When boredom strikes: Best board games for your mental health

Joy Nwagiriga

As the Coronavirus pandemic takes over the world and most of the country is forced to stay at home, boredom is the new reality. Social distancing has cancelled or closed almost all of our sources of entertainment. So how can you keep yourself and the family amused this period?

There are many board games and activities to keep even the toughest critic content. The Global Council on Brain Health recommends people incorporate cognitively stimulating activities into their lifestyle to help maintain their brain health.

Brain games can improve certain brain skills and can play an important role in maintaining overall brain health. Scientists have found that children that play video and mobile games have a better chance of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

Here are some games to improve your brain health when boredom strikes.


Chess is considered to be one of the ultimate tests of intelligence in the world. Becoming proficient at chess at any age is linked to better object and pattern recognition. It is a two-player board game, played on a checkerboard with 64 squares. The objective is to checkmate your opponents king.


Game designer, Philip Orbanes, strongly believes Monopoly provides real life financial lessons. Monopoly is a board game, suitable for up to 8 players. The aim of the game is to move around the board, buying and trading properties, while trying to send your opponents to bankruptcy. This game is perfect for families.


A study comparing competitive Scrabble players against novice players found that Scrabble experts are more adept at vertical fluency and semantic deemphasis (one’s ability to handle word responses). Scrabble is a word game between two to four players, where they score points by creating words on a board.

Connect 4

Connect 4 builds problem solving skills. It is a two player connection game in which the players take turns to drop coloured discs into a frame. The aim is to create an uninterrupted straight or diagonal line.


During and after a Tetris session, your brain experiences significant activity that leads to greater brain efficiency. Tetris is a tile matching puzzle video game, usually single player. The objective is to use the pieces to create as many horizontal lines of blocks as possible.


Switch also known as Two Four Jacks or Irish Switch is a card game for two or more players. The sole aim of the switch is to discard all of the cards in one’s hand. The game is similar to UNO. Switch can get very competitive and is ideal to play amongst friends or family.

Crossword puzzles

Solving crossword puzzles contributes to building your vocabulary and is also a great stress reliever. Studies suggest that these brain teasers are actually helpful for people suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer.

Trivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit is a board game in which players answer general knowledge and popular culture questions. This game can be played with two or more players or in teams. There are trivia games, so pick a category that suits you!

Joy Nwagiriga

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