By Jacqueline Fanchini
THEY can bring out the best (and, occasionally, the worst) in families …
Games have been used throughout the ages as learning and bonding tools, and board games in particular have experienced renewed popularity in recent years.
So much so that London opened its first board game bar – Draughts – in Hackney last month. And with over 500 titles, it shows that the gaming world has gone way beyond opening a hotel on Mayfair with Monopoly.
We won’t send you all the way to London, though, so we’ve picked out a few memorable titles for you to play during the holidays, and the good news is that they’re all available on Amazon.
Just remember, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game!
Based on beautifully-illustrated picture cards, Dixit gets us back in touch with the art of storytelling and thinking outside the box. The game involves making up sentences to match up with the pictures. The goal is to be imaginative enough for at least one person to figure out which is your card but vague enough that no one else can. This award-winning game really tests how well friends and family know each other and has been used in offices as a team building exercise.
The aMAZEing Labyrinth
Simple and timeless, Labyrinth is straightforward enough for children and adults to enjoy together. Featuring a maze built of both fixed and movable tiles, players rearrange the route to their advantage to create new twists, turns and dead ends and collect various treasures. Once you’ve collected all your swag, find your way back home to win the game
Munchkin (10+) 6 players, price, game time
Ever heard of survival of the fittest? While not exactly in the spirit of Christmas, this game combines ruthlessness with goofy humour in a rib-splitting mission to get your character to level 10. It boils down to this: ‘Kill the monsters. Steal the treasure. Stab your buddy’. The treasures are pretty cool, too. There are times when we’d all like to own the Boots of Butt-Kicking and wield the Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment!
Ticket to Ride – Europe
Travel across turn-of-the-century Europe as you build your own rail links. Players collect and use cards to place pieces on the board, connect cities and earn the most points. The game is simple and takes only five minutes to learn but the more you play the more strategic your gameplay will become. Hop on board and give this award-winning modern classic a try.
The twist here is that, instead of competing against each other, players need to cooperate and work together to win the game. The idea is to keep the island from sinking and collect various treasures. But, as the ‘water level’ rises, the pressure increases and sacrifices must be made. The detail in the game’s physical components makes it a treat to play and truly brings this do-or-die mission to life.