Best board games to play during Coronavirus quarantine

18 board games to play during Coronavirus quarantine

Stuck at home? Play more board games :)

Are you running out of ideas on what to do while you are at home during Coronavirus quarantine? No worries, let me help you out. Here are 18 great board games that you could play – either alone, or with your family and friends.

I will cover some thematic board games, suggestions for children, families, single-player games for the ones that are isolated alone, and two-player games – for couples, spouses, friends and so on.

Are you a beginner board game player? I got you covered as well. I will suggest you some great board games to start with.

Please note that I did not personally play all of these games. However, I have put some extensive work to find, learn & research these games.

HEADS UP – please be careful about the Coronavirus outbreak, and consider making all the purchases online. For more information on how to protect yourself, please visit CDC Website or your local government website.

With that in mind, let us go on with our board game suggestions ?

Thematic board games to play during Coronavirus quarantine

Pandemic (2008)

Pandemic board game 2008 small cover
Gender
Cooperative, Family, Strategy
Players
2-4
Playtime
45 min.
Difficulty
Medium
Age
8+

What I love about board games, is that every single day of the year you can find a unique board game to play that would contribute to that particular day and its meaning.

And now, during quarantine & Corona pandemic, there is probably no better board game that directly meets the theme – of course, it is Pandemic board game (2018).

Defend & contain viruses, bacteria & infections before they spread across the world in a cooperative game for 2-4 players. A perfect fit for families. It is quick & easy to play, with interesting strategic elements.

Each player controls a unique character, such as the scientist, quarantine specialist, analyst and more. All of them have different special abilities & advantages. Utilize your character’s strengths to your team’s advantage.

Here, you cooperate together with players to develop vaccines for four different diseases – malaria, typhus, yellow fever, and cholera. A very flexible game that has three difficulty levels, from the beginner to the expert.

PositivesNegatives
1. Perfect theme for Coronavirus quarantine
2. Just A great game
3. Easy to get into
4. Three difficulty levels
1. Not that fun if there is a player who takes over the decision making

Rattus (2010)

Rattus 2010 cover
Gender
Strategy, family
players
2-4
palytime
45 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
10+

Rattus is another strategy, family game that is themed about the black plague that is about to hit Europe. Rats are spreading deadly disease, while players aim to preserve and grow their population.

This is a competitive game where each player aims to increase the number of cubes placed on the map, kind of the opposite of Pandemic. A pretty easy, yet interesting strategy game for 2-4 players, with a minimum age of 10.

Players take turns to place their population cubes across Europe, taking control of varying player roles, knights, peasants, emperors, monks and more. At any point in time, other players can steal your role cards.

All of them provide varying benefits, from placing additional population cubes to removing/shifting rat tokens from the areas you control. In a two-player game, each player is likely to collect 3 role tiles, but everything changes with 4 players, as stealing gets intense ?

On top of that, every role provides some disadvantages. For example, when rats spread, they are always harming some regions with particular roles. So it might be the case, that your population consists of these roles that are about to be hit by the plague. 

PositivesNegatives
1. Also a pretty good theme
2. Competitive in a fun way
3. Shines with 4 players
1. Lots of chance, sometimes you just have bad luck

Virus! (2015)

Virus! Card game 2015
Gender
Party, family
Players
2-6
Playtime
20+ min.
Difficulty
Easy
Age
8+
where to buy
PositivesNegatives
1. Super easy & quick
2. Pretty good filler game
3. One of the cheapest options
1. Theme a little unethical, might be not that great for children

Here is a card game that is themed about Viruses. Super easy & quick to play game for 2-6 players, playable from 8 years old. Great fit for families & friends.

Super fun game. Collect body parts, pills & medicine to heal from viruses while infecting other players’ organs. Sounds pretty nasty. You either play some cards, such as putting a virus card on other player organs, or medicine card to heal your own organ, or discard a card that you do not need.

For me, it is a little questionable how ethical the theme is, especially for younger kids. But hey, we were looking for some games that are thematically related to diseases such as viruses. This is what you get ?

So if the little ones are not the proper target audience, I feel that this is a pretty good filler game for families and a pretty good party game for friends (if you have any at your house during isolation period).


