Board games to play while on lockdown

8:52 AM


The Covid cases are on the rise all over India, curfews are being declared, talk of lockdowns are doing the round, and if you live in Mumbai, chances are you are playing this big crazy luck game of "Will my building get sealed".

My building is one of those unlucky one since last Sunday and the last day of our sentence is April 1 (or is it the first day of freedom?) 
During a building seal, it doesn't matter than you never ever met a single of your neighbours living in Covid positive household, the municipality just decide to seal a whole high rise on the basis of 5 cases, and then you get the spend 14 days not even allowed to step out 5 minutes to let the dog pee outside.

Fortunately, we can order anything online and are allowed to pick it up in our lobby, giving us the occasion to admire the "banner of shame" they slapped at the entrance of our building and announces to the whole neighbourhood that the "plague" entered the premises. 

I won't go into details about how I feel about it all, let's just say that I find dealing with stupidity extremely exhausting at the moment. What this seal is leaving us with is a huge amount of time to watch either watch TV or play board games. 

Board games are the best way to flush all the tensions away, and if you haven't stocked up on them yet, please do, time indoors can be long, tensions between family members unavoidable and a good old fashioned board game evening can defuse that. 

Growing up, board games where the stuff our rainy Sunday afternoons where made of and my family had a whole wardrobe full of them. As an adult living on the other side of the globe, I re-built a collection over the years and we have a decent collection that we keep on adding to. Board games night has become a thing with my friends (when we are not forced to stay apart because of a stupid virus) and before you know it, you have killed a few hours and defused some of that cabin fever induced tension. 

So much so that I decided to list all my favourite that are available in India. All the following links are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I get paid a commission at no extra cost to you. 

Settlers of Catan

Both the genuine original and cheaper versions of the classic trade board games are available in India, which one you chose is really entirely up to you and your budget. We went with this cheaper version of it. The game stays the same : build settlements and cities close to coveted resources, let the roll of the dice decide what you get, trade with other players and be the first one to get 10 points. 

This game is fun for all ages, and if you have younger kids who struggle with money counting, it's going to be the ideal trade game as no currency is involved, you trade, bricks, hay, wood, stones and sheep all through the game. 

These days it's one of our absolute favourite


5 dices + a score sheet = endless fun! 

Growing up this was that game we used to take everywhere on our travels because it's superbly compact. You can buy the game which contains the dice and the score sheets pads, or you can just buy 5 dices and print out those sheets off the internet. 
It's a game that mixes luck and strategy, each players has the same amount of dice rolls and turns, and they must fill a box at the end of each turn with the total of their dice. Whoever gets the most point at the end of a game wins. It's also a good way for kids to hone their basic addition skills. 

My very dyscalculic self who was forbidden by her teachers to count on her fingers ended up developing a pen tapping trick based on the patterns of the number on the dice thanks to that game...I still count that way to date. 


The Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick! 

This classic detective game never gets old. Up to 6 players can play and whoever has the best deduction skills wins. 
It's a fun game that will teach kids to hone they critical thinking skills. Make sure you keep one of the score card blank so you can xerox it, you'll run out of sheets very quickly.


You can't live on planet earth and not know about this classic game. It has many versions and editions so that anyone can relate to it. We currently own the anniversary deluxe edition ourselves for which I can't find the link. It comes in a wooden box shaped like a book, we've have it for well over a decade. The Star wars fan in me is eyeing the Star wars edition though.

Insider tip to win the game quicker : forget buying squares that let you build properties, those should NEVER be your priority, the quickest way to riches is to purchase all 4 public transport squares. 


The rules of this stick game are deceptively simple : pick up the most sticks without moving the others as you do. If you move a stick, you loose your turn to the next player. Some sticks have more value than others, and picking the "Mikado stick" will give you 50 points. 

The only drawback of this game is that it can't be played under a ceiling fan and it must be played on a hard surface (not something you play on top of the bed). 

It's simple, compact, affordable and each game will be different. 


Raise your hand if you've never played this game! I am willing to bet none of you can say so. That card game has been a must have for decades and the perfect way to kill time on a long train ride or play with friends on a camping trip. 
I have gone through quite a few decks during my life, and right now I think I'm due to buy a new classic one because we somehow lost it and only have the "Frozen edition). Like Monopoly, this game has given birth to many editions and version

Trivial Pursuit

Growing up in the 80's this game was the IT thing to have, the original version came with some really though questions and the option to buy a "Junior" question pack on the side. 
Right now the only thing that is stopping me from buying this one is that I can't find kids question packs anywhere and the main board game is suitable for age 16+ 

If you have a large family with lots of grown ups, this game might be right up your alley though and will occupy you for a few hours and help you brush up your general knowledge.

Games for large families 

All the games above could be played in families of 3-4 people (and up to 6) the games below are party games that need to be played in team of two to be exciting, and are more suited for large joint families. 


The hilarious and quite frankly classic drawing game can be played with 2-4 teams of players and will get your whole family (and later visiting friends) crazy trying to draw words for their team to guess. There is also a Junior edition of the game with simpler words. 

