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The best games and board games to play at Christmas - as chosen by us

There's something about Christmas which brings out a camaraderie and competitive spirit all at the same time.

With Christmas hats from long-since pulled crackers still atop heads, the afternoon is the perfect time to let food settle and embark on a game - and let the laughter follow.

Here's our picks of the top games and those of our colleagues at sister papers across Iliffe Media.

Let the fun begin as we paint a picture of what happens in our homes. Have we missed your favourite game? Is there something we need to try and master ahead of next December? Let us know in the comments below.

Let the games begin - the sillier the better?
Let the games begin - the sillier the better?

Matthew Taylor, trainee reporter, Grantham Journal

Spoons is the best game to play at Christmas with the family. It can be an aggressive game, so it is a perfect way to vent any frustrations that have built up during Christmas Day.

It is a fun and competitive game and is simple to play. It is essentially rummy mixed in with musical chairs, but instead of fighting over the empty chairs, players scramble to grab one of the few remaining spoons.

All you need is a pack of cards and the only limit on how many people can play is the number of spoons available in the house. Other utensils (other than knives) can also be used.

Jenny Beake, reporter, Lynn News

There is a great family game called Pit which involves a lot of shouting and hilarity. Sitting round the table family members are pitted against one another to be the first to collect cards of one commodity. It is frenzied fun and hilariously confusing for first time players! Play it over and over again and voices can be lost and no doubt I will suggest it this Christmas to play and become hoarse in the process.

Maddy Baillie, senior reporter, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

After filling up on Christmas dinner and cracking open a selection box, only a game which requires a lot of thought is enough to keep you awake through the afternoon drowsiness.

For my family this is usually a game of Bananagrams, which has been kept in the cupboard for many years and only seems to be brought out after a get-together.

The aim of the fast-paced game is to make words from lettered tiles while constantly picking up new ones. A top tip to avoid a family row, stick by the Scrabble rules so you don't get a tipsy relative making fake or rude words.

There's definitely room for games to end in arguments
There's definitely room for games to end in arguments

Kat Wakefield, reporter, Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian

I'm aware this is a bit niche... but my game of choice is Polite Society. It's a Jane Austen-themed board game where each player has to collect eight guests (all characters from her novels) to create the 'ultimate' dinner party.

Obviously, some characters come with more wit, wealth, heart and beauty than others. But these 'societal assets' mean more chances of completing your line up.

I did warn you it was niche, but who wouldn't want Mr Darcy sitting next to them during dinner?

Kerry Couple, editor, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

The best game I've played at Christmas is the Taskmaster board game but it comes with the warning that it could certainly lead to family arguments! Based on the hit television show, it challenges you to complete a series of tasks in the hope of winning a tiny trophy version of comedian, and programme host, Greg Davies' golden head. Ridiculous but hilarious tasks include 'find something from outside to make a tiny hat for the Taskmaster trophy, most stylish hat wins'. Each player takes it in turns to play the role of the Taskmaster and choose the winner of that task. It led to me barging my future in-laws out of the way in a race to get to the spoon drawer and my future mother-in-law panicking that she may have to call 999 and endure a long wait in A&E after a task to recreate the most realistic wound was excellently executed by my brother-in-law, who annoyingly went onto lift the tiny trophy, despite his tomato sauce injury!

Fall back favourites are parlour games including charades.
Fall back favourites are parlour games including charades.

Sarah Cliss, senior reporter, Fenland Citizen

We love a game of Uno, which can get very cut-throat and we keep a tally of who wins each time we play - my son-in-law is the current reigning champion since Christmas 2020 - but who knows what might happen this year and we also like Cluedo. Last year we played highly competitive coits - this year we have a skittles game to add to the fun....

Nicola Irwin, digital news editor, Midlands

As something of a board game geek, this is a tough call to make. There's the strategy of Carcassonne or Catan, the quick-fire trading of Jaipur and the beauty of being at a Portuguese tile factory in Azul. But come Christmas it's about being inclusive and getting everyone involved from the youngest child to the oldest adult and reluctant teen. Then the winner on all counts is Pictionary. Wrapped up in there is the memories of Christmasses past when my sister started an elaborate drawing involving tissues to demonstrate 'multiply', and by some fluke I managed to draw 'white musk' to sneak victory. Pictionary Air cuts down on the need for paper thankfully, but it makes for a trickier game - to begin with at least!

Suzanne Moon, news editor, Rutland & Stamford Mercury, Bourne Local and Rutland Times

Once Christmas hits a turkey-laden lull, whip out Pit. This lively game sees players trade cards from their hand - each one a stock market commodity - to be first to collect nine the same. Trading with the opposition means gambling on them having cards you're after and abiding by the rule of only swapping multiple cards of the same commodity. Because players call out the number of cards they're wanting to swap each time, the living room soon becomes a scene from a stock exchange trading floor. Pop granny's sherry out of elbow's-reach, this is not for the timid.

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