The Proprietors of Mox Boarding House Describe What It’s Like to Play “Pandemic” in a Pandemic

People stuck at home play a lot of board games. Mox Boarding House sells them.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

This was not an ideal year to open a restaurant. It was a good year to sell board games.

Megan Hanson and Jon Madrigal did both.

Hanson and Madrigal manage Mox Boarding House, a combination bar and game shop that opened its Portland location on West Burnside Street in June, after a decade in Seattle. The expansion southward was long planned. The pandemic wasn't. So the restaurant side of the business still isn't running—and Mox, like many Portland establishments, is hurting this holiday.

But there's a silver lining: People stuck at home play a lot of board games. As WW explores in this week's cover story, the games and toys sector of the American economy is flourishing, keeping even brick-and-mortar stores in the black.

At Mox, Hanson and Madrigal are seeing a new market for two-player games, as couples and roommates look for ways to pass the time. In this interview with WW reporter Rachel Monahan, they discuss the most popular two-player games—and the one that used to be a bestseller, but is no longer a big draw.

It's called Pandemic.

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