January blues best beaten with a board game – Here’s a few to muse

As the early dark nights persist, rain and wind keeping you indoors, do not despair and don’t reach for a screen. Board Games are scientifically proven to make you smarter, slow down cognitive decline and are not so scientifically proven to make you smile more (but factually correct) and also much more sociable than staring at anything digital on your lonesome. Here’s a few games for all abilities that should be a snip in the sales :



Fill Your Pants – £12.99 from Smyths Toys

You could save a few quid and wear pants you already own but this box offers the inspiration you need, plus, oversized underwear. Race around your home to fill yours with random items as per the game card – something furry, long, floppy or shiny then get back to base first for a win.


Dobble Connect – £10.50 at Argos

Always the most frantic and fast paced card game in the cupboard this. Line up your symbols and colours before the others and we guarantee your BPM rate will increase, plenty of fun, family friendly, expletive utterances almost guaranteed.


The Quacks of Quedlinburg – £35.99 from Amazon

Absolutely nothing to do with ducks but all about dodgy doctors. The aim is to brew up the most valuable potion, some luck, some skill involved keeps everyone guessing what you might draw from the cauldron – Keep yourself aware as there are plenty of tricks inside to disrupt your plans.


This side up – £16.99 at Amazon

Think pass the parcel with a harmless, yet pulse inducing hand-grenade inside – welcome to this new game. Follow the ever-quickening instructions given from the box to ensure you have the correct colour facing upwards or, well, kaboom and goodbye to you.


Pigs on Trampolines – £20 at Argos

Catapult your plastic pigs onto the trampolines, enjoy some high-flying hilarity, hope for the best, some skill required, it’s mainly a spectator sport to be honest. Your porkers fly high (ish) with oinks of joy (supplied by you) and see how many points you can achieve by placing the pieces in just the right places.


Kluster – £19.99 from Waterstones

Take turns to place your magnets within the string circle but without attracting the attention of the other pieces. Early in the game you’ll place your pieces quite quickly, but the pace soon slows as the attraction between the magnets increases. First player to ride themselves of their magnets wins, sounds easy – Isn’t.


Hitster – £19.99 at Smyths Toys

There are 300 questions from the past century inside the box, get set for musical merriment. Choose your card, scan the code and let the app do almost all the rest.  Your song will play via Spotify and you’re tasked to guess when the song was released and then place your card in the right place in your music timeline.


Root – £44.99 from Zatu Games

No doubt this one is a bit hardcore, certainly not a “pick up and play” but, read the instructions, play a few rounds, and you’ll be totally hooked by this long play boardgame. It is all based around player attempting to take control of a vase woodland wilderness, it is a little nerdy yes but a ton of fun and competitive too.


Block Party – £25.00 at Argos

Think Pictionary, Minecraft and Tetris combined, and this game is the collaboration of all three. Loads of coloured bricks inside and all you have to bring is your imagination and building skills. Create what is on the card as best you can or build the tallest structure, the one with the most colours or just the one that everyone agrees is the best on show.


Dodo – £16.99 at Amazon

As much a decent display for the shelf when not in play as a pretty decent family game for up to four players. Set in the world of Mangalopanesia the Dodo atop the mountain has laid her precious egg (wobbly ball) which will make it’s way down the mountain to the boat at the base. As a team you must build the bridges by rolling dice to prevent said egg from taking a tumble before it reaches the sailing craft.


Traitors – £19 from ASDA

Navigate the world of questionable alliances and beware of betrayals as you try and conquer your territories and become the ultimate Traitor. A game packed with delightful deceit we recommend you take in an episode first to try and gain an edge on your opponents.


The Chase – £19.99 at Toys R Us

With over 1,000 questions inside it’ll certainly see you all well into the New Year. Pit your skills against one of the four chasers who really do not want you to win. You will have to add your own Bradley Walsh quips as you play against the clock and stay one step ahead of The Beast, Governess, Destroyer or Sinnerman to succeed.


5 Second Rule relay – £24.99 from WHSmith

Draw a category card and red it aloud to your assembled players then start the timer. You’ve five seconds to name something in that category and then pass the timer along. The timer runs out in your hand and, well, that’s you down a life. It is fast, frantic and one of the “funnest” games we’ve played this year.


Outsmarted – £29.59 at Amazon

A live TV quiz show in your front room anyone? This app powered game is an absolute must-have family game using the power of technology to keep it relevant every time it is played. Play up to 24 of you around the world and the game levels us the playing field for kids, teens and adults to all have a fair shot at winning. Questions are all updated regularly in each of the six question categories.


TUG! – £16 at Argos

Assemble your teams and begin the two-team battle – It is brains versus brawn. The questions start out fairly simple, is Brad Pitt over six-foot style 50:50 guessing affairs for your grey matter, better still, every card starts a debate so it is as much about having a chatter as it is a race to the winning line.


Hand to Hand Wombat – £19.99 at Smyths Toys

Inside are three Wombat towers, the goal, to build towers before they are destroyed by others. Each of you has a secret identity, good or bad. Good Wombats build towers and Bad Wombats sabotage the others when their eyes are closed. Totally daft yet utterly brilliant for everyone.


Patchwork – £26.99 at Waterstones

Create the best quilt you can, but you’ll need creativity and brain power as the pieces don’t always fit together. A sheet-based board-game isn’t something we’d ever thought would be worth ranting about but this one is all round fun and a good looking game that’ll stay out on display when not in play.


Telestrations – £24.99 at John Lewis

Every player grabs an erasable sketchbook, a marker and word card then a roll of the die gives each one their secret word. Each player then has a few seconds to guess what has been drawn before passing it along again, when the books are with their original owner it is time for the reveal – miscommunication via bad drawings really offer some grin-inducing results.


Meeple Circus – £35 at Amazon

One of the more spendier games on the list but it is a cracking game that is such a smile maker. You play to entertain and create a show that’ll dazzle others by proposing acrobatic acts, horse displays and using the other included accessories to become the ringmaster to watch out for. Yet another superb shelf-worthy game.


Men at Work – £45 at Amazon

A superb hands-on game that has you all competing in Jenga style fashion to build the very best structure you can. A few pieces in and your movements will begin to slow as you try not to topple your tower and win the coveted ‘Employee of the Month’ token and be on your way to Architectural glory.


About 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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