The best board games for Christmas

Christmas in our house has become a blend of traditions from both mine and my husband’s families.

Over the years we’ve also started some of our own brand-new customs, one of which is putting a new family board game under the tree every year from ‘Santa’.

Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It being played

Photo: Paula Chang

I love a good board game and I remember spending many a rainy Sunday afternoon and Christmas playing them with my brother, parents and grandparents. When I think of my childhood I think of these times.

In today’s technological climate, it surprises me that my children still enjoy playing board games, when I consider the lure of their smart phones and the hundred or so TV channels we have access to.

Personally, I think anything that encourages us to get off our various gadgets and interact with each other can only be a good thing and I think playing a board game together helps to promote a sense of family.

So, once the excitement of present opening is over, the turkey has been eaten and the leftovers placed in the fridge it’s time for the board games to come out.

There are some old favourites that I can always rely on to keep everyone happy whatever their age, particularly Monopoly, Yahtzee and Trivial Pursuit. However, there are some more recent games that have become firm family favourites.

The Logo Board GameThe Logo board game is a great game to play when you have a mix of ages.

It tests your knowledge of everyday products by asking questions about logos and advertising slogans. It really is scary how much of this stuff sticks around in the recesses of your mind. (Drummond Park, RRP £32.99. John Lewis have it for £21.84)

Smart AssThe Smart Ass game is another favourite, particularly with my teenagers.

One player reads out a list of facts about an object, person or place and other players have to call out when they think they know the answer.

This is my favourite game. (University Games, RRP £19.99.  John Lewis have it for £14.24!)

Linkee Linkee game(now an afternoon quiz show called ‘The Link’) was Santa’s offering last year. Players need to find the link between the answers on the card.

If you team up a younger member of the family with an older one the kids often find the links faster than the adults! (Ideal, RRP £19.99. John Lewis have it for £16.99)

So, to this year and my annual trawl for a game to keep three generations of the family happy in the post-Christmas dinner slump. I’m looking for a game that has easy-to-follow rules, doesn’t take an age to play and will keep everyone entertained.

A quick look on the internet reveals four contenders: Dobble, 5 Second Rule, The Chase and Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It.

DobbleThe Dobble game is recommended for ages 6+ and consists of a set of cards with small pictures on them. The aim is to find the one matching image between one card and another.

Online reviews suggest it’s a fun and easy to play game that would make a great stocking filler. I’m not sure it’s the right game to keep my teenagers amused for a long period on Christmas Day, but looks like it would be great to take on a ferry or plane journey. (Asmodee, RRP £12.99.  John Lewis have it for £10.39)

5 Second RuleThe 5 second rule game is recommended for ages 8+ and players are asked to name three things in five seconds.

It is described as, ‘easy to play, inclusive and a good laugh’. Reviews suggest it is a great party game and very addictive.

Sounds like a good bet to me and lots of fun and, crucially, sounds like it can be played without moving off the sofa! (University Games, RRP £19.99. John Lewis the mini version for £8)

The ChaseThe Chase game is based on the ITV quiz show and from what I can tell follows the programme pretty closely.

Reviews say it has easy-to-follow instructions and I can imagine that if you’re a fan of the show you’ll love this game. However, I’m not sure how easy some of the questions would be to answer for my ten year old son. (Ideal, RRP £22.99.  John Lewis have it for £18.99)

Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know ItTrivial pursuit - bet you know it is a new way to play the classic favourite and gives players the chance to win a ‘cheese’ on each go by betting on whether or not your opponent knows the answer.

It is described as more inclusive than the original game and keeps players involved at all times. One reviewer suggested that you could ‘add in’ cards from other sets and use them as well, which sounds like a great idea.

All three of my children said that Trivial Pursuit was a favourite game of theirs and I think the added betting element of this new edition will make it a winner. All I need to do now is add it to my ‘Santa list’. (Hasbro, RRP £29.99.  Currently on offer at Amazon for £24.67.)

Happy Christmas and happy playing!

Mandy Cooper

About Mandy Cooper

Mandy Cooper, age 43. Mum of three, Youth Worker, counselling student, reader, baker and serial dieter.

  • Playing board games is something we love and my brother will even leave the Playstation to come and have a game. When I was a child Monopoly was probably the most sophisticated we had, but we always seemed to get a compendium of games at Christmas: ludo, snakes and ladders, tiddywinks and chequers. Our family has some fantastic board games from the 50s, 60s and 70s like Scoop, Taxi and Moviemaker, which I still love to play! More recent, and good fun with lots of different ages, is Cranium.