Play at Home

We truly find ourselves in strange times where the simple pleasure of spending time with loved ones just simply isn’t on the cards for the foreseeable future!

So the team at Unplug Yourself and the #PlayAtHome community has searched far and wide to gather all the information you need to make sure that you still get to enjoy the hobby you love during prolonged social distancing and lockdown.

Games are a great way to relax during these stressful times and also offers a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together. Whether you are alone in isolation or a family with children needing some distraction and entertainment, this guide will set you on your way. Let’s beat the boredom with a board game!

For many it is a stark reality being in isolation during lockdown, or not having the luxury of being with others that share your passion for board games. Luckily there are quite a few gaming titles that allow for solo play giving you the board game experience and feel without the need for other players!

Here are our top picks for solo play. For some more suggestions click here.


Players: 1+
Time: 60 mins
Ages: 10+

Explore a co-operative narrative adventure with the Choose Your Own Adventure game series. Collect items, and face off against dire challenges. A great solo play for fans of the traditional Choose Your Own Adventure book titles and equally great if the family want to join in!

Why not try before you buy with this great print & play version.


Players: 1-5
Time: 120 mins
Ages: 12+

Terraforming Mars has an incredible 1 player variant that every fan should give a try. In Terraforming Mars you are a corporation working to initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage of the planets surface until the environment is habitable.


Players: 1-4
Time: 45-90 mins
Ages: 12+

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Jump into the Marvel Universe with Marvel Champions: The Card Game. Designed as a cooperative Living Card Game, Marvel Champions is just as much fun playing solo as it is to play with the rest of the family.

Many games which haven’t traditionally accommodated solo play has now seen additional rules being released with solo play variants and rules.

If you have a copy of Carcassonne, Pandemic, Otys or Hadara, then why not download and try their brand new official solo variants.

So it’s just you and that special someone… and both of you enjoy games! Although many games scale well for 2 players and and up, here are a few suggestion of games specifically made for two players only.

Here are our top picks for two player games. For some more suggestions click here.


Players: 2
Time: 10 mins
Ages: 8+

The Gigamic range of Café style games are deceptively easy to learn, but takes a lot of practice to master. Beautifully made, these games can become a permanent fixture on your coffee table, at the ready for you and you significant other to have a quick few rounds to beat the lockdown boredom.


Players: 2
Time: 30 mins
Ages: 10+

Lost Cities is a card game in the Kosmos two-player series. The game includes six colored suits and a game board to organize discarded cards and help players organize their card collections. Lost Cities plays like a 2 player, competitive version of Solitaire which will see you coming back for more, game afgter game.


Players: 2
Time: 20-60 mins
Ages: 10+

Face off in the ultimate Pop! battle!

In the Funkoverse Strategy Game, you combine your favorite characters and go head-to-head in four exciting game scenarios. Use your characters’ unique abilities to gain points and achieve victory!

Your in lockdown with your entire family and the kids are getting bored. Time to break out the board games to beat the boredom!

Here are our top pick for games that’s great fro the entire family. For some more suggestions click here.


Players: 3-6
Time: 30 mins
Ages: 8+

It should be easy to name 3 South African foods starting with “B” – but can you do it under the pressure of 5 seconds twisting down. 5 Second Rule is a great game for playing with the entire family. Simple rules and hilarity to follow, this will make lockdown with your family a joy!


Players: 2-4
Time: 45 mins
Ages: 6+

This is a must own title for the entire family! There’s no reading required, just shape and colour recognition making it ideal for younger players. This compelling strategy game is perfect to hone the player’s tactical maneuvers, forward-thinking and planning.


Players: 1-8
Time: 15-30 mins
Ages: 7+

A Scrabble-like game without the board! Using a selection of 144 letter tiles each player works independently to create their own ‘crossword’.

A fun word game the entire family will enjoy, neatly wrapped up in a fun banana pouch.

Family not up for a game, then grab some friends online to play with you, here’s how!

Stuck at home without any games? Do not fear, games come in many shapes and sizes. Most households have a deck of playing cards or some dice hidden in a drawer. Hunt those down and play some awesome traditional games with your family!

To get you started, here are the rules to our favourite traditional card and dice games.

