Games During the Clampdown

We have all experienced an increase in board games, card games and other at-home activities during these strange days. I have written before about other great activities, and here are a few more to check out.


This two person game is a more stimulating version of Battleship. It requires a refined strategic sense. Like most great games, it is easy to learn and tough to master. Crucially, it works across age groups. I have wrangled with my wife and my daughter. Just when you think you have the logic figured out, you realize you misapprehended a critical point. It is essentially a codebreaker game. With more than 2,000 possible combinations the game is different every time it’s played. As one of the best-selling games of all time, Mastermind now features a great retro look. It is an ideal date night game.

May Cause Side Effects

This game for 4 or more players is an amped up version of Charades. The premise is that you are participating in a clinical trial study for a new drug. The pill requires you to answer some questions, with inevitable side effects. The goal is to get your partner to guess the word or phrase. The pace is fast, and families can enjoy the fun. Here is a video for a sense of the gameplay.

The Misery Index

Based on the TBS gameshow this brings the gameplay home. You try to arrange the cards according to their general awfulness. Both of my daughters squealed at this conundrum: is third degree sunburn better or worse than seeing their Dad naked? And of those, would you rather drop your phone in the toilet? The ranking process elicits many laughs and groans, hence the game title.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.