As the world is being swept up by COVID-19 and people are being asked to quarantine themselves to avoid spreading the virus, I realized that this is a time where human contact is going to be kept to a minimum no matter where you are or how directly Coronavirus is currently affecting you. This is something that is particularly scary about this type of virus- it’s ability to spread quickly means that we have to isolate ourselves in order to keep things from escalating further.
As I start to plan my next few weeks where I will avoid public interaction, I realized that my belief that board games bring people together is only partly true. In reality, there will be board game groups and conventions that inevitably get shut down to increase safety, but those people already shut off from the outside world can use games as a way to entertain themselves during a difficult time. So in that line of thinking, I have decided to put out a list of board games that work well either solo or in small groups and would be good options for anybody who needs a way to entertain themselves during a time with less options than normal. I have divided the list up into single player game options as well as multiplayer for families who will be staying inside together (note, some of the single player games have multiplayer options as well). So, without further ado and in no particular order:
SINGLE PLAYER GAMES
Solitaire (1 player)- There are a lot of different types of solitaire, so as long as you have a deck of cards you have plenty of possibilities! A personal favorite of mine is Pyramid solitaire, where you set up the cards in a pyramid and try and match 2 cards together to equal 13.
Scythe (1-5 players)- Scythe was included as part of the review in my last post, but I wanted to bring it up here as well because there is a one player option for the game. While I have not played the game as a 1 player game yet, but I have heard the solo experience is challenging but fun!
Bananagrams (1-8 Players)- Bananagrams is a fast paced spelling game where you create a Scrabble-like board as you go. It’s a fun game for multiplayer but also can be entertaining solo, where you can test your speed in creating words with the tiles you draw.
Zombicide (1-6 players)- Zombicide was one of my favorite Board Game of the Week games, and it is one I play regularly to this day. Similar to Scythe, I have yet to try out the solo version of this game, but with its flexibility and ability to play as multiple characters, this is a good in-depth game that will be fun and take up a long stretch of your day.
Dungeon Roll (1-4 players)- Dice rolling games are always a lot of fun for me, and Dungeon Roll is high on my list in that category. This fast-paced game is perfect for multiple playthroughs and would be a good addition to anybody’s game collection.
Spot it! (2-8 players)- Spot it! is a great game for children and adults alike, and fits well into the family game mold. The game itself is very straightforward- the goal is to find a symbol on one card that matches with another card. The fun of the game is that each card is different, and there are multiple different types of gameplay options that keep it interesting through multiple playthroughs.
7 Wonders (2-7 players)/7 Wonders Duel (2 players)- I have reviewed 7 Wonders in the past, but I have not put up a review of 7 Wonders Duel. Nevertheless, both games are great options for playing with small groups- 7 Wonders fits well into the 3-4 player mold, whereas Duel is specifically created for 2 player games.
Dixit (3-6 players)- Dixit is another game that works well with families, and is suited to a 3-4 player game. It’s artwork is beautiful and the gameplay is simple and easy to pick up, meaning that it can be played by all ages. There is technically a way to score and win, but a lot of times people will just play for fun or until they get bored.
Stratego (2 players)- Another game dedicated to 2 players facing each other, Stratego is a strategy-heavy game that is great to play in any circumstance. I recommend it for people who like chess and want to try something similar, but with a different overall strategy.
Pandemic (2-4 players)- Part of me hesitated when choosing this game, based on the subject matter and how it directly correlates to why people aren’t able to be as social as they normally are. Nevertheless, this is the perfect game for groups of 2-4 and is a fun way to distract from the actual virus spreading. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea in this particular situation, but as I mentioned in my review of it a few years’ back, it is a great cooperative game that promotes working together in an industry that normally focuses on direct competition.
Obviously this list of games is nowhere near a full list- in reality, all of you can just as easily take out your own personal favorite and play that as often as you’d like. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the different types of games out there and how they can be a distraction during tough times. I hope that all of you are staying healthy and safe, and are able to enjoy this time of “social distancing” as best you can.