Board games are a fantastic way to stave off feelings of isolation and boredom as the coronavirus pandemic rolls on. While you may not get a traditional Mother’s Day this year, a good board game adventure might just be the perfect way to keep the fun and spirit of the day rolling.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure through a spooky, haunted mansion or a quick round of cards, these games are sure to keep everyone entertained this Mother’s Day.
Ticket to Ride is a fantastic game for families and supremely relaxing to boot. In it, players work against each other to claim railway lines and establish a railway route through various global cities.
The game is one of the modern board game classics and features simple, easy-to-understand gameplay. While you can’t currently travel overseas in real life, Ticket to Ride could be an elegant solution to that problem. With maps for Asia, Europe, the UK, France, the Old West, Japan and more, your mum can go anywhere she likes this Mother’s Day — as long as she goes by rail.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is another of the modern board game classics. Taking on the role of a character stuck in a haunted house, players must work together to uncover the mysteries of a mansion. Each room contains secrets and as players explore each floor, the danger ratchets up a notch.
Eventually, players are forced into a haunt scenario where one player becomes the villain and the others must band together to survive. While some of the scenarios are a bit gorey (one features spider impregnation), the scares are fairly tame. It makes for a great spooky romp, best played through with family or friends. As the tension grows, you’ll want them by your side.
While it’s a bit on the nose to play Pandemic during the time of a pandemic, the irony really heightens the stakes in this adventure. In Pandemic, players must work to stem the tide of a global, infectious outbreak.
Working as doctors, players travel between cities to treat the disease while trying to find a cure. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It might be a bit too real, but it’s also insanely good fun. At least if it hits too close to home, your mum will be right by your side to help.
In Mysterium, players take on the dual role of ghosts and mediums. When you’re a medium, you must conduct a séance and attempt to parse the visual clues presented by the ghost players.
Mysterium tends to be a bit abstract as players must interpret the meanings behind artworks to solve mysteries. It’s important to think carefully about chosen vision cards and why they’ve been played to uncover the truth. Having family members participate makes the whole thing a bit clearer and more interesting because you’ll know them and their quirks better.
At the conclusion of the game, everyone votes on the criminal suspect, much like in a game of Cluedo — but there’s a lot more creativity and interpretation involved in this game.
Disney Villainous sees players take on the role of classic Disney villains like Maleficent, Jafar and Ursula. Each villain has their own goals and must plan their schemes to beat the other villains. Whoever reaches their ultimate goal first is the winner.
Villainous comes packed with six unique villains, making it extremely replayable. The main pack comes with Disney’s most iconic villains and subsequent expansions add in more obscure ones like Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective.
It’s perfect for families and Disney fans alike, with easy to learn gameplay and gorgeous-looking design.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is actually a series of board games that cover a range of cases that players must solve. In the game, you’ll find a variety of visual clues and stories written by Sherlock Holmes experts.
You’ll need to work together to solve mysteries, follow breadcrumbs and apprehend criminals in these games. There’s maps to interpret, books to read and newspapers to discover, making it an extremely interesting and very different board game. Whether your mum loves Sherlock Holmes or just a good puzzle, the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective series would be a perfect Mother’s Day treat.
Carcassonne sees players controlling the picturesque lands of Southern France via in-game tiles and ‘meeple’ tokens that help to establish colonies. Each player controls their own lands and decides where to place their followers. At the end of the game, the player with the most followers and tiles occupied wins.
While the concept for Carcassonne is not unique, it’s extremely competitive, fast-paced and always entertaining. Games take around 45 minutes and there’s no eliminations or way to make a real ‘wrong move’ so it’s perfect for first-time players.
Escape the Dark Castle is pretty self-explanatory. Players are trapped in a dark fantasy castle and must make their escape. It’s very simple and features minimalist design, making it easy to pick up and play for first-timers like many of the other games on this list.
As players travel the castle via story cards, various traps and obstacles land in your way — but with a bit of problem solving and using all the tools in your arsenal, you can get away scott-free. It’s not superbly scary but it’s always interesting and filled with twists, making it a perfect afternoon activity.
Codenames is a game for two or more players that requires quick thinking and word association. In the game, players must uncover enemy spies by interpreting word clues on hidden cards.
It’s a great game for players who know each other well, as word associations are stronger when you have an insight into the minds of the other players. Playing it with your mum would be perfect, and she’s bound to have a few tells you can use to your advantage.
Codenames is quick to learn and easy to set up, making it a fast and fun experience if you’re just looking to dip your toes into the world of board games for an afternoon.
Board games are the perfect quarantine activity and the right one might just make your Mother’s Day feel special. With long weeks of isolation likely still ahead of us, they’ll even serve you well long after Mother’s Day is over.
For more board game recommendations, check out these articles:
There's nothing worse than sitting down to a good board game and realising you have no idea how to play it. You can waste hours reading through manuals, scrolling the web and watching YouTube videos before you finally understand some games, and by that stage, your perfect game night is ruined. Thankfully, there's a bunch of games you can easily set up and play without minimal forward planning.Read more