You’re practicing social distancing and doing your best for you and your family to stay healthy. Schools are closed and you may be working from home. You are self-quarantining yourself so sometimes you feel like going crazy staying with your family and not getting out.
Don’t fret! I compiled a list of great games to play to pass the time. Some games are cooperative so you work together and learn to tolerate each other better. Other games are competitive, but not the type of competitive game that makes you angry at other players. The gameplay itself is so fun that you don’t mind if you lose.
I played all these games. My family isn’t into games though I was able to get some play on some of them with my daughter. A few of my selections can be played solo. I don’t need to compile a list of games for solo players in this pandemic since all solo games are great for the solo player. I also play online with digital versions of board games with my brothers, but we play more complex involved games. These games are for casual playing families.
If you are expecting me to recommend Monopoly or Clue or even Settlers of Catan, you will not find them here. Nope. Everyone has played these games already.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Ticket to Ride
This railway-themed game has been around for years. There are many different versions, but the main one takes place in the USA. It plays for 2-5 players. You have to build rail lines across the country. At the start, you get 3 Destination cards that tell you which rail lines to build using little train pieces of your color. You get points for completing a destination. Shorter routes get less points, but can be completed a lot quicker.
You get points for completing rail lines. Spaces where you place your trains on the board are in different colors. You pick cards from a row of cards of different colors. You need a specific card color to place one of your trains on a color space. The game ends when one player has two or fewer train pieces left and everyone is give one more turn to finish their lines. Points are added up to declare a winner.
A very simple games that everyone can enjoy. This game is one of the recent games that brought me back to board gaming a decade ago after not play board games for years.
Chronicles of Crime
Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative game of crime investigation, mixing an app, a board game and a touch of Virtual Reality. It plays 1-4 players. Yes, you can play this solo. In my opinion, you can squeeze in more players. This requires you to download an app on your smart phone or pad. The goal is that all players are detectives trying to solve a crime together. The game comes with a deck of cards for items used for evidence, deck of large location cards, a deck of characters cards, and 4 experts cards who help you. Also there is a central board for the evidence and a card for Scotland Yard where the Chief is located.
It makes great use of technology with the game. When you look at a crime scene with your smart phone or pad, it shows in Virtual Reality a crime scene and you call what you see while the others sort through the evidence deck for the clues to be scanned with their QR codes when checking with the experts. You also scan characters at locations as the story unfolds.
You have a time limit where actions take game time. For example, going to a location takes up 20 game minutes. You lose if you go over the time limit. And you have to report your findings to the police chief. Your final score is based on if you answered the chief’s questions correctly.
You need to have at least one dexterity game in your quarantine repertoire. It plays 2-4 players. Basically you’ll be spending time flicking penguins around the board. One player plays the role of hall monitor and while the other players play as mischievous penguins trying to get fish.
The board is actually open boxes with walls and doorways and all connected together. There are fish around the board. A player is suppose to flick with his or her finger the penguin and try to get the fish. The hall monitor flicks his or her penguin and try to hit other penguins.
It’s a fun short game. Really good for young kids and for making fun of clumsy adults that can’t flick things.
Quest for El Dorado
You and the other players are explorers racing across the map to the entrance to El Dorado. It plays 2-4 players. There are many boards that make up the map which gives this game a lot of replayability as you can set them up in many different ways. When you first play, the rules will tell you how to set up the boards for beginners and also have many different set ups.
It is a deck building game where you start with a hand of starter cards which lets you move over different terrain and buy more cards from a market row. The cards you can purchase on the market row gives you more movement, money, or a new helper with an ability to help you get to your goal.
Even though it is a competitive game, the game play won’t cause you get angry with others. You can block people as you race along, but mostly you will be more concerned with moving as far as you can per turn.
For solo play, you can download here a fan made instructions from Board Game Geek.
4 great games to play, but I am not done yet. Stay tuned for Part II as I share more games you can play while being quarantined.