A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Best-Reviewed Board Games to Play While in Self-Quarantine

Banish boredom by turning every night into game night.

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board games quarantine coronavirus
via target.com (2), via walmart.com

Let the games begin!

Pull your family members or roommates away from their screens for a few hours and challenge them to a little friendly competition. You can even start your own board-game tournament, and to up the ante, craft some homemade trophies for the winners. Hey, you might as well add some fun and quality time to this necessary quarantine! Need a few ideas? We’ve got ’em. These are the board games players love the most, from the time-tested classics to the new hits, across a wide range of age groups. While you’re setting up, regale your fellow players with these fascinating facts about your favorite games.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

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ticket to ride game
via target.com

Ticket to Ride


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For the perfect family game night, try Ticket to Ride. Players connect train tracks with cities on a board that’s a map of the United States. It’s recommended for ages eight and up, but younger folks can probably handle it with a helpful adult as their partner. It’s great for both adults and kids, and reviewers rave about the possibilities for interaction and strategy. To brush up on your knowledge of America, learn the United States trivia your history teacher never taught you.

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villainous game
via target.com



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Villainous: The Worst Takes It All is the ideal board game for Disney lovers up for a challenge. It’s recommended for ages ten and up (but adults love it, too!), and it’s great for critical thinkers. You can choose to play as your favorite Disney villain, with choices like Maleficent and Jafar, then “enact your evil scheme.”

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qwirkle board game
via target.com



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Kids love this colorful game with blocks and shapes that’s just right for ages six and up, though some reviews say even younger kids enjoy it. Qwirkle merges aspects of Scrabble and Dominoes to create an interactive challenge that everyone looks forward to playing. Grandparents are particular fans of playing it with the grandkids, making it a great brain workout for all ages. Even if you can’t visit the grandparents right now, try playing a game with them via FaceTime or Zoom.

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bob ross board game
via walmart.com

Bob Ross: Art of Chill


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You’ll get enlightened quotes on game cards from the mellow and inspiring artist himself as you collect “chill points” and art supplies needed to complete a painting. Older kids (12 and up), as well as free spirits, artists, and those looking for a laid-back game night, love this happy little take on relaxing competition. By the way, this is why Bob Ross made three copies of every painting on his show.

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sequence game
via target.com



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You can play Sequence with anywhere from two to 12 players, and while it’s great for the elementary-school set, adults love it as well. It’s easy and fast to play, with built-in strategy as you create sequences with chips and cards and try to block your opponents.

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sorry board game
via walmart.com



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Sorry! remains a crowd-pleaser. Kids are always excited to pull out the game board, even though there’s sure to be disappointment and revenge before the winner takes his or her four games pieces to safety. You’ll say and hear “sorry” a lot, which is all part of the fun. Pandemic or not, Sorry! belongs in your home collection, along with these classic board games everyone should own.

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pandemic board game
via target.com



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The objective is to save the world through cooperation—which sounds like the perfect plan for us, especially right about now! The game board covers a global map, in which players traverse as they work together to find solutions. Pandemic is innovative in that players must unite in order to succeed; they team up against the board itself, so it’s a great game for fostering collaboration in place of competition.

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clue game
via walmart.com



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Professor Plum in the billiard room with a candlestick. Mrs. White in the conservatory with a rope. You know how it goes. Clue remains one of the all-time favorites for game night, and for good reason: It’s a ton of fun! Kids ages eight and up love the little weapon pieces (as do adults), and it’s a great game for developing critical thinking skills as you use the process of elimination to deduce the culprit, the weapon, and the crime. If your little ones aren’t quite old enough for this yet, try these genius brain boosters with your kids.

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scrabble board game
via walmart.com



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This wordplay board game is a classic for a reason. No game collection is complete without Scrabble—just make sure you don’t lose any tiles! Kids can play, of course, but Junior Scrabble may be a better option for younger ones. And be forewarned that word nerds can get cutthroat, so study up on obscure vocab and strange spellings. Hint: Qi, za, and xu make for great plays. Check out these 13 Scrabble facts even super-fans don’t know.

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monopoly board game
via target.com



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Go directly to jail—or, rather, hope that somebody else ends up there! Monopoly takes a while, it can go on for hours (but hey, you’ve got the time), and it brings out the hidden banker in everyone. Go for the classic board game or one of the many themed editions.

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the game of life
via target.com

The Game of Life


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No matter how many times you play it, you’ll always return to Life. Maybe it’s those game-board hills, the little cars with pegs, or the colorful spinner. It’s recommended for ages eight and up, but according to numerous reviews, kids even younger are just as delighted with Life’s ups, downs, and surprises.

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catan board game
via target.com



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You’ll trade, barter, and create your own world in the popular Catan board game. Also called Settlers of Catan, it’s known for its educational properties—players consider resources as they plan communities. But watch out: Catan has a reputation for being addictive, like these other board games that also make great gifts. Get ready to strategize!

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risk board game
via walmart.com



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Risk offers a slow-burning divide-and-conquer challenge, so don’t be surprised if it goes a few hours or longer. An ideal game for older kids and adults who like strategy and competition, it’s an old-school classic, but many five-star reviews show that it still captures the attention of video-game aficionados.

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Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.