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Board Games for Boxing Day boredom busting

Take a moment before you enter those dark corners of your cupboards and dust off those dog eared “bored” games. They needn’t make their annual pilgrimage this year, there are so very many new titles in town.

Board Game Clubbin'
Board Game Clubbin’

We’ve rated all our games on three criteria:

Snigger score – It’ll rate low if this is for the more serious players and full marks if it’ll have you in tears of laughter.

Difficulty rating –  Is it a game you can be instantly talented at or does practice make perfect?

Brain ache – Can you pick up and play after reading just a few words from the back of the box or will this take some grey matter to absorb the rules first?

TV and films fans

Strictly Come Dancing – £17.99 Argos

Answer trivia questions, perform challenges mini dance-offs all to try and gain the most votes to go through to the finals. When the glitterball starts to spin you’ll hear the voice of Craig Revell Horwood who they’ve trapped inside.

Strictly Come Dancing - The Board Game
Strictly Come Dancing – The Board Game

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   2

 

Jumanji – £16.99 from Smyths Toys

Move through the jungle of stalking lions and charging rhinos but beware the danger cards as disaster might strike in a moment. The object is to reach the centre first – It isn’t the quality of the one that Robin Williams played with but right up there with the best made board games.

Jumanji
Jumanji – Beware the stampede

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           1

Brain ache                   3

Fog of Love – £48.00 from Rulesofplay.co.uk

A unique two-player game that has you both trying to work your way through this romantic comedy style game, facing relationship issues to overcome along the way – aiming to get to the end, without splitting up.

Fog of Love

Snigger score              2

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   4

 

Crystal maze – £35.00 at Debenhams

For the comfort of armchairs, you can take on perplexing puzzles and tricky family-based teamwork challenges, all voyaging through the four time zones but physically shifting yourself mere inches. All comes to a head at the end where you’ll all scramble for gold tokens in the fan-filled finale.

Crystal Maze - The Board Game
Crystal Maze – The Board Game

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   3

Pointless – £15.99 at Argos

Play the biggest TV quiz at home and battle it out to win the Pointless trophy. Follow the game with the interactive app and provide pointless answers to win. For added ambience wear Richard Osman style specs.

Pointless - The game
Pointless – The game, revised 2018 edition and this one isn’t crap.

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           5

Brain ache                   3

Junior players

Foxy Pants – £16.10 at Debenhams

He is trying to steal all the chicken play pieces by stuffing them in his pants but can only hold so much before those trousers fall down. Then you have to gather up and collect coloured chickens for a chance to win.

Foxy Pants – Not a new underwear brand.

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

Monkey Mania – £16.00 at The Entertainer

Flick the spinner and follow the instructions on how to attach the monkey to the next player up for the challenge. When their turn starts they have to wriggle free of the animals grip quicker than other players – Monkey sounds included.

Monkey Mania
Monkey Mania

Snigger score              5

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

Chow Crown – £16.00 at The Entertainer

Load up your snacks on the plastic cutlery and let the spinning begin. The aim is to eat as much of the food as you can before the music stops and the crown comes to a halt.

Chow Crown
Chow Crown – food not included

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           1

Brain ache                   1

Make n Break – £24.99 from John Lewis

Race against the timer to replicate the shape you’ve been challenged to on the card just drawn. Ten colourful blocks and extreme challenge cards to take on the parents.

Make n Break
Make n Break

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

Connect Four shots – £12.99 from Smyths Toys

Unfold the grid, stick on the backboard and get ready to bounce your way to four-in-a-row. It’s a free for all, no waiting in turn here – first in line wins.

Connect 4 Shots
Connect 4 Shots

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   1

Grabby games

Grabolo – £10.69 from Amazon

Roll the two dice, one covered in colours the other with symbols and you’ll need to be the first to grab the piece in the centre pile that is a perfect match.

Grabolo
Grabolo – about the best grabby game around

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           1

Brain ache                   1

Ninja Rush – £20.00 from Debenhams

Time is of the essence, you’ve to keep the sand-timer loaded Ninja’s moving as directed, while keeping the sand flowing. Eventually, you’ll flip a card passing a turn to the next player – first to five Ninja stars wins.

Ninja Rush – Martial arts in a sit down situation

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   2

I saw it first Jungle – £16.99 at Whirligig Toys

On this densely populated board there are three hundred animals from the familiar leopard and hippopotamus, to the lesser known eyelash viper and giraffe weevil. Take a counter from the bag and be the first to spot that animal on the board – Like a where’s Wally but with wildlife.

