Board Games to Pass the COVID Shutdown


Friday, March 20, 2020

So, you’re out of school early thanks to coronavirus. Your siblings and parents are home too, their schools and workplaces also shuttered courtesy of the virus. They want to do something as a family, or you just want to catch up with your hometown friends, but you can’t go anywhere because everything is shut down. Or maybe you’re just sick of watching 8 hours of Netflix every day.

Sounds like you need a board game.

Classics like Monopoly or Risk can be fun, but they get old fast and the game-play can be repetitive. Here are some other board games to play while you wait out the coronavirus storm.

Settlers of Catan

No board game might be more universal than Catan. I’ve played Catan with my family wanting an easy night, and I’ve played Catan with friends who are more serious about strategy games. For both crowds, Catan does the trick. Up to five can play without expansions, and one game can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. Unlike games such as Monopoly, a game of Catan never drags, nor does it take an hour of play for the game to go anywhere. Whether you are looking for a game to play with family or friends, casual or serious, Catan should be near the top of the list.


Eclipse is personally my favorite board game. Set in space, the goal is to explore and expand your faction’s reach over the galaxy and amass the most victory points in nine rounds. Combat is dice-based, similar to Risk, but there’s a lot more strategy to how you prepare for battle. That combined with different alien species and three types of in-game resources gives the game an asymmetry that offers different paths to victory every time. It is not an easy game to find and it takes some time to pick up, but, once you understand the game’s mechanics, it’s a blast. The game can be played by up to six players with no expansions. A game for four, where everyone knows what they’re doing, takes about 2 hours.


Scythe is a game for up to five players from 2016, taking place in an alternative 1920s Eastern Europe of mechanized warfare. The game lasts until a player gets eight stars, obtained through various in-game achievements. Like Eclipse, it’s not supremely well-known. 

There are a lot of different ways to win. Don’t be intimidated by the complex set-up; it’s not as difficult to get the hang of as you’d expect. It takes between ninety minutes and 2 hours to play. 

Ticket to Ride

Originally released in the 1950s, you have to amass the most railroads around either the United States or Europe before somebody runs out of trains. It’s easy to pick up and is a nice option for more casual players. Runtime is short (about an hour), and out of almost 7,000 reviews on Amazon, it has 4.8 stars. If you are looking for a game to play with a family member who isn’t much for strategy games and wants something more laid back, play Ticket to Ride.  


A favorite of John F. Kennedy and Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy is the one game on the list I haven’t played. I’d love to, but the playing time is obscene (which isn’t a problem now that I’m stuck at home for several weeks). 

Set in Europe before World War 1, it’s a war game with no combat or random features. Your performance depends solely on your negotiating abilities, tactical skill, and guile. If anyone is like me and looking for a strategy game they can spend an entire day playing, try Diplomacy. 

Risk 2048

I really enjoy Risk. But Classic Risk has some problems. It takes forever, plays slowly, the combat is repetitive and too random, and the map is too linear. The answer to this is Risk 2048. It is capped at five rounds and it adds complexities to the combat and to the map, including the ability to control underwater territory and the moon. 

For those who like Risk but find it frustrating at times, try to get your hands on 2048.


Don’t let coronavirus steal your sense of irony!

Dallas Kastens is a Sophomore political science major at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. His political interest is primarily in the Senate and Supreme Court, and outside of politics he enjoys running and reading.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Dallas Kastens

Asbury University

Dallas Kastens is a Sophomore political science major at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. His political interest is primarily in the Senate and Supreme Court, and outside of politics he enjoys running and reading.

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