What’s your favourite board game for Christmas?

Everyone knows, Christmas Day is a day for opening presents, eating way (way) too much and drinking lots. Then having a kip in the afternoon and waking up, not hungry but by god you’ll be having cheese and crackers even if causes your stomach to burst!

During the crackers and cheese moments, you’ll think it’s a good idea to have a board game, and most of the time, it’s Monopoly, the game that never ends!

Or Scrabble, which is great if you can spell, horrific if you can’t! And requires a maths degree.

Or Cluedo, which honestly, is not as good as your remember and doesn’t really cut the (Colonel) mustard.

Or Game of Life…which was bad in 1985 and is even more awful now.

So, I figure everyone needs some inspiration…what should you play instead. I put my thinking fez on and came up with a couple of games you may not have considered, but you should…

Ticket to Ride
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This is a bit of a classic really, Ticket to Ride has actually been around for years yet, surprisingly, people still don’t know about it. Maybe because it’s a bit “trainy”, people think it’s a for train spotters and geeks. Totally wrong.

It’s great fun, works for up to 5 players, takes about 45 minutes a game and isn’t too mentally challenging for the oldies in the group. We tend to dig this out every year between 5 of us ranging from my daughter, who started playing this when she was 10 and is now 15, all the way up to my Dad who is 72.

It’s as simple as, there are a load of different coloured train routes, you get a load of different coloured train cards and you have routes to fulfil that are randomly picked at the start. And you can block others from finishing their routes if you’re clever about it, so it can be vindictive too, ideal for Christmas Day and punishing your mum for your indigestion problem of the day caused by the stuffing that is making the living room smell like a farmer’s yard.

Ticket to Ride - 1 - 1.jpgWe love it, it’s possibly my favourite ever board game and I highly recommend you pick it up. There are loads of variants too, with Europe and USA plus expansion sets, all with clever twists on the rules.

The best version is sadly discontinued, that’s the 10th anniversary edition, but it’s best to start simple, just go for the basic version. Click here to buy from Amazon


Carcassone

A13jrEbDJkL._SL1500_.jpgBefore we went on a holiday earlier this year, I managed to get myself an Amazon gift voucher for £25. As we were stopping in a nice little cottage, it’s always nice to take a board game or two to play with a glass of wine in the evenings. Deciding I wanted something new that I’d not played before, I picked this up for basically nothing thanks to the gift card. No risk purchase.

So, me and my daughter cracked this open one evening. It’s always a little intimidating starting a new board game, and it’s quite unusual in the way this works. But really, it takes ten minutes to work it out and you’re flying. It’s really as simple as take a card, place it on the map continuing the picture and place your little geezers on the map to score points when you want too.

It’s actually really tense and fun, desperately hoping the right piece comes out for you or someone does mess with your city…the edition I bought comes with the River and Abbot expansions too, these are well worth adding in and I’m already looking to pick up a couple of the early expansion packs.

Carcassone-19We’ll be taking this for a real test drive to my parents over Christmas this year, if my Dad can pick it up, anyone can!

You can pick it up here from Amazon if you want to give this a whirl.


Discworld – Ankh Morpork

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Now, this is a bit more complex a game, and don’t be swayed by it being Discworld if you’re not into that, we’ve played with people who’ve never heard of it and they enjoy it just as much. Your real challenge here is going to be finding it. I believe it’s totally out of print now, so I guess ebay is your friend for this. Amazon don’t appear to stock it.

So what do you do? Well, you need to win based on the rules on your secret character card, this could be get the most things, or make the game play out so nobody else wins etc. It’s really clever that individually people have a target to win, and nobody knows what that target is. All of the way through, you’re playing cards, buying things and trying to stiff your opponents.

discworld-l-2

It’s not hard to play this really, and my daughter picked it up easily enough from about 10 years old, but still you DO need to take some time on this one to learn what to do. The basics though, follow the instructions on a card…easy enough right?

What I love in this game, if you are a bit of a Discworld fan, is the amazing artwork, the character references and the continual drip drip drip of humour.


 

So that’s it really, three games you really should see if you can get hold of and give a go this Christmas instead of messing about with the classics, changing it up a bit!

And let’s be honest, get a bottle of wine down your neck and anything is fun!