0320 Epley column

Thanks to the coronavirus, we're all going to be stuck at home this weekend with nothing to do unless we decide to go grab another pack of Charmin.

So, maybe it's time to bring one of your favorite old board games out of the closet. That's one of the best activities to bring the family together, after all.

Just remember to follow those CDC-recommended preventative measures. And if you've got more than 10 people in your family...well, some of them are just gonna have to go do something else.

With that in mind, here are the top five board games to play 6 feet apart:


While the world's economy sags, build your own financial empire. Just because utility companies are suspending late fees and disconnections doesn't mean you shouldn't charge your husband full price when he lands on Water Works. Instead of taking the chance of going out in public, land on the Chance space so you can pass Go and collect $200 before Mitt's $1,000 check comes in the mail.


We all know it was Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe. And he probably whacked Professor Plum with it for using the last roll of Angel Soft. The good news is this game has plenty of rooms to help with social distancing! Keep mom in the Library, dad in the Study and little brother in the Billiard Room while you head to the Kitchen to collect more evidence and make your final guess.

The Game of Life

Hark back to cherished memories of the everyday routine. If you think hard enough, you might almost be able to remember what it was like. Instead of working from home, you can switch careers at the spur of a moment. And the paydays are really close together! And while you're at it, make your moves on the board to let the kids know you expect to go to the nice retirement home when the time comes.


Pretend you're back in the paper products aisle at Food Lion or Walmart by using your green peg to stomp all over Little Johnny's red peg and send him to the back of the line. He's not getting your Quilted Northern. The Pop-O-Matic really sets a good example because it shelters in place the dice in a small group. Those things listen to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention better than most people.


Get your Howard Hughes on and spell out Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E. That's 19 points on its own, but I suggest you hit that triple world score space and make it a 57. Some other surefire winners to fit the theme: nucleocapsid, pleomorphic, ctyoplasm, ribosome. Normally, the Merriam-Webster is the only tool at your disposal. But I think we can make exceptions for a biology textbook or a medical journal here.

Epley, Justin

Justin Epley

The News Herald

If you couldn't tell, the only real purpose of this column was to lighten the mood a little during a serious time. If you play some of these games, wash your hands before and after and don’t blow on the dice for good luck.

Please continue practicing good hygiene and sanitation protocols, stay safe and follow recommendations and requirements from the powers-that-be while we ride this thing out!

Justin Epley is a staff writer for The News Herald. He can be reached at jepley@morganton.com or 828-432-8943.

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