Board Games as Boredom Relievers

Any time the subject of boredom relievers comes up in a prepper context, board games usually appear near the top of the list. The basic idea is to have at least a few games or other activities stashed away for a rainy day. If the power goes out and stays out for a considerable length of time, the tech heads in the family are going to eventually start climbing the walls. Sure, portable power packs and the like can keep them going on Facebook for a while but they aren’t going to last forever. Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to have the entire family doing something together, even if only for a few hours?

My wife and I have been together for over 25 years and we have three children. As a result, we have accumulated a ton of games over the years. Conservatively, I’d estimate we have at least 50 different board games in our cabinets and closets. Interestingly, I only recall actually buying a few of them. I swear, I think they breed when no one is around. Most of the ones I do remember buying were purchased at Goodwill or rummage sales.

Last month, my wife set out a goal for our family that we’d play one game every day for at least a month. After all, what’s the point of having all these games if we never play them? This is something I suggest you do as well if board games fit into your plans. See, you might find that a game that looked really fun turns out to be a dud. Or, you might learn that you’re missing several key pieces. Or the instructions are so poorly written or confusing that you immediately lose any interest in attempting to play the game. You might also rediscover fun games you haven’t played in years and maybe make a few new favorites, too.

We’ve been at this for a few weeks now and have been having a blast. We’ll break out some snacks and I’ll fire up the laptop to provide some music accompaniment as we play the games. Usually I’ll surf through YouTube or bring up Amazon Music using my Prime account. My wife and I have had some fun introducing our kids to some of the music we enjoyed when we were their age and, perhaps surprisingly, they’ve been getting into it.

Here are a few things we’ve learned so far.

1) You can never have too many extra dice laying around. A while back, I bought this set of 100 dice so we could play Tenzie, which is a game where each player has their own set of 10 dice. The set is cheap enough and we’ve borrowed from it a few times as we’ve found dice missing in other games. Of course, we’re always careful to put the dice back when we’re done.

2) Pay close attention to the box before purchasing. We came across at least a few games that we thought we could play as a family but were actually just for two players.

3) Many games involve keeping score on scratch paper. Make life easier and toss a couple of pencils and some paper into the game box ahead of time.

4) Don’t be afraid to tweak the rules as you feel necessary. Nobody from the Boardgame Players Association (yes, that’s a real thing) is going to show up at your door and chastise you for not following the rules to the letter.

5) If the game uses batteries, keep a set of them in the game box. Don’t leave them in the game, though, as they may leak over time. Just have them in the box for use when needed.

We haven’t come across any true duds among the games we’ve played so far. But, some games were more fun than others. Here are a few of our favorites.

Pictureka
Sort of a game board version of hide and seek, this game is deceptively difficult. There are nine tiles that make up the playing board. These tiles are two-sided and there’s no wrong way to assemble the board. Each tile is illustrated with a truly random assortment of illustrations. Game play involves drawing a card and following the instructions, such as finding a certain number of vehicles or leaves in the allotted time. This is a great game for youngsters, too, as there’s little reading involved.

Tri-Ominos
We just played this for the very first time a couple of nights ago and it was a lot of fun. I’ve never played actual dominos so I don’t know how the Tri version compares. The gist of the game involves matching triangle shaped game pieces and scoring points based on the numbers on each piece played.

Who Would Win
This one can be kind of silly but can also lead to some interesting discussions and debates. Two cards are chosen, each with a celebrity name on them, and they are pitted against one another in some sort of contest. For example, who would win in an egg tossing contest, Batman or Elvis? Who would be better at massage – Thomas Edison or Nelson Mandela? The upside of this game is the entertaining reasons people come up with to defend their assigned celebrity. Downside is younger players might have no clue who some of these people are. Tweak the rules and let the kids pick names until they find one they know.

Kings in the Corner
This is one of my personal favorites. The game is very easy to learn and takes very little time to set up. Just a deck of cards and the game board. Really, the game could be played without the board but it makes things a lot easier. Basically, the game is played a lot like Solitaire, but with other people. Sounds weird, I know, but the game is a lot of fun.

Cards Against Humanity
Okay, here’s the thing about this game. It should absolutely never be played if anyone under the age of 18 is within earshot. Maybe that should be 21. And playing it with your children, no matter how old they are, might be uncomfortable for all involved. All of that said, if you’re in the right frame of mind the game can be absolutely hysterical. Might be a great option for inviting the neighbors over during a power outage.

As mentioned earlier as well, there’s nothing wrong with time spent together as a family. Entirely too many families, mine included, tend to split off like the Blue Angels, each person doing their own thing. Make a concerted effort to try and get everyone together periodically, whether it is for dinner, a game, a movie, or whatever. Board games can be had cheap at most thrift stores and rummage sales. Just be sure to always check to see if all of the pieces are there. If you’re missing a few things, you could try contacting the game manufacturer. Failing that, I’m sure you can probably find them for sale on ebay.

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