The Hottest Games to Combat Quarantine ‘Board-om’

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Mikhail R. Smith

Mason Bryant, Staff Reporter

Have you found yourself with more free time than normal since the pandemic outbreak?

  • Do you enjoy spending quality time with the ones that you’re quarantining with?
  • Have you noticed a lack of fun, laughs, or competition?

If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions, you could improve your free time with the help of a board game! Yes, in light of the Stay-At-Home Order, board games are back! All you need to have fun is a small group to play with and a board game, of course. There are a lot of options from which to choose, from classics like Monopoly, Life, Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, to games newer to the market such as Monopoly for Millennials, Ellen DeGeneres’ Blindfolded Musical Chairs, or Pie Face Sky High. With so many options available, it can be difficult to select the perfect one to stave off boredom. Luckily, The Chronicle has researched the hottest trends in board games today, as well as interviewed students to find out what games they are playing to pass the time.

Amazon Picks:

Topping Amazon’s list of bestselling toys is the classic building block game Jenga. Having been around since the 1980’s, Jenga is still going strong as it leads the charge on Amazon, and is also among the bestselling list on Walmart.com. For those of you who may not be familiar with the game, it is a tower constructed of alternating stacks of three wooden blocks, consisting of 54 blocks in total. The objective is to carefully remove one block at a time, without damaging the structural integrity of the tower; the player that removes the block that causes the tower to fall is the loser. This game has been a family favorite for decades, and it may be time to build the tower up again and see who in your group has the steadiest hand.

The next bestselling board game is Hasbro’s Connect 4. This game has been on the market since 1974.  The premise of the game is players first choose a color and then take turns dropping one colored disc from the top into a 7×6 grid. The pieces fall down into lowest available space within the column. The objective is to be the first to form a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of four discs of the same color, as well as playing defense to make sure that your opponent doesn’t beat you to it.

Rounding out the Amazon list is the newest of the games in their top 10 list, the self-proclaimed “party game for horrible people,” Cards Against Humanity. This is a 17+ age game where players complete fill-in-the-blank with words or phrases that are usually offensive, insensitive, or politically incorrect. Every round, a “Card Czar” is selected and deals each player white cards, as well as one black card which contains the statement with the blank you must fill. Each player chooses the best filler from their stack of white cards and passes them to the Card Czar, who will read the combinations aloud for all to enjoy, and with add-on packs available, there are so many whacky combinations possible in this fun game. The Card Czar then selects the combination that they believe is the funniest and the person who played that card is awarded a point. So if you’re looking for a raunchy game that a group of adults is sure to enjoy, look no further than Cards Against Humanity!

Walmart Picks:

Ironically, sitting in the #1 bestselling spot on Walmart.com is Mattel’s classic card game UNO. UNO is a 2-10 player card game where each player is dealt seven cards, some of which have numbers and others have action commands such as reverse, draw two, the dreaded draw four or wild card, which can take the place of any color card. The objective is to play cards that match the previous cards color, number, or symbol, and be the first to get rid of all of the cards in your hand. This is a family-fun game, which while it isn’t very time consuming (each game lasting about ten minutes), can still provide you with countless hours of enjoyment from seeing the look on your opponent’s face when you lay down the oxygen-sucking “draw 4” card.

Can it really be considered a comprehensive list of board games if the Monopoly series isn’t mentioned? It has been played by families since the first release in 1935, and since then, it has evolved into a timeless classic, with hundreds of different adaptations. To name a few: Monopoly for Cheaters, where you draw cards that encourage you to cheat to win, but if you fail to cheat, you will pay the consequences; Monopoly Socialism, work together so that all players thrive in business, or you can play as a capitalist, to shake things up and prove yourself as a ruthless contender; and new to the collection is Monopoly for Millennials, which is a millennial take on the classic game—where you can forget real estate as “you can’t afford it anyway,” the board game’s box reads. In this adaptation it’s all about your experiences by “visiting the hottest destinations, from your friend’s couch to the vegan bistro to a week-long meditation retreat.” Although this is the oldest game that this list will include, there is still a lot of fun to be had with all of the variations available or you can go with the tried and true classic.

Do you love NBC’s The Office? If so, you’ll love The Office Downsizing Game. In this game, the Scranton Branch of Dunder Mifflin is being shut down and half of the employees are getting promotions to corporate, and the other half are getting fired. The two groups are pitted against each other, both trying desperately to save their jobs. The game has five rounds, one representing each day of the work week, and each round the leader reads an email with special instructions on how to proceed. One player from each round is chosen by a secret committee, and their personal record is looked at, which will reveal what team they are on, and either push them closer to job security or the unemployment line. Do you have the necessary skills to set yourself apart from the rest of your coworkers when your job is on the line? Play The Office Downsizing Game and find out if you have what it takes!

Student Pick:

When SSU Junior Tanner Miller was asked how he was beating the quarantine boredom, he replied: “My girlfriend and I have been playing a ton of Call of Duty Mobile, it’s free on the App Store, and so much fun.” Miller, a longtime fan of the Call of Duty series, has taken a break from Modern Warfare on his PC, in favor of Call of Duty Mobile stating: “I love playing on my PC but the app is almost just as good, plus my girlfriend and I can play together without having to pay the hundreds of dollars for a console or gaming PC… I’ve been having a blast, and it’s free, so you can’t beat that.” The app features a standard online multiplayer mode with familiar game modes like Domination, Hardpoint, and Search and Destroy, as well as a 100 player battle royale, where twenty-five teams compete to be the last one standing. When asked what he enjoyed playing, Miller had this to say: “I play a lot of the multiplayer, and it’s great, I just wish I could import my Damascus camouflage from Modern Warfare. The battle royale is great too, I’ve had a lot of success in that mode.” So if you aren’t looking to spend the money on a new board game, Call of Duty Mobile could be a fun option for you and your friends to squad up and get some W’s!

Honorable Mentions:

Here are some suggestions that aren’t bestsellers at this time, but are still worth checking out:

  • Pandemic
  • New Phone-Who Dis?
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Risk
  • What Do You Meme
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Gloomhaven
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Catan
  • Exploding Kittens