Chances are you’re spending more time at home right now. It could be you can’t find anywhere to go since events and attractions in Kansas City are being shuttered – probably wisely so – left and right.
Either way, this is a great time to play board games with your family, roommates or whoever else happens to be stuck at home with you.
Our friends at Pawn and Pint, Kansas City’s one and only board game pub, have done the favor of choosing their top games to play while staying home.
These games were picked for their depth and challenge and suitability to be played again and again. We hope you enjoy them!
If board games, booze or bargains interest you, check out our post Free and Cheap Play at Kansas City Board Game Pub Pawn and Pint.
Two Player Games
The concept is simple: lay black and white stones on different spaces on a board, and surround the other players formations, eliminating their liberties or open spaces next to them, in order to capture them. The game quickly becomes a strategic war, with each move being carefully calculated to control more territory on the board, and although the board may look to an outside observe like a meaningless smattering of stones, it is to the go player an immersive battlefield, full of possibility.
Good choice because Go is the definition of a game which is easy to learn, yet impossible to master. Myriads of treatises have been written on the subject, and the very action of playing is a meditative exercise.
- Memoir 44
Yes, how fitting. In Pandemic players take on the roles of a variety of CDC first responders responding to a global pandemic. Each turn consists of two parts, taking actions to save the world and flipping over cards to continue spreading the infection. The result is that the game quickly becomes a tense race to eradicate the disease.
Good choice because Pandemic can play smoothly with two to four players. Also, there is something cathartic about eradicating disease from the world in these trying times.
- Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Light Strategy Games
This game gives you a chance to play as a trader in 15th century Italy attempting to amass a fortune and become the most prestigious trader. However, the component that ends up making this game so fun is the engine building aspect. Each time you buy a card you get a discount on future purchases. The end result is an engaging game of extreme coupon-ing. (Hey readers, this game really is right up your alley!) This game is also wonderful because every board assembly is intrinsically unique.
Good choice because Splendor can be played by two to four players. You can play at home with your partner and then play with friends later. It’s also great because it hosts an addictive building component that makes for a rewarding experience.
- Ticket to Ride
Amongst the cohort of party games that have been released in the last twenty years, one would be hard pressed to find a game that is as intellectually stimulating as Codenames. In this game you play as a field agent or a spymaster, sending messages with clues to help the other players spot the correct agents in the crowd. This is a team game, and the boards are always randomly distributed, with the clues given depending heavily on those playing. If you enjoy the premise, Codenames has multiple expansions including After Dark (an adult variant), Duet (a two player variant), Pictures(exactly what you think), and many more fandom specific standalone games!
Good choice because Codenames is particularly good for families to play. It engages people on all levels, and forces players to utilize different connections and inferences, which makes the game engaging for players of all ages. Additionally, it is a game which can be played by three to ten players, so it is great for large families.
Crokinole is the only dexterity game to make it on to Board Game Geek’s Top 100 Games. It is an incredible game of skill involving the flicking of pucks. The board itself is a gorgeous log circle, originally played by Canadian loggers. Scoring involves flicking the puck toward the middle, but, once you start flicking pucks, others can knock yours out with theirs. The result? A game of intensity and good times!
Good choice because with this game can continue to get better at it with practice, to a level which isn’t really possible with simple dexterity games like Jenga.
Heavy Strategy Games
Winner: Arkham Horror
Arkham Horror pits a team of investigators against the Elder Things, beings of extreme horror from beyond the veil of mere reality. Players struggle to keep their own sanity intact as they vie to keep the eldritch forces at bay, unable to truly defeat them, only able to forestall the inevitable end of all existence for another generation. The game features a myriad of expansions and random event decks that essentially give the game endless replay ability, while still offering opportunity for cohesive strategies and chances for the investigators to flex their individual talents. Arkham Horror is a game that will legitimately leave players struggling to overcome long odds for a chance to savor the sweet taste of elusive victory.
Good choice because this game offers literally thousands of possible outcomes and intrigue. If you have the time to dedicate to playing it, the pay off is really quite wonderful!
- Twilight Imperium
Bonus Option: Discord Based D&D With Pawn and Pint Friends
Playing D&D delivers a sense of community and storytelling experience that is a one of a kind feeling. However, when you are social distancing this isn’t a readily available option. In this situation Pawn and Pint recommends you play Dungeons and Dragons on their servers via Discord.
Parts of this post originally appeared on the Pawn and Pint blog. Used hear by permission. You can read the full post, including descriptions of the runners up games, here.