No matter how advanced technology gets or how much entertainment starts to look like sci-fi predictions, nothing quite beats a good board game at Christmas! What usually starts as harmless fun, can often end in utter chaos with tables flipped and raised voices followed by an awkward afternoon of silence! We take a look at some of the best board games for Christmas, from new releases to old time classics! Which ones are your favourite? And is anyone in your family a sore loser?!
The most famous board game in history, Monopoly has been a global phenomenon since its release back in 1935. The game is currently published in 47 languages and sold in 114 countries. It is estimated that over 1 billion people have played the Monopoly game worldwide, and there are over an incredible 2,900 different editions of the game, including The Simpsons, The Grateful Dead, Heinz and even Angry Birds!
Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders, sometimes referred to as “Chutes and Ladders” is an ancient Indian board game generally considered to be a worldwide classic. It is usually played between two or more players on a board with numbered squares. A number of both snakes and ladders are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific squares on the board. The objective of the game is to navigate one’s game piece, according to rolls of the dice from the start to the finish, helped or hindered by ladders and snakes respectively. Ladders indicate a climb up, and snakes or chutes indicate a climb down.
Cluedo or Clue as it’s more commonly known in North America, is a murder mystery game designed for three to six players. The game was first manufactured by Waddingtons in the UK in 1949 and was invented by Anthony Pratt from England. The game has a murder victim, and the aim of the game is to find out who committed the murder, in what room and with what weapon. There have been many variations and spin-offs of the game, including both video games and films.
Lord of the Rings
Designed by Reiner Knizia and published in 2000, the game was considered unusual when it was initially released as it is a cooperative board game with each player playing a hobbit in the party. The party will succeed or fail as a group to destroy the One Ring, thus winning or losing the game, meaning the game relies heavily on communication and team work. The game currently has three expansions including Friends & Foes, Sauron and Battlefields.
Deal or No Deal
For those of you who’ve longed to be on the TV alongside Noel Edmonds, you can now play your own Deal or No Deal Games at home! Just like the TV show, contestants can win anywhere between 1p all the way up to £250,000 whilst battling to beat the banker. One player starts by laying all 22 money tokens, representing the prize amounts ranging from 1p to £250,000, face down on the table, mixing them up, and placing them at random into the 22 red boxes. Each player is given four answer cards and the Banker’s electronic phone is placed on the game board.
Rivalling Monopoly for the title of most famous game in history, Scrabble has been a family favourite for years. The game is sold in over 120 countries and is available in 29 different languages. An estimated 150 million sets have been sold worldwide and roughly one-third of American and half of British homes have a Scrabble set. There are roughly 4,000 Scrabble clubs around the world. The game is a word game for two to four players, who score points by placing tiles, each bearing a single letter onto the game board which is divided into a grid of squares in usually 15×15 pattern.
The Game of Life
The first version of the game surfaced in 1860, and was created by Milton Bradley as “The Chequered Game of Life” and was the first game Bradley had created. The game initially sold 45,000 copies by the end of its first year. The version we know today consists of a track on which players travel by spinning a small wheel in the centre of the board, with spaces numbered 1 through 10. The board also contains small mountains, buildings, and other three-dimensional objects. The playing pieces are generally coloured plastic automobiles which come in red, blue, white, yellow, orange, and green. Each car has six holes in the top in which blue and/or pink pegs are placed throughout the game as the player either gets married, and/or has children.
The first game of Battleship is generally considered to have evolved from the French WW1 game “L’Attaque”. Initially conceived as a pen and paper game, the modern version we see today is usually either a plastic set/board game or a digital version. Each player has a number of “Battleships” on a grid, with letters running across the top horizontally and numbers running along the edge vertically. The aim of the game is to “bomb” the other player by saying grid points on the board, and eventually sinking all of their ships.
221b Baker Street
Initially developed in 1975 and sold in the US since 1977, players have to solve crimes using the clues provided by visiting different locations on the board such as the titular 221B Baker Street, Scotland Yard, an Apothecary and a Pawn Broker. The original game had twenty cases, but since its release there are now eight expansion sets with a total of 180 cases available for play. The game begins with each player starting at 221B Baker Street, from which the players visit each of the different 14 locations on the board, with movement decided by the roll of a dice.
Trivial Pursuit is a general knowledge board game in created in December 1979 in Montreal, Quebec by Canadian Chris Haney. The aim of the game is for players to move around the board by correctly answering general knowledge and trivia questions which are split into six categories, with each one having its own colour to readily identify itself. These are Geography (blue), Entertainment (pink), History (yellow), Arts & Literature (brown or purple) Science & Nature (green) and Sports & Leisure (orange). The game includes a board, playing pieces, question cards, a box, small plastic wedges to fit into the playing pieces, and a numbered dice. Since the beginning there have been hundreds of different editions of the game, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, World of Warcraft and even a Doctor Who version!
A Game of Thrones
A Game of Thrones is a strategy board game for 3-6 players released in 2003 by Fantasy Flight Games. Based on the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, it earned itself two expansions, 2004’s A Clash of Kings and 2006’s A Storm of Swords. In 2011, around the time the TV show premiered, a second edition was released with some minor changes to game play as well as new updated board and game artwork. The second edition includes the additions introduced in the A Clash of Kings expansion to the base game (House Martell, siege engines, and ports, which are printed on the board). To win the game, player must be the first to control a specific number of cities and strongholds, determined in advance by the number of players, or to control the most cities and strongholds at the end of ten turns, and to take the Iron Throne.
Cards Against Humanity
The slightly grown up version of “Apples to Apples” , the controversial card game earned critical acclaim upon its release, and built up a cult following in an instant with its politically incorrect take on humour, and surprisingly spot on topical nonsense. Beginning with a Kickstarter campaign, over 750 people pledged $15,570 to help bring the project to fruition. Created by Max Temkin, it brands itself as a “game for horrible people”. To start the game, each player draws ten White Cards, and one person takes on the role of Card Czar and plays a Black Card. The Card Czar reads the question or fill-in-the-blank phrase on the Black Card out loud. Everyone else answers the question or fills in the blank by passing one White Card, face down, to the Card Czar. The Card Czar shuffles all of the answers and shares each card combination with the group. For full effect, the Card Czar should usually re-read the Black Card before presenting each answer. The Card Czar then picks the funniest play, and whoever submitted it gets one Awesome Point. After the round, a new player becomes the Card Czar, and everyone draws back up to ten White Cards.
So there you have it, our list of 12 family (un)-friendly games to get you in the festive spirit this Christmas!
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