Dear Unplug Yourself community. 

On Monday 24 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). This lockdown is to take effect on 26 March 2020 at midnight and will continue until 16 April 2020.   

For many this lockdown holds a promise of boredom with little else to do other than being glued to a screen. We however are a community of tabletop gamers, we see opportunity! During the next 21 days the Unplug Yourself team will be on standby to give you hints, tips and ideas on how to #playathome. We will ensure a steady stream of articles, social media posts and just some great shots of the games we are playing while under lockdown, all to inspire you to #playathome and get through this trying time with your sanity intact. 

To get you started, here is a ‘to do’ list to help beat the boredom. 

INVOLVE THE FAMILY

Quite a few tabletop enthusiasts will argue that the lockdown is isolating them from their regular playing groups. But that is just an excuse, now is the time to involve your entire family. Play simpler games for the younger or new players. Find ways to simplify the rules to make it easier to play and teach. The point here is to make it fun. Remember, if you turn your family into a gaming family, you will never be short of play opportunities again.

A TABLE FOR TWO

It’s just you and your partner for 21 days… what better time to reconnect and spend quality time… playing some games. Don’t have two player games, use your ingenuity and change up the rules of your favourite games to suit two players. 

LEARN A NEW GAME

We all have a so called ‘shelf of shame’. That section where all the new, shiny games go and patiently wait for you to make the time to learn the rules. Now you have all the time you need! Crack open that big box game and study the rules in preparation for your next epic board game day (post lockdown). 

PAINT THOSE MINIS

No more boring grey plastic minis at board game night. Wow your group with colourful and unique creations. Your board games will not just look great on the table, but a little bit of your personality will remain with each game. This is also a great time for miniature tabletop players to finally get that new squad ready for the table. No excuses, get painting! 

CREATE YOUR OWN GAME

Admit it, every tabletop gamer has had the idea of designing their own game. Now you have plenty of time to do so. No need for fancy artwork or custom tokens. Draw or print your own cards, borrow components from other games. Who knows, you might have the next big hit Kickstarter on your hands. 

CONNECT TO CONTINUE UNPLUGGED

Unplug Yourself has always advocated time away from screens. But mixing cardboard with technology however allows for some amazing gaming experiences to happen. Use an online service like Roll20 or Discord to connect your regular D&D group or use a service such as Skype to simply get your board game group around the ‘same table’ for board game night. You can even broaden your horizons and learn a new game and meet new players by making use of an online board gaming service such as Tabletopia or Board Game Arena 

YOU’RE THE EXPERT

You fell in love with a game and you feel everyone should hear about it. Try your hand at writing and publish a review online or set up the webcam and start up your own channel. Find a way and share your love of games with the world. 

STAY CONNECTED

You love gaming and consider a 50 page rule book an entry level game. But we all know somebody who hasn’t yet discovered the joys of gaming. Now is the time to share, phone up that cousin with the 4 bored children at home and suggest some traditional games they can play. Most households will be able to find a deck of playing cards or a pair of dice in a junk drawer somewhere. A simple traditional game might seem mundane to avid board gamers, but it might just be a steppingstone to turn that game of Snap into a game of Spot It or a game of Yahtzee into King of Tokyo and beyond. 

BECOME A DUNGEON MASTER

Many D&D and RPG players love to play, but harbour a secret fear, the fear of becoming the Dungeon Master. It is an intimidating prospect for many as the Dungeon Masters performance can make or break the experience for players. This is your opportunity cut your teeth with an easier crowd, host a D&D adventure for your family. They won’t call you out on any beginner mistakes you make and as a parent you might just be amazed at seeing how your children interpret and react to the fictional world and the obstacles you place in it. 

HAVE FUN!

Not just applicable to board gamers, but all South Africans. What you do during lockdown is entirely up to you, but it is important to have fun. When will you again get the opportunity to slow down and spend true quality time with your family. Make the most of it and lets become better people and stronger families by the end of the lockdown period. #playathome 

By Philip

Passionate about good board games and spending time playing them with amazing people.