A nice family board game might be tradition on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t have to mean struggling through another two-hour Monopoly session. This year, try bringing the family together over something a bit different with one of these easy-to-learn, quick-to-play party games for Christmas. Trying something new doesn’t have to be scary, we’ve made sure all of our picks will be instant classics that even the grumpiest of relatives will enjoy playing.
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Strap yourself in and watch your grandad act out ‘Hercules doing a striptease’.
Put on your Christmas jumpers and get ready to rhyme your shiny new socks off. Santa Banter is our new Christmas party game and just like it’s big brother Obama Llama, it’s jam-packed with 180 rhyming charades – except this time, they’re drenched in Christmas spirit. From ‘Three Wise Men visiting Big Ben’ to ‘Santa drinking a can of Fanta’, your job is to describe as many of these rhymes as you can to the rest of your team. You’ve got 30 seconds… think you can find the rhyme in time?
The kitchen table’s already a mess… may as well make it messier.
No matter what age you are, you can never get bored of building a big tower and watching it fall down. Jenga’s getting a bit old these days, but never fear: Rhino Hero is here. This game is all about building a tower, stage by stage, out of folded cards. To win, you’ll need to get your superhero to the top of the tower when it falls and, most importantly, to not be the guilty player that topples it over. Ideal if you’re all too full of Christmas dinner to think, speak or make any sudden movements.
“Does Father Christmas have a pilots license?” – Anonymous Google user
Have you ever sat and asked yourself, “Has a monkey ever really touched a whale” or “Did dinosaurs go to heaven”? If yes, you’re not alone, because according to Weird Things Humans Search For, they’re both very popular questions (and it only gets weirder from there). In this party game, you’ll hear the first part of a popular internet search, such as “Is it cool to…” or “Donald Trump looks like a…”, and it’s your job to try and figure out what came next. The higher your answer ranks on the list, the more points you’ll win. We’ve been through all these cards and the rule of thumb tends to be this: “the weirder it is, the more likely it is to be on there”.
To brummugate (verb): the act of burping after ingesting too many Brussel sprouts over the festive season.
If you’ve never heard of anyone brummugating before, it’s because I just made it up, which is exactly how you score points in Balderdash. Now, this game might look like it belongs back in the early ‘90s but it’s still a solid choice for Christmas. Each round, players try to sound as official as they can whilst they invent a definition, describe a movie plot or make up a law. The aim is to try and vote for the one correct answer, whilst convincing the other players that your definition of “Brummugating” is the real deal. Just keep an eye on the grandparents – they know all sorts of weird words.
Think you know the original colour of Santa’s suit? (Hint: it’s not red.)
Nothing ruins Christmas like a quiz game where no one knows any of the answers. The solution? Give the players all the answers before they even start. In Colourbrain, everyone holds eleven Colour Cards in their hand. Each round, they’ll have to decide which card to play in order to answer one of the crafty colourful questions, like “What colour is the Google logo” or “the lid on a jar of marmite”. At least this way, you can take a guess at an answer and have a 1/11 chance of getting it right.
Name something you need at Christmas: Santa… Stockings… Scattegories?
Scattegories was released 30 years ago and it’s hardly changed it’s gameplay since. Thankfully, it was such a dynamite game to begin with that no one seems to mind. The rules are simple: roll the lettered dice, flip the timer then race to fill out an absolutely huge answer sheet using only words that start with that letter. The panic, the scribbling and the outright outrage that you’ll hear from the some players will make you want to bust this game out every week, no matter the occasion.
Word Slam – £28 Amazon
Here’s five clues: pull, paper, crown, joke, bang. Any guesses?
In case you’re not on your A-game today, the secret word was ‘Christmas Cracker’. If you got there without any problems, this just might be the new Christmas party game for you. With two players racing to give their players one-word clues, Word Slam is a little bit like a Linkee face-off but with more yelling. Each player looks at the secret word, then flips through their deck of cards to find the right words to show their team. Use those words to crack the code or just eavesdrop on the other team’s guesses. Either way, be the first person to shout out the secret word and the round’s yours.
A quality Christmas game, as long as you don’t feel weird about winking at your mum.
Shifty-Eyed Spies involves three main things: winking at people, completing secret missions and, above all, not getting spotted by your opponents. Each player acts as a spy and takes turns passing around a suitcase. In between turns, you’ll have to single out your target, wink at them and drop the suitcase off at the correct location to claim the points, all while keeping your eyes peeled for any shifty-eyed family members.
Remember that part about no family arguments? Well, this might be the exception.
Maybe you’re a family that’s looking to take a break from the Christmas Trivial Pursuit tournament, but you don’t want to stray too far from the quiz theme. Well, Linkee is a quiz game that still gives your brain a workout, but does things a little differently. For starters, you don’t win by getting the questions right, but by guessing the link between the answers, which you find by answering four questions. So for example, if the answers were Donner, Comet, Dancer and Rudolph, the link would be… Christmas Reindeer! The new crowd-funded edition has just been released and it’s guaranteed to inject a healthy dose of anti-genius (and a not-so-healthy dose of competitiveness) into any Christmas party.
Step aside kids. Here’s one for all the deaf grandparents out there.
No matter how well things start off, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without one family member screaming at another. This year, instead of shouting about what movie you’re going to watch or who ate the last sausage, why not shout about Hearing Things instead? In this game, one player puts on a set of noise-cancelling headphones whilst their teammate screams one-liners at them. The aim is for them to keep a straight face, do some lip-reading and repeat the sentence correctly. But when “I’m going to be a little late” turns into “I’m going to pee in your sink”, it’s hard to work through the giggles.
Got a gaggle of teens to contend with this year? They might enjoy some of our recommendations for students.