VICTORIA -- With many Victorians self-isolating indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some have turned to board games to help pass the time.

According to the city's Interactivity Board Game Café, certain genres of board games have become noticeably more popular since provincial health orders came into effect.

The cooperative board game, Pandemic, is the most popular purchase right now, according to café co-owner Bill Heaton.

The game requires teams of two to four players to take turns combatting a global disease.

Meanwhile, puzzles have exploded in popularity.

“You literally cannot find puzzles anywhere right now,” said Heaton.

While interest in certain types of board games has risen during COVID-19, overall sales have not increased dramatically at the downtown business.

“There’s definitely a few more [buyers] but not a crazy amount,” said Heaton.

The local business owner did note, however, that a more diverse range of shoppers have been ordering board games from the café.

“Definitely a few couples have come in who have never really looked into this kind of modern world of board games before,” he said.

While puzzles and Pandemic have been the most popular items recently, Heaton says that interest in two-player board games has also increased.

Meanwhile, detective-genre board games or escape room-style board games have also become more popular. Heaton says that these types of games may have gained in popularity as they can be completed by just one person.

With many Victorians facing long stretches of isolation, Heaton says that board games can be a fun alternative to technology-based forms of entertainment.

“When I play board games with my kids I leave my phone in a different room,” he said.

“If you enjoy it you should play,” he added. “If you’re not sure, you should try it.”

The Interactivity Board Game Café remains open for retail pickups only. The business is also offering free board game deliveries on Wednesdays and Saturdays for orders of more than $40.