. Darling children, you remind yourself through gritted teeth as you’re trying get your work done from home. Not to fear, there a lot of games out there that aren’t digital yet kid-friendly, thankfully. Dragonwood, Potion Explosion, Tricky Druids, Santorini, and King of Tokyo are games that offer quick play and lots of replayability — both excellent traits to keep those boogers happy and you a little bit more sane. If all else fails, start a tournament of games, you own little Board Game Olympics.
Now some you happen to only need a smaller distraction, as you might have a long backlog on Nexflix to burn through or extensive library calling out to you. So when you need that essential break between chapters or seasons (or wholes series for you professional bingers), check out your game shelf. Dungeon Roll, Coup, Bohnanza, and Munchkin are games that you can pick up and put down quickly, not requiring a lot of investment. Keep them out though, you will come back to them because it is okay to take a pause during your Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Extended Edition marathon.
With all the rush to stay clean and stay safe, go rogue and filthy the place up! Adults put the kids to bed and break out the Dirty Pig, Dirty Pictures, Desperate Housewives Dirty Laundry Game, and Dirty Minds… well you get the picture. There isn’t enough Lysol to clean those dirty mouths and minds after a few rounds of these games.
Some of you out there may be stuck, er trapped, no… cohabitating with another who might actually be interested in the same kinds of distractions as you. Some of them may actually be as, if not more, competitive than you at playing games. Good! Throw down the gauntlet and bust out your best dueling games. Ya there is the classic Battleship or even War, but there are plenty of other games to satisfy the crushing of one’s enemy. Onitama is a contest of wits that uses a limited set of chess-like moves in this duel of martial arts masters. Magic is the classic clash of great mages doing battle across the planes for supremacy. Or you can tone down the epicness with Jaipur as you compete with your merchant for an invitation to the court of the Maharaja. So stop going at it Spy vs. Spy-style and take out on some meeples instead.
Now those of you who are a bit more of the rebellious sort and seek to get down with your bad gamer self with a larger group, you’re not left hanging either. Charades and Pictionary is old school so to liven up the place there are a few games that cater to more current tastes like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, The Resistance, Cards Against Humanity, and Secret Hitler. Make sure to get a large room and a some yard sticks or lightsabers to ensure to practice that proper social distancing.
Online / Mobile Devices
To employ the ultimate in keeping the heck away from other people are online and mobile device games. You don’t need a board, table, chairs, or even people to play these games. Tabletopia, Boardgame Arena, and Tabletop Simulator are places to try out games being and have been developed by yourself or with friends. Mobile devices are great too because some of the modern classics and others can be found out there — Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Love Letter, etc.
As the memes have said, introverts this is our time! And those who are looking for some long-term distraction look no further than your game shelf! Big, chunky games like Twilight Imperium, Gloomhaven, and Descent can make the time fly with the extended focus, many modules, and campaign-style play. There are also legacy games like Machi Koro Legacy, Charterstone, and Clank! Legacy provide hours and hours of fun as you progress through the game, altering the world and rules over the life of the game. Now if this isolation continues longer than expected, check out The Campaign For North Africa (if you can find it) — you won’t be disappointed in the cost/play time ratio.