Players: 2-8
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Objective: Card discarding

• Deal 5 cards face down to each player. Place the rest of the cards face down in the center of the table, then turn the first card up and place it beside the facedown pile. If an eight is turned, it is buried in the middle of the pack and the next card is turned. The face-up cards create a starter pile.

• Starting to the dealer’s left, each player places one card face up on the starter pile. Each card played (other than an eight) must match the card showing at the top of the starter pile in suit or denomination. So if the king of Clubs is the starter, the card played must either be another king, or be any card from the clubs suit. If unable to play a card, the player draws cards from the top of the facedown cards until a play is possible.

• If the facedown pile runs out, the player must pass his or her turn to the next player. At that point, save the card at the top of the starter pile, then shuffle the cards underneath, turn them face down, and make them the new stock pile.

• All eights are wild. An eight may be played at any time in turn, and the player should only specify a suit for it, not a number.

• The first player without cards wins the game!

Players: 2-8
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Objective: Card discarding

• Remove three of the queens from the deck. The remaining queen is the Old Maid.

• Choose a dealer and deal the cards as evenly as possible among the group. It’s acceptable for some players to have more cards than other players.

• Players sort their cards and discard any pairs. (If a player has three of a kind, he discards two of the cards and keeps the third).

• The dealer then offers his hand, face down, to the player on his left. That player randomly takes one card from the dealer. If the card matches one he already has in his hand, he puts the pair down. If not, he keeps it.

• Play proceeds clockwise, so the player to the left of the dealer then offers his hand, face down, to the player on his left. This cycle repeats until there are no more pairs and the only remaining card is the Old Maid.

• The game ends when the Old Maid is the only card in play. The person holding the Old Maid loses.

Players: 4-10
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Objective: Card collection


• Have everyone sit in a circle around a table or on the floor. Deal clockwise until you run out of cards. Everyone holds their cards facedown without looking at them.

• Going around the circle, each player draws a card from the top of their deck (face-out, so that the player cannot see the card before it is played) and places that card in the center of the circle. Each player continues to place their cards in the center this way.

• When a Jack court card is turned face up, the goal is to be the first person to “slap” it, or cover it with your hand. If several people slap at once, the person whose hand is most in contact with the Jack adds all the cards to his or her pile.

• If a player incorrectly slaps a card, he or she must give the top card in his or her pile to the player who placed the slapped card. That player adds the extra card to the bottom of his or her deck.

• When a player runs out of cards, the player is out—unless he or she can slap a Jack laid by someone else. At that point, the previously “out” player is back in and can play with the cards collected from the pile.

• Play continues until one person wins all of the cards. For a shorter version, stop play when the first person runs out of cards. Whoever has the most cards in his or her hand is the winner.

Players: 2+
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Number of Dice: 6


• Decide who will start: you can do this by having each player roll a dice (or a number of dice). The player with the highest score starts the game. You then proceed clockwise to the next player.

• A player’s turn starts by rolling all six dice – the following scenarios then exist:

• The player did not roll any 1’s, 5’s or scoring combination (see further below for an overview of most scoring combinations): the turn of that player ends with 0 points and the next player rolls the dice.
• The player rolled a scoring combination:
• He can choose to keep that score and add it to this overall score. The turn of the player ends.
• He can choose to roll all six dice again and try to get a better score – but he loses the points of his first roll!
• He can choose to set aside the dice of the scoring combination and roll the remaining dice again to try and get additional points. The dice set aside cannot be used again to make a combination with the dice rolled. If the player rolls the remaining dice again and the combination of the remaining dice has no score, his turn ends with 0 points.

• To start adding any points to his or her overall score, a player needs to have scored the minimum required score in a single turn. This can be 500 points for example. So if a player scores only 400 points in his first turn, he cannot add any points to his score. If he then rolls 600 points in the next turn, he can add the 600 points to his score. In all later turns of that game, the player can add any points the scored to his overall score.

