Board games are an age-old way to pass the time and have some fun with family and friends. Whether it’s a casual gathering, a party or just a regular game night, board games promise hours of endless fun and excitement. Here, we’ve hand-picked the top five board games we would recommend you to try this Christmas.
5. Scotland Yard
The board game Scotland Yard was first published in 1983 and won the Game of the Year award in that same year. Named after the real-life London’s police department, Scotland Yard tells the story of a legendary criminal, Mr. X, who travels throughout London in an effort to escape capture. Scotland Yard is suitable for 2-6 players, where one person plays as Mr. X, and the rest of the players control the five detectives.
Each player can move through locations on the map by spending a travel token for the appropriate type of transport. For instance, a taxi token allows the player to move only one space on the board, but it can be used to move in most directions on most spaces. A bus token can be used to travel longer distances, but can only be used if the player is at a bus station. The Underground allows players to travel great distances in a single move, useful for the detectives to quickly move towards Mr. X.
Each player starts the game with a fixed amount of travel tokens. While the detectives’ locations are always known to every player, Mr. X’s location is hidden and will only be revealed at five specific times during the game. However, Mr. X has to leave a log of his used travel tokens, allowing the detectives to guess and narrow down where Mr. X may be. The game takes about an hour and ends when either a detective lands on Mr. X’s current location, or Mr. X still remains at large by the time the detectives have used up all their travel tokens.
4. Mr and Mrs Family Edition
Based on the popular TV show All Star Mr and Mrs, prepare for an unforgettable game night with this family edition board game! Gather your friends, family and significant other around and draw cards from the board. Each card has a question written on it, which the next player will have to answer truthfully. Get ready for the ultimate truth reveal as each player uncovers things they never knew about their closest loved ones.
The Family Edition can be played by anyone, from romantic couples to best friends and even children aged as young as ten. Also included in the game set are cards for an Improved Paddle Round, where pairs of players go back-to-back and answer questions about each other, such as “Who is the most generous?” or “Who complains the most?”. Enjoy the bonus “It’s a Match” game where players score points by answering true or false.
Mr and Mrs is a fairly quick game and goes only as long as the players want it to, making it a great game for those family nights. If players are feeling extra adventurous, the Family Edition set even includes four blank question cards for you to write your own questions on!
3. Einstein Eats Eggs
Einstein Eats Eggs is a wacky spin on the popular game of charades. Players team up and each team has a token to move around the board. At every turn, the team will draw a card out of 1,200 cards containing fun and ridiculous alliterative phrases, such as “Peter Pan picked a pineapple”. Each card has three phrases on it, each marked with a certain kind of egg, and the phrase that the team will guess is the one with the same egg icon as whichever space the team’s board token has landed on. One person describes this phrase without saying any of the words in the phrase, just like in charades, while the other teammates have to guess the phrase. Once the phrase is guessed correctly, the team gets to keep the card in their own stash. The Einstein Eats Eggs game set also contains an hourglass timer with a duration of 90 seconds to pace up the game – the game ends when the timer runs out, putting the pressure on each player!
This game can be played by up to six teams, with any number of members in each team. The more people per team, the better! The first team to get to the finish line wins Einstein Eats Eggs. If no teams have won by the time the hourglass is empty, then the furthest team on the board – also the team with the most number of phrases in their stash – is declared the winner.
Alternatively, the game can also be played with a slight variation: since every phrase card contains either “Einstein”, “Eats” or “Eggs” on the back, once a team collects one of each card, they can discard the cards and move an extra space on the board. In this version, the first team to the finish line is the winner.
The all-time favorite Risk cannot be passed up. Ranging from a few hours to several days, a game of Risk involves a combination of strategy, negotiation and chance. The Risk game board contains a political map of the world divided into 42 territories, with the objective of the game being to conquer as many territories as possible, eliminating all other opponents. Risk can be played by two to six players, with each player controlling a set number of territories and armies at the start of the game.
Although the classic Risk promises to bring plenty of fun, we also recommend the other versions of Risk, such as the European edition which gives each player a secret mission. The game is won when one player manages to complete their secret mission, instead of eliminating all opponents. Capital Risk is another version in which each player is assigned a capital in their starting territories, and the goal is to capture all capitals. These variations usually end up creating a much shorter game.
1. Monopoly Game: Cheaters Edition
Our personal favorite on this list has to be the Cheaters Edition of Monopoly. It’s just like the popular property trading game, but with a twist. Complete with handcuffs, Monopoly Cheaters Edition is the solution to alleged cheating during the popular property trading game – because in this version of Monopoly, cheating is allowed and even encouraged. The special cheat cards included encourage players to attempt wild and risky cheats for a reward…or face dire consequences if they get caught. Become the top cheater to win your opponents through sleight of hand and trickery. A timeless classic, Cheaters Edition Monopoly will have you second-guessing your opponent at every move, from wondering whether they are lying about their die rolls to keeping a watchful eye on the bank in case they try to steal bills from it. The plastic handcuff unit allows a cheating player to be physically chained to the board, unable to escape. May the best cheater win!