Board Games to Get You Through Social Distancing

Many of us are stuck at home thanks to COVID-19 and while it’s important to get outside for some exercise, board games are a great way to pass the time and keep anxiety at bay. Today, I saw via ArsTechnica that Amazon is running a buy-two-get-one-free sale and includes some good games in the selection. It’s tricky to choose a good game without playing it first. Below, I’ll give you my recommendations, in no particular order but with an eye towards ones that don’t require too many players. I only picked the ones that A) I’ve played and B) are part of the sale.

Dungeons and Dragons Essentials Kit

Great way to get started playing D&D as it has pre-made characters and a sandbox-ish set of adventures to run through. You can even make your own characters based on the four core-classes (fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue). If you’re limited by the number of players, it has rules to use sidekicks to buff up your party. It’s a great way to sneak some reading and math with kids too and can limit screen time. You can pair it with the Starter Set, but there’s some content overlap so you don’t really need both. Get it here.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal is highly replayable and works well with four players, but probably no fewer. You start out as a group exploring a spooky mansion by uncovering and placing tiles. Eventually, someone triggers a haunt which changes the game as one person becomes the haunt and the other players have to figure out how to defeat them. More here.


This semi-abstract game has you collecting different color gemstones, to build an engine to acquire more gems. Eventually, you want to curry the favor of nobles as you collect points to be the first to 15. It’s straightforward to learn, plays well with just two people, and speeds up nicely towards the end. More here.

Seven Wonders

Seven Wonders is a fun, fast-paced card drafting game. Admittedly there are a lot of rules to digest at first, and if you’ve played before you can quietly amass a lot of points before everyone else realizes what your doing or learns how to stop you. The best part about this game is it scales up to 7 players without slowing down. Seven Wonders.

Exploding Kittens

This is a quick game about taking cards from a deck, avoiding the exploding kittens, and sabotaging the other players. Plays quick, fun artwork, and involves a fair bit of luck. Get it here.

Escape Room the Game

Three escape room puzzles in this box will keep you all busy for an hour as you find clues to identify the four keys you need to get out from one room to the next and eventually “escape.” If you get stuck, you can get a clue or surreptitiously google the solution. Once you play a scenario, you can’t really go back through it but still fun, especially if you like escape rooms. More here.

Honorable Mentions

  • Codenames – fun party game, but you need a lot of players to really enjoy it.
  • Unstable Unicorns – similar art style to Exploding Kittens, this one has you collecting unicorns. I haven’t played it with fewer than five players but I think the fun in this one scales with more.
  • Munchkin – can be fun, lots of backstabbing.