• The game ends when a player has reached 10,000 points. When a player reaches 10,000 points or more, all other players have one more turn. If another player reaches a higher score, he or she is the winner of the game;

Greed Dice Game Scoring Combinations

The scoring combinations are the essential part of the greed dice game rules. Although different variants exist – the most common scoring combinations are the following:

• Each 1 that you roll is worth 100 points
• Each 5 that you roll is worth 50 points
• Three of a kind is worth 100 points multiplied by the number on the dice. So, for example, three of a kind of 5’s is worth 500 points. Each additional dice will then double the score, so for example, if you roll four 5’s then you will have 1000 (500×2) points. If you roll five 5’s them you have 2000 (1000×2) points
• Three of a kind of 1’s is worth 1000 points. The same rule applies for additional 1’s: 4×1 is 2000 points, 5×1 is 4000 points and 6×1 is 8000 points
• Three pairs is worth 500 points
• A five dice straight (1-2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-6) is worth 1000 points, while a six dice straight is worth 1500 points

Players: 2+
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Number of Dice: 1


• Decide who will start by having each player roll a dice – the one with the highest score starts the game.

• A player’s turn starts by rolling only one dice. The player continues to roll the dice again, as long as he does not roll a 1 or decides to add his points to his overall score. Each time the player rolls the dice, the following options exist:

• The player rolls a 1 – his turn ends without any points (he also loses the points from any previous rolls in the current turn).
• Any other number than a 1 is rolled – the player can add that number to the points scored in his current turn and continue by rolling the dice again.
• The player decides to end his current turn and add all the points from his turn to his overall score.

• The game ends when a player has reached 100 points and becomes the winner of the game.

Players: 3+
Ages: Kids, Teens and Adults
Number of Dice: 3


• This fun game is a perfect dice game for kids. They will have great fun while improving their math skills.

• Each player starts his turn by rolling three dice and sets aside the highest number. He then rolls the two remaining dice and again sets aside the highest number. Then finally the one remaining dice is rolled again, and the number of that dice is added up together with the numbers on the two dice already set aside. The sum of these three numbers gives the final score of that player’s turn.

• The winner is the player that has the higher overall number on that turn or the player that has the highers overall number after an agreed upon number of turns.

• You can also play other variants of this game, for example by multiplying the numbers of the dice.

There are 1000’s of traditional dice and card games out there. A quick Google Search will offer you a treasure trove of options

To help support families during lockdown, many prominent board game distributors has made Print & Play copies of their most popular titles available. Click on the logos below and find a treasure trove of games you can Print & Play at home for free!

Want to play some games with your regular board game group, or perhaps reconnect with some family members over a game, then a digital board gaming platform might be the best option for you. Here are our recommendations to help you choose the platform that’s right for you.

Impression: Great for first time online players or new board game players. Modern interface with tutorials to help introduce you to games you haven’t played before.

Price: Free.

Most games are free to play. Certain games can only be started by Premium Members, although anyone can join these tables once started.

Range: +-175 titles.

Downloads: No download required. Play directly from your web browser.

Features: Includes tutorials for games you are not familiar with.

Supported Devices: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Impression: Good for more experienced board game players. Tabletopia is a simulated gaming table. No game mechanics are automated and all actions and game rule implementation is managed by the player.

Price: Free.

Most games are free at Bronze Level. Additional features and +-50 premium titles does require a Silver or Gold Membership.

Range: +-800 titles.

Downloads: Play directly from your web browser or download the application.

Features: Includes rules and videos.

Supported Devices: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Impression: Good for more experienced board game players. many tabletop miniature games are also supported. Modern interface with 3D graphics. Support for rules varies from title to title.

Price: Purchase required.

Application must be purchased through STEAM with an additional in app. purchase of licensed games.

Range: Limited range of high quality licensed games. Large library of high quality community driven content.

Downloads: Application download required.

Features: Support varies from title to title.

Supported Devices: PC and Mac.

Impression: Dated interface. Low demand on hardware.

Price: Free.

A download of the application is required.

Range: +-2000 community driven titles.

Downloads: Application download required.

Features: Support greatly varies from title to title.

Supported Devices: PC and Mac.

Impression: Dated interface. Access to rules and ‘how to play’ videos.

Price: Free.

Account required to unlock all site functionality.

Range: +-150 titles.

Downloads: No download required. Play directly from your web browser.

Features: Includes rules and videos.

Supported Devices: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Impression: Dated interface. Access to rules and ‘how to play’ videos.

