During the coronavirus pandemic, gaming has superseded many other hobbies to become one of the premier ways to spend free time. Whether you’re into video games or board games, sitting down to enjoy some time with your family or as a solo gamer is a very worthwhile way to de-stress and build some personal skills. With that being said, not all games are created equal. Here are the 10 best board games to play with whoever you’re stuck alongside during lockdown. Just do yourself a favour and completely avoid Monopoly. Trust us.
Check out this info-graphic above from Betway.
If you can stomach the slightly-too-close-to-home subject matter, Pandemic is a great choice for your lockdown board game. It’s a co-operative game that involves you and the other players trying to find a cure for a deadly disease. If that sounds a little too real right now, that’s understandable, but Pandemic actually offers a less realistic take on the situation than you might think. Pandemic Legacy is an alternative version that involves an ongoing storyline and lasting changes in each game.
Dead of Winter
Again, a zombie apocalypse situation might be a little too much for you right now, but if you don’t mind a little darkness in your entertainment then Dead of Winter could be for you. Each player controls a survivor in a colony who must battle against the elements, zombies, and occasionally other players in order to come out on top. It’s a wonderfully-balanced game with plenty of great interlocking systems and a surprisingly strong set of storytelling chops.
Commonly known as “the Dixit-killer”, Mysterium is a game of communication, co-operation, and some seriously beautiful art. Someone has been murdered – that’s the “game master” – and the other players must work together to figure out who did it and where. It’s a little like a beautifully abstract version of Cluedo, but with more rules and player communication required. Either everyone wins at Mysterium or nobody does, making it the perfect choice for fractious family situations.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Somewhere between a traditional board game and a detective story lies Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. You play as Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars as they race to solve a case before Holmes does. To do so, you’ll visit locations on a map according to what looks like the best lead to follow at the time. It’s a collaborative adventure that’s just as fun as it can be frustrating. Some errata and misprints keep the game from being perfect, but its imperfections just make it more endearing.
Did you love Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective but wish there was more of it (even after you’ve gone through all the expansions)? Well, Mythos Tales is here to pick up the slack. Even considering the shocking number of errors throughout the text, Mythos Tales is a truly absorbing Lovecraftian detective story with some excellent twists on the Consulting Detective formula. True horror aficionados will love cases based around The King in Yellow and The Whisperer In Darkness.
Just like Consulting Detective and Mysterium, Codenames is a game all about communication. You will be given a set of words and you must think of a way to communicate to your partner what those words are without using any of them. For example, if you have the words “apple”, “sky” and “snake”, you might say “garden” and hope that your teammate gets the Biblical reference. Codenames is just as much about knowing your team as it is about clever wordplay.
Ticket To Ride
There are many who describe Ticket To Ride as their entry point into the black hole that is the world of board gaming. You play as a train operator who must lay claim to railway routes across North America. As you can likely imagine, Ticket To Ride gets frenetic pretty quickly, with lots of competition and trash talk between players actively encouraged. As such, it might not be a great option for a delicate family situation, but if you’re comfortable with those around you, break this one out and have some fun.
Cards Against Humanity
Naturally, Cards Against Humanity requires that you play it with people who have senses of humour compatible with yours. It’s a simple game in theory: a card is played with a prompt on it and you have to look at your deck to come up with the funniest answer to the prompt. Of course, that revolves entirely around making sure people will find the cards you play amusing. If they don’t, you won’t win any points, regardless of whether or not you think you’re funny. It can be great fun with the right people.
Dogs of War
In Dogs of War, you and your fellow players compete as noble houses in order to vie for supremacy in a steampunk world. The aim of the game is to amass as much power as you possibly can by being duplicitous and taking battles where you know you can win them. Dogs of War isn’t a game for those who love battle; rather, it’s one for those who love to plan ahead and create devious strategies. It doesn’t hurt that the board and miniatures comprising the game are both beautiful.
Last but certainly not least, we have the excellent Gloomhaven. If you’re jonesing for a fully-fledged tabletop RPG experience but you can’t quite find the effort to put one together yourself, you’ll love Gloomhaven. It’s essentially a pre-packaged TTRPG, full of great encounters, memorable characters, and distinct gameplay systems that are a blast to discover. Again, you should make sure you’re playing Gloomhaven with the right people, but there are very few games for which that isn’t the case.