Search

Beating coronavirus isolation: Bring out the boardgames!

PUBLISHED: 15:30 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:33 20 March 2020

Yep, the guilty unmasked. Miss Scarlett in the dining room with a candlestick      Picture: ARCHANT

Yep, the guilty unmasked. Miss Scarlett in the dining room with a candlestick Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Mouse Trap. Cluedo. Monopoly. What can you find in your cupboard?

Two of one number and three of another. That's a 'full house', and 25 points     Picture: ARCHANTTwo of one number and three of another. That's a 'full house', and 25 points Picture: ARCHANT

Several evenings a week see my son and I lock horns over Yahtzee. It’s heartening to know a simple game involving five dice, a pencil and scorepad has cross-generational appeal in the digital-dizzy 21st Century.

A competitive undercurrent helps. I had a bad run of being tonked, but the tables turned recently. No-one wants to keep going to bed after 0-3 defeats...

Yahtzee? It’s a blend of chance and skill, and thus addictive. Decisions taken along the way can influence how well you do.

Players take turns to throw five dice. Each turn involves up to three throws each, but you don’t have to keep throwing each dice. So you can change strategy mid-turn. (Stopping collecting fives in favour of three, say.)

You complete a scorechart. Sections include “four of a kind” (four of the same number) and a “low straight” (four consecutive numbers). A coveted Yahtzee has all dice showing the same number.

You have to fill a box of your scorechart on each turn... even if that means writing a dreaded zero.

The best thing about playing games is that conversations flow easily, while you’re shuffling, throwing and thinking - some quite profound. Laughs, too.

A shootout in The Fastest Gun. With those holes appearing, it's not looking good for the man in green...     Picture: ARCHANTA shootout in The Fastest Gun. With those holes appearing, it's not looking good for the man in green... Picture: ARCHANT

The Fastest Gun: This 1970s favourite is a Wild West-themed Monopoly with a twist, basically.

Your cowboy figure buys saloons, ranches and other property. If you stop on someone else’s, you have a gunfight on the “main street”.

You can hire a professional gunfighter or, if you’re on your uppers, put your figurine in danger.

The gunfights involve throwing dice and turning a cardboard wheel. Holes appear, down which the loser falls.

The winner of the game is the last man standing.

Cluedo is a classic game of murder mystery where everyone is trying to work out who done it  Picture: STEVE ADAMSCluedo is a classic game of murder mystery where everyone is trying to work out who done it Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Cluedo: Ahh... the Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery that’s seen Dr Black killed in Tudor Close. It’s our job to out the culprit through a process of elimination. Was it Mrs Peacock in the ballroom with the lead piping?

Sift the clues and think like Vera, pet...

There are plenty of games that can be played with playing cards  Picture: GETTY IMAGESThere are plenty of games that can be played with playing cards Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Card games: I know few, but there are rules online and in books. A quickfire round of Snap always raises the spirits, as does Kings and Queens (or Bleed the Well Dry, as my mother called it).

You know the one: you lose four cards if your opponent lays down an ace, three for a king, one for a jack – unless you produce a picture-card in time and turn the tables.

You may also want to watch:

The cage descends, and traps a rodent and cheese. It's Mouse Trap!    Picture: ARCHANTThe cage descends, and traps a rodent and cheese. It's Mouse Trap! Picture: ARCHANT

Mouse Trap! As a child fascinated by automata and moving parts (so to speak) I always wanted one. But it was then out of our price range.

Parenthood offers an ideal opportunity to fulfil 30-year-old dreams, so a modern version has long rested on our games shelf.

I’m pleased to see the phrase “easier set-up” on the box. I’ve childhood memories of kneeling on a friend’s carpet and learning how fiddly and hair-trigger-like the gadgetry could be.

Little beats the thrill of watching a silver ball roll down guttering into a bucket that, in dropping, turns a wheel that dislodges a cage that traps a plastic rodent.

The Take the Brain board. Follow the arrows...      Picture: ARCHANTThe Take the Brain board. Follow the arrows... Picture: ARCHANT

Take the Brain: Another 1970s success. Like chess, but more colourful and simpler.

Each player has a Brain piece (when he’s captured, you lose), Numskulls and Ninnys.

The squares on the board have arrows on them; pieces move only in the direction shown. Brains and Ninnys move one square at a time; Numskulls more. Good fun (though not for one Ninny, which was gnarled by our dog and still bears the war-wounds).

Rummikub: At last, I can put something down - three 1s    Picture: ARCHANTRummikub: At last, I can put something down - three 1s Picture: ARCHANT

Rummikub: Exercises the grey cells. You have tiles with numbers on them and win by getting rid of them by making sets (such as number sevens, or a run of consecutive numbers).

Things can heat up - you can often filch a tile from one group to help form another, for instance – so it’s a game that can be played at any level of understanding and experience.

And don’t forget: Chess, draughts, backgammon, solitaire, Connect 4, Monopoly, dominoes, Mastermind, Operation... crosswords!

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star