Price: Free.

Account required to create or join games.

Range: +-60 titles.

Downloads: No download required. Play directly from your web browser.

Features: Includes rules and videos.

Supported Devices: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Naturally while you play online it would be great to chat with he other players if you get a regular group together. Although many of the online platforms have their own voice integration, most of them fall short of expectations. Consider a voice and text chat such as Discord to run along side your online games. 

The easiest way to game over distance is to use video or conference calling. To successfully do this all the participants will need a web camera, a microphone and speakers, and access to a video conference platform.

Most modern laptops have a built in web camera, microphone and relatively good sound all more than adequate for your distance gaming needs. Even slightly higher end iPad’s or tablets, will have a screen large enough and decent enough sound quality to offer a great distance playing experience. If the player has a desktop computer, an inexpensive web camera and microphone will do the trick.

Should additional camera’s etc. be required for your gaming setup, a mobile phone or tablet can easily be dialed into the conference call and act as a player board view for instance.

For a conference call platform, there are many applications to video call with. While Skype is well known and commonly used for business, Zoom might be a better option if you are setting up a conference call for the first time. Here is a quick guide to help you to get you game on with Zoom.

In general, games with fewer components, without hidden information (hands of cards) or that doesn’t require all players to manipulate the board, works best. With this in mind, many party games and roll and write games lend themselves to create a rewarding gaming experience.

Games with boards or lots of components can still be played with the owner of the game keeping their camera focused on the board and executing the others player’s moves as per their instruction.


Hints and Tips:

• Try not to move the camera. This can be disorientating for other players.
• If you do need to show components or cards to the other players, rather hold them up to the camera.
• If there is a player board or information that all players constantly need to see, rather use a second camera, or dial in a mobile phone into the call to focus on the play space.
• If you are hosting the game, take the time to set up the game prior to dialing in the other participants. Also choose the game to be played carefully to ensure it is practical for remote play.
• Don’t be afraid to adjust rules to offer a better distance gaming experience.
• Shorter games will most certainly work better than long, rules heavy  games.
• Many aspects of the game will be managed by the host, especially when playing a more complex game. Make it more engaging by handing out tasks like dice rolls etc. to another player in the group.

Click here to download some great Catan themed backgrounds you can use in Zoom, just the thing to get the entire group inspired for games!

Now that you know how to play a board game over distance, here are a few suggestions on games that would offer a rewarding play experience.


Players: 2-8
Time: 30 mins
Ages: 12+

How to Play at a Distance:
Setup the game as per normal with the host’s camera focused on the word grid. Share the key with a distance spymaster by sending them an image. Play then proceeds as normal with the host managing the word grid.

Require Prep:
Share the key with a distance spymaster before the game commence.


Players: 2-8
Time: 30 mins
Ages: 13+

How to Play at a Distance:
Setup the game as per normal with the host’s camera focused on a central spot where cards will be revealed. The host needs to reveal the players hands to them in turn or play can be adjusted where each players hand is rather a private deck with the word for their round being unknown until the host reveals it from that players deck of cards. Play proceeds as normal.

Require Prep:
Little required prep other than explainig the above suggested rule change.


Players: 2-4
Time: 20-39 mins
Ages: 8+

How to Play at a Distance:
Focus the host’s camera on the harbor. Play then proceeds as per normal. Players will need to make sure they announce when they complete a public section.

Require Prep:
A Print & Play version of Corinth has been made available. All players need to print their own copy of the score sheet found here.

Role-Playing Games such as Dungeons & Dragons are proving to be just as popular a distraction during times of social distancing and lockdown as board games.

Our Distance Gaming Guide above is the simplest way to get your regular D&D group back together ‘around’ the same table. If you are still relatively new to D&D then have a look at this New Player’s Guide: How to Play D&D Online for some valuable guidance.

However, if you are  Dungeon Master with ambition and go way beyond the theater of the mind for your players, then an online playing solution such as Roll20 might be the option for you.

Click here to find our full how to Roll20 Guide.

The Unplug Yourself team truly hope that this guide will help South African families  to discover the joys of play during lockdown. 

Visit us on the #PlayAtHome Facebook group and share your experiences with the rest of South Africa.