I saw it first Jungle
I saw it first Jungle

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           1

Brain ache                   1

Cobra paw – £14.99 from John Lewis

Take on this tile-snatching challenge – take turns rolling the dice and spot the piece in the centre with the matching symbols and snatch the tile with the matching pattern, before the others that is. Six tiles at your scratching post and you win.

Cobra Paw
Cobra Paw – better be quick

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache

The Sock game – £19.99 from Ocado

A pair of socks (washed) into which 36 identical items are placed. Flick to spin and where the arrow lands is the object in play. Reach in and find the right piece the quickest, can you feel your way through a rubber band to find a domino piece or button – all jumbled up with the other pieces!

Sock Game
Sock Game – better than it looks, honest.

Snigger score              5

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

 

For the strategists

Drop It – £23.21 from Amazon

Players drop different coloured shapes into a vertical drop zone and earn points for making it the highest. Beware thought, there are landing rules in play including not being able to touch matching shapes – It’ll boggle your mind.

Sock Game
Drop It – Tactile Tetris anyone?

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   2

AZUL – £36.22 at Amazon

This beautifully crafted game has each player trying to win and become chief tiler to the king. Arrange your colourful pieces to score high but don’t drop any on the floor or points will be taken away when the grout has settled.

Azul – Tile-tastic

Snigger score              2

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   2

Photosynthesis – £37.99

An utterly beautiful game, coffee table worthy, never put it away its that good looking. You plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy, taking your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun’s rays

Photosynthesis – tree growing goodness

Snigger score              1

Difficulty rating           4

Brain ache                   3

Chameleon – £20.00 from Debenhams

There is a secret word in play and everyone knows it, well, apart from the Chameleon – But who is the Chameleon? Using one carefully chosen word each, player try to catch out the impostor – but they might be very good at blending it.

Chameleon
Chameleon game – Its alright, it really is.

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           1

Brain ache                   2

 

Abalone – £20.00 from The Entertainer

This objective of this two-player game is to be the first to push six of your opponent’s marbles off the board. Attack could come in from six directions, almost impossible to defend yourself fully but strategise you must to stay in play.

Abalone
Abalone – Knocks the socks off Solitaire

Snigger score              2

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   1

Let’s get quizzical

Frenetic – £22.99 from John Lewis

Draw letter tiles and place them on the play space and then, under the duress of a sand-timer, create as many words as you can including the elements in play. First to 1,000 points wins – Never has the periodic table been more fun.

Frenetic – periodic table play

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           3

Brain ache                   2

Santa banter – £9.99 from Waterstones

Describe or act out the Christmas-themed images on the cards, think of it as seasonal charades. How would you start to perform There are hundreds of options, including examples such as ‘Three wise men visiting Big Ben’ or ‘Santa Claus watching Star Wars’ – Well you’ve 30 seconds so get on with it.

Santa Banter – just buy it.

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

 

The CAT – £19.99 from Argos

Go fur it people with this hairy boxed drawing game based on the domestic feline. Pick a card from a category, draw the clue and place your magnetic cats on the scene to assist your team mates in guessing what your doodle is trying to describe – meow-velous fun.

The Cat – a game that’ll make you laugh and it has a hairy box – Fnaarh.

Snigger score              5

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   1

What’s that smell? – £19.99 from Smyths Toys

Did we lose our senses recommending a party game that stinks? Start the timer, pick a mystery smell card from the pile, then rub ‘n sniff before making your best guess and do it to the next card and so on until the timer stops – How did your nostrils do?

What's that Smell?
What’s that Smell?

Snigger score              4

Difficulty rating           4

Brain ache                   2

 

Guinness World Records – £24.99 from Argos

Answer questions from over 600 cards about existing records and race around the board to earn challenge cards. Test your spoon balancing skills and your ability to wear the most socks to claim first place. You’ll need to supply the socks, spoons and some coins too – it is well worth the effort.

Guinness Game
Guinness Game – Record breakers ready?

Snigger score              3

Difficulty rating           2

Brain ache                   2

Board Game Clubbin'
Board Game Clubbin’

About Peter Jenkinson

Peter Jenkinson
Toyologist Pete Jenkinson regularly writes about toys in national newspapers like The Sun and The Mail. This super-dad has an unmatched passion and dedication for trying and testing the latest, coolest and most interesting offerings from the world of toys.

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