Bored at lunchtime?

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought that this would be a good time to tell you about a hobby that I have introduced to work – board games. Your enduring memory of board games might have you confined to a joyless trudge around the Monopoly board as sleet clattered against your dining room window, but times have changed. There are so many fantastic board games and card games available that there has never been a better moment to get into the hobby.

My own Damascene moment came about five years ago when I found this review of Pandemic on the Eurogamer website.


Pandemic was a revelation to me; two to four players join forces and face off against four deadly diseases that are ravaging the world. Pandemic is a co-operative game – you all win or you all lose, together. Either way, you’ll have fun. You need to work as a team, sharing abilities and opportunities to wipe out these diseases or else the world ends one viral outbreak at a time. So, no one has small plastic houses thrown at them because a player landed on Mayfair, AGAIN! And no one must sit out; waiting endlessly for all the other players to take their turns.

And one of the best things about modern games is how quickly many of them can play. Pandemic can easily be finished in a lunch hour. The excellent Skull, which boils the bluffing of poker down to its elemental essence, can be played in ten minutes. Spyfall, a hilarious game of hidden identities is played over eight-minute rounds. That’s how board game lunchtimes have become such a popular event at Team.

Today we had 12 people from across the company playing Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. A social deduction game where players try to identify a killer in their midst (it was Peter, with a piece of sharpened bamboo – should have guessed).


Board games are a great opportunity for people who don’t typically meet in a working day to come together and share a moment that’s greater than all of them. It’s the chance to look one of your colleagues in the eye and tell them outrageous lies. Or it’s the opportunity for them to leave your frozen corpse on K2 because they blocked your bloody route to the summit and the weather closed in!

Best of all, board games are a licence to be a bit silly and to get away from your computer screens for a while.

If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend checking out the Shut Up and Sit Down website – they have well written, accessible reviews (including several of the links above) and recommendations to help you find the right game.

Remember: we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

Merry Christmas and a Monopoly-free new year.

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