Home Tabletop The best board games to play during load-shedding

The best board games to play during load-shedding

2 min read

Hello, darkness, my old friend… Seeing as South Africa is currently in the grip of load-shedding, you’re probably looking for things to keep you entertained. This is where one of my favourite pastimes really helps: board games. You don’t need electricity to play them, and you do need to keep occupied, basically, you need more board games in your life.

Here are my recommendations for the best board games to pass the time until the power comes back on.



Quick and easy to set up, Takenoko is one of my go-to games in any situation. The reason that it’s great for when you’re sitting in the dark? There’s no tiny text to read on the cards. The components are easy to deal with and the cards are just pictures, making it great for a low-light situation. It’s also very family friendly and the playtime is long enough to keep you entertained for a decent portion of the blackout.

For this reason, I would also recommend King of Tokyo, Tsuro or Quirkle.

Pandemic: Legacy

Allegedly, load-shedding is on some kind of “schedule” and we’re supposed to be able to tell when it’s going to happen. If Eskom actually sticks to their schedule for a change, you can plan your gaming around it. Why not choose something like Pandemic: Legacy, a game that you play over multiple sessions. Usually legacy games are a pain to schedule, but now, you’ve got a ready-made timetable, you might as well take advantage of it.

If Pandemic Legacy is too daunting, you can also try Risk: Legacy, Gloomhaven or Charterstone.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Spooky games require a spooky atmosphere, so if you’re already sitting in the dark there is no better game to play than Betrayal At House On The Hill. Build a haunted mansion room by room and capitalise on your current powerless situation to ramp up the suspense! Granted, this game isn’t super great for low-light as there will be a lot of reading, but if you don’t mind a little eye-strain you should be all right.

If you’ve got a taste for something creepy, I can also recommend Mansions of Madness, Dead of Winter or Nyctophobia.

Forbidden Island

Nothing brings family and friends together than the time they are forced to spend with each other because there’s nothing else to do and no TV to distract you. That’s why I would recommend a cooperative game like Forbidden Island, where it’s you and your fellow players against the game, instead of against each other.

Other cooperative games like Forbidden Desert, Pandemic and Flashpoint: Fire Rescue will also work well to bring the family together.

Those are my top choices for load-shedding games. However, there are some games you want to avoid. I would recommend staying as far away as possible from games like Monopoly – tempers are already likely to be high and you don’t want to add fuel to the fire!

If you’ve got any other suggestions or recommendations for load-shedding games, let everyone know in the comments below!

Last Updated: February 12, 2019


  1. Gardos

    February 12, 2019 at 15:59

    Thanks for the recommendations! Always on the lookout for my next board game purchase


  2. Allykhat

    February 12, 2019 at 16:00

    @hammersteyn:disqus wins this comment section…


    • Guz

      February 12, 2019 at 17:15

      Someones not happy about load shedding wonder who


  3. Original Heretic

    February 12, 2019 at 16:29

    Last night, during my 6-10 marathon power outage, it was candlelit guitar time.


  4. Craig "Crios" Boonzaier

    February 12, 2019 at 17:29

    I recently go the Baldurs Gate version of Betrayal, cleans up the rules a little bit, but still a ridiculously fun game.


  5. Daniel Hallinan

    February 12, 2019 at 15:18

    Saw the first recommendation, correctly guessed who the writer was ;D

    Great article!


    • Tracy Benson

      February 12, 2019 at 15:43

      Haha, thanks Daniel! I will ALWAYS recommend Takenoko, for any situation 😀


    • Original Heretic

      February 12, 2019 at 16:29

      I saw the article heading and knew it had to be Tracy!


  6. For the Emperor!

    February 12, 2019 at 23:02

    Firefly board game anyone? A game can last a full load shed!


  7. justlikemo

    February 13, 2019 at 06:19

    Waiting to get Pandemic a long time now. Played Ticket to ride recently, loving it !!! but don’t play with me, I’m slow, like dang I’m slow to play, what’s meant to be a 45min game, I take 45mins in total to play, ever1 swears me. It is a toss up now, as I also want Sentient & Star Wars Legion Miniatures Game as well. I don’t know what to do 🙁


  8. Jonathan

    March 21, 2019 at 00:39

    Hong Kong has been struck by a large scale unexpected blackout. As the government struggles to maintain control, you decide to take matters into your own hands and try to bring back some kind of societal order! Daily life as you were used to it has quickly dissolved. Even the most mundane tasks have become incredibly challenging without electric power. Whoever best manages this situation and restores the semblance of order will surely claim a position of power in post-blackout Hong Kong!

    That’s the BGG description of Blackout Hong Kong ?? Can’t think of a better themed game for our loadshedding season.



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