Arts & Entertainment Editor
Being in quarantine was good for at least one thing other than assuring I didn’t get COVID: I got to try my hand at several board games, in person and over Zoom. If you find yourself stuck in the endless void scientists are calling “Netflix and TikTok” and you’re searching for a way out, I highly recommend getting together (safely) with friends or family for a game of skill, knowledge or, as you’ll soon see, bad poetry. Hopefully this list will give you a place to start, whether you’re able to play in person or virtually.
Codenames: Not only did this game give me the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream of being a spy, but gameplay was simple. Acting as a spymaster or field operative, your goal is to cooperate with your team members and contact all of your agents before the other team contacts theirs (the two-player version simulates another team). The spymaster gives one-word hints to help their field operative(s) guess which codenames belong to the correct agents. Though Codenames was not intended to be played virtually, it’s not difficult to do so, as long as at least one person has the game and is able to send photos to the other players.
Poetry for Neanderthals: This is honestly the funniest game I’ve played in years. I could not stop laughing because frankly, it makes everyone sound ridiculous. Want to know what I mean? Try to describe “I.S. Stress” using only single-syllable words. The game lives up to its name as players try to get their team members to guess a complex subject, like “love” or “emotional breakdown” using words with only one syllable, just like the Neanderthal poets of old. The best part is the “NO stick,” an inflatable club that you get to whack the “poet” on the head with when they accidentally say a multi-syllable word. The gamemakers had the pandemic in mind, too, creating something that would not be too difficult to play virtually.
Trivial Pursuit: This is a hard-core nerd game that’s perfect for independent minds who don’t want to work together. It’s also super easy to play over Zoom, since the majority of the game is reading trivia and guessing the answers. Battle to the death and emerge as the smartest of them all by answering trivia from six categories ranging from science to literature to pop culture. The other nice thing about Trivial Pursuit is that there’s a version for everyone, including Star Wars, Disney and Book Lovers’ Editions.
Cards: This obviously isn’t a board game, but there are so many game possibilities, virtually and in person, with a deck of cards that it would be a shame to leave the option out. Not only are there a billion versions of solitaire, but there are competitive games, strategic games, fish-related games, the list goes on. Feeling slap-happy? Try Egyptian Ratscrew, a somewhat violent game where players must be first to slap the deck in the center of the playing space to win cards. Want to frustrate everyone? Try Mao, where you make up your own rules — but nobody else knows what they are. Tired of forking? Try Spoon (not the restaurant), a speedy card-matching game which actually involves real spoons. The possibilities are endless.