Virus (2016)

Virus board game 2016 cover
Gender
Role-play, horror, science fiction
players
1-6
palytime
30-120 min.
difficulty
Hard
Age
14+

Get ready to invest some time in order to enjoy this board game. This is a strong recommendation to board game fans, that enjoy long playthroughs. Virus (2016) board game is especially great for those players who enjoy dungeon crawls, exploration games.

Zombies! I just love them. So there is some kind of virus (called Virus Q), that is infecting all life, corrupting it to become blood, flesh thirsty monsters, called zombies. You are sent to the laboratory to find the first patient and discover the antidote.

This will be a challenging mission, as you fight your way through, trying to survive, and uncovering more and more details about this strange disease that is a result of military experiments.

There are 2 main things that make this game great. Firstly, a strategic depth. There are so many things that you can plan, from fighting and mobility tactics to mind gaming your opponents.

Secondly, there are different game modes. Either play cooperatively or competitively, with a middle ground in between – as there are 2 additional modes: Spy mode & boss mode – where there is 1 traitor player and/or 1 zombie boss player controlling all dead creatures.

What I have described for you, is only the tip of the iceberg. The game is full of unconventional mechanics & ideas. I strongly recommend it.

PositivesNegatives
1. So much strategy elements
2. Incredible theme & art
3. Coop, semi-coop, competitive modes
1. Might be too difficult for kids

Legacy board games

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (2015)

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 cover
Gender
Thematic, strategy, cooperative
players
2-6
palytime
60 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
13+

This is hands down one of the best legacy board games out there. The main reason for that is the game variability. Generally, each pandemic legacy box has some randomized components in it, making your box a unique one, meaning no other Pandemic Legacy game box, is the same. That also means that no other gameplay will be the same!

The game is for 2-4 players, with a minimum age of 13. A single game chapter is about 60 minutes long. So if you would play it every day, you would probably finish the game in about 1-2 weeks. Originally, the box is intended to have a single gameplay experience.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 board game is quite similar to the basic Pandemic game, but it is on a different scale. As you progress through the game, rules, circumstances of the game will be changing drastically, up to the point that you will be using stickers to place on the cards to update & construct your unique game board/cards.

Once you play through a campaign, you have built yourself a custom pandemic edition, that can still be replayed, but more like a traditional Pandemic board game, i.e. by playing December month only. 

However, it is still possible to save your replays if you would want to repeat the campaign in the future. This would require you to come up with some creative ideas on how to track the alteration of components without actually modifying them. Many useful examples are given in this Reddit discussion.

If you and your spouse/friend/child enjoy board games, I could not recommend it more. In my opinion, the experience is the best when you play it as intended – once per game box.

P.s. consider getting a blue Pandemic: Legacy season 1 edition if you want to track game progress for two different groups.

PositivesNegatives
1. Very good board game
2. Incredible gameplay variability
3. Your box contents are totally unique
1. The campgain mode is intended to play once.

Charterstone (2017)

Charterstone board game 2017 cover small
Gender
Strategy, Economic, City building
players
1-6
palytime
45-75 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
14+

Released by Stonemaier games, strategy worker placement game, which has two parts in it. The first part is a legacy. Players construct a custom game boardby placing stickers with unique actions & resources that will permanently form a unique game board (city). This is going to be done over 12 games.

After that, the game board is fixed, and going forward there is no more legacy aspect in the game. Instead, a regular, single session economic, resource management, worker placement game is played to score the most Victory Points.

A pretty good game that allows you to experience strategy & legacy aspects. A great thing that you can play this after you finish your campaign. Each session can be played in about 60-90 minutes. After 12 sessions, the legacy aspect is out, and you play it like a casual strategy game.

Heads up – you can purchase the recharge pack, that allows you to re-experience the legacy part of the game, that provides stickers & other variable game components that can be used to form another unique game board (there are two sides of the main board that you can use).

