Eight board games to help get you through lockdown

Living Well | Sarah Marinos | Posted on 25 August 2020

Move over Monopoly. Here are eight different board games to help kill time in lockdown.

If you’ve exhausted Uno and are bored with Monopoly, it might be time to update your game collection. Marnie Hipkins, owner of specialist retailer Mind Games, says demand has soared during lockdown as many families have turned to board games to help pass the time when they can’t go out. 

“Board games get people thinking, they get families communicating with each other and they take people away from the TV, video games and laptop,” she says. 

They also make a great family-friendly gift for Father’s Day. Here are Marnie’s recommended boredom busters to help you make it through lockdown. 

Brothers playing board game at kitchen table

 

Eight of the best board games to play in lockdown


Two Rooms and a Boom

Described as a social deduction game, Two Rooms and a Boom features a red team lead by a Bomber and a blue team headed by a President. Players separate into two rooms and are given different roles to play – you may be assigned as a team doctor, spy, ambassador, engineer or the leader. Players swap between rooms and trick each other in an effort to uncover who is who. “You have to find and eliminate the President or Bomber. This can be very funny and a little politically incorrect at times!” says Marnie. 

Best for: Ages eight-plus and ideal for when friends drop in for a visit.

Dixit

Ideal for those with a creative mind, each player is given a series of illustrated cards. On your turn, you choose a card and have to tell a short story about that card. “Each player has their own set of cards and after you tell your story, they must play a card they think most relates to that story,” says Marnie. “The cards are shuffled and players have to vote on the card they think the storyteller was referring to.” 

Best for: Families with kids aged six-plus with plenty of imagination.

Shopping List

in this memory game for young children, each player has a shopping list and has to find the items on their list. Players take it in turns to flip over cards with pictures of items and when they match a picture to their list, they pop it in their trolley. If they flip a card that isn’t on their list, they must remember where it is so they don’t pick it again. The first person to collect all items on their shopping list wins. 

Best for: Families with younger kids aged up to seven.

Rush Hour

“In this game, you have a bunch of cars locked in a traffic jam and you need to help cars exit by moving other cars out the way,” says Marnie. Players pick challenge cards, set up the cars and buses on a road grid and move vehicles while obeying road rules. The goal is to break the gridlock. Play it alone or with others. 

Best for: Those who like a strategy challenge. Ages eight and up.

Ticket to Ride

Choose from settings including Europe, the US, New York, Africa, Japan and London and take part in a cross-country train journey. You and your opponent collect matching train cards that allow you to claim railway routes and connect cities on the map. “As you connect cities, you score points but you also must stop your opponent connecting their cities,” says Marnie. 

Best for: Ages six-plus who like a fast-paced game that won’t take forever to finish.

The Settlers of Catan

Like a contemporary Monopoly, players buy and trade resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities in the fantasy world of Catan. You earn victory points each time you build a settlement or city and the first person to achieve 10 victory points wins. 

Best for: Ages 10-plus with a few hours to spare. 

Pandemic

Join a team of experts trying to save the world from a pandemic. The board features several major populations and, one at a time, players travel between cities, treat an infected population, discover a cure or establish a research station. But while the team races to stem the spread, they run the risk of flipping an ‘epidemic’ card that intensifies the battle. 

Best for: Ages eight-plus who enjoy playing as a team.

Just One

This word game won the international 2019 Game of the Year award. “You have to come up with unique word association clues to help your teammate guess a mystery word,” explains Marnie. Duplicate clues are discarded, so giving an obvious clue puts you at a disadvantage. A correct guess wins a point and a wrong guess loses a point. The highest score wins. 

Best for: Players aged eight-plus who like to test their vocabulary skills.