Ideal for bringing out your inner ‘kidult’ or entertaining your actual kids on holiday.

The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing may have put a damper on some of our usual summer plans with family and friends this year. Even if that is the case, there is one social activity you can still engage in, at arm’s length but very much involved – games. 

Yep, sales of board games have soared in the past few months and have been bringing households together in a wholesome but frivolous way. What sounds better than that? Indeed, in an era of self-isolation, it seems that we’re remembering how fun it is to spend quality time with other people, sitting around the kitchen table, nattering and being (just a little bit) competitive. 

And when better to engage in some entertaining games then on holiday? 

But with so many board games out there, where do you begin? While some people are playing pandemic, where players work together as a team to treat infection around the world, we’re turning our hands to some more traditional ones, with these 6 classic games you can play during your staycation, IDEAL for bringing out your inner ‘kidult’ or entertaining your actual kids on holiday. 

SCRABBLE

Scrabble is a beloved word game the world over, popular in 29 different languages globally. It’s pretty much like a giant word jumble with endless possibilities. The game starts, the players are given seven wooden letter tiles to begin, and each letter is assigned a different point value, with less commonly found letters like Z, X, Q and J given higher numerical value than ever presents like A and E.

But we didn’t have to explain that right? Perhaps you didn’t know, however, that ‘Caziques’ is the highest scoring Scrabble word of all time, netting an incredible 392 points.

But why play Scrabble? Scrabble is not only a mental exercise, but it’s also a social game. It lets people discuss the language while competing, which brings an enjoyable conversational aspect, particularly for linguists and those interested in the English language. 

Sometimes, the game can descend into farce, however, with players creating words whose existence in the dictionary is a little debatable. It’s best, then, to always to have a dictionary at hand to check words, and for an additional fun element, use this website to analyse the highest scoring hands available. Not that we’re encouraging cheating here – where’s the fun in that? – but rather, retrospective action so you can imagine what might have been on the board.

PICTIONARY

Worried that you’re not artistic enough to pull this off? No worries. This game is actually a lot more fun if you can’t draw. Get ready for loads of laughter when your team can’t decipher if what you’re drawing is a banana, an airplane or, erm, something else entirely.

If you’re running a little low on holiday funds and don’t want to fork out on the actual game, you can create your own game set with a whiteboard and some fun words to draw written on small pieces of paper. All in all, this simple, expertly crafted game represents stress free holiday fun for all the family.

CLUE

Clue is a suspenseful murder mystery game that basically turns everyone into a detective. Here’s how it works – there’s been a murder in the Boddy Mansion, and it’s up to you to find the culprit. There are only six suspects, and you are one of them (darn, we thought this would be easy!). You have to move your game pieces through the rooms and secret passageways of the mansion depicted on the game board to look for clues. 

The goal here? To find out who has bodied poor Mr. Boddy, of course. You also need to discover what weapon was used and where the incident took place. The more clues you find, the more you’ll be able to narrow down the many possible answers to those questions; a glorified game of ‘process of elimination’ but an intriguing one nonetheless. 

Or, you could play the version more popular on this side of the pond, Cluedo!

PUZZLES

Puzzles are not only fun and aesthetically pleasing. They’re also an ideal way to build up your problem-solving and cognitive abilities without too much actual effort exerted; we are on holiday, after all, and this thing’s meant to be fun. 

Piecing a puzzle together with your holiday companions will give you a good opportunity to talk and catch up with family and friends instead of only discussing what is going on in the game. And if you’re on holiday with folk who only want to discuss piecing some puzzles together, perhaps it’s time to start looking for new friends? 

RISK

If there is a game that can make you imagine what it might be like to rule the world, it’s definitely Risk. In this game, a map of the world is spread out on the game board, and all of the continents are broken up into territories. The end goal is for one player to conquer all 42 territories and eliminate the other players along the way. 

But first, a little diplomacy is required to get there. Make alliances (and then break them) as you slowly start to conquer more territory, but be cautious—if you’re willing to break an alliance, then you know your opponents will be, too. We should add a time warning on this one, as a complete game of Risk lasts a few hours, at a minimum. Sometimes, the board remains on the table for the duration of a holiday. Nobody ever said total world domination would happen quickly!

CHECKERS

Don’t let the simple looks of this game fool you. There can be a lot of excitement in a game of checkers, not to mention the game’s incredible history. You and your opponent are each responsible for 12 uniform game pieces, which you are allowed to move diagonally across the 8×8 checkerboard. Manoeuvre a piece all the way across the board and you get to crown a king; jump an opponent’s piece, and capture it to remove it from play. 

To win, seize all of your opponent’s checkers, or position your pieces in such a way that there are no available moves for the other player. Checkers is relatively easy to learn, making it a great way to introduce even the younger players to games of strategy, and is said to be excellent for developing both logical and lateral thinking skills. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Games are a healthy, wholesome and affordable way to interact with friends and family while creating lasting memories. Should you be taking a staycation as a group soon, these are just some of our favourite classic board games around. Good luck!