PositivesNegatives
1. Legacy & one time play aspects combination
2. Legacy play-through forms a unique game board
3. Pretty got game even without legacy aspect
1. Lots of neat rules, lots of strategic options, might be overwhelming to new players

First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (2017)

First Martians board game 2017 cover
Gender
Thematic, exploration, adventure, cooperative
players
1-4
palytime
60-90 min.
difficulty
Hard
Age
10+

Now this game I would recommend to more experienced board gamers. There are lots of rules that will take time to learn. But essentially, this is a board game about science & survival on Mars. No aliens.

You are trying to set-up a colony on mars that would succeed & survive. From planting potatoes, oxygen production, interactions between society members, managing stress levels, and a lot of other cool stuff that are based on the harsh Mars environment.

A game for 1-4 players, that is supported by the app. Players have the opportunity to play it as a one session game, or as numerous chapters and campaigns’ game that progresses and builds itself up.

As I previously noted, this game requires a little bit of time to get into, but once you figure it out, it seems to make sense & feel smooth. A great choice for a solo player that is quarantined, isolated alone at home.

PositivesNegatives
1. Go-to for solo players
2. Challenging & difficult to win
3. Smooth app implementation
1. Complicated rulebook, a lot of micromanagement & details to fulfill correctly.

My personal favorites

Splendor (2014)

Splendor board game 2014 cover
Gender
Strategy, family, economic, card game
players
2-4
palytime
30 min.
difficulty
Easy
Age
10+

This is hands down one of the favorite strategy games of mine, officially fits 2-4 players, playable with 5 or 6 players (based on alternative rules that players came up with). Best played with 3-4 players.

Each player is collecting gems, diamonds and other precious stones to construct structures that also produce the precious stones and provide victory points. Construct the optimal “stone production ownership” to obtain support from the noble people & score the most victory points.

A game is full of beautiful tokens & colorful cards. Lots of strategy elements in figuring out which stones to produce & how to obtain noble people tiles faster than your opponents.

PositivesNegatives
1. Couples, spouses love to play this
2. Rich in strategy & tactics
3. Easy to introduce to new players
1. There is little player interaction

7 Wonders Duel (2015)

7 Wonders Duel (2015) cover
Gender
Strategy, card game, ancient civilizations
players
2
palytime
30 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
10+

A quite popular 2 player game that is rich in terms of replayability & strategy. Construct your ancient cities & wonders. Pretty similar game version to the original 7 Wonders board game, but it introduces many new possibilities.

For example, you can win in three different ways, by collecting most victory points, or by finish the game early if you collect enough science tokens or crush your opponent via the military force.

PositivesNegatives
1. The game is super repayable
2. One of the best 2 player games under 40 min.
3. Good balance of luck, risk & strategy
4. Very unique card placement technique
1. For some players may be too competitive

The Ravens of Thri Sahashri (2013)

The Ravens of Thri Sahashri (2013) cover
Gender
Cooperative, card game, role-play
players
2
palytime
45 min.
difficulty
Hard
Age
12+

The Ravens of Thri Sahashri board game is a unique themed card game for two players. One player is a girl Ren, who is asleep, who lost her memories. The other player is named Feth, who is a detective, who tries to repair her memory and read the poem of her heart… So sweet and romantic!

This is a card game where cards have 5 different colors and are numbered from 1 to 5. Each card has pictures telling stories about Ren. But parts of them are shaded, which represents her memories deteriorating.

Ren player has 4 cards placed face down in one column. This column represents a poem of her heart – that is the “Dodoitsu” poem that has a rhythm of 7-7-7-5.

Based on the poem structure, Ren needs to populate each row with cards to have exactly 7 points in sum (in each of the first three rows) and 5 points sum (in the 4th row). This is done working on rows 1 by 1 from top to bottom.

Feth, on the other hand, has another goal – to fill the center of the table only with the same color cards as the initial 4 Ren’s cards in order to win the game. It is easier said than done when you do not see those cards and cannot talk with each other!!!

PositivesNegatives
1. Perfect game for couples/spouses
2. No verbal communication
2. Despite being asymmetric, both roles feel great
1. Difficult to learn, challenging to win

Eldritch Horror (2013)

Eldritch Horror board game 2013
Gender
Cooperative, horror, role-play, strategy, fantasy
players
1-8
palytime
120+ min.
difficulty
Hard
Age
14+

What’s the quarantine without some horror? We had zombies, but now, other kinds of monsters are spawning all over the world via monster gates. You and other players take the roles of investigators and find out that the ancient monster is about to spawn to bring doom to the whole world.

