Already going stir crazy? Kids out of school keeping you at home? Can’t go out because everything is closed?
This Coronavirus is taking its toll…with all of the craziness going on across the globe, it can be easy to get discouraged. How can we avoid boredom? Oh, whatever will we do…?
Whether you’re alone, with a few friends, or with your large family, there are a plethora of options within the world of board gaming that can satisfy your needs.
Read on for my recommendations based on player count. For each game I have included the: *difficulty* (Light/Medium/Heavy), *average length*, and *minimum recommended age*.
Jaipur – [L, 30 mins, ages 8+] a great little game of trading and set collection. This game is made for two players and it is loads of fun packed into a small package.
Carcassonne – [L, 30-45 mins, ages 7+] A oldie and a goodie. This game has been around for 20+ years and still holds it’s own. It can play with more players but I think it is best played with two. Setup is a cinch and it is different every time you play. One of my favorites. Add in this expansion (which is currently out of stock as of the writing of this post) or this one to really spice things up.
Suburbia – [M, 90 mins, ages 8+] Have you ever wanted to build your own city? There a lot of games that offer this premise but – in my opinion – none do it better than Suburbia. While it can be a little long, it offers nearly unlimited possibility for creating your very own suburb in hopes to attract more people than your opponent(s).
Terraforming Mars – [M, 120 mins, ages 12+] This has quickly become Cara and I’s favorite game to play together. With a plethora of cards and options for terraforming, this game is always an enjoyable experience. As a bonus, everything in this game is based on real science (I’m not a scientist so I cannot confirm). Add in this expansion or this one for added enjoyment and longevity.
Pandemic – [M, 45 mins, ages 8+] To be honest, this is only here because I feel obligated to recommend it 🙂 but it really is a good game. This OG cooperative game is great with 3 or 4 and is always fun. Work together with your group to eradicate the diseases that are ravaging the globe. For a quicker version of the game that’s better with 2, check out this game. For a more involved version of the game that requires several sit-down sessions, check out the Legacy version (seriously, this is amazing if you have the time to spare).
Azul – [M, 30-45 mins, ages 8+] A solid 3-4 player game that is beautiful to look at. Easy to teach and play, Azul is different every time and is always an interesting puzzle to solve.
Splendor – [L, 30 mins, ages 8+] Another one that is easy to teach and play. It’s an engine building game that plays in a relatively short time-frame and is a pleasure to look at with it’s beautiful artwork. I’ll never turn down a game and you shouldn’t either.
Catan: Cities and Knights – [M, 90 mins, ages 12+] A twist on a classic. I bet most of you have heard of [and probably played] Catan, but I want to recommend an expansion for it. Cities and Knights adds barbarian attacks, movable knights, and an all new ‘leveling up’ system. The resources are more balanced, there are more paths to victory, and more ways to change up your strategy if the dice aren’t going your way. If you don’t have Catan, grab the base game – but if you already have it, pick up C+K. You won’t regret it.
For Sale – [L, 30 mins, ages 8+] Short and sweet, this little bidding game is loads of fun. In the first round, bid for the most valuable properties. In the second round, attempt to sell them for the most money. This game plays quick and is always enjoyable for everyone I’ve play with. Highly recommended.
King of Tokyo – [L, 30 mins, ages 6+] Crazy fun that never disappoints. This dice game can last anywhere from 15-45 minutes, and you never quite know what’s going to happen. Determine you strategy, claim special abilities, and always be ready to adapt if you want to win.
Bohnanza – [M, 45 mins, ages 8+] A unique combination of random fun and interesting strategy, Bohnanza is hilarious and raucous. Collect beans, trade for ones you need, and harvest your fields when the time is right.
Power Grid – [H, 120 mins, ages 12+] A much longer experience, Power Grid is a great game about building a network, collecting resources, and providing power to your cities to earn the most money. With great bidding, and lots of interesting strategic choices, this game is one of my all time favorites. Considering how much is going on in this game, it actually isn’t too difficult to learn.
Sushi Go: Party – [L, 20 mins, ages 8+] A card drafting game with a fun theme and simple game play. It’s super easy to teach and relatively quick to play – even at higher player counts. M, 120 mins, ages 12+
Decrypto – [L, 15-45 mins, ages 10+] For fans of Codenames, Decrypto is just a bit more interesting with much less down time. Get your team to guess the code – but be careful, you can’t let the opposing team in on the secret or you’ll lose the game!
Cash n’ Guns – [L, 30 mins, ages 8+] What if I said there was a game where you aim fake guns at each other in an attempt to steal the most loot? It’s your lucky day, because Cash n’ Guns is that game. This is hilarious to play and always draws the attention of onlookers due its ridiculous premise. Easy to teach and always a good time.
Captain Sonar – [M, 45-60 mins, ages 12+] Boy are you in for a treat. Best with EXACTLY 8 players (but can be played with less), Captain Sonar is a game where two teams of 4 get in submarines and attempt to blast each other out of the water. The catch? It’s played in real-time, meaning that there are no turns – once it starts, you better keep up. Your captain will be yelling orders and everyone else needs to be listening or be doomed to fail. You will not be disappointed with the unique experience this game offers.
(You’re supposed to be isolated so you shouldn’t be looking at this category but alas – for those large families – here it is)
Dixit – [L, 30 mins, ages 8+] a classic guessing game of intrigue and artwork. Easy to learn but difficult to master. Nothing much more to say other than to recommend trying it yourself. Great game.
Monikers – [L, 30-60 mins, ages 16+] You’ve played Charades. You’ve played Catch Phrase. You’ve played Password. Have you ever wanted to combine them all? This game has actually taken many different forms but I haven’t found one quite as good as this one. Not only are the cards absolutely hilarious, but they also award different point values based on difficulty which keeps the game interesting and adds a level of strategy not normally present in these types of games. Highly recommended.
The Resistance: Avalon – [L, 30 mins, ages 12+] Hidden identities, secret missions, backstabbing opponents – this game has it all. Several games have come before that do similar things but this one has perfected the formula.
Two Rooms and a Boom – [L, 7-20 mins, ages 8+] This is really not the best recommendation for such a list as it can play up to 30 people…but it’s just too good not to mention. If for some reason you find yourself in a group this large that happens to not contain any infected subjects, pull this sucker out. Two rooms, two teams, one president, one bomber. The blue team wants the president to survive. The red team wants the president dead. If the game ends with the bomber in the same room as the president then BOOM, the red team wins – otherwise, the blue team has thwarted their plan. HIGHLY recommended. Unfortunately, at the time of me writing this post, it is unavailable for purchase on Amazon, but you may be able to find it elsewhere!
For those of you who find themselves completely alone during this time, no need to worry! There are a plethora of solo options you can look into. From this list, Terraforming Mars, Suburbia, and Pandemic are all playable solo. Other notable games that fall into this category are: Friday, Robinson Crusoe, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Scythe, among many others.
Hope this list can help give you an idea of a game or two that may interest you or those you spend the most time with. Hit us up on social media if you are looking for something customized to your tastes!
Stay healthy and play more games!