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The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
Monopoly is the classic Christmas board game, but it doesn’t have to be (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Christmas is a great time to play video games, but we all know that it’s also a time when your parents will drag you away from the screen to spend time with your family and play some board games instead.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as plenty of video game fans are now including board games in their weekly gaming life, with plenty of fun and unique new releases in recent years.

There are many classics like Monopoly, Cluedo, Jenga, and Scrabble that some families get out every year, but there is a whole world of modern board games that have yet to make it as household names.

Board games are seeing increasing popularity as more and more exciting ideas are being produced, including the many games appearing on platforms such as Kickstarter – which has seen some games raise millions in crowdfunding.

If you’re looking for some new games to introduce to your family this year, here are some great alternatives to the classic family Christmas games.

Instead of Monopoly play… The Resistance

The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
Indie Boards & Cards

If Monopoly sends your family spiralling into five hours of arguments and flipping tables, The Resistance can get you there much quicker and in a more exciting way.

Playing between five and 10 people, it makes you all join forces as resistance operatives with the aim of going on five missions to destroy the empire.

The bad news is that among you there are spies, who win the game by making sure you fail three of the five missions.

It’s a simple but clever game of tension that is full of lying and deceit, and sees plenty of accusations thrown across the table.

The Resistance is not for players who aren’t keen to bluff and being accused of lying to their family.

Other suggestions: Secret Hitler, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic


Instead of Trivial Pursuit play… Wits & Wagers

The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
(North Star Games)

Trivial Pursuit often sounds like a fun idea until your dad starts playing and smashes all of you with his unbeatable dad-knowledge.

Wits & Wagers makes it a more even game, firstly because all of the questions are number based, which makes them a lot easier to guess.

Secondly, once everyone has written their answers down they are placed face-up in order from lowest to highest, and everyone then places bets on which answer they think will be the closest.

Players can double, triple or even quadruple their money, depending on which answer they bet on.

It’s a game for three to seven players, but you can easily play as teams if you want to have more people involved.

It is a multi-award winning game that is accessible for all of the family to play.

Other suggestions: Mr Lister’s Quiz Shootout, Timeline, and JackBox Party Pack

Instead of Cluedo play… Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
(Jolly Thinkers)

The problem with Cluedo is the tedious moving around from room to room when the fun part of the game is ruling out suspects and making your decision of who did it.

It doesn’t really involve much detective work of looking at clues and trying to interrogate suspects.

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a more exciting and faster game to play, and it can have up to 12 players.

Each player is a suspect with their own collection of potential murder weapons and evidence laid out in front of them.

One player (who knows the murderer) then gives clues as to who the murderer is by using special tiles to suggest things like a possible murder location and the cause of death, which is based on the murderer’s chosen weapon and evidence.

The other players must then decide over three rounds who they think the murderer is and what weapon and evidence they think was used.

Other suggestions: Dixit, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Exit: The Game

Instead of Charades play… Concept

The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
(Repos Production)

Charades can be a fun game to play with your family after a few glasses of wine, but getting up and acting a fool isn’t for everyone.

Concept eliminates the embarrassment aspect, but is still incredibly fun and can scale to a large group of people.

Instead of using physical actions to give clues, you instead use a board where you place differently coloured cubes and icons to try and get across your word or phrase.

It can get incredibly frustrating when the clues go completely over the heads of your family, but it’s incredibly satisfying when someone finally spots what you’re trying to get across.

Other suggestions: Monikers, Time’s Up, and World Slam

Instead of Fallout play… Fallout: The Board Game

The best alternative board games to play with family this Christmas
(Asmodee/ Fantasy Flight games)

Yeah that’s right, Fallout has moved away from the video game world and has become its own board game, and it’s a pretty fun one too.

After raising over $3m on Kickstarter, the Fallout board game has received high praise for being faithful to the main franchise.

This isn’t going to be a game for everyone and it might work better for Christmas with friends rather than family, as it’s hard to see nan playing Fallout on Christmas Day.

It’s got some wonderfully designed miniatures and the overall design and gameplay will satisfy any Fallout fan.

Other suggestions: XCOM: The Board Game, This War of Mine, and Civilization: The Board Game

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