Board games

Jeremy Vine: Save our cycle lanes

‘Stopping the diary/’ wrote Philip Larkin, ‘Was a stun to memory,/ Was a blank starting.’ I never really understood those lines until Covid. The pandemic has turned my diary into an acre of white space, like the gymnasium wall at school just begging for some adolescent graffiti. ‘PARTY,’ I want to scribble. ‘SMALL FLAT, 100 PEOPLE, 8 P.M. BRING A BOTTLE.’ The damping down of all social activity this year has made the question ‘What did you do over the weekend?’ crassly offensive, or even something more sinister. Am I being asked this by a member of the new Stasi trying to catch me out? Before the pandemic I used

What are the best pandemic board games?

Dangerous games Sage scientists advised against playing board games at Christmas. Some games to consider if you are feeling subversive:Pandemic Co-operative board game inspired by 2003 Sars outbreak in which players pool their talents to defeat a deadly disease. Was stocked by the unlikely gift shop at the US Centers for Disease Control.Corona Battle Against Covid-19 German game where players battle to defend their businesses against the pandemic.Plague Inc. Players compete as diseases to infect the greatest number of people.Viral Players compete to try to infect a human body, braving its immune system.Infected One person plays plague doctor, while the others are villagers competing to try to stop him infecting

The dark art of playing world-class Scrabble

When the top players gathered in Torquay last year for the World Scrabble Tournament (this year’s contest should have been this week, but has been cancelled thanks to you-know-what), it was to use ‘words’ like these in their games: dzo, ch, foyned, ghi… Yep, that’s right; a whole lot of words that, let’s be frank about this, are not words. That’s why my spell-checker underlines them in red. The top players, you see, don’t win tournaments by being cleverer than the rest of us. They do it by memorising a long list of non-words so they can avoid the problems ordinary players encounter. With O I I I I U U on the rack, most of