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5 board games to buy in time for winter

As winter draws closer, it seems we’ll be spending a lot more time inside. Board games are an excellent way to bring your household together over Christmas. Below, we’ve rounded up five fun board games to buy in time for winter.

5 board games to buy in time for winter
Olivia Barnes-Brett
· 5 min read

As winter draws closer, it seems we’ll be spending a lot more time inside. Board games are an excellent way to bring your household together over Christmas. Below, we’ve rounded up five fun board games to buy in time for winter.

With the likelihood of Christmas restrictions growing ever stronger, it might not be possible to have the whole family in one place. So, we’re focusing on games for two or more players. Most of these are modern games that you might not have played before. But, we still love the classics such as chess, checkers, backgammon, and scrabble! Let us know what your favourite board game is in the comments below.

Ticket to Ride

Players: 2-5
Time to play: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: medium

This game has become an international hit over the last few years. The premise is so simple that you can learn the rules in ten minutes and then enjoy playing for up to two hours! The original game features maps of the USA and Canada, but developers have released regional editions.

The aim of the game is to complete train routes by connecting cities. This then completes Destination Tickets and wins you points. As the game’s author says, "the rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets”.

The game’s creators have also released a special free expansion pack during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this version, you take on the role of a family member and complete daily tasks. You will need the base game to enjoy the free expansion pack.

Carcassonne

Players: 2-5
Time to play: 30 minutes or less

Difficulty: easy

Carcassonne takes its name from a medieval French town. Players lay down picture tile cards featuring part of a French landscape. They use the cards to create and extend a series of roads, rivers and settlements. Each player can use tokens to claim one of these features. Certain cards must be placed next to each other, making the game more challenging.

Eventually, cards will be positioned in a way that makes a feature complete (e.g. a road has an end or settlement is enclosed by walls on all sides). The player who claimed that feature will score points based on how big the feature is when complete. This game is a lot of fun and can be played by anyone aged 7+.

Bananagrams

Players: 1-8
Time to play: 30 minutes or less

Difficulty: medium, depends on the opponent

Bananagrams isn’t technically a board game, but this list wouldn’t be complete without it! This is a fantastic game for one to eight players, consisting of 144 tiles. Each tile shows a single letter, just like in scrabble, but players don’t score points in Bananagrams. The aim of the game is for each player to create a grid of words that interlink, like a crossword.

To start, players lay all the tiles faced down in the middle of the table and take a certain number without looking at them. Someone then shouts “split,” and players frantically turn their pile over. Each player uses their tiles to create their own word grid.

The pressure starts to build when a player uses all their tiles. This person shouts “peel,” and everyone must take another tile from the middle pile to add to their grid. Players need to rearrange their grids to use up new letters as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they’ll find themselves falling behind! When there are fewer letters in the middle pile than players in the game, the first person to use all their letters is the winner.

Linkee

Players: 2+
Time to play: 30 mins

Difficulty: medium

Linkee has been around for a few years, but it’s still a family favourite at Christmas. The game was originally seen on Dragon’s Den in 2013, where Duncan Bannatyne offered the creators £50,000 for 40% of their business. The trio declined, but the publicity helped them to grow their game into a major success.

Although technically not a board game, Linkee is a trivia-based game that will liven up any room. Players are given a series of answers and need to work out the link between them. For example, if the answers were Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Vienna, the link would be capital cities. But, player beware, the link can be much harder than this! Each link you guess correctly earns you a letter of the word Linkee. Earn all the letters, and you win the game!

Settlers of Catan

Players: 3-4 (5-6 with extension)
Time to play: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: hard

Settlers of Catan (known affectionately as Catan) is a brilliant strategy game for players aged 10+. You will need an extra player for this one and enough time for a practice round to make sure new players understand the rules. It’s quite challenging to grasp the scope of the strategy involved in Settlers of Catan without playing. But, first published in 1995, this game is still very popular today.

To set up the game, players fit hexagonal tiles together, forming the board. Each tile has a picture of a resource, which is used as currency. Resource tiles have numbers which correspond to dice rolls. Players build roads and settlements around the board and can claim resources if they have built on a tile whose number is rolled. Currency is used to buy roads, settlements, development cards, and more. Each of these earns the player a certain amount of points. The aim of the game is to score ten victory points.

If you’re looking for more activity ideas, why not check out our hobbies section? We regularly publish new articles and would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below or like us on social media!

Olivia Barnes-Brett
Olivia Barnes-Brett
Olivia is an experienced writer and has written and edited content for a variety of online platforms and publications. A languages enthusiast, Olivia speaks three languages and is also involved in teaching and creative fiction writing.