Martin Lockett, from Double L Games, designers of ‘Build: A game of international development’, takes us through his picks for a wonderful board game filled festive season!

A cosy scene of Christmas jumpers; faces reddened by the open fire, laughter and wine. The tick-tock rattle of dice in a cup. The furrowed brow of concentration and the laughter of success. Ahh! How we look forward to sharing our hobby with our loved ones. But experience tells us it’s not as easy as all that.

Mum doesn’t want the noisy fallout and never-ending arguments and sad-faces from a game of Monopoly. Granny forgetting what’s already happened in(It really wasn’t Professor Plum Gran!). And your little cousin is too young to really ‘get’ Risk.(Or they’re a master at it already!)

Bringing together a mix of ages, attention spans and experience can be a challenge for the gamer. How do you choose a couple of games that will please everyone and fill that snowy evening? As it happens, there’s an embarrassment of gaming riches out there.

To bring everyone to the table, you’ll need some tasty starters. Games that are bright and attractive and easy to learn. Big Potato games make this their unique selling point…

"It takes about a minute to learn and it’ll have you giggling for ages"

Obama Llama is based on the hilarious game from the Radio1 Matt Edmondson show. It takes about a minute to learn and it’ll have you giggling for ages as you try to guess rhyming celebrity silliness like ‘Jack Dee is learning to ski’ or ‘Angela Merkle drawing a circle’. They’ve just released a festive version too, Santa Banter.

Another quick’n’easy from the Potato people is Weird Things Humans Search For which makes a game out of Google’s predictive form completion. What is the most likely end to this phrase, ‘What is the hottest…?’ See? Easy!

Mum won’t get upset by the team spirit of co-operative games. So, for a main course, serve one of these. A lot of Co-op games can be pretty rules-heavy but if you start to set out Forbidden Island, the lovely artwork will draw the family in. Cooperating to loot the lost treasures from a sinking island, you lose more than you win but you’ll love it every time. You can also bring the modern classic of Codenames with you too and bring in a little competition across two teams!

"Trapwords which wraps a Taboo or Articulate-style word guessing game around a cute dungeon crawl"

The Thunderbirds Co-operative Game will warm the nostalgic heart of many of the family as the Traceys work together to overcome challenges drawn straight from the classic 60s series. Not all Co-ops are by the master Matt Leacock though, gather your gang and tap into a classic Ocean’s 11-style with Burgle Bros. The rules are simple but the gameplay is satisfyingly tricky.

If your little cousin is flagging, treat him to the dessert menu. Crack open Rhino Hero. It’s essentially a competitive house of cards game with a charming rhino meeple who’s sole aim is apparently to unbalance your careful creation. Another gem is Sushi Go! Cards pass round the table like the conveyor in a sushi restaurant while you try to make a high scoring meal by choosing the right sets of cards. Once you’ve got the hang of it, this one rips along like a bullet train. Some families just love word games – they should try out Trapwords which wraps a Taboo or Articulate-style word guessing game around a cute dungeon crawl. That’s right, a cute dungeon crawl!

Just time for one more go before The Queen’s Speech!?

This is a guest article, written by Martin Lockett, from Double L Games, for Board Game Crate; Imagery from BoardGameGeek.com

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