The kids have opened their presents, the lunch has been cooked, devoured and you have staggered from dinner table to sofa, cheeks rosy from the steamy heat of the kitchen and that bottle of red you knocked back during the meal. Bother, the remote is just out of reach but to save you having to haul yourself up again a kid succomed to your bribery and passed it to you.
Flicking on the telly you are unsurprised to see that its all rubbish, some propoganda promoting Prince Charles (look he is a decent fellow really) or ‘strictly’ Christmas special. Yawn, is that the best they can do? I’d much rather watch carry on camping but maybe it’s a bit risqué until the kids are in bed.
Then some bright spark pipes up “how about a game of something?” Just when you were wondering if you could get away with 40 winks. Ignoring the request you hope they will get distracted and move into something else, but no. Oh go on then, I better show willing..
But which board game is a good all rounder for a bit of family bonding ? Or, does it always end in tears (let’s face it we’ve always got one who has to win at whatever cost). Personally I want something fun, lighthearted and don’t want it to be taken too seriously. Or to go on too long. And that brings me to my first classic – Monopoly.
There have been many ‘editions’ of this popular classic, I’ll stick with the original because I think it’s good for the kids geography of London and there is always that kudos associated with acquiring Mayfair and Park Lane that I enjoy (not competitive at all..) The kids love this game, the eldest mostly, little one gets bored and drifts away quite quickly (but he will stick at the junior edition). It’s relatively quick and easy to set up despite the initial tussle over who gets to be the banker. Now, aside from the fact that this game centres around acquiring wealth, land and property it is actually quite good fun and helps with basic maths. My only gripe is that it goes on far too long (do you remember those lengthy games when you were a kid? Breaking only for food and sleep this thing could go on for days..). It’s a classic and a must.
Then we have my other favourite, cleudo. A detective sleuth game where participants trail around a board game depicting a aristocratic home of the upper classes. Via the process of elimination (asking basic questions) the player has to guess the murderer, the implement used and the scene of the crime. I always wanted to be miss Scarlett as a child (she’s so glam). colonel mustard had a run of being the murderer and it kind of suited him. The implement of choice for the crime? I’d go for the candelabra over the revolver any day, it kind of suggests it wasn’t premeditated, maybe a ‘crime of passion’ .. I digress.. It’s fun, the kids love it and duration wise it’s doable even for the little one.
Cranium now has a junior edition. I’ve just ordered ours on Amazon. I used to have the other version and play it with my eldest, we all loved it. It’s full of variety and keeps everyone interested whether you are drawing something for everyone to guess, modelling it with the pay doh provided or acting out (like charades) players take it in turns to move around the board selecting cards and getting the other players to guess what they are. I’m really looking forward to this one, my 7 year old loves charades and I think she’s going to enjoy this.
No review would be complete without:
‘What’s up?’ – both little ones love this, pop a headband on and a card (no peeping) picture depicts person, animal etc.. players have to guess what they are by asking questions, everyone plays at the same time and take it in turns to ask questions. quick, funny and engaging.
So, I’ve got a few classics for you to consider and two of our favourite modern ones. The other game of the moment for my kids is bug bingo. It’s so simple but they love it, aesthetically it is beautiful and we have learnt so much from it, nearly as much as from ‘life on earth’ my daughter’s current favourite telly show despite all the gore. The bingo games are available in various versions, cat bingo is next on our list..
As ever, I’d love to hear your comments on this post (which is your favourite board game?) or my blog in general.. I hope this has given you some ideas for filling a few hours over the festive season, until next time,