Nights at the movies and after-work drinks seem like distant memories. And the fear of Netflix with no chill is starting to creep in. With evenings open and entertainment scarce, we asked Boston-area game experts to weigh in on their favorite offline ways to pass the time. So shuffle that deck, roll the dice, and unleash the powers of an unexplored galaxy — social distancing isn’t the only quest waiting next Friday night.
Ethan Gilsdorf, author of “Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks”
Jason Loeb & Nicole Loeb, founders of Trapology Boston
Devon Trevelyan, owner, Knight Moves
Brianna Wu, game developer and MA 08 Congressional candidate
PANDEMIC: Multi-player cooperative board game played as a virus-fighting collective, searching for a cure to save humanity. (Too soon?)
“Maybe it’s cathartic for some? Does it help you offset what’s happening? Maybe! Does it traumatize you further? Maybe, I don’t know! It’s one of those games where you work together; it’s collaborative not competitive. You play as a family or a team. You feel empowered to save the world.” E.G.
CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY: Everyone’s favorite, late-night, fill-in-the-blanks card game. Not at all family-friendly. Don’t even try it.
“It takes about 3 minutes to learn how to play. You can download a pack and some extra cards from their website (cardsagainsthumanity.com) and print it out. Maybe there will be a coronavirus card, you never know now — a Pandemic pack.” E.G.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: A forever-loved RPG fantasy game, as played by the kids in “Stranger Things’ season 3.
“Even if you’re never played before, there are lots of good online tools. Roll20.net is an online portal (to play with) friends, a multi-window video conference where you can see the map and key information remotely. People with a lot of free time can sit down with their kids and tie in math, STEM, creativity, and storytelling.” E.G.
STAR WARS REBELLION: Reimagine the iconic clash between the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance in a larger-than-life game of epic proportions.
“A tense, two-player game simulating the civil war of the original trilogy, Star Wars Rebellion is a race against the clock. The Empire must find the Rebel’s secret base, and the Rebellion must survive long enough for an uprising.” B.W.
FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME: A tactical deck-based game featuring characters from Hironobu Sakaguchi’s beloved Final Fantasy series.
“Magic: The Gathering might have a larger fanbase, but Final Fantasy TCG is the better game. Easy to learn and difficult to master, [it] features the most beautiful art design in the business.” B.W.
PATCHWORK: Working on your aesthetics, one 9-by-9 square at a time.
“It’s a quilting game where you take Tetris-like pieces and use strategy to fit them all into your quilt. It’s different every time you play it, which can be a problem for some games. It’s my favorite 2-player game for sure.” D.T.
GAIA PROJECT: A complex, multi-player interstellar race to outmaneuver your enemies and forge a powerful empire. Not easy, but we hear you’ve got a lot of free time.
“It’s a great way to work out your mind muscles, but it’s complicated so take it with a learning curve.” D.T.
MONOPOLY DEAL: A 110-card deck based on the high-level rules of classic Monopoly. Designed to be played in 15 minutes, without ‘Who gets to be the top hat?’ squabbles.
“It’s a faster-paced, less lose-all-your-friends version of the popular board game.” J.L.
LOADED QUESTIONS: Basic board, basic questions, not-so-basic answers. Tempt and troll your friends and family as they try to match up round after round of anonymous responses.
“There’s an adult version that is absolutely not a game you’d want to play with children. But (it’s) a hilarious one to get to know some of your friends’ deep dark secrets. Although, at the end of it, you may wish you didn’t know.” N.L.