Now that Bonfire Night is over, it's pretty much Christmas! People are already getting in a gift buying, day planning frenzy.
I have always loved Christmas, and for me, it was always a time of playing games together as a family. In my childhood it would be games like Monopoly, Charades or Scattergories - I didn't know that there were games that are, in my humble opinion, better!
So here are ten games that I believe are awesome to play as a family at Christmas:
- Forbidden Island or Pandemic - If there is a member of the family at Christmas who always get in a grump if they lose a game, then you need a cooperative game. These two games allow you to work together after you have eaten your turkey to either steal treasure from a cursed island or save the world from various epidemics! If you are going to be playing with children aged aroung 7+ (official age is 10+, but it should be fine if they are playing with an adult) or just want a more simple game, go with Forbidden Island. If everyone is a bit older, say 10-12+ and you want something a bit meatier, go for Pandemic, it's won loads of awards for a reason!
2. One Night Ultimate Werewolf – Many people have played the original werewolf or mafia, which can be played with just paper and a pen (Link here), this version has been refined to remove player elimination, shorten each game to 5-10 minutes and make it more fun, crazy and unpredictable. The perfect remedy to wake you up after the post dinner lull – but beware, when your child successfully convinces you that they are not a werewolf and then proceeds to betray you, you might not look at them the same way again
3. Anomia – a simple, perfectly distilled game of shouting out answers before everyone else. Players flip over cards with a symbol and a category such as “Animal” or “Artist”, if at any point 2 players have matching symbols, they need to shout out an example of the other players category. Quickest wins. Simple. You may start off talking in reasonable volumes, but it will always end with people shouting (or making strange noises while they struggle to think of a vegetable).
4. Ticket To Ride – This is the ultimate Monopoly replacement, it's a ‘proper’ board game, with a large playing board, pieces and cards, but it is much more entertaining. Players compete to build rail networks across the USA (stay with me) by collecting cards of matching colours, clever placements of routes and blocking paths off for their opponents. It’s hard to understand how fun this game is until you play it, and once your get your head around it, it's super simple and tense.
5. Dobble or Jungle Speed – I’ve lumped these two together as they are both about having fast reactions, but really they are quite different. Dobble has you matching pictures as quickly as possible and is a light hearted, very addictive game you can play almost anywhere. Jungle Speed has players flipping over cards with similar patterns on, if an exact match comes up between players, they need to reach for a totem in the middle of the table and grab it before their opponent. This can quickly get very competitive, so it is not for the faint hearted – one of the more ‘intense’ games in our collection. We accept no liability for injuries received during this game!
6. The Little Orchard– A great game for the younger players, The Little Orchard sees players working together to collect the cherries of the tree before the crow sneaks up and steals them all. Players must remember where the crow is hiding to avoid picking him up while rolling the big, chunky, wooden dice. This is a Haba game, so you know the components are going to be great quality.
7. Dixit – Flex your creativity by interpreting beautiful artwork in Dixit. One player has to describe a card from their hand (which all feature strange artwork) with enough detail that at least one person can guess her card, but with not too much that everyone guesses it. This means you have to be very careful what clues you give, thinking of unique ways to describe the cards you have – it’s always entertaining to see the clues that children give and then listen to their explanation why. This is my mum's favourite game!
8. Tsuro - A really simple game that goes up to 8 players, Tsuro is a great Christmas game. Players take turns adding tiles to the board and moving along a path, with the sole aim of the game to simply stay on the board. If a path sends you off the board, you are out - but don't worry, that doesn't usually happen until the end and games are very quick! The board and tiles are beautiful and it feels like a luxury game.
9. Survive: Escape from Atlantis– Want a game that is a bit mean and ruthless - this is the game for you. In this game, players have explorers on an island, but the island is quickly sinking and everyone must race to get their explorers to a safe shore, while dodging sharks and whales that the other players are sending your way! It's brutal, but everyone has fun!
10. Rhino Hero: Super Battle - This game is like Jenga on steroids. Players take turns adding walls and roofs to a building, while moving rhinos up and down and placing swinging monkeys. It's madness, but it's so fun and ends up looking amazing until a player accidently knocks it down. Rhino Hero: Super Battle also has a smaller version, the original Rhino Hero that is a bargain and also very fun, but simpler and not quite as spectacular.
There we have it! Our 10 favourite games to play at Christmas.
All these games are available to play at our new Toy and Game shop, so pop by and give them a go to make sure you like them! You can even have some Cake and Caramel Hot Chocolate while you play!
Have a Very Merry Christmas!