Your job is to stop it, by any means necessary. A cooperative game for 1-8 players. A good solo option, but also great with more players as well. This is a rather long game, for each player in the game you should expect to add about 40 minutes of playtime.

But the experience is very rewarding. Fight monsters, immerse into rich stories, roll dices & save the day. There are 4 different ancient monsters available in the base game addition. Of course, the game has been so popular that there are tons of expansions available.

I have already reviewed this game. You can find more information about the game by checking my detailed Eldritch Horror board game review.

PositivesNegatives
1. Great replayability, even solo!
2. Amazing theme, great-looking components
3. Very interesting, well-balanced game
4. Worth your every penny
1. Be prepared to spend a few hours to understand rules if it is your first time
2. Every person adds ~40 min. playtime

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth (2019)

The Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle-earth 2019 cover
Gender
Adventure, fantasy, role-play, cooperative
players
1-5
palytime
60-120 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
14+

Here is another large board game that is super fun, interesting & immersing, especially if you love LOTR theme. The game costs considerably more than you would expect, but it also includes A LOT of components, plus the game is really large. So you would be investing in years of gameplay.

This game has some of the legacy aspects in it, meaning that the game is played over the number of chapters/sessions. I am not going to elaborate too much, because you probably have the idea what’s the game is about.

You choose one popular, famous hero of the many available, and you explore the Middle Earth, fight monsters, help people, implement quests and try to uncover the mysteries that lie in the shadow of the region.

The only thing that I would love this game to include is additional characters, such as Gandalf or Frodo. Fortunately, new heroes are included in the expansions of the game. You can check The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth – Shadowed Paths Expansion (2020), which includes new heroes, including Gandalf.

PositivesNegatives
1. Compelling lore & story
2. Art & components – true joy
3. A very good app to guide your game & immerse
1. Sometimes objectives, quests lack clarity
2. Some favorite characters are not in the base edition

Beaver gang (1995)

Beaver Gang (1995) card game cover small
Gender
Card game, Family, Children, Party
players
2-6
palytime
10 min.
difficulty
Easy
Age
6+
where to buy

Super easy game for every family member. A card game with numbers that are about memory & collecting as little total sum as possible. All the cards are numbered from 0 to 9. But lower numbered cards are lower in quantity, so this is essentially getting harder & more competitive as you aim to lower your total sum.

Each player has 4 face-down cards & looks only at 2 exterior cards before the start of the game. Then players flip them face down, playing the whole game with face down cards.

You got to remember those cards. During your turn, you draw a card, and you either swap it with one of your cards, discard it if you do not want to use it or implement an action if you drew an action card.

Those action cards allow you to switch face down cards with your opponents, draw more cards or occasionally look at one of your face-down cards.

The key part of the game is that you place the cards that you swapped into the discard pile by flipping them face up, and the next player can pick it up, imagine if you discard a zero…

If you are interested in the game, check our detailed review of the Beaver Gang card game.

PositivesNegatives
1. Trains memory and focus
2. Quick and very easy to play
3. Great for parties, children and elders
4. Fast paced and pretty funny
1. Gets a bit repetitive

Beginner-friendly board games

Catan (1995)

Catan board game 1995 cover small
Gender
Strategy, Family
players
3-4
palytime
60-120 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
10+

Catan is a classic board game that is known for its simplicity & strategic elements combination. A really fun game that has tons of expansions and is always fun to play. Check our detailed Catan board game review.

PositivesNegatives
1. High replay value
2. Very easy to teach new players
3. Fun interactions & negotiation between players
1. The mechanics are a bit repetitive

Dominion (2016)

Dominion board game 2016 cover
Gender
Card game, Strategy, Family
players
2-4
palytime
30 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
14+

Dominion is one of the best card games out there, which is for 2 to 4 players. Of course, that is just my opinion. But the rating scores for the game are super high, and it collected many awards.

