It’s that time of year again where we all find ourselves wondering just what it is to do over the holidays with our family. I have been asked by a handful of people now who want to get their family playing more than just Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit over the Christmas period what I would recommend they get to attempt this feat.
So here are the 5 games I’d recommend and have used myself to introduce non-gamers playing something a little more fun and exciting. They don’t have to be restricted to just Christmas either!
5. King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is a fun and quick game that can be played by a variety of levels of skill of player. Games can last between 10 minutes to an hour for bigger ones with a lot of strategy (this is just in my experience – there was a lot of plotting and temporary alliances involved).
The rules are pretty straightforward to explain and pick up, the game takes mere moments to get set up too.
For the younger player, the game pieces are large and easy to handle (with the exception of the energy cubes) and vibrantly coloured.
A staple of most lists like this, Carcassonne never ceases to get people playing. It’s a tile-placement game where players draw and place a piece of land which may have a piece of city, a road, a cloister, grassland or a combination of those things that need to be played connecting cities to cities, roads to roads and so on. Players place a meeple on the ever growing game board and when the area your meeple is in is complete, the meeple scores points for its owner.
It’s a slower moving game than King of Tokyo but it really gives people thinking time and again, like most games on this list, the rules are simple and easy to pick up.
There’s also a Star Wars variant!
3. Settlers of Catan/Catan
The Settlers of Catan/Catan is a resource management game above all else. Players aim to earn 10 victory points by building settlements, cities, and roads and earning resources from tiles that they settle near.
Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points.
Games vary in length depending on the number of players but it can easily be upwards of an hour.
If your family prefers something a little more teamwork based, I can’t recommend Pandemic (and eventually its expansions) enough.
We here at Dice Trip have undoubtedly lost more games than we’ve won, but in a game where it’s humans vs the game itself, it is one of the best experiences you’ll have as a family or with friends.
Rules are relatively simple and games require collaborative thinking and a whole lot of teamwork for you to succeed as you, a crack team of disease-fighting specialists look to eradicate a breakout of four, highly contagious plagues around the world.
It is a lot of fun, though if you’re playing with children too, I’d recommend they’re at least 10 to get a good grasp of the game rather than the suggested 8 and up on the box.
1. Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island has to be one of my all time favourite games. It’s really easy to pick up, so much so, in fact, I taught my 4-year-old daughter to play it recently and admittedly, with a little extra narrative to enhance the experience, she absolutely loved it and picked it up after a couple of rounds.
With that said then, Forbidden Island is a game for the whole family, where you work together to uncover the four lost treasures of the island before it slips into the sea forever.
It’s another co-operative game where it’s humans vs the game. It takes a bit of collaborative strategy but the great thing about it is that it has multiple levels of difficulty, so you can play it once and then start to ramp the difficulty up on the next game.
If there’s one game to get your family playing this holiday season, I can’t recommend Forbidden Island highly enough.
Have more suggestions? Let us know what you’d pick for your top 5 down in the comments!