Get cosy! A snug night in with a board game is my new going out

I used to love sweaty gigs and late-night bars. But now playing Settlers of Catan with friends around a kitchen table is the only way I want to party

About once a month, I slink out of my front door, shamefaced and secretive, like someone on their way to visit a strip bar, and I show up at a friend’s address. There, we sit around a table and earnestly arrange small wooden pieces. We shuffle shiny cards dense with type. We lay out elaborate cardboard tiles that fit together like puzzle pieces. For three or four hours straight, we play a board game called The Settlers of Catan.

It pains me to confess it – I feel about a million years old – but in our strange and straitened times, post-Covid, mid-economic crisis and with winter imminent, these gentle nights in have become some of my favourite nights out. I look forward to plonking myself down at a kitchen table to play a marathon game of The Settlers of Catan like I used to look forward to restaurant steaks, sweaty gigs and late-night bar crawls.

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