In the off chance that you are stuck at home with more than one other person, and are tired of looking at your phone or binge-watching movies and shows… Here are 5 games that all tend to take up quite a bit of time, and are better with more players. Tension levels vary for each game. But for the most part, with all of these, all players can just hang back and chill while they play. Some background music or movie/show on.
The most important qualities of these listed games are that they require multiple people — the more the merrier! — and can take aaallllll day to play just one game (as long as the competitiveness is at a minimum). Weirdly enough, I was introduced to most of the games on this list in “cabin” settings… where the only other real options were to stare at the fire in the fireplace, or look out the window and watch the rain/snow fall (or grass grow).
Phase 10 is card game similar to rummy. The special 108-card Phase 10 deck actually looks a bit like an Uno deck, with Wilds and Skips. (In a pinch, you can actually use two regular decks of cards; Kings are Wilds, and Jokers are Skips.)
The objective of Phase 10 is to be the first person to complete all ten phases (hence the name, right). As each player completes a phase, that turn ends for everyone, and the winning player progresses forward to the next phase. All other players stay on the same phase until complete, even while everyone is on the same hand/turn. The phases kind of get harder as you progress, but for the most part it’s really just up to the luck of the draw.
The instructions say the game should take 60 – 90 minutes, with each round lasting about 3 minutes. In my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. I have played games that lasted hours. And not all of those were slow-paced, chillaxed games.
So, at two to six players (I’ve played with more), and with the ability to make up your own phases… Phase 10 is a game that can eat up hours and hours of your cabin fever.
Rummikub is a tile game. And, not unlike Phase 10, is a game about patterns of numbers and colors. The set comes with 104 tiles. Tiles are numbered 1 through 13 (with actual numerals, not dots like a domino), and come in four colors; each color has two of each number. And two Jokers. Along with the tiles, all games I’ve played also came with a small rack for the players to organize and line up their tiles (hidden from the other players).
Where Rummikub really differs from the simple phases of Phase 10, is in its far more complicated applications of play once tiles are laid down. While set up is easy, getting the game to a point where the “board” is live… could take a bit. Rummikub is also score-based. The scoring is based off each non-winning player counting their tiles after someone has won that round. Once that’s done, they subtract those numbers from their score, while adding it to the winner’s score.
Honestly, it took me a few tries to get the hang of Rummikub — but to me, that’s all part of the fun. If I go a while without playing, it still takes me a few rounds to get back in the swing of things. Once you really get into it, your brain is working on different numeric patterns and probabilities, based on what tiles you have in front of you, and what tiles can be manipulated on the table.
It’s a heck of game. If you just wanna have a short (maybe) sit-down, you can just roll through one round. But the way I’ve always played it — the way I was introduced to the game — is you set a score goal, and work towards that.
Rummikub is a game that is supposed to be played with two to four players. But… I’ve actually seen people with multiple games (just for the tile rack), so they can add players. I’ve never seen that to unbalance the game play. If anything, it just adds to it.
Depending on where you set your score goal, this game could last an hour… or a week.
I won’t lie. I had to make double sure that this was the official name of this game. (It is.)
Mexican Train is a domino game. Depending on the domino set that you use, the game can be played by two to 13(!) players. Aside from the dominoes, the set comes with (or needs to have, if you’re DIYing it) one token/marker for each player, and a hub (from which all “trains” build outward). The sets I’ve always played on (and the set I have myself) have been a double-eighteen set of dominoes. You can actually buy an official Mexican Train set.
It’s a score-based game, so you’re also going to need something to write on and something to write with. Unless you’re playing with Rainman, and you trust him.
The objective of MT is similar to Rummikub: get rid of all your dominoes. Scoring is also similar to RK, and I often get them mixed up. Whoever goes out first, gets a zero score. Everyone else counts up their dots. Double blank is worth 50. Scoring is like mini-golf, so whoever’s got the lowest at the end, wins.
The full game is over when you’ve run through all the dot-groups (blank through eighteen). I’ve played this more in a “cabin” setting than any of the other games on this list (and any other game ever). It can take FOR-EV-ER to run all the way through.
And there are TONS of different variants out there. I’ve played some. But still find the regular meat & taters version to be good enough.
I’m pretty sure this one doesn’t really require much of a descriptor. This is one of the most famous board (bored) games in the history of history. And most of us have lost friends, or even family, while playing this game.
As far as its popularity goes, it’s been printed in more than 37 languages. Not to mention all the various _____-opoly local and pop culture variants.
I’m sure many of us started playing this game well before the age minimum on the box. I remember actually practicing my basic math while playing this game with my family as a kid. In any case, this game is obviously a staple of any game closet.
What you might not have known is that this game was based off of another, older game: The Landlord’s Game. Landlord’s was invented by Lizzie Magie, in 1903. She invented the game as a way to demonstrate (via participation) certain economic principles and theories (mainly about monopolies and taxation).
So while we all developed premature finance-related stress issues as youngsters playing Monopoly… THAT IS WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.
I’ve played hours and hours long games of Monopoly. There are some variants. Some people kinda have their own house rules or ways of playing. As long as no one gets too involved, it’s a fun game. The moment someone fails to recognize it’s just a game… well, I’m sure many of us have been there.
This one is on this list for two reasons: I’ve been hearing about for years, and I’ve never played it.
Breaking in a new game when all you’ve got is time is something wonderful. Whether it’s a board game, card game, video game… whatever. And I’ve wanted to start this game for quite awhile.
I’ve always been into strategy games. And what used to be known as The Settlers of Catan IS a strategy game. However, it seems to be one that is easy to pick up and roll with right outta the box. It requires the players to use the skills of strategy and negotiation (kind of like the game Diplomacy; one of my all-time faves).
From what I’ve heard — and from the box — the game is best with 3 – 4 players (in standard form). But with expansions, and different versions, you can run up to 12 players. Seems easy to set up once you get the hang of it. And a game will run you around 2 hours.
I’ve heard from so many people how cool this game is — and from people I’d never expect to be into strat games! In the game, the players are settlers on the island of Catan. The objective is to grow your settlement through developing and spending resources. The goal is to have the biggest settlement.
Since this recent era of home time has begun, I’ve heard from several friends that they are playing this with their families very regularly. And that’s fams with varying ages of kids, too.
Although I can’t speak from personal exerience on this one, just based off of the volume of traffic I’ve gotten about it over the years (since it hit the US in the late 90s), and the recent stuff I’m hearing… it can’t not be on this list. If anyone’s got anything to add about this game, hit me up in the comments!
The bottom line is that a lot of people have found themselves with extra time on their hands. They’re no doubt catching up on movies and shows, maybe even some books they’ve had stacked up waiting to read. But there’s nothing in the world like circling around the table, popping open the box, and starting a game with the fam.
When was the last time you did that? When will be the next time you have a chance to, if not right now?
If you’re rolling solo, or just aren’t hunkered down with anyone able or willing to play games with you, I would like to suggest a good ol’ fashioned jigsaw puzzle. Doesn’t matter if it’s kittens playing with a ball of yarn, Mount Fuji with cherry blossoms, or a puzzle featuring a pile of hangers… Put on some tunes, pour whatever drink you prefer (keep it out of reach of the puzzle, though, just in case), and start untangling those braincells!
Gimme a shout in the comments and tell me what you’re playing!