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New York Times
16 Aesthetically Pleasing Puzzles and Games to Play at Home


From a pie-shaped jigsaw to an artist-designed chess set, good, analog fun that hones — and frees — the mind.

Yes - our best seller is in the The New York Times T Magazine! 
Perudo, a classic dice game popular in South America, is played with two to six people — each player receives five dice and a cup, and the objective is to be the last one with remaining dice after a series of bids (and bluffs — the game is sometimes known as “liar’s dice”). A luxurious leather-bound set is available from the British brand Noble MacMillan (with cups in bold tangerine, purple, light blue, green, red and ivory), and more affordable plastic versions are easy to find. Around $140, noblemacmillan.com

In the 2018 film “Puzzle,” a stifled, suburban Connecticut woman finds unexpected liberation in the world of competitive jigsaw puzzling. “When you complete a puzzle, when you finish it,” her puzzle partner tells her, “you know that you have made all the right choices.” It’s an appealing thought, especially in a time of heightened uncertainty. And you don’t have to go pro to experience that same satisfaction — or the sense of tranquil determination that precedes it, when you are fully focused on the task at hand, and not, say, on a global pandemic. Advocates of puzzles cite their meditative, anxiety-reducing effects; they have also been shown to keep practitioners mentally sharp.

And then there’s the simple fact that, now that New York City’s bars, restaurants, libraries and theaters have shuttered, leisure activities are strictly limited. In the absence of studio fitness classes, everyone is a runner now, and parks have become a contemporary agora. For a mental workout (or break) that keeps you away from your phone — and may even alleviate the tension that can come with a wealth of aimless together (or alone) time — try a puzzle or game. Here are a few of T’s favorites, from whimsically illustrated decks of cards to design-conscious dominoes.


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