Each family has its very own traditions during the Christmas Break, that’s for sure. But I think one emblematic activity, that’s quite common for a lot of families is playing broad games. Or doing puzzles.
You know those 4-5 days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when you have no time estimates, you have no idea what day it is? That’s when we play broad games throughout the day. We take a break to eat and then resume playing.
So, since this is such a dear tradition to me, I thought to share with you some of our all-time-favourite family broad games to play during Christmas break.
I’m personally a big fan of cooperative board games.
Cooperative board games are players vs the game. The players have to work together, towards the same goal: to beat the game.
Here are one of our favourite games!
Cluedo, or Clue (as its commonly known in the US) is a murder mystery game, created in 1943.
The game’s goals is to solve the murder mystery of Dr. Black. Players will have to identify the suspect, the room where the crime took place and the weapon used to kill Dr. Black.
The board of the game represents the house plan of the Black mansion. Players go through room to room and ask the other players questions about the room, the suspect and the weapon.
Whoever identifies correctly all the 3 variables (suspect, room, weapon) wins the game.
This game requires analytical skills and a lot of attention, but it’s a lot of fun.
Type: dice & cards game
Time: 1 – 1.5 h
Activity is probably an oldie, but goldie when it comes to family board games. It’s a great, hilarious game.
Basically you form teams of at least two players each, that have to compete with other teams. Each team has to draw, describe or mimic certain words or activities from the cards they draw, and they have one minute to guess.
Although the rules of the game are quite basic, it’s turns in a burst of laughter.
If you want to make it even funnier, don’t play with your partner, or with people that you know very well. It will be easier to guess their drawing or mimic. Mix and match the teams, to make it more fun.
This game is so popular, that it has lots and lots of versions (for adults, for kids, etc.) and its been translated to different languages. The bad part is that the translation isn’t very accurate, and you’ll have to set some rules about how close to the actual word the guess has to be.
Players: 3 – 16 (split into teams)
Type: dice & cards game
Time: 1 h
Alias is a distant cousin of Activity.
It’s slightly simpler – in terms of rules – but it’s as funny as Activity.
Alias is a word explaining game that can be played with a lot of players.
I personally recommend the men vs women version. It’s hilarious. Basically, you split players into two teams: female and male and each team has to explain opposite sex theme words to their team mates. The ladies will describe “men words” to their fellow team member, and men will have “girl worlds”.
Let me tell you that this is a completely unfair game for men. They literally have 0 chances of wining it. Women talk so much and are so loud, that they can’t concentrate. Also the time limit is not helping them either.
Anyway, it’s a hilarious game that you must try with your family and friends.
Players: 4+ players, split in 2 teams
Time: 1+ h
Risk – GoT
Risk is a very complex game. It took us two days to understand all the rules – and we’re still not sure if we’re playing it right.
This is definitely not a collaborative game. It’s highly competitive and soliciting. Risk is a strategy game but it also has a lot of dice. So all your strategy can be challenged by the faith of the dice.
Just for the sake of the competitiveness, I suggest to play the Game of Thrones edition. There are lots of other versions available: Walking Dead, Assassin’s Creed, but I think GoT is the most popular one and helps setting the mood right.
This game is the next level of Monopoly, because it can take up to 8 hours of playing.
Players: 3 – 7 (although it can be played in 2, it’s very boring)
Type: strategy, dice
Time: 1 – 8 hours
Ironically or not, playing Pandemic will teach you how a pandemic spreads, and how important it is to put a collective effort to beat the virus.
There are 4 viruses spreading across the globe. Your goal as players, is to beat the game and find the vaccines for the 4 viruses. The fun part is that the game can beat you in 3 different ways, while you have only one way of winning.
Each player has a character that has special abilities: the medic cures cities faster, the researcher prevents the spreading and so on.
This is a complex game and it needs some patience to understand all the rules. But it’s very, very entertaining. It takes a lot of collaborative work and strategy in order to beat the game.
Players: 2 – 6 (with expansions)
Type: cards, strategy
Time: 1 h
Forbidden Island has the same creator as Pandemic, and it’s an easier version of the previous one mentioned.
It’s the same principle: you landed on a sinking island and you have to collaborate between each other, in order to escape. It’s either all of you or none, so you have to closely work together.
Each player had a character that brings special abilities to the team.
Just like Pandemic, this is a truly collaborative board game and there’s no way out unless you help each other and build a strategy.
This game comes in a tin container and I think it’s such a brilliant packaging idea. It’s way more durable and useful – we all know how difficult it is to store board games that don’t have the original box anymore.
Players: 2 – 4
Time: 1 h
I think it depends from family to family, but I find board games an excellent, fun way of spending quality time together during the holidays.
And although most of these games do have an app version, I strongly encourage you to go fully offline during Christmas and play board games with your loved one in the old fashioned way.
Do you have any favourite board game you play with your family around Christmas? Please share them with me, I would love to discover new games!