Dominion board game is a language-dependent, meaning that most of the cards have effect descriptions on them. But essentially, you are collecting real-estate cards that have victory points on them.

Players each construct their own deck filled with action & coin cards to increase their purchasing power, to collect more Real Estate cards (and score more Victory Points). You can find more details about the game in our detailed Dominion board game review page.

PositivesNegatives
1. Quick to play
2. Tremendous replay value
3. Light speed set-ups
1. Limited interaction between players

Monopoly: The Mega Edition (2006)

Monopoly - The mega edition 2006 cover
Gender
Family, economic, negotiation
players
2-4
palytime
90 min.
difficulty
Medium
Age
8+

This is for the traditional Monopoly lovers. This includes a larger board with 12 new spaces, new stations, skyscrapers & more. Plus, this is a faster gameplay than the traditional Monopoly. This game could be finished in roughly 90 minutes, thanks to the 3rd dice, allowing to purchase new buildings faster, and go bankrupt faster as well!

PositivesNegatives
1. 3rd dice & new cards work great to shorten the game
2. Arguably the best Monopoly classic game version
1. Sometimes lack components if many players construct the same type building

Monopoly: Star Wars edition (2015)

Monopoly Star Wars edition 2015 cover
Gender
Family, economic, thematic
players
2-4
palytime
20-60 min.
difficulty
Easy
Age
8+

This is one of the best Monopoly Star Wars editions out there, which came to life once the Force Awakens entered the cinema theatres. It is pretty much nothing similar to the classic monopoly gameplay.

Instead – a round board, and planets on it! Players choose their faction – either the Rebels or the Dark Side, and all players focus on conquering planets one by one. The game finishes once all planets are conquered, and factions count how many planets they control to decide the game-winning faction.

PositivesNegatives
1. Monopoly version that introduces Coop/Faction modes!
2. Very quick game & a wonderful theme
1. Quality of components could be better

Monopoly Gamer (2017)

Monopoly Gamer 2017 cover
Gender
Family, economic, thematic
players
2-4
palytime
45-60 min.
difficulty
Easy
Age
8+

Control the heroes from the Mario game – Mario himself, Princess Peach, Yoshi, or Donkey Kong. Players move across the board, similarly like in a casual Monopoly, buy properties & fight bosses. At the end of the game, all the properties, and bosses defeated count as Coins, just like in the Mario video game, to decide the game-winner.

One interesting aspect of the game is 2 different dice. One dice is with number values that dictate movement on the board, the other dice allows you to use varying abilities, such as shooting other players, for them to drop coins.

PositivesNegatives
1. Monopoly version that introduces Coop/Faction modes!
2. Very quick game & a wonderful theme
1. Quality of components could be better

Conclusion

If you are staying isolated at home due to Coronavirus, here are the main games I recommend you to play.

  1. Number 1 suggestion for 2+ players – consider playing Pandemic board game (2008), as this is thematically the most fitting game to play. Alternatively, you can try out also a pretty good game Rattus (2010), that is about the black plague of the 14th century.
  2. For solo players or advanced game groups, I would suggest trying Virus (2016), Charterstone (2017), First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (2017), Eldritch Horror (2013), Lord of the Rings Journeys in the Middle Earth (2019)
  3. For two players: 7 Wonders Duel (2015), Dominion (2008), The Ravens of Thri Sahashri (2013), Pandemic: Legacy season 1 (2015) – the last one for 12-22 gameplay sessions.
  4. For families & friends that are looking for light gameplay, I recommend playing Beaver gang (1995) or Virus (2015). For intermediate difficulty – Catan (1995), Dominion (2016) & Splendor (2014).
  5. For Children & traditional game lovers – consider playing Catan (1995), Beaver Gang (1995), and the following Monopoly editions: Monopoly: The Mega Edition (2006), Monopoly: Star Wars (2015) and Monopoly: Gamer (2017).

These were all my suggestions for the Corona quarantine time. I hope you find some useful information and worthy ideas to make your Corona Time more fun & interesting.

Stay safe and play more board games!

RimasTheTabletopGuy

Amazon affiliate disclosure

As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.