16 Adult Board Games to Play During Lockdown

Throw that 'Pop-Up Pirate' in the bin - these board games mean business...

By Ben Brown | Last updated 23 January 2021

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Board games are no longer a simple case of smashing the back of a plastic hippo for 3 minutes, or deciding who killed who and with what weapon.

No, modern board games are complex, they’re exciting and above all – they’re great for passing the time during a nationwide lockdown.

So, grab some booze and some snacks, get the dining table all set up and enjoy an evening of serious game playing. Just don’t spit your dummy out and strop off to bed after 10 minutes of losing…

Monopoly Deal
Nobody likes actually playing Monopoly. It’s long, it’s boring and if someone doesn’t flip the table in frustration around the 20-minute mark – it’s not being played properly. So, the makers of Monopoly created this – a card game where each game lasts around 10 minutes and it’s a lot of fun. It allows you to be a right devious bastard and, in fact – rewards you handsomely for doing so.


Less of a board game and more of a chance to flop around on top of people, Twister is the ultimate party game, and if I’m being honest – probably the hardest game to play on this entire list. Don’t play it with your nan though – you’ll probably end up with your head up her skirt and nobody wants to see that.


Rather apt at the moment, Pandemic revolves around a series of diseases that have broken out all over the world, and it’s your job as a specialist to treat hotspots and research cures before everything goes tits up. You basically assume a unique role amongst players and each turn you need to treat people, build research stations and generally get on top of the fight. I must say, once you’ve got the hang of it – it’s absolutely brilliant.


I still hate the kid on this box

Connect 4
An absolute classic and the simplest, easiest game to learn, but difficult to master. Even chimps in the jungle can learn Connect 4 – but make sure that if you’re playing one, you let them win. Otherwise, they’ll rip your face off.


Exploding Kittens
A weird version of Russian Roulette, this combination of kittens and explosions is noted for the fact that the makers managed to raise a massive $8 million on Kickstarter to get it going. Simply pick up a card and if it’s an exploding kitten – you’re dead and out of the game. But there’s a bunch of other cards you can use too – including ones that diffuse any kitten ‘bombs’ and other cards that encourage rather vicious plays.


Weird Things Humans Search For
Incorporating the internet into a board game isn’t easy, but ‘Weird Things Humans Search For’ have managed to do it – where all you need to do is predict the most popular endings to Google search questions. So, you’ll get one which says “My cat wants…” and you need to finish it off with two guesses. If you get any correct – it’s points galore baby! Simple and funny, this one is great whilst getting hammered.


A little French number here, where you set about creating a landscape of cities, towns, roads and such – all using the tiles in your hand. Once you’ve popped enough tiles down you can start populating these areas with people, who will then score you points and generally bugger up the lives of other players. It’s a bit like Sim City and Risk rolled into one and even though it looks quaint – things can get pretty heated pretty quickly.


This card game can be simply described as ‘Snap on Acid’. Each circle card contains a series of images and all you need to do is match one image with an image on the card in your hand and, just like snap, smash it down and collect the card. You might want to be careful here though – it’s VERY frustrating and can cause divorce.


Cards Against Humanity
Another drunken classic, I’m pretty sure that everyone has a box of Cards Against Humanity somewhere in their house. Well, now is the time to go and get it. Crass, offensive but very, very funny, Cards Against Humanity is really simple to play, but can cause some serious arguments if you’re a sore loser. Be sure to get the UK version too, I once played the US version and it was shite.


A word of warning – you can spend absolutely AGES playing Catan (or Settlers of Catan as it was once known). So long in fact that you should always prepare yourself some snacks (cheese) and something wet (beers, wines or ice-cold vodka) – because you’re in it for the long-haul here. The object is to become the dominant force on the island of Catan by building cities, towns and roads using resources – which sounds rubbish but is actually genius. This bad boy has won countless awards – as it’s brilliant through and through.


A true classic in the board game world, most people will probably have a version of Risk knocking about their house, so maybe this lockdown it’s time to blow the dust off it and get your armies assembled. I’ve only ever played the classic version, but there’s a ton of new ones available, including a Game of Thrones one which is apparently rather excellent indeed.


The Chameleon
This award-winning game is a lot like the recently popular ‘Among Us’ where one player is secretly trying to hide the fact that they’re the chameleon and the mission is to not get caught and blend in. This one only really works if there’s more than 3 players, so it’s perfect if you’re stuck indoors with plenty of people. If there’s just two of you – there’s no point really.


Ticket to Ride
A super-simple game to learn how to play, Ticket to Ride is all about trains, with the point of the whole thing is to claim the railway routes of North America – thus earning points and shoving it down everyone else’s throats. You pick up cards to help you claim routes and there are also points for the longest railway and for connecting cities. It’s all rather relaxing and nice, until someone starts messing around with your tracks that is. Then things can get violent. Trust me.


A huge favourite after your Christmas dinner, Articulate is a true classic in the board game world, and still provides hours of entertainment for all. You all know the score; you get into teams of two and you have to get your partner to say as many words from a particular category as they can. This leads to many a hilarious answer such as the one time someone said “Sleeping Jeans” instead of pajamas.


Lego Creationary
This game is RARE. Lego have stopped making it for some reason, and so the only place you can get it is off some dodgy blokes on eBay. And, as you’d expect, they’ve jammed the price of the thing right up. But if you manage to get your hands on one – you’re in for an amazing time. It’s basically Pictionary but instead of drawing something, you create it using Lego bricks. A great idea that’s been executed to perfection.


What Do You Meme?
Taking a leaf out of the Cards Against Humanity book, What Do You Meme? involves the players actually being the judges of each round – so things tend to get a bit heated, and, if you hate each other – rather nasty. Which to me is all the better really – I love a good fight. Anyway, each round you get a Meme Card and then the rest of the players choose a caption that they think best suits the photograph. Everyone loves memes – so everyone should love this too.