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Fun for all the family: Top board games to play during lockdown

By Daniel Morris | Features | Published:

We’re all locked down, and if you’re feeling bored, reach for the board.

Top games to play with the whole family

Board games can be the perfect arena for a fun family contest of wits, and here are five of our lockdown faves...

Scrabble

Scrabble

One for the wordsmiths and the literati, this classic game can lead to many a family battle and many a faux pas.

Letter tiles each have points assigned to them – common letters with lower points and rare letters with larger point totals.

This point system rewards not only lengthy words and large vocabularies, but also short words that use uncommon letter combinations.

The players left after the winner uses all their letter tiles are ranked according to the leftover letter totals, the one with the most losing.

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Available in 29 languages, this game of words and wits is loved around the world, with 150 million sets having been sold since the game’s creation.

Its beauty is its simplicity, and with only two players required, it can be a great choice for the smaller household during lockdown.

Cluedo

Cluedo

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Everyone loves a good whodunnit, and for all the budding sleuths out there this classic game of ‘murder most foul’ is a sure-fire lockdown hit that will keep those mental gears turning.

In true Agatha Christie-style, an eerie mansion is the setting for the board and players move around rooms, hallways, and secret spaces as they attempt to deduce the weapon used, location and perpetrator in the infamous murder of Dr Black.

The game commences with the secret placement of one card from each category in a closed ‘fact envelope’.

Players then roll dice to move along the different spaces of the mansion, stopping along the way to figure out the envelope’s hidden answers.

Once a player feels confident they have answered the facts of the case, they venture to make an accusation.

If they are wrong, they must sit out and effectively lose the game, but if they solve the three components correctly, they become the winner. The game is on, Watson.

Monopoly

Arguably the godfather of the board game pantheon, this contest of capitalism has kept the world entertained since the early 20th century, and is now available in over 1,100 versions.

With players moving around the board at the role of the dice, the object is to become the most ruthless property tycoon you can, purchasing a mixture of holdings with your legendary ‘monopoly money’, and stopping your rivals establishing a foothold of their own.

The journey is not always smooth sailing, with a mixture of ‘chance’ and ‘community chest’ squares that can scupper or advance your conquest of the board, and there is always the option you can land in jail.

There is probably no better game to be enjoyed in lockdown as Monopoly can infamously last for hours. A word of caution though – there are few families that haven’t become indebted to each other in rather brutal ways over a Christmas session of this dining room table classic. Indeed, some of us have owed an uncle two Yorkshire puddings and a wash of the car since 1998.

And while it’s all well and good bartering your last pig-in-a-blanket for a precious rent reduction or much-needed Monopoly fiver, be aware – this is lockdown, and this game could change the balance of power in your household with no room for escape.

Risk

Risk

A classic game of war and territory, this strategy behemoth is known for the longevity of its sessions, and spawning many an unlikely Napoleon Bonaparte along the way.

This ‘game of global domination’ is played on a board featuring a map of Earth divided into forty-two territories, which are grouped into six continents.

Turns rotate through players who control armies of pieces with which they attempt to capture territories from others. Results, naturally, are determined by dice rolls.

In a devilish part of the game, players may form and dissolve alliances as a means to their ends.

The general objective is to occupy every territory on the board, eliminating the other players, and becoming Emperor of the world. However the game can be shortened if a player completes their ‘secret mission’ objective.

An epic contest of noble warfare, Risk can last for days, and a lockdown round of it may pass directly into verse-inspiring family legend.

Pie-face

Pie Face

This glorious game will inevitably involve one of your loved ones getting caked in the face with cream. For that reason if no other, it makes the lockdown list. You’re gonna’ love it.

On their turn, each player places their face in the target area of a mechanical arm. Said arm is holding a sponge, and on said sponge players lather an ill-intentioned quantity of cream, shaving foam or other non-hazardous material.

The player in the firing line then spins a spinner to reveal how many times they must twist the handle connected to the arm, which could trigger the firing mechanism at any point.

This hilarious take on Russian Roulette will have all of you on the edge of your seats, as each player grits their teeth and hopes to get through their turn unscathed.

Players score a point for every time they turn the handle without getting hit. The one who scores 25 first wins.

Prepare for plenty of mess, but also many a lockdown laugh.

Daniel Morris

By Daniel Morris
Features Writer and Sub Editor - @DanMorrisWriter

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