Culture / Entertainment

Games People Play When Self Quarantining — Board Games, Puzzles and Card Games That Make Social Distancing More Fun

Community Figures Give Their Best Suggestions

BY // 03.20.20

With more than ample time on our hands and nowhere to go, many of us have already exhausted Netflix’s and HBO’s real hits and need a break from reading the Gordian Wolf Hall. So, let’s turn to old-fashioned games and jigsaw puzzles in this time of self quarantine and social distancing.

The arrival of a mere 500-piece puzzle yesterday from a helpful son brought new energy to our nights for two. Focusing on puzzle pieces and achieving something together worked to alleviate some of the cabin fever. While I’m not typically one for games other than Spades, and have never found satisfaction in jigsaw puzzles, I find myself somehow feeling a certain peace in the mindless yet sight-commanding placement of matching parts of a puzzle.

We’re forgoing suggesting bridge, mah-jongg, and poker. We figure that you if you can play, you are already there.

I recently queried friends on Facebook for their suggestions for games to pass the lonely hours, and the response was terrific. One of the first to chime in was fundraising dynamo Rosemary Schatzman. She recommends White Mountain jigsaw puzzles (not knowing how long this unfortunate event will last, I just ordered three), which can be ordered directly or on Amazon. These already have become so popular that some are selling out, and the website advises that there can be delays in delivery.

Vanessa Woodhouse says that these puzzles are also available at local independent toy stores, all of which are offering curbside delivery, including her Big Blue Whale toy house in the Houston Heights. For board games, Woodhouse recommends Anomia, Slapzi, Tenzi, Cool Circuits, and Pass the Pig.

We know of a certain group of very social ladies who will play Rummikub for hours into the night. It appears to be as addictive, though less affected by alcohol consumption than mah-jongg.

The Project Management Team founder Sara Speer Selber recommends Sequence. Society figure Tracy Faulkner recommends Yahtzee as a game loved by the entire family. You roll a set of dice and use the numbers to rack up points in various categories. If the dice all show the same number after rolling, everyone in the room is obligated to yell, “Yahtzee!” Simple good fun for all ages.

Greater Houston Women’s Hall of Fame inductee Carol Sawyer is a big fan of Words with Friends.

Many among the respondents recommended Scrabble, a great suggestion unless English is a second language for your husband and his spelling is not perfection. Although it does make for great battles and loads of laughs.

Ruth Sorelle, chief science editor at Baylor College of Medicine, recommends the all-too-appropriate board game Plague, a strategic game of infection, evolution, and extinction based on a smash-hit video game.

And then you have the evil, adults-only games that are socially dangerous but irresistible for some daredevils. Consider Card Games Against Humanity, described as a party game for horrible people, or F__k, Marry, Kill, a game that’s rocking millennial friendships; it can be played with celebrity names or the names of people in a clique, which is when friendships fall terribly apart.

Entertainment knows no bounds.

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