Board Games for a Desert Island


Quarantining in your home is sort of like being marooned on a desert island. You’re stuck in a confined space, cut off — Zoom calls aside — from the rest of society. You’re alone or with your pod of people, looking for ways to pass the time. And once the novelty wears off, you’re left with seemingly endless hours to fill with some sort of entertainment, using whatever finite resources you have on hand. A glance at the stream of sold-out offerings on Amazon and other online retailers will tell you that many people are filling that time with game nights. We asked readers what board games they would want to have in confinement, whether it’s at home or on an actual desert island. Here are their top picks.

I love Trivial Pursuit — the ’80s version! I still have it — so old but in great condition. I failed history three times in high school, but this version is so easy that everybody wins.

Jill Camerota, 50, Stamford, Conn.

A prized possession I inherited from my dear mother is her deluxe Scrabble set, and it is the only board game broken out during our Covid-19 confinement. It banishes boredom, encourages togetherness, sharpens wits and enhances vocabulary. (Who knew that a vug was a crack in a rock?)

Diane Speare Triant, 73, Wellesley Hills, Mass.

The Passport to Culture board game is easy to play, and you learn interesting (and sometimes bizarre) facts about countries and customs.

Alan Mark, 51, Salt Lake City

Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, because you can travel around the world with your game passport without leaving your home.

Jean Hee Ha, 36, Seoul, South Korea

Pictionary, because it’s creative and the family can play together. We aren’t skilled sketchers, so the worse our drawings, the harder the laughter. Shouting out guesses, especially during quarantine, feels therapeutic.

Susan Walker, 53, Sedona, Ariz.

Candy Land was one of my favorite board games as a child. I would play for hours and never look at the clock.

Amtissal Aboulissan, 35, Brooklyn

I’m a single parent sheltering with a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old, and we’re playing a lot of Blokus. The simple game consists of Tetris-like pieces on a square board. Your pieces can only touch corner to corner and you have to get rid of as many as possible before you run out of space. My children can legitimately beat me in this game, even when my aim is to crush them.

Katherine Sargent, 35, Portland, Maine

I would choose The Fox in the Forest. It’s a two-player game, so I can play with my wife; it’s competitive, so it would not get old too quickly; and the artwork is beautiful. I grew up playing Gin Rummy and Cribbage with my grandfather and dad, so it reminds me of family.

Stuart Urback, 29, Denver

If I could only have one board game in quarantine it would be Monopoly because it can last as long as the pandemic!

Madeleine Flanagan, 17, Ridgewood, N.J.



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