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Tabletop Games Are Essential to Surviving Quarantine—and Portland Makes Some Awesome Ones

During the pandemic, many households are rediscovering the joys of shuffling cards and tossing dice. But in Portland, gaming has always been big.

It's well known what the effect all work and no play can have on a person.

Of course, anyone lucky enough to even have work right now shouldn't complain too much. Still, at a time when home and the office are the same place for many of us, it's crucial to find ways of distinguishing between them. Otherwise…well, just make sure all axes are stowed somewhere safely out of reach.

That's why, when the clock strikes 5 pm, an increasing number of Americans are sweeping the documents and spreadsheets off the dining room table and throwing down a game board.

During the pandemic, many households are rediscovering the joys of shuffling cards and tossing dice—national sales of tabletop games have increased by almost 28%.

In Portland, gaming has always been big. Game stores are everywhere, there are bars specifically aimed at gamers, and there's even a game museum out in the 'burbs.

But the pastime isn't just for geeks anymore. So in this issue, we're highlighting nine local designers making the must-play games of quarantine. Some involve building miniature castles, others are as simple as drawing a card and answering a question. One takes place on a sprawling Afrofuturist world, another can be played by reading a zine at Enchanted Forest. And at least one involves sumo-wrestling beetles.

And we just had to get in on the action ourselves—on page 16, you'll find "Escape From Portland," Willamette Week's very own playable board game (or paper game, maybe). Think of it as Chutes and Ladders: Anarchist Jurisdiction Edition.

Game on.

Twogether Studios Wants to Make Role-Playing Games Even Your Dad Can Play

Portland Gamecraft's Upcoming Strategy Game Has All the Makings of a Huge Hit

Mt Caz Ranger Clubhouse Is an Artist Collective in Corvallis That's Created Everything From Poetry Games to Treasure Hunts Meant to Be Played at Enchanted Forest

Louie Mantia Updates Centuries-Old Japanese Playing Cards With Stunning Modern Designs

Designer Tony Miller's New Game Involves Sumo Wrestling Beetles, but It's Really All About Connecting With His Young Son

Brandon Dixon's Swordsfall Is an Afropunk Take on Dungeons & Dragons

Ami Baio's Card Games Are About Connection, Not Necessarily Competition

Pomegranate Has Been Making Artful Games and Puzzles Since the '60s. But 2020 Is the Year It Truly Blew Up.

It Took a While, but the Founders of Crafty Games' Lifelong Love of Role-Playing Games Is Finally Paying Off

Play Escape From Portland, a Board Game From Your Friends at Willamette Week!