12 fantastic board games to play over the festive season
By Charles Smith
The festive season is almost here, and it’s the perfect time to stay in the warmth and get out board games. Whether you’re planning a cosy night in with your partner or having your family over for party games, these excellent options will guarantee a fun evening.
Games that are perfect for 2 players
You’ll have to work together in this game to control a disease. You play the role of a specialist whose mission is to treat disease and pioneer cures. You’ll need to come up with a strategy that uses your strengths to be successful, but watch out for “Epidemic!” cards that could accelerate or intensify the game. Up to four players can play Pandemic, but it’s a great option for two people.
If you want a relaxing night in, Patchwork is a great choice. It’s not overly competitive and is easy to pick up. You’ll need to purchase Tetris-like pieces known as “patches” to complete a patchwork and earn buttons. As each patch has a different price, you’ll need to be strategic – should you splash out more now, even if it could limit your options later in the game?
3. Codenames: Duet
Codenames has become known as a great party game. This version tweaks the original to deliver an excellent cooperative game. You’ll need to correctly identify assassins by communicating in coded messages. As you progress, the game becomes more challenging as restrictions are added. It can quickly become addictive as you try to beat your previous record.
Board games that are ideal for large groups
Up to eight people can play Chameleon, a fun word association game. You’ll pick a category, like school subjects or fairy tales, and a table filled with associated words. Everyone except for the “chameleon” knows the chosen word. Could you spot who is bluffing? Or can you think quickly and make your friends believe that you know the chosen word if you’re the chameleon?
This game is sure to have you all laughing at the miscommunication it causes. Think of it as a game of Chinese whispers except you draw. Each player is given a sketchbook, marker and word card – you’ll then have 60 seconds to draw your word. You pass the picture to the next player, who tries to guess what your word was, which is then passed on to the next person. Telestrations is suitable for up to eight players.
You play Taboo in two teams, so it’s perfect if you have a large group to entertain. You’ll take turns trying to describe a word for your teammates to guess. The catch is that you can’t use some of the most obvious clues and the opposing team is armed with a squeaker in case you slip up. How would you describe Houdini without using the words magic, escape, or Harry?
Fun games that will get you on your feet
If you want a board game that has lots of different activities suitable for the whole family, look no further than Cranium. There are five different categories you’ll have to work through to move around the board, from “fun fact” trivia questions to “sketch and sculpt” that will encourage you to get creative. If it becomes a family favourite, you can buy booster boxes to add even more activities.
8. The Crystal Maze
Relive the 90s TV show The Crystal Maze with this fantastic board game. There are four themed zones to work through, from medieval to futuristic. The game is packed with mental, mystery and other challenges that get you thinking and, in some cases, moving around too.
Another game inspired by a TV show, Taskmaster will have you and your family completing crazy tasks. There are more than 200 cards in the game that will take you across the board and through different zones that fans of the show will recognise, such as the garden, kitchen, and lab. Could you build a bridge in the garden? Or make the most surprising cup of tea to win points?
Classic board games with a twist
10. Cluedo: Treachery at Tudor Mansion
This new version of Cluedo combines the classic game with an escape room experience. You’re a guest at Mr Black’s mansion when you hear a shriek and find him dead. Who killed Mr Black, where did they do it, and what weapon did they use? You’ll need to move around the board to solve puzzles, uncover clues, and unlock rooms.
11. Monopoly: Mega Edition
If Monopoly is a family favourite, this mega edition is perfect for you. There are 12 extra spaces, including eight new streets, around the board. It means there are more opportunities than ever to buy properties and build skyscrapers. There are new ways to move around the board and you could double your rent by building depots on railway stations.
12. Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It
You don’t have to know all the answers to win this version of Trivial Pursuit. Instead, what you really need to understand is what your family and friends know. You’ll need to bet on whether players will get the answer right to earn chips, which you can use to buy wedges. As every player plays each turn, it’s fast-paced and will get you all talking.