I know I’m not alone here when I say . . . I’m losing it. My grip on reality, my will to be creative, my playful self. The news is like a weight sitting on top of my chest and an overwhelming sense of doom is hard to brush off. But in times like this, we must remember to honor our mental health with the same quality and attention we do our physical. Right now the physical dictates that we must stay inside but the mental needs stimulus, challenge and above all, fun.
The list that follows won’t include watching Tiger King, even though you probably should. Instead, here are a few of my suggestions for what to do in the coming weeks if you, like me, need an adventure and like a challenge. I have been seeking things that take me out of my comfort zone but not out of my living room.
1) PATCHWORK ADVENTURES by GR8ER GOOD GAMES
This company is doing something completely unique and now’s the time to try it. These remote team building games were designed by an MIT and Stanford trained neuro-biologist with the mission of helping teams connect that normally don’t work face to face. The games were designed with a geographically decentralized workforce in mind and now that’s… everyone lucky enough to still “work”. So while you might have been thinking it would be fun to get the office together for bowling or an escape room this remote option is safe and just as fun. Each member of your elected team will receive an envelope of goodies in the mail prior to the game with all you need to solve clues and puzzles together over Zoom.
Price: $100 per participant min. 6
Mention you heard about Patchwork Adventures from Purple Crayon and get 10% off your booking!
2) EXIT THE GAME
These games bring escape rooms to you. With several adventures to choose from and a variety of difficulty levels they can be played alone, with your significant other or the whole family.
My husband and I tried The Forgotten Island. It says it will take 1-2 hours to complete. I am too ashamed to tell you how long it took us, but I do like to think that with practice we will do better on the next one. Until then we hold our heads in shame.
We were very impressed with the creativity involved and how easy it was to catch on to the method of game play. We found delight in several of the unexpected ways to find solutions and can’t wait to try another.
Can be purchased at Amazon or Target
3) NEIL PATRICK HARRIS DECK OF PLAYING CARDS
A two-fer. Yes, it’s a deck of regular playing cards so there’s that. But look closer. Once you notice that some cards are more than what they seem you will begin your journey.
I truly hesitate to say more because I found that the fun was in the surprises.
Be prepared to get stuck and walk away and to come back again and again, to spend sleepless nights pondering where the deck has left you.
These cards are a tribute to Neil’s love of magic, mystery and games. Also, they are gorgeous.
Price: $8.29 Target
4) “TRACING SPHERES” (free to play)
Purple Crayon Immersive has adapted to the current times by offering immersive theatre through your devices. This insta-game requires you to hunt for a collection of missing spheres thought to have magical properties. Traveling through instagram you’ll examine the profiles of would be do-gooders and hilarious misfits. Solve the hidden puzzles and clues to find out which profile to examine next on this wild sphere chase. Of course if you succeed you’ll be handsomely rewarded. Price: Free
This company, endorsed by our friend NPH, sells something a bit more involved than cards.
They sell packages. A mysterious crate arrives at your house and within it a variety of objects, publications etc that weave a story.
The more you study the contents of the box the more the story it tells will unravel. Including codes to break, artifacts to study and a very very sturdy wooden crate to contend with.
In fact, if I remember correctly, getting the damn thing open feels like the first puzzle. There are nearly an endless variety of themes, stories and experiences available.
6) BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL
Yes, it’s a board game, but really it’s more than that.
You and the players you are quarantined with at home construct a haunted mansion of your own design as part of the game and the design will differ every time. So too will the villian that interrupts your game play.
It’s strategic, suspenseful and silly. The best part is, you can play it again and again and no two games will play out the same.
I found that learning the game play rules was the most daunting part, the rest was all fun and games (see what I did there?) so my suggestion would be, once you’ve got the rules down, get addicted. Play it every damn night.
Price: $29.49 on Amazon