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Games people play: The Day’s readers reveal what board games they’re enjoying while 'sheltering in place' at home

With everyone having to spend so much time at home because of coronavirus-related restrictions, a lot of people have turned to an old-school form of entertainment: board games.

Not only are families pulling out the games they’ve had forever, but many folks are ordering new ones as well.

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner recently told CNBC that the company is doing quite well during the first quarter of the year because of the jump in sales of classic board games. The Guardian reported that sales of board games skyrocketed during the first week of the United Kingdom’s lockdown; there, too, traditional games have been the most popular.

But while Monopoly, Clue and Codenames remain staples, another board game has been in the spotlight. It’s called Pandemic.

It was originally released in 2008 and has sold more than two million copies since then. But with an actual pandemic affecting everyone’s lives now, it has seen its notoriety soar.

A former graphic designer Matt Leacock created it between two outbreaks, SARS in 2003 and the swine flu in 2009.

The purpose of the game is to stop four diseases from infecting and killing millions of people around the world. Each player takes on a role — medic, perhaps — and draws cards with the names of cities that will get infected. Players have to stop the spread and to discover four cures.

I’ve played it (a friend of mine had bought it), and it’s diverting and challenging, although it takes a while to understand all the rules.

One of the interesting things with Pandemic is that players work as a team rather than compete against each other — as it should be in a pandemic, right?

With all this game enthusiasm in mind, The Day asked readers to tell us what games they were playing while “sheltering in place” during the actual pandemic. Kate Norrad is playing Battleship; and RJ, Pam and Dan Kelley of Pawcatuck are taking on the Game of Life. Here is what some other readers had to say ...

Heather Nenna of Uncasville:

“Our family loves board games even when we aren’t quarantined!

“Rummikub is my 12-year-old son’s favorite. Both boys love UNO Attack, especially when I end up with all the cards. Regular UNO is also a hit. Blokus is a family favorite since it has only one rule. We all love to play rummy. Competition is alive and well in our house!”

Michael Connolly of Ledyard:

“My wife Celinda and I, both retired, have been playing a lot of Yahtzee during our ‘forced’ isolation. We laugh, cheer each other's good dice rolls, and she usually beats me easily. We've actually run low on score sheets and in desperation have been printing them from the internet. Works for us. We play two games at a time, usually with fresh cups of coffee, and find it helps break things up in a positive way. We try to not watch too much TV news.

“We also have been playing a newer game called Spot It. It’s a fun, quick game, and we both play it pretty evenly. Helps keep us sharp, or so I'd like to believe.

“Additionally, we have done jigsaw puzzles. The thousand piece size is just about right for helping us get through the hours over several days. Oh, yes, we eat a lot, too, LOL.”

Amy Oulundsen of Norwich:

“We love Uno already but started playing Boobytrap last night. Adding up our scores is helping my 2nd grader with her math skills!” 

Heather Beyrent Doughty of New London:

“We played Cards Against Humanity with family around the country via Zoom. We all used this link (through www.cardsagainsthumanity.online) on while on our phones to play the game. It was really fun!

Julie Elizabeth Page of Gales Ferry:

“Unstable Unicorns is so much fun!”

Eileen Matthews Dolan of Norwich:

"My family loves the game Bananagrams. It's like Scrabble but each person works on their own crossword at the same time, so there's no waiting for someone to finish their turn. Even my 8-year-old granddaughter loves it. It has become our new favorite game."

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