Christmas is quickly approaching so people are 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 a couple of games that I believe are awesome to play as a family at Christmas. Many of these games are conveniently available in our store, but this isn’t a coincidence, or a sly marketing ploy – we only have games that meet our high standards, so naturally they made it on this list! Without further ado, let’s begin:
- Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert/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 games, ordered above in increasing complexity/depth, allow you to work together after you have eaten your turkey, to either steal treasure from a cursed Island, escape from a desert during a sandstorm or save the world from various epidemics!
- Camel up – A little bit of gambling at Christmas never goes amiss, and when it’s fake money involved, the only thing you have to lose is pride! Camel Up is the crazy game in which you all bet on a camel race where the odds can shift at any moment and that green camel that was a sure fire win, ends up at the back! Bet wisely and cross your fingers to win in this game that caters for up to 8 players.
- Animal Upon Animal – I’ve raved about this game a lot, and that is because I think it is amazing. Incredibly simple, anyone can learn it in seconds, but it leaves you with tough decisions (where to place that Pelican), an amazing feeling of satisfaction (when you successfully stack an animal that no one thought possible!) and a laugh out loud, fun game (when it collapses). This should be in every household. Animal Upon Animal is great for everyone, from children through to grandparents (especially after their third Sherry). For the really little there is also My First Animal Upon Animal, especially made for little hands.
- 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!
- 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).
- 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, but it has been described as the Candy Crush Sage of board games; simple, addictive fun.
- Colt Express – With an incredible looking 3D train (and various, completely unnecessary, but awesome prop cactus’s and rocks), you take the role of a thief trying to rob a train. You plan your actions in advance, but they often get disrupted by your fellow players. You may plan to punch another thief, but discover that someone punched you and knocked you into another cabin, so you punch the thin air.
- 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!
- 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.
- Codenames – This is a very new game on the block, and I haven’t even had chance to play it, but it has very quickly become ranked as the best party game. You have two teams, each with one Spymaster. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. Doesn’t sound like much, but the rave reviews speak for themselves.
So that was our top ten games to play at Christmas. I’ll be trying to play as many of them as I can! What are you favourite games to play at Christmas?
Merry Christmas from Ready Steady Roll! Be sure to eat lots of turkey, spend time with your family and have fun!