Hello everyone, I hope you and your family are safe at home during this unprecedented global health crisis. Events and festivals around town have been cancelled to follow the directives of the B.C. Office of the Provincial Health Officer and maintain social distancing. So to continue with stay-at-home themes, I’ve compiled a small list of some of my favourite board games that might be fun to play with your family, or to play online with others over the Internet. Stay well everyone; we’ll get through this!
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Play as a farming couple in medieval Europe trying to build a productive and prosperous farm in this worker placement, resource management board game. The theme is accessible and the premise is straightforward. Gather wood, plow fields, raise animals and grow your homestead over the course of various seasons, produce bountiful harvests, feed your family and be the farmer with the most efficient farm in the game. Players compete with other farmers for shared resources in the market village and different starting conditions.
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This tile-laying game sees players fill in a medieval countryside around a fortified city. Players choose from tiles that depict cities, roads, monasteries and fields. Each new tile placed creates an ever-expanding board on which players can then add their followers (or Meeples) and claim the land. Each game is different since the order of the tiles drawn each game changes the landscape and creates different options and opportunities to score points.
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Dominion is a card deck building game where the goal of the game is to generate victory points by building up their deck of cards. Players’ starting deck contains the resources, victory points and the things you can do during the course of the game. It initially starts out as a small collection of estates and copper coins, but players hope that by the end of the game it will be brimming with gold, provinces and the inhabitants and structures of their kingdom…. their Dominion!
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1812: The Invasion of Canada
I’m a sucker for historical games, and I enjoy playing on the side of the Canadians defending Canada from the Americans, in this historical themed board game set during the War of 1812. Players take on the roles of the major factions of the war – British Redcoats, Canadian Militia, Native Americans, American Regulars and American Militia – and strive to capture objectives on either side of the Great Lakes, with help from people like Laura Secord, Tecumseh, General Brock and John Brant. 2–5 Players.
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I know what you’re thinking; a game about pandemics during a global pandemic?! Pandemic is actually one of the best board games out there and quite topical given the circumstances. The goal of the game is for the players, in their randomly selected roles such as medic, researcher, dispatcher, to work together to stop the spread of four diseases and cure them before a pandemic occurs. Playing a cooperative game where all the players win or lose together is a great gaming experience. 2–4 Players.
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Players may enjoy the beautiful art and figurines of Takenoko, a family-friendly board game. In the game, the Chinese Emperor gifted to his Japanese counterpart a sacred animal, a giant panda bear, a symbol of peace. The Japanese Emperor entrusted his court members with the difficult task of caring for the animal by setting up his bamboo garden. Players cultivate the land plots, irrigate them and grow one of three bamboo species, but they will have to put up with the ravenous hunger of the panda for the juicy and tender bamboo!
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Ticket to Ride
Of all the games on this list, this game is probably the most accessible and easiest to learn for players new to modern board games. Play as a railroad tycoon, collecting cards of various types of train cars and then use them to complete railway routes on the map. The longer the routes, the more points players earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities and to the player who builds the longest continuous route. The game series has maps featuring countries such as Poland, the USA, Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic countries. 2–5 Players.
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Tigris and Euphrates
This board game is set in ancient Mesopotamia, where players take on the roles of Mesopotamian rulers at the dawn of urban development who compete to build civilizations and dominate the fertile crescent. In order to ensure your civilization’s survival, players must balance housing and religion, commerce and agriculture – even as wars break out between dynasties and revolts force players to fight for their territory. 2–4 Players.
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One of my all-time favourite board games, Twilight Struggle is a two player game focusing on the ideological battle for supremacy in the Cold War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Playing as either superpower, exert influence over countries to gain allies, be the first to go into space and grapple for control of Europe and the world all the while dealing with events such as the Suez Crisis, the U2 Incident, the hippie movement and Glasnost. But be careful, the spectre of nuclear annihilation could cause you to lose! 2 Players.