There’s nothing quite like a board-game to stave away the boredom when you’re stuck indoors and, with coronavirus increasingly restricting our daily lives, there’s no better time to stock up on a few favourites.
There are plenty of new games on the market which offer a little more engagement than your average Scrabble board, but much can still be said for the undeniable family classics.
Whether you want to relive your favourite TV show or film from home, cheat your way to victory or even throw cream in a family-member’s face, there’s a game out there for you.
Here’s our round-up of some of the best board games to keep you entertained while isolating.
Best family board games
Each time you turn the handle you win a point but you don’t know when the lever will release the cream covered hand and splat you in the face. Great for kids and suitable from age five, for two or more players.
The Crystal Maze Game
Inspired by Channel 4’s Crystal Maze game show, this board game version allows you to take part from the (enforced) comfort of your own home. There’s a mix of mental, physical, skill and mystery tasks to take on with two or more players, from age 10 upwards.
This movie-themed board game will have you acting out scenes from your favourite films as well as reciting classic quotes and challenging each other in head to head rounds. The game comes complete with a board, cards and Blockbuster buzzer and can be played with between four and 12 players aged 12 and over.
Best 2 player board games
Not unlike traditional Scrabble, this game consists of letter tiles which can be arranged into various words. You don’t need a board to play and you can challenge even just one other person. This makes it a great two-player game, although it is suitable for up to six people.
Hey, That’s My Fish
This tactical game sees players fighting to control hungry penguins as you hunt fish and try to beat your opponent. You can play with just two people (up to four in total), making it a great head to head game.
221B Baker Street
Perfect for anyone who has always fancied themselves as an amateur Sherlock Holmes. This board game allows you to test your detective skills against your mates and deduct clues to solve various mysteries around London. Play with between two and six players, 10 years and over.
Best board games for adults
Escape Room: The Game
This game brings the fun of an interactive escape room experience to your living room, making it perfect for a time when we’re all stuck indoors. Using a decoding machine, you have one hour to work together and solve the puzzles to get out of the game. You can play with between three and five players and it’s best suited to those aged 16 and over.
Great for parties or groups, this fast-talking game can get quickly become very loud. With limited time, each player has to describe as many items on the card as they can without acting them out or saying the word itself. It’s suitable for players aged 12 and older and for four or more players.
Would I Lie to You
Based on the hilarious TV panel show of the same name, Would I Lie to You invites you to practice your best lies and try and catch the opposite team out on their answers. Great for parties and groups of two to eight players, from age 12.
Best solo board games
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Deserted on an island, you must set up your own camp and face a host of adventures while attempting to uncover the location’s secrets. Although up to four players can take part, it is also suitable as a solo game.
This War of Mine: the board game
Based on the popular video-game, the setting is a war-torn city in which survivors of the conflict are left trapped. Suitable for players 18 and over, this game can be played with up to six people but also has a solo play variant if you want to tackle it alone.
Set in an alternative version of the 1920s, players work their way through the game by conquering territory, building structures and enlisting new recruits. The game can be played alone, or with up to five people aged fourteen and over.
Best strategy board games
If you want to be particularly on trend, Pandemic is the board game which allows you to plot your own response to contain four deadly diseases which are spreading across the globe. In the meantime, you try to develop cures and work as a team to prevent the spread of the viruses. You can play with two to four players aged eight and above.
Set before the First World War, each player takes on the role of a different nation to successfully guide their armies through each season to victory, beginning in Spring 1901. Between two and seven people can play, aged 12 and over.
You can choose between playing the killer shark or one of the characters from the film trying to prevent the shark’s attack. The double-sided board divides the game into act one and two to replicate the original 80s film. For anyone aged 12 or over and for two to four players at a time.
Best new board games
A great board game for fans of the planet and our environment, this tree planting strategy game asks players to cultivate their trees throughout their life cycle in order to gain points. Suitable for families, the game can be played by children from age eight and it’s for between two and four players.
The Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis
This 2019 edition of the classic Game of Life board game starts every player off in debt and the winner is the one able to collect 500k the fastest, in order to pay it off. Action cards throw life scenarios at players such as losing your job or having your wifi cut off. Suitable for players aged 12 and over (but aimed at adults).
