Englishman in Nyhavn: Board games you shouldn’t play with your partner in quarantine

Panik with a ‘K’? Ah, the Danish version … But they’ve only got 73 original words (photo: Pixabay)
May 21st, 2020 5:00 am| by Jack Gardner
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At the start of quarantine, I began a diary about ‘How to survive as a couple in quarantine’. Unfortunately, I was unable to update it for reasons that I can’t get into, but may have involved my fiancée, my laptop and the concept of things being thrown out of a fourth-storey window to teach me a lesson for implying she was unreasonable.

However, fear not, the endless fountain of knowledge I draw upon prevails, and I can now provide yet more relationship advice, akin to some kind of guru or semi-divine being: ‘Boardgames you shouldn’t play with your partner in quarantine’.

I was inspired to write this after reading about Bastard Café’s Rent-A-Game initiative. The boardgame café in Huset on Rådhusstræde has opened up its 3,500+ strong inventory to us, the common scum, and is renting out games for 50 kroner per kilogram, alongside discounted alcohol. (It appears I’ve now become a travel critic alongside a relationship guru. “Hey Siri, how many strings can one bow take?”) 

As great as this offer is, I am concerned about quarantined couples, hopped up on cheap booze, on the precipice of a blazing row with their supposed loved ones. So, here are some tips on which boardgames to play in quarantine with your ex-I-mean-partner. 

Scrabble
It might seem harmless, but it has the potential to cause friction. There’s the obvious “Freedomly-isn’t-a-word”-esque debate, but there is the added danger your partner might read something in your words. Something as innocent as “Lusting”, “After” “Another”, might stir something in her paranoid brain and the next thing you know you have to sleep through the sound of her checking your texts. 

Also, the tiles are big enough to be effective projectiles, whilst small enough to swallow. Turn down her offer of soup in the upcoming days. 

Verdict: Avoid (9 points)

Pandemic
In Pandemic, you tackle a deadly virus sweeping across the world. 

Now, it’s perfectly normal to want to distract yourself from the ongoing apocalypse by fondly imagining another appalling global tragedy. I’m sure we’ve all been there.

But just pause to think of the ramifications if you manage to actually win the game and eradicate the disease. You will literally be handling the Pandemic better than your significant other. It’s your funeral.

Verdict: DOA

Cluedo
One super quick question: what the shit are you playing at? You think the tonic your… well let’s face it… your rapidly deteriorating relationship needs right now is a game based around suspicion? Accusation? Murder?

Just calm down. What’s wrong with a nice game of Scrabble?

Also, in the game’s latest edition, Reverend Green is a legit snack. Add that to the “Fleabag” storyline and you’ve got yourself some competition. If you let him into your house, the good Reverend will spend his days and nights taunting you from the box cover. Don’t let him in. 

Verdict: No, Reverend, we are fresh out of tea and crumpets I’m afraid. Begone. 

Chess
One of the classics. Chess was invented all the way back in 1982, if memory serves, by one Dr Peter Chess, a reformed hippie who used his class warfare-themed hallucinations as inspiration.

Chess is great, because it makes you feel really smart when you play it, despite having literally no idea what you are doing.

There’s the pawns, all lined up in a row. The knights with the funny little horses. The queen, with her crown, her endless dexterity, her voluptuous curves, her ability to move any which way she wants because she’s the goddamn queen and doesn’t care who knows it. You must do everything to protect her, to show her your worth. Sure, she’s a queen and you are just a stupid peasant – yes, you are made of flesh and she of wood – but just because your love is forbidden, does that make it wrong? 

Why is my fiancée looking at me like that? No, I will not take the queen out of my mouth.

Verdict: It’s too risky. Take a cold shower instead.

Monopoly
Perfect.

Verdict: A+ , no cause for concern

Jack Gardner


Jack escaped Brexit Britain in October 2019 to forge a new life in Copenhagen. In this column, he outlines the challenges expats face when integrating into Danish life. Jack (jacksgard@gmail.com) co-hosts the comedy podcast ‘Butterflies on the Wheel’, which is available on all major podcasting platforms