We learned many, many things when our lives were locked down and reduced to four walls, and exercise was rationed to once a day. Never did running a 5K for absolutely no reason other than to get some fresh air, seem more appealing.
Some of us took to baking to pass the time – ok, all of us took to baking in the first few weeks – while others were well prepared with their dedicated cupboard of rainy-day, table top board games. Yep, Monopoly Deal had the busiest month of its life.
Once the virtual quiz hype fizzled out, we went back to basics with our entertainment, shuffling cards and getting shouty in a heated game of Linkee. And it was a simpler time.
Whether you’re a total novice or a seasoned Pictionary artist, consider this your list of the best games to combat boredom. Poker face on. Games night ON.
As the biggest game enthusiast, I have quite the selection of favourite games up my sleeve and spilling out of most drawers in our house! I could quite literally give you a list of different occasions where different games were my favourite to pull out and play which will make narrowing this down extremely difficult. The reason I love a good afternoon of wholesome and sometimes slightly shouty game play is because I find it one of the rare occasions I am not plugged into any form of technology. Sometimes we find it impossible being able to switch off and be in the moment, but playing games with family or friends is guaranteed to make you shift your focus. The conversation is usually flowing, everyone is away from their phones and some of my favourite days have included playing a game of some sort! It’s bloomin’ well good for the soul and I encourage you to try a few of these next time you’re stuck for what to do on a Sunday afternoon!
- Blokus – A new favourite you can play with 2 (Blokus duo) or 4 if you play the original game. You want to try and lay as many of your different shaped pieces on the board as possible and get the lowest score based on a bit of tactical playing and luck!
- Quirkle – My friend Katie bought me this for my birthday and it’s such a good game! Super easy to learn and play and requires you to lay all your tiles by colour or shape, scoring as you go! The winner is the one with the highest score when there are no more tiles left!
- Cobra Paw – A bit more fast-paced! This one is super fun and slightly stressful. You roll two dice that reveal a combination of a pattern and a colour and it’s the first person to place their finger in that tile in the middle of the table that gets it! First to five wins!
- Pack of playing cards – without going into detail on certain card games and their rules, a pack of cards is the easiest to carry around and whip out and has hundreds of different games that can be played! A couple of my favourites are shit head and golf!
- Cluedo – The inner detective in me just loves this game so much! Definitely one I usually have to persuade the rest of the family to play though as it takes a little longer.
- Monopoly – The classic! A perfect Sunday afternoon boardgame.
- Game of Life – Another board game for a Sunday afternoon but so much fun to play! I also find that this one is less stressful and a little quicker than monopoly!
I’m big on a game. Drinking games, car games, board games, card games, I’m basically all about em’. I feel like they bring everyone together and you can really build traditions with some which are lovely. I think people associate games with colder months but I play my favourites year-round and some are perfect for taking to the pub garden or on holiday.
I cannot even put into words how much I love monopoly deal. It’s kind of hard to learn at the start but as soon as you’ve got it, it’s brilliant. I literally never get bored of playing, games can be super quick or a little more drawn out. It doesn’t have a ton of similarities with Monopoly the board game if I’m honest, so if you don’t like that I’d still give this a try. I bought this one at the start of lockdown and I was so excited to see they had a Disney version (all the properties are characters) unfortunately I didn’t realise it was German HA but we worked out what cards meant and now we can’t get enough.
- UNO – I mean Uno is just great, it’s the ultimate chilling at the pool with a beer in hand holiday game. Everyone has probably played UNO at some point in their lives and it’s super easy to pick up. The thing I love most about UNO is how competitive it can get, the moment when everyone conspires against the person with the least cards is always hilarious to me. Jumping on people who forget to say UNO, especially after a few bevvies also cracks me up.
- Incoherent – So this one is one of my most recent purchases and I have to admit I was swayed massively by Tik Tok! It’s the one where things are spelt differently and people have to guess what they are and some of them are filth. This is so funny after a few drinks and has had me doubled up on the floor laughing which is hard for a game to do. This would probably make a great gift too.
- Blockbuster – Bit of a rogue one but my brother got me this for Christmas as I’m a bit of a movie buff and I LOVE it. I would imagine this would be really great if you and your friends are good with movies as it definitely needs a solid level of knowing a wide range of movies to play it well. It’s got a fun buzzer round which sometimes we end up playing for ages after we’ve finished playing where it will say ‘Movies beginning with S’ and you take it in turns to say one and hit the buzzer and the person who can’t think of one before the buzzer goes off loses. Really good game if you like movies though, worth looking into!
