The Meeple Guild - Escapism in this time of isolation via games

So we are all in self-isolation mode as much as is reasonable.

That might sound like it’s a jail term, but being at home with time on your hands can be a time to relax, once you get past the concerns of COVID-19 and making sure rent is paid. After those we need some relaxation.

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That is where binge-watching TV, getting to the unread pile of books all readers have on-hand, and going into the closet for board games, come in in terms of some escapism.

I’ve long thought a deck of cards is near essential in a household for those rainy summer days, and winter storms. Now in extended stay at-home mode they again are great, because they are extremely versatile time eaters.

If alone there are literally dozens of solitaire card games to try out. If you are unsure of the rules, an online search nets many.

Two player games for a shut-in couple include a couple of standards; cribbage and gin rummy.

And from there you can find card games for families too.

I’ll admit I prefer to take card games, past cribbage, in small doses, because they are largely luck which detracts from games for me as fate is too fickle.

But a checkerboard and some pieces opens up a world of great think to win abstract strategy games such as dameo, lines of action and of course checkers. These sort of games are a tad harder – all right super difficult – to get the better half to play.

Good news, you can opt to go to sites such as, register and play live abstract strategy games with others online. IG is not the only site of its kind, but it is a good starting spot.

Another option, call a friend, have them set up a chess board, or other shared-interest abstract strategy game which is easy to detail moves on via some numbering system and play what was once common; a play by mail contest. It can be speeded up via emails, or instant messaging or text, but it does offer board game play and interaction. A game is on-the-go here as I write this, with a player across the city.

Another option for game fans as they are shut in is to search out print and play games online. There are many, some solo such as Utopia Engine, Delve, the Dice Game, Shadows Upon Lassadar, and Micropul, to games for two and beyond. These games require a computer printer, but the effort to print, cut and prepare, is part of the escapism.

Of course many families have favourites; crokinole was big in mine growing up, a favourite along with rod hockey with Dad.

Others will look back fondly on Trivial Pursuit, first released nearly 40-years ago (1981), or Chinese checkers, backgammon, mancala, parcheesi, or even monopoly, although it is on my personal worst games-ever list.

Board games have always been a social activity, and while you don’t want to invite friends over in the time of COVID-19, they can still be a social activity, with a few tweaks, and remain a great way to get away from every day and just have fun.

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