Kids & Family

10 of the best board games to liven up evenings in

board games
Written by Yann

Nothing brings a family together / gets them scratching each other’s eyes out like a board game. The ultimate in low cost, high value entertainment, a stack of board games can be a lifesaver in the winter months when it’s too cold to go out and the Christmas TV schedule’s come to an end.

Board games are also a welcome alternative to hours spent in front of screens and can even get the kids out of their rooms and round a table (*gasp!*). But will that dusty old version of Ludo or Monopoly set with half the pieces missing cut the mustard? Probably not. This lot should, though…

# 1 Sherlock Cluedo

The New Year heralds the return of Baker Street’s finest, and what better way to greet him than with a game or two of Sherlock Cluedo? The nation’s most celebrated detective and our favourite whodunnit board game all rolled into one? We. Can’t. Even. It’s the same format as the original, but Professor Plum etc. are replaced by your favourite Sherlock characters, the locations are London landmarks and the victim is, naturally, Moriarty. Elementary, my dear reader…
Suitable for: 8 years and up
Players: 2 or more

#2 Monopoly: Ultimate Banking

The real readies might be in short supply this month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have some money fun. This Ultimate Banking edition of the classic property game dispenses with paper money in favour of contactless bank cards and an electronic device to keep track of your financial situation. If you like the feel of fake notes in your hands, then you might find yourself longing for the original, but if you’re actually living in this century, you’ll love this touch technology update.
Suitable for: 8 years and up
Players: 2 or more

#3 Bananagrams

Not technically a board game, but what Bananagrams lacks in a board it makes up for in sheer lexicographic ap-peel (geddit?). Fans of Scrabble will adore this fruity variation on the old favourite. Players take a designated number of letters (depending on how many are playing) and the first to use all of their letters in a grid is the winner. Fast and addictive, it also guarantees the usual squabbles over things such as whether “gruntled” is actually a word. Come on, if you can have “disgruntled”, then surely…
Suitable for: 7 years and up
Players: 2 or more

#4 The Logo Board Game

Life is full of logos. They’re there when you turn on the TV, walk down the street, browse the supermarket aisles and even get dressed in the morning. They’re there… but do you actually SEE them? And would you recognise them out of context? The Logo Board Game not only tests your brand awareness skills, but fills you in on loads of fun facts, too. A fab family game, it’s also a great ice-breaker at parties. Brand-tastic!
Suitable for: 12 years and up
Players: 2 or more

#5 Timeline: British History

The latest in a series which has already covered Star Wars, cinema and invention, Timeline: British History tests both knowledge and intuition in equal measure. It’s also a great way of learning a little more about days gone by, but you might not want to tell the kids that. Gameplay is simple, with each picture card representing a different event. Based on the image, the card is placed in a steadily growing timeline before the date is revealed. Even if history wasn’t your thing at school, common sense might still prevail!
Suitable for: 8 years and up
Players: 2-8

#6 Qwirkle

Qwirkle might be as simple as matching colours and shapes, but it’s also so much more. Strategic thinking features heavily, as players compete to score the most points from the tactical placement of their tiles. Again, not strictly a board game, but it’s suitable for all the family and comes in a handy travel bag for trips away.
Suitable for: 6 years and up
Players: 1 or more

#7 Pandemic

A game of cooperation, the mission in Pandemic is simple: to rid the world of four deadly diseases. Each player assumes a crucial infection-fighting role and corresponding specialist strength, and you then travel the board preventing outbreaks, finding cures and trying not to die (which is bad, obviously). The only way to win is to cure all four diseases, but you must work together as you either all triumph or no one does. “Tense” barely scratches the surface…
Suitable for: 10 years and up
Players: 2-4

#8 Scotland Yard

Another one for the mystery-mad out there. A game of “catch me if you can”, Scotland Yard starts with one of the players assuming the role of criminal fugitive Mr X. The rest of you are detectives trying to track him down. Whilst the hunters move their pieces across a map of London quite openly, the elusive Mr X negotiates the board in secret, even wearing a cool cap to stop players from spotting where the chosen player is looking. The twists and turns, near misses and fact that it’s different every time are what make this game.
Suitable for: 10 years and up
Players: 3-6

#9 Speak Out

If your social media feed’s been filled with pictures of your friends sporting a weird mouth-stretching device over the Christmas period, then worry not: we can explain. And it’s actually far less torturous than it might look.  Speak Out is the new Pie Face and it’s a laugh and a half, that’s for sure. Players stick in the mouthpiece, draw a card from the deck and attempt to read the written phrase as best they can. Cue photo opportunities and split sides a-plenty.
Suitable for: 16 years and up
Players: 4-5 (although if you’re just messing around with the mouthpieces, anything goes. Please note that mouthpieces and Grandpa’s false teeth don’t necessarily mix!).

#10 Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

No list of board games would be complete without a nod to the ultimate trivia test. Trivial Pursuit Master Edition feels at once both familiar and new, and the addition of a timer makes it satisfyingly speedy. No nipping out to make a cup of tea while your opponent mulls over FA Cup winners from the 70s. You might already have a version on top of the wardrobe, but we’re betting it’s as dusty as it is trusty. And as far as successors to the classic version go, this is up there with the best.
Suitable for: 16 years and up
Players: 2 or more

Feeling inspired? No need to head to the shops – just hop over to the retailers online and make your purchases. Your board game should be with you before you have time to get, well, bored…

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*These items were in stock at the time of writing, but we cannot guarantee the availability of popular products, sorry!

About the author

Yann

Yann has over a decade of experience in price comparison and e-commerce, has been a writer for other sites and has a keen interest in high-tech products, music and audio gear.
He is currently in the planning stages for a professional recording studio and taking up meditation as a means to, hopefully, avoid insanity. ;-)