I’m not a massive games enthusiast, unless it’s a drinking game of course, then I really do play to win. It’s not that I don’t like them, I think it’s just one of those things where you’re either a family who plays games together or you’re not, and being a small family, I think we heavily rely on the classics: a frustrating game of Who Am I with post-its stuck to our foreheads or Monopoly.
Games in our house are usually limited to Christmas Day when we’re all together or someone’s birthday. We play Dirty Santa or invent our own equipment-free games like last Christmas, where we went around the table naming tube stations beginning with every letter of the alphabet. It sounds like one sucky Christmas Day doesn’t it? But actually, we were all very invested by the time we made it to Goodge Street.
Since lockdown left us all looking for things to do to fill our days indoors, I have since discovered a couple of firm favourites, Monopoly Friends Edition and the How Millennial Are You? Game.
- Monopoly Friends Edition – This is just like the original version, only better. This time, you play as a member of the iconic sitcom gang and pivot round the board, naturally, and instead of fighting over who gets to be the dog, you get to fight over who gets to be Rachel’s handbag.
- How Millennial Are You? – This game is basically charades with avocado and Ed Sheeran. You’ve got four categories to choose from, including Food & Beverages, Music, Popular Culture and Famous People. You then pick a card, choose your millennial reference, then roll the die to determine whether you have to draw, describe, mime or sing it. Who knew sketching an avo was so hard!
There are few occasions in which a game seems the most appropriate course of action, but if you even utter the words Christmas, Lockdown or Pre Drinks then you best believe I’m whipping the games out ASAP.
Now I’m by no means an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but something about this game makes me 10/10 competitive. This is normally one that collects dust until December rolls around, but with some more lockdown evenings ahead of us it might be one worth persuading my family to join me in a game of. There are also some fun online versions like Drawize and Skribbl to help extend the game beyond your four walls.
- Three Tier Articulate – I’m sure there are plenty of official ways to play this with proper cards and timers, but this minimal effort game always ends in fits of laughter whenever me and my pals have spontaneously played, and only really requires a pen and paper! First things first you all need to write 5-10 peoples names (depending on how long you want the game to last you can add more or less) on individual pieces of paper, fold them in half and shuffle the selection in a bowl or hat. We normally do a mix of celebrities, politicians, friends from school, TV characters and personalities we’re all familiar with. Divide your group in half and let the games begin! You have 1 minute on the clock per member of each team with the aim of your team mates guessing who you are describing, the paper of which you keep and tot up the total as you go. Then the three tier element comes into play. During the first round you can describe the person in as many words as you like (without saying their name directly), the second round means you can use one word only to describe the same selection of people, and the final round requires you to act them out, speaking no words at all. It’s more fun if you’ve inputted a whole variety and long list of names as you’re likely to forget them between rounds making the process all the more funny/frustrating for those in the hot seat. The winning team is the side with the highest number of points at the end of the game.
- Picolo – And now for everyone’s favourite drinking game! This is a fun one for festivals, pre drinks or house parties (crying at the distant memory of those things). All you need is a phone to bring this game to life, adding in each participants name and following the challenges and instructions the app gives out. I believe you can tailor the direction of the game to avoid awkward spin the bottle moments (unless that’s your thang), and it’s almost guaranteed to be a good laugh no matter your group!
For some reason I’ve never been a big game player, except at Christmas when I can’t get enough of them! I’m not sure why the festive period is so big on games, but I do love how it brings everyone together and gets everyone off their phone. So maybe I should start playing games more often!
What Do You Meme?
I love a meme, so how can I not like a card game centred around them. This game is so funny, I have the fresh memes expansion pack and it’s deffinitley adult themed, so this one is not for children! What Do You Meme is really similar to Cards Against Humanity, where you pair two cards together and then one player picks a pair they think is the funniest to win that round. However, with this game you pair It up with an iconic meme image. This game can get so out of hand and it’s absolutley hilarious!
- Cards Against Humanity – I don’t think this game needs any explanation, we all know how bloody brutal it is! This is a game you go into innocent and come out the other end with a newfound savage sense of humour. I think this game needs a certain type of humour for everyone to find it funny, it’s very dry and outrageous humour. Normally you come out of a round of this seeing all the players in a whole new light, must admit I did after playing a few round of this with my family at Christmas haha! Who knew my Grandma could be so crude!
- Monopoly – I play this VERY occasionally, mainly at Christmas, but I love how intense this game can get. Boy, it can last for hours and hours! It’s something you’ve really got to set aside time for, even days ha! I get very invested in this game (if you couldn’t tell already), so I think for my mental wellbeing it’s good I don’t play it often because I become stressed! But it’s so fun to play, I don’t think I need to explain the rules of this game we all know this absolute classic.
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