Board games can provide diversion from isolation stress

Board games can provide diversion from isolation stress

Social distancing and self-isolation are crucial to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. And as millions of Americans forgo travel and worry about COVID-19's effects, we'll be confined at home with crushing stress and none of the distraction that vacations or weekend trips can bring.

Enter travel board games, which allow us to embark on imaginary journeys or learn about the people and places we dream of visiting. Since the first time we passed by the Gumdrop Mountains in Candy Land or strolled the streets of London in Monopoly, we learned that every board game with a trail offers a voyage with a payoff. Through these games, we can travel anywhere from our living rooms — and we won't even need a visa to visit Carcassonne or settle in Catan.

"One of the great things about travel games is they tend to be some of the more thematic games out there and often have very nice art," said Antonio Uriarte, a game guru at Victory Point Cafe in Berkeley, California. "If those of us stuck in isolation can feel more immersed in the experience of getting out there and seeing different parts of the world, I think there is a lot of value in that for a lot of people."

"One of the great things about travel games is they tend to be some of the more thematic games out there and often have very nice art," said Antonio Uriarte, a game guru at Victory Point Cafe in Berkeley, California. "If those of us stuck in isolation can feel more immersed in the experience of getting out there and seeing different parts of the world, I think there is a lot of value in that for a lot of people."

Games in general give us a chance to connect and be fully present with our family or roommates. They provide a temporary respite from the barrage of news and a distraction from monotony. "Focusing on something that helps take your mind to another place is a very helpful escape right now," Uriarte added. Suddenly, that trivia game doesn't seem so trivial.

On Capitol Hill, Labyrinth Games and Puzzles's phones are ringing nonstop. The store is offering curbside purchase pickup for as long as possible and looking into delivery and shipping.

"We're taking pictures, making recommendations, talking on the phone, texting and messaging customers. We're taking all purchases to people's cars with no contact," owner Kathleen Donahue said. "We're busy because people are looking for something to do while they're stuck at home, but more importantly, if they get a break, they want to interact with a human and not stare at the computer."

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