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
This updated version of Pandemic begins as the original game does but with a 12 month season meaning every “month” brings new objectives to meet. In this edition, you could be told to make permanent alterations to the game such as ripping up cards and adding immovable stickers to the board. For two to four players aged 13 and over.
Best classic board games
Monopoly: Cheaters’ Edition
Nothing starts a family argument like Monopoly, so only play if you’re sure your self-isolating playmates can survive the pressure. If you’re really brave, add a little extra controversy with the version of the game designed for cheating. It’s all about how much you can get away with or facing being physically handcuffed to the jail square if you’re caught. For two or more players, aged eight and over.
You can’t go far wrong with an original Scrabble board. Arrange letter tiles to make the most point-worthy words and try to get bonus points for utilising unusual letters or for clever tile placement. Anyone from the age of 10 can play and it’s for between two and four players.
Was it Professor Plum in the library with a candlestick? Or Miss Scarlett in the kitchen with a gun? Guess the killer, location and weapon of the crime as you move around the mansion house board and find the clues. Suitable for between two and four players aged eight and above, or there’s a junior version for kids aged five and over.
The favourite family game Ludo has had many updates and gimmicky reincarnations, but nothing beats the classic board. Try to get your four coloured pegs home before the other players catch you up and set you back to the start. For ages 6 and over and between two and four people can play.
Connect Four does what it says on the tin: try to get four of your counters in a row without being blocked by your opponent to win the game. For two players only and can be played by anyone over the age of six years old.
Try to work out the location of your enemy’s ships by taking strategic shots against your opponent. To win the naval combat game you must find and destroy all five of theirs before your own are sunk. A two to four player game for those over seven years old.
10 in 1 Deluxe Games House
For almost endless board game entertainment, this 10 in one set allows you to choose from a host of classic games including chess, snakes and ladders and backgammon. Players over six years old can play the whole box of primarily two-player family games.
Best fantasy board games
Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set
This edition presents a simpler version of the much-loved game which should make it easier for newbies to get started. Delve into the famous Forgotten Realms with four to six players and for anyone over the age of three years old.
Fans of Jumanji (especially the earlier Robin Williams version) will particularly appreciate this board game modelled on the one in the original movie. Great for families and suitable for those over eight years old, for up to four players at a time – just like in the film.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark
With one playing acting as the evil overlord, the others must become the heroes and complete quests and adventures to work their way through the game using a dice-based system. For between two and five players aged three years old and above.
Best themed board games
There is also a huge array of board games based on popular TV, book and films so fans can join their favourite characters’ adventures.
Star Wars board games
Attempt to survive the dangers of the Outer Rim while building your own legacy with the help of famous Star Wars characters. For between one and four players over 14 years old.
Disney board games
Become one of Disney’s famous villains like Hook, Maleficent and Jafar and follow their guide to become the most successfully villainous player of the game. Great for families with two to six players per game, aged 10 and above.
Pictopia – Disney Edition
A great picture-based family trivia game based on popular Disney characters and stories which everyone knows and loves. Suited to anyone over the age of seven and for two to six players.
Harry Potter board games
Harry Potter Labyrinth
Navigate your way through the ever-changing labyrinth and be the first to find your way out to win. With lots of maze and treasure cards to complicate things, it’s never as easy as it looks. Two to seven players can join in from age seven upwards.
Hogwarts Battle Card Game
Relive Harry’s seven years at Hogwarts and work together to take down the evil threatening to overcome the beloved wizarding school. Between two and four players can play and, just like Hogwarts students, it’s best for those aged 11 and over.
Lord of the Rings board games
Fantasy Flight Games Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth
Combat dark forces as you trek across the map board, honing your skills and powers through your adventures. Suitable as a solo game or for up to six players over the age of 14.
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
A card-based game based on Lord of the Rings characters and adventures. Play on your own or battle head to head as a two-player game, great for anyone aged 13 or older.
Doctor Who board games
Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks
Become the Doctor and travel through time to find new companions while trying to avoid being erased from time altogether by the dreaded Daleks. Between two and four participants can play, aged 14 and older.
Doctor Who: The DVD Board Game
Play head to head or team up to make your way round the board aided by the corresponding cards and DVD prompts. The game features 11 doctors and their companions to help you along and is suitable for players over the age of three.