106 – The Family Gamers Podcast – How to Game When You’re Burnt Out

Episode 106 - How to Game When You're Burnt Out

We all experience burn out sometimes. Netflix and chill turning into “stare into space”?  Wish you were playing a game, but can’t wrap your head around your usual fare? Sometimes we still want the social experience of games, even when our brains are fried. We discuss some of our favorite light strategy games that are good for relaxing.

Parents, is this normal for you?

“Netflix and let the children sit around you while you pass out.”

Speaking of burnout, we’ve been really busy and only got in a few games this week. Andrew only got one, but it was a good one!

What We’ve Been Playing:


Bearly Asleep, a prototype cooperative game from Jeff Johnston. We “bearly” won!

MegaLand – expect a review soon

Isle of Skye – the Carcasonne killer?

SNAP Review

Think N Sync game

See the transcript here.

What Makes a Relaxing Game:

First, types of games that aren’t relaxing, at least for us. No dexterity games, and nothing that would get your group up and screaming, even in happiness. We’re trying to avoid tension, conflict, and drama. No “escape room in a box”. We absolutely love Deep Sea Adventure, but that would be a terrible choice.

For us, high-conflict games result in an emotional commitment which can leave us exhausted. Most cooperative games also build their fun on the tension of trying to beat an implacable enemy. No take-that games, or complex decisions: if it gives players “analysis paralysis”, it’s not a great choice to relax.

Press-your-luck is another genre to avoid. As Andrew says, it’s “statistical modeling of how stressed out you want to let yourself get” before you decide to stop.

For relaxing, we are looking for light strategy games with relaxing themes and light decisions.

Our Top Games for Relaxing:

Bob Ross: The Art of Chill (check out this review from One Board Family)

  • It’s Bob Ross!
  • You’re not penalized for making sub-optimal decisions.
  • There’s very little player interaction.


  • a simple worker placement game
  • collect beautiful paintings
  • no take-that or direct conflict

Tokaido – quintessential “enjoy the journey” game

  • There’s more options for points here, but you’re not penalized for only getting partway to a goal.
  • travel the Japanese countryside and have the best vacation
  • Everyone finishes their journey

Seikatsu – Check out our review of this beautiful game. With only 2 tiles in your hand, You have just enough to make meaningful decisions.

Lanterns (One Board Family reviewed this, too) – We are able to play this competitively or just making a beautiful pattern, and it’s fun either way.

Kingdomino (see our review) – more fast-paced than many of our other suggestions, though not rushed. We’re big fans of the 7×7 grid variant for two players.

Jaipur (One Board Family did a video review) – the only 2-player exclusive on our list. A bit heavier in strategy, since you have to decide when to “cash in” to maximize your profit.


Do you play games when you’re stressed out? What kinds of games feel relaxing to you? Let us know in the comments.

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The Family Gamers Podcast is sponsored by Wild East Games. Find Wild East Games online at WildEastGames.com, or @WildEastGames on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.