This is one of these games that can get loud though, so if you have grumpy neighbours, they might complain a bit.


The game of unspeakable fun! The rules are simple, try to describe a word for your team mates without using any of the 5 "taboo words" listed on the card. You have 2 minutes per round to make your team guess as many words as possible. Some of the words will inevitably have to be described using personal anecdotes or innuendos known only to your family and friends. 

Like Pictionary, it can get loud and grumpy neighbours might complain...true story it happened to me and my family back in Geneva. 

Games for two players

If you are a couple without kids, these games are all for you, I'm leaving Chess and Checkers out because these are probably the most obvious one to play, and you might end up needing some variety. Hubby and I played games before our daughter was born, and these were some of them : 


Mastermind is one of those oldies that will probably never age. The game is simple : try to guess the secret color combination the other player made in as little guesses as possible using the clues and your power of deduction as you go. 

Connect 4

Connect 4 is a strategy game meet "tic tac toe" in a vertical format. The objective being to be the first one to line up 4 tokens in the grid, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. 


In some version the game is also known as reversi, the objective is to end up the game with the majority of the tokens in your color : black or white. With each turn, the player adds a token to the board and attempts to capture the opponents token and flip them to their own color. The key to win the game is to capture as many of the 4 corners as possible. 


Abalone is a strategy game where the goal is to be the first one to push 6 of their opponent's marble off the hexagonal playing base. The marbles can be pushed in group of 1, 2 or 3 on the grid and they can be used to push a group of the opponents marbles provided there are more marbles on the pusher's side


Backgammon is almost always sold as a combo with a chess and checkers set, though I had a deluxe stand alone game as a kid. 
The game of backgammon is played with checkers token on a board with arrows, the objective is to be the first player to move all their tokens to their home section and then remove all said tokens from the board. The dice decide how you move your tokens. A token standing all alone on an arrow can be captured and the player will have to roll the dice to get a chance to place the token back in the game in the opponent's home quadrant before crossing the entire board again.

I used to play this game with my dad a lot as a kid, a great way to hone your strategy skills and make the most of the dice roll you've been given. 

I purposely left games like snake and ladders, Ludo, Chinese checkers out because those are obvious classics that I think most of us have lying around at home already. 
Then there are all the card games you can play at home using regular cards like poker, rummy, and bridge to name a few. And then there are many other games I have at home that I either don't enjoy nearly enough to share, or are harder to find on a budget in India.

What are you favourite board games? 

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  1. O, yes! The numbers are rising here in Bengaluru as well. There are now two cases in our apartment block, after many months. If it's five or more, then it will be declared a cluster and sealed. The only way is to find different ways -- like games -- to keep oneself occupied and sane!

    1. The thing that drives me insane is how they "manage" those containment zones. With all the noise being made around testing more, enforcing rapid testing in malls and train stations, you's think the municipality would see it as a good idea to just test everyone in sealed building to have a clearer idea of how much it spread. But NOPE! We are just locked in without anything being done, no testing, not checking with residents about possible symptoms, just wait 14 days to be allowed to go out again.

      Not being able to go out to walk my dog has really been the hardest so far.

  2. Happy holi to you and family. We had a strange holi, no adults came out, just the children throwing water on each other. The numbers are rising in Delhi too. With no social distancing in metro, things look alarming. I have struck to my scooter for commuting to my office. The vaccination has started. I have been toying with the idea of getting vaccinated but cannot quiet make up my mind. Apparently, even after vaccination, you can get the infection, if you do not follow the precautions, but the severity of disease would be drastically reduced. Hope everything is back to normal in Mumbai soon.

    1. Thank you, Happy belated Holi to you too.

      Frankly I wonder how people even got the idea that the vaccine would prevent them from catching Covid because that is not how ANY vaccine work.
      A vaccine only boost the immune system response so that the person gets little or no symptoms and the viral load gets lessened so that once transmitted around it's also going to affect less people.

      It's how all vaccines work, and no virus at the exception of small pox has been fully erradicated, and even then, small pox has been kept frozen in some labs, and there are talk about the possibility of it making a comeback should there be an accident.

      People have to get a grip about Covid, and the one thing that infuriated me the most this month was the Health Minister saying that vaccinating everyone in India has never been the plan. I agree that younger persons who will probably not develop any symptoms even without vaccines aren't going to be a risk, but right now in Maharashtra they quarantine every single positive cases, symptomatic or not, which in the long run will include vaccinated people, so what is the big plan?

      Those with a vaccine certificate get to roam free even if they are Covid positive and can transmit it, and the unvaccinated lot will be put on house arrest with their entire floor if not building for the rest of eternity?

      It's either the virus does not pose a threat to young and healthy people and the vaccine is not essential, or it's a big issue and we will vaccinate everybody so that we can all get on with our lives. I'm getting tired of these half-assed measures and mixed-messages sent from the very government officials that should be the one confidently handling the situation.


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