Play Safe: Getting New Games During Quarantine

by Corey Whelen
8 April 2020

When the world is getting scary and the quarantine crazies are getting to you, there’s nothing quite as calming as curling up around a family boardgame. So long as you sit five feet apart, sanitize every piece, and don’t breathe on, look at, and ESPECIALLY don’t touch your family members. Jokes aside, a new board game can be a fantastic way to relieve some tension, have some laughs, and forget about the world outside!

While it might seem hazardous, there are still plenty of ways to get your family game nights in without risking your health or safety, and we’re going to touch on a few below!

Game Delivery!

There’s nothing quite like a new board game. The smell of punched cardboard, the feel of new cards shuffling through your fingers, and the sound of fresh dice clattering onto the table. It’s an amazing feeling, especially during quarantine!

Some of our favourite board game stores are doing their best to stay open to provide, sometimes with reduced hours, and sometimes with new business practices! Curbside pick-up, mail service, and board game delivery are popular options among game stores! That’s right, board game delivery. My new favourite words. I hear a little angelic chorus every time I say it.

In addition to getting some sweet new games to impress everyone at family game night, you also get to support a vulnerable business in this time of economic uncertainty! The money goes right back into your community, rather than into Amazon or other big retail chains that don’t need the help.

If you’re here in Victoria, BC, you can check out the Interactivity Board Game Café or Gauntlet Games, otherwise, I’d recommend checking the website/social media channels of your favourite family game store!

Board Game Apps!

Not everyone has the luxury of being quarantined with family or room mates that enjoy board games! Whether you’re alone, or your quarantine mates simply hate having fun, there are still some incredible and cost-effective options for getting your game on- and your best tool for remote gaming is probably right in your pocket! Board game apps have seen a huge surge in popularity these last few weeks, and while classic family games like Risk and Scrabble are free, there are lots of modern strategy games to sample! You can play all these games alone, but they work best if you grab a few friends as well. I scouted a few out, found the Canadian prices, and came back with a few recommendations for you, but it might be worth a quick search to find out if there’s an app version of your favourite game!

Catan Classic- $6.99.

Eternally popular, Catan is the most downloaded game during quarantine, and for good reason. There’s also a free version if you want to try before you buy. Fire it up with friends and family, and race to build a booming island economy!

A picture containing table, colorful, orange, sitting

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It IS a remote, unexplored island, but this still isn't what I meant when I said I need a vacation.

Pandemic- $ 6.99.

Perhaps a little ironically, Pandemic is flying off the shelves! While this may be in poor taste for some people, the idea of globetrotting scientists fighting back against virulent viruses has an undeniable appeal! Check our review of the physical version here.

Zombicide- $7.99.  

This action-packed zombie bash n’ dash has thousands of fans and 17 different expansions and spin-offs. Check out the game that started a phenomenon if you want something light, fast, and cooperative!

Patchwork-$4.99.

A fantastically fast-paced two player game about sewing the best blanket- you can check our review on the physical version here.


That's a fine-looking blanket so far. I wish mine looked like that.

Tabletopia

While board games will always be best as a tactile, face-to-face experience, people have been striving for years to provide satisfying digital versions of their favourite games. There have been lots of attempts at digital board games, but the folks at Tabletopia have upped their game (ha!) with a free online platform that supports multiple games. At Tabletopia.com, you have access to over 800 different boardgames that you can play with friends and family across the world. While most of them are free, including some modern classics like Scythe, Terra Mystica, and Santorini, Tabletopia Premium is only 5.99/month, and it’ll let you dig into their premium game collection- including sensations like Wingspan and Orleans.  You can tell this service is trying to become the Netflix of board games- and with access to hundreds of dollars worth of games FOR FREE, I would say